29 November 2022

The Road to Palestinian Liberation and an End to Zionism Runs Through Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus and Riyadh

We should not forget that the Blockade of Gaza could not continue but for Egypt’s Collaboration with Israel 

40 years ago Alexander Haig, Reagan’s Secretary of State described Israel as "the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk". Given that central to US military doctrine has been the creation of unsinkable island aircraft carriers, from Pacific atolls to Iceland and even Britain, this explains more than anything why the United States funds Israel’s military to the tune of $4 Billion a year.

Of course there are a handful of anti-Semites like Michael Rabb, Jeff Blankfort and Gilad Atzmon, who will insist that it’s all because of Jewish Power and a Jewish stranglehold over the US government. Quite how a community of 6 million has come to overwhelm the US Congress and Presidency is one of the miracles of our  time.

But for those of us who live in the real world of imperialist realpolitik, United States support for Israel is dictated by material interests not an affection for Jews.

Former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer

There was a time when the United States was not that close to Israel and that was when the Jewish community in the USA was itself lukewarm about Zionism. It was only when, after the 6 Day war in 1967, the US  concluded that Israel was a reliable partner in an unstable oil rich  region of the world, that US Jews became enthusiastic about being seen to support Zionism. They had been given permission to become supporters of the United States’s rotweiller in the Middle East.

That was then, Today the American Jewish community is far from happy at events in Israel and in particular the election of a nakedly far-right, neo-fascist government. One quarter believe that Israel is an apartheid state. 38% of American Jewish youth believe this and 20% of Jews under 40 believe Israel has no right to exist.

Under the influence of the Ultra Orthodox and Religious Zionism parties, a proposal is being made to remove non-Jewish grandchildren of Jews from an entitlement to ‘return’ to Israel under the Law of Return as amended in 1970. This can only widen the chasm between Israel and American Jews. 43% of young Jews see in Israel a replication of the United States’s own racism against Black people

Most Americans are either from Conservative or Reform synagogues and to the Orthodox they are not really Jews. My own rabbi father had more contempt for them than for Christians! When the murder of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh, at the hands of a far-right Trump supporter took place, the Chief Rabbi in Israel David Lau refused to acknowledge that those who had died were Jewish. He merely said that they had a ‘profound Jewish flavour’!!

Today, it is Evangelicals who form the backbone of political support in the US for Israel. Israel though should not be complacent because the evidence from 3 surveys – in 2015, 2018 and 2021 is of a dramatic switch in allegiances among young Evangelicals to the point where they are almost equally divided between support for Israel and Palestinians.

The notion that the United States supports Israel out of some kind of affection for Jews is not only infantile but assumes that foreign policy is dictated by sentiment. As Alexander Haig explained, US military support for Israel is due to its stability as a settler colonial state with an extremely right-wing Israeli Jewish population, virtually the only Trump loving population in the world.

What then is Israel’s mission? In a nutshell watching over the Arab regimes, the United States’s junior clients, almost all of whom are in hock to the Americans. In 1970 Israel intervened in Black September to threaten the Syrian regime if it invaded Jordan. In 2011 Israel champed at the bit when Mubarak was overthrown.

Israeli leaders were in shock at what they saw as Obama’s abandonment of Mubarak at the height of the Arab spring. Reuters reported:

Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness....

According to Shimon Peres of the Israeli Labor Party

“We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak,” he said on Monday. He then switched to the past tense. “I don’t say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the peace in the Middle East.”

As DW explained in 2011

With Egypt's opposition movement gaining momentum and President Hosni Mubarak under increasing pressure, Israel is watching developments with concern as one its few Arab allies in the Middle East teeters on the brink.

Israel has been in de facto alliance with the Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian regimes for decades. Today with the Abraham Accords Israel has established formal diplomatic ties with most Arab regimes, particularly those in the Gulf. It is Israel’s role above all else to guard and protect the Arab regimes and to ensure that radical nationalist or socialist movements are quashed.

We can be certain that there is close military and intelligence coordination with the Arab states and furthermore that this relationship is not of recent origin. This should give a clue as to how Zionism can be brought to an end and with it a state I once described as Hitler’s bastard offspring.

The major political mistake of the PLO, apart from accepting the idea of a two state solution was its belief that it could triumph with the support of and in alliance with the Arab regimes. The PLO turned its face away from the brutal, repressive nature of these regimes.  Regimes that were otherwise in alliance with the United States, the main supporter of the Zionist state.

For the sake of money to fund its activities, including its diplomatic missions, the PLO gave legitimacy to regimes which were illegitimate in the eyes of their people. Today it is, or should be, clear to all that these regimes are not only enemies of their own people but the Palestinians too.

The Egyptian regime is a particularly brutal regime with torture and executions common. Al Sisi seized power in 2013 and overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood, which had refrained from even supporting the movement to overthrow Mubarak until late in the day, then destroyed the movement that had overthrown Mubarak by proposing an authoritarian constitution, attacking peaceful demonstrators and prosecuting journalists. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Gazan wing, has a history of betrayal and support for imperialism.

Without the support of the Egyptian regime Israel could not maintain a 15 year old siege and blockade of Gaza. Unfortunately people forget this all too often. The articles below describe the extreme humiliation and indignities that Palestinians face when they travel to and from Gaza. This deliberate cruelty is carried out on behalf of the Israeli state and demonstrates the contempt that this illegitimate regime has for the Palestinians.

Below are some articles and extracts detailing the repressive, corrupt nature of the Egyptian regime which ranks among the most barbaric in the world.

On the other side of the bars: the broken families of el-Sisi's Egypt

Egypt - Land of Broken Families

Since the beginning of el-Sisi’s presidency in 2014, the number of prisoners in Egypt has surged. The authorities refuse to disclose the exact number, but the UN puts it at 114,000, which is double the capacity of 55,000. Human Rights defenders say that at least 60,000 of these are imprisoned for political reasons, helping Egypt to earn the 161st place on the Human Freedom Index.

Mona Seif vocalized the general feeling of skepticism among Egyptian Human Rights Defenders regarding the promises of the Egyptian Authorities in front of a European Parliament panel on Human Rights in October 2021:

‘The new strategy for human rights of Egypt doesn’t change anything in Egypt … It’s only made for you. Stop using it as a positive example of change.’

families visiting gaol

February 1 2021 marks the date of Santawy’s forced disappearance. This term is used to describe the period in which a person is held at a police station without being officially arrested yet, leaving the family ignorant of their location. During this time, Santawy was subjected to torture, Amnesty later reported. Officers beat him and kept him blindfolded.

Officers interrogated him about his academic research on women’s reproductive rights in Egypt. He reappeared five days later before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, the legal institution charged with investigating crimes related to national security.

‘Ahmed hardly was an activist. He was just really unlucky to be picked out by the regime.’

Five months later, Santawy received a four-year-sentence, for ‘publishing false news to undermine the state, its national interests and public order and spread panic among the people’.

Egyptian prison

Prison food is very problematic and medical care is almost non-existent, Baoumi describes the situation.

‘So Prisoners, or rather: their families, are expected to provide for their basic needs. The prisoners thus form a financial burden which many families can’t afford, especially not if their most important breadwinner is behind the bars.’

Medical negligence has led to severe health complications and in some instances even death. The fate of deposed president Mohamed Morsi speaks volumes. After six years of imprisonment, he finally succumbed at the age of 67 from a heart attack in court.

When I drive past an empty branch of the El-Tawhid & El-Nour Department Stores, a friend remarks that the chain — as many others — had to close down: its owner, Sayed el-Sewerky, was arrested for allegedly financing a terrorist group (read: the Muslim Brotherhood).

According to Human Rights Watch, the detention of businessmen like him ‘exposes how the government is using Egypt’s flawed terrorism law to punish successful businessmen who refuse to surrender their property to the state’, thereby further tightening the Army’s grip on the Egyptian economy

There is a red line connecting most of the cases. The same three accusations keep popping up: ‘joining a terrorist group’, ‘spreading false news that harms the security of the State’ and ‘misusing social media’. Furthermore, many gaolings are preceded by forced disappearances which lasts weeks to months.

The duration of the pre-detention is often lengthened by tadweer, the rotating of the detainee through existing legal cases. Once a case is handled, the detainee is kept in custody by trying him or her for a new case. Most detainees are subject to torture or other forms of inhumane or degrading treatment and there is a consistent policy of medical negligence. Many prisoners are punished by denying them the right to family visits or other ways of communicating with the outside world.

Over the years, the circumstances have gradually deteriorated for associations like the ECRF. In 2019, the parliament passed a new NGO law, requiring all organizations to register with the government by January 2023 and have their activities monitored by the State, a concession many organizations are not willing to make.

‘The first massive wave of arrests came in 2013,’ Mohamed Lotfi tells me, ‘when Sisi cracked down upon supporters of the ousted president and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.’ Over time, the scope was broadened to liberals, socialists, pan-Arabists and other non-Islamist political members.

‘The international community only noticed this big elephant in the room with the death of Giulio Regeni in January 2016,’ Lotfi states. Regeni was an Italian PhD-student conducting research on Egyptian independent trade unions, a sensitive subject in the country. He was abducted, tortured and eventually killed. In October 2021, a court in Rome opened the trial against four Egyptian police officers in their absence, accused of being responsible for the murder.

‘One cannot underestimate the effects of this mass imprisonment on Egyptian society,’ Lotfi says.

‘There are thousands and thousands of prisoners. That means thousands and thousands of families, friends, colleagues and acquaintances of prisoners who know about the plight and who think this is unfair. So the authorities are giving a signal to society in general that if they open their mouth, they could end up in the same situation.’

Egypt's Expatriation Room

Egypt’s “expatriation” policy is meant to humiliate travelers from Gaza

Hundreds of Palestinians spend long hours waiting inside a huge hall packed with people. Everyone waits for the Egyptian officers to call their names, at which point they will undergo another security check, before being put on buses to head to the Cairo International Airport. 

When we arrive at the airport in Cairo at 3 a.m., we are forced into another line and made to stand again despite the hundreds of empty chairs surrounding us. 

During this time, we are not allowed to leave the room or enjoy the airport’s facilities and amenities like the other travelers.

Cairo Airport, expatriation room, 6 a.m. (Photo: Tareq Hajjaj/Mondoweiss)

We are not allowed to sit, a rule made specially for Gaza residents. We’re then sent to another waiting hall — again, made specially for Gazans — where our passports are taken from us as we wait for our flights.

Feeling less than human: The hell of crossing into Gaza

Yet I, like any Palestinian who wants to travel to Gaza with a hawiyya, had to forgo any expectation of having my basic human rights respected. Instead, I experienced consistent humiliation, utter exhaustion, and total confusion. What should have taken hours took days, slowed down by uninterested and scornful Egyptian border agents, purposefully mismanaged crowds, and a sweeping attitude of dehumanization toward the Palestinians trying to reach their homeland.

The relief, however, lasted about 500 meters, after which we were confronted with yet another meaningless attempt to humiliate Palestinians: a further checkpoint mere minutes away from the last one. My mother in law, who suffers from severe asthma, had almost collapsed from the previous wait. Knowing this, our driver decided to cut the line to ask if we could go through, since we also had my five-month-old son. Unwilling to hear his plea, the soldier raised his gun and threatened to take his driver’s license if he said another word.

‘We are apparently not human’

I counted over 15 checkpoints from El Ferdan to the Arish, which sits on the Egypt-Gaza border and is the largest city in the Sinai Peninsula. At one point all the checkpoints seemed to blend together — there was no distinction between any of them except that they added to the suffering of Palestinian travelers with no regard for women, children, or the elderly.

The Al-Midan checkpoint outside Arish, however, was an exception. We arrived, hungry and tired, very late at night, and were forced to wait over six hours at an arbitrary barrier. We once again left the car and sat on the dirt roads as we waited. Every time we tried to seek comfort or entertain ourselves with fellow Palestinians waiting alongside us, a soldier ordered us back into our cars, with one telling us: “It looks like you like the situation you’re in, don’t you!”.

The Egyptian soldiers who were supposed to inspect the cars were on their phones. One was scrolling through TikTok and another was messaging on WhatsApp, while hundreds of Palestinians were waiting in the middle of the night with nowhere to seek shelter or even a bathroom to relieve themselves. I recall one woman begging a soldier to let her car through, as she had an infant who had soiled herself and developed an intense rash, because the mother had no more diapers left. He brushed her off. Egyptian soldiers looked on, wordlessly. They allowed chaos to ensue. In fact, chaos seemed to be the policy that the Egyptian military had adopted, leading Palestinians to their breaking points. We hated the situation we were in. In these moments, some even hated the fact they were Palestinian. One woman swore she would never repeat this journey ever again.

Trapped like cattle

The hell we were in was not over, however. Inside the Rafah crossing hall, absolute chaos unfolded. Hundreds of Palestinians were lining up to hand over their hawiyyas and passports that Egyptian officials simply needed to stamp. Except this act was far from simple.

The border hall looked like a snapshot from the past, with filthy floors, no trash can in sight, ancient computers, and electricity that cut off every few minutes. In the prayer room there was actual shit on the floor, while the ceiling looked like it was about to collapse on you.

Yet for a select few, the travel to and from Gaza can be easier, maybe even luxurious. While sitting on broken metal chairs, a room adjacent to the border hall was left ajar. Inside I could see leather couches in a nice air conditioned room and people serving drinks to those seated. These very few Palestinians traveled with a VIP travel service called Ya Hala and were sitting in its refurbished lounge away from the chaos and humiliation.

Ya Hala has links with the Egyptian government and security establishment and profits off of the siege by charging anywhere from $700 to $5,000 dollars per person to travel with the company which skips the checkpoints, the inspections, and the days-long waits. Palestinians without that kind of money, like the hundreds on the journey with my family, have to wait months or even years on waitlists in order to travel.

Abdel al Fattah after father's funeral

Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Egypt’s Climate of Repression at COP27

November 10, 2022

An example of al-Sisi’s brutality is the imprisonment of 40-year-old writer and organizer Alaa Abd El-Fattah. Alaa, who holds joint Egyptian/British citizenship, has been imprisoned for most of the last ten years, targeted for eloquently advocating for democracy and liberation. Alaa was key during the Arab Spring, inspiring people with his words and creating free speech tools on the internet. In the violent Egyptian police state with pervasive surveillance and omnipresent secret police, though, advocating for freedom is a crime. Desperate after a decade of arbitrary and abusive detention, Alaa Abd El-Fattah began a hunger strike over 220 days ago. On November 6th, as COP27 opened and world leaders descended on Sharm el-Sheikh, Alaa escalated his fast, refusing water as well. Without immediate international intervention, Alaa will likely die before the final gavel drops on COP27.

Alaa’s mother, Laila Soueif, has been waiting every day outside the prison where her son is locked up, demanding proof he is still alive. A mathematics professor, she is a renowned human rights activist herself. On Thursday, she was told that her son had received an unexplained “medical intervention.” Human Rights Watch has warned Egypt against “imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” and that “hunger striking is a political act.”

Alaa’s lawyer was informed that he could visit Alaa, but, upon arriving at the prison gate, was denied entry.

Alaa’s two sisters, Mona and Sanaa, staged a sit-in at the British Foreign Office in London, calling on the government of newly-installed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene on Alaa’s behalf, and to bring him to the UK. Sunak, who is attending COP27, wrote to the family, “I will continue to stress to President Sisi the importance that we attach to the swift resolution of Alaa’s case, and an end to his unacceptable treatment.” Sanaa, 28, is now at COP27, and has helped bring human rights front and center onto the climate justice agenda. Sanaa, who has spent three years in prison herself, has been threatened with arrest.

President Biden has enormous leverage over the Egyptian government, and is attending COP27. Fifty-six Congressmembers have urged him to demand Alaa’s release. While campaigning in 2020, Biden actually tweeted in support of other imprisoned Egyptian dissidents, writing, “Arresting, torturing, and exiling activists…or threatening their families is unacceptable. No more blank checks for Trump’s ‘favorite dictator.’”

Egypt's Crowded Cells

Instead of fist-bumping the US-backed dictator al-Sisi, the way he did with the autocratic head of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, Biden should demand the immediate release of Alaa and all other political prisoners. Laila Soueif wrote to Biden and other world leaders attending COP27, “If Alaa dies you too will have blood on your hands.”

In 2019, Mada Masr, one of Egypt’s last remaining independent news organizations, published a piece by Alaa, addressing the climate. It also appears in Alaa’s book, “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated”:

World Leaders at COP27

“The crisis, for certain, is not a crisis of awareness, but of surrendering to the inevitability of inequality. If the only thing that unites us is the threat, then every person or group will move to defend their interests. But if we meet around a hope in a better future, a future where we put an end to all forms of inequality, this global awareness will be transformed into positive energy. Hope here is a necessary action. Our rosy dreams will probably not come to pass. But if we leave ourselves to our nightmares we’ll be killed by fear before the Floods arrive.”

Alaa Abd El-Fattah should be attending COP27, addressing world leaders – not on the edge of death in an Egyptian prison.

25 November 2022

Making Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich head of the West Bank’s ‘Civilian’ Administration is like putting the KKK in charge of race relations

 Pogroms in Palestine, Settler Violence & Terror is the precursor to deportation and transfer

In this short 2 minute video from Breaking the Silence Yehuda Shaul describes the routine violence and intimidation of the Palestinian population

Last weekend there was a pogrom in Hebron. 26-year-old Yousef Azzeh described the violence that he and other Palestinians in Hebron experienced from Jewish settlers last weekend.

“There were 50 settlers here. There was no one here to help me. One of them punched me in the shoulders and in the back,”

An estimated 40,000 Jews descended on Hebron. Azzeh described how:

“My head started spinning. I ran away so that they would follow me and not come to my house. I didn’t have any strength, and I couldn’t breathe. I fell down and screamed and then I saw soldiers beating my friends while there were settlers above my house,”

Israelis can freely move around Yousef Azzeh Hebron Tel Rumeida while Palestinians are subject to continual limitations. One of Azzeh’s neighbors is Baruch Marzel, the far-right disciple of the neo-Nazi Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Azzeh alerted soldiers, who arrived and whom he showed the stones that were thrown in the yard. Ten minutes after they left, other Israeli civilians appeared and again threw stones at the house. When he walked toward them, they hit him, he said.

The only Jews arrested were an off-duty soldier who attacked a Border Police officer and a settler who attacked the bodyguard of Itamar Gvir. Jews who attacked fellow Jews were arrested because that is a crime whereas attacking Palestinians is no crime.

Soldiers described how

We tried to gain control over the situation and every time, Jews showed up and threw stones and we didn’t manage to catch them... At the height of the incident, hundreds of Jews came and started calling us Germans and spitting on us.”

Israeli forces stand guard to secure a path for settlers

‘I couldn’t breathe’: A weekend of settler violence in Hebron

According to a soldier, there was no real preparation for dealing with unruly settlers.

“We were warned before the event that it might happen, but we were under pressure, working 24/7. There was no briefing on the matter. [The settlers] felt they could do whatever they wanted. I personally hesitated to handcuff them, or to throw a stun grenade at them, which is a legitimate means [of crowd control]. As a policy, there was no heavy handedness against [the settlers]. I did not see anyone being detained. There were 30,000 people here, so hundreds [participated in the violence]. It’s only a [small] percentage, but they managed to make a real mess.

“There are no clear orders,” the soldier continued.

“I know how to deal with Palestinians, but with Israelis I hesitate. I didn’t have the option [on Saturday]. I was with heavy equipment, and [the settlers] were throwing [stones] and then running away. If we were a bigger force, I hope I would have arrested [them], but it’s hard to say.”

That doesn’t stop Starmer, Sunak and the political class using the IHRA misdefinition of ‘anti-Semitism’ to describe those who call Israel a racist state as anti-Semitic. Well here we have a good example of such racism. Is that anti-Semitic? According to the IHRA ‘yes’.

Ha’aretz described how soldiers in Hebron said they had worked diligently to prepare the situation on the ground for the arrival of hundreds of people. But they had not been briefed to expect violence coming from Jews, which had not been anticipated. One soldier described their problem:

 “I know what to do with the Palestinians,” however he hesitated regarding how to deal with the Jews. “I’ve seen disturbances and clashes in my [military] service, but I had never seen anything like this.” The rioters were not local Jewish residents, he said. “They were newly religious and marginal youth from all over the country,” the soldier claimed.

And there you have it. Soldiers aren’t trained to defend Palestinians against Jewish pogromists because their duty is to protect settlers from Palestinians. Here is a clear example of how the behaviour of soldiers is conditioned by whether someone is Jewish or Palestinian. Racist? Perish the thought.

Masked men set Palestinian cars on fire in West Bank

In Hebron Palestinians 'Never Seen Anything Like' Weekend Violence From Jewish Worshippers Ha’aretz describes in detail the constant attacks and violence from the settlers whilst the army stood by. But when Palestinians defended themselves then they went into action. Which was exactly what happened to Jews subject to pogroms in Europe. Israel has become a mirror image of European anti-Semitism as racists like Starmer and Labour Friends of Israel defend the indefensible.

But this is not a problem of the military alone. It is their political masters who dictate that they must treat Palestinians and Jews differently.

In December last year, Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev condemned, under pressure from the United States, settler violence against the Palestinians. What was the reaction of Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett? A condemnation of the condemnation.

Killed While Trying to Save a Family from Israeli Soldiers

Settlers in Judea and Samaria have suffered daily from violence and terrorism for decades,” Bennett tweeted: “They serve as a protective wall for all of us and we must protect them in word and a deed.”

The reaction of Interior Minister, Ayelet Shaked, a notorious racist who once called for genocide in Gaza, was even worse. Bar-Lev was ‘confused’ for condemning settler violence.

“The settlers are the salt of the earth,” she wrote on Twitter. “The violence that one needs to be shocked by is the dozens of cases of the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails at Jews that occur every day, just because they are Jews,

This is of course a lie. Palestinians throw stones (against heavily armed soldiers!) because of such trivial matters such as home demolitions, arbitrary arrests, armed incursions etc.

 Fellow Yamina Minister Matan Kahana called for Barlev to retract his statement on settler violence. MK Bezalel Smotrich, head of the far-right Religious Zionism faction, who is pushing to become Israel’s new ‘Defence’ Minister merely called Barlev “a bastard.”

This is from the man who called for Jewish women giving birth to be separated from Arab women in case of racial pollution. Now Bezalel is going to be in charge of the ‘civilian’ military administration in the West Bank. Anti-Palestinian violence has now been all but legalised.

Quoting Ha’aretz, the Times of Israel admitted that in just 10 days in October there were 100 settler attacks on Palestinians.

In recent weeks, the security establishment has identified an alarming increase in acts of violence by settlers throughout the West Bank,

This massive upsurge in violence against Palestinians has a purpose. It isn’t merely random. The aim is to force Palestinians off the land by burning olive groves and attacking those who pick the fruit. In almost every case where there were Israeli soldiers they stood by and watched if not encouraged the settlers.

Masked men throw stones at Palestinians and activists in West Bank village

But for the Zionist Right (who control two-thirds of the Knesset seats) the only violence comes from Palestinians which they call ‘terror’. When Palestinians defend themselves the army and police quickly move in to attack them with tear gas, rubber bullets and worse.

I have compiled a list of such attacks to demonstrate the complicity of the Israeli state in the attacks. These are not one-off incidents but part of a cumulative pattern whose intent is clear – to drive Palestinians off the land as part of the overall project of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians of the West Bank.

This violence and intimidation is widely supported because as the ‘moderate’ ‘centrist’ former Prime Minister Yair Lapid said,

My principle says maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians.”

Lapid was praised by Western leaders for supporting a Palestinian state when any such state would be demilitarised, lacking any sovereignty and subject  to Israeli army incursions. But even this parody of a Bantustan is not going to come into existence.

Ayid Mashani,

In an article There's Only One Way to Describe This Settler Attack: A Pogrom Gideon Levy described how on November 3

A Palestinian family was harvesting olives when a group of settlers swooped down and attacked them with clubs, pipes and stones. Five members of the family were hospitalized, including the 65-year-old father of the household and one of his sons, whose shattered leg will need costly, ongoing rehab. The 8-year-old grandson hid under the family’s pickup

Entering the home of the Mashani family in the small town of Al-Shuyukh, north of Hebron in the West Bank, is like paying a visit to a rehabilitation ward in a hospital. Almost every member of the family is hurt, some remain in bandages, a few are limping and all of them have wounds to show us – some of them quite serious.

Needless to say the Israeli Police have done nothing. But if the roles were reversed the Palestinian attackers would have been arrested, probably beaten up, languishing indefinitely in a cell. And then there are some people who claim that Zionism is not racist.

In a particularly egregious case of a settler attack, a Palestinian man had both arms broken and then the army arrested him!

Hafez Huraini, 52, was working on his family’s land with his son Muhammad on the outskirts of their village of at-Tuwani in Masafer Yatta, in the southern occupied West Bank, when a group of armed Israeli settlers from the nearby Havat Ma’on outpost attacked them.

“Five settlers attacked them, some had guns, at least one of them had an M16 rifle, and the others were carrying metal pipes. One of the settlers started hitting them with the metal pipe, breaking my dad’s left arm,”

Sami Huraini, 24, Hafez’s son, recounted to Mondoweiss.

My dad fell to the ground, and they kept beating him, until they broke his right arm too,” Sami said. “Then the settler with the gun started firing live bullets in the air.”

“Dozens of soldiers arrived at the scene after the settlers called them. My dad was lying on the ground, both his arms were broken, but the soldiers started hitting us and pushing us back while the settlers stood behind them,”

Hafez Huraini, beaten by settlers who broke both his arms. The Israeli army the arrested him for attacking the settlers!

Sami said the settlers were “giving orders” to the soldiers, telling them to arrest his father and other residents of at-Tuwani at the scene. As the Israeli soldiers continued to push around the Palestinians, an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society arrived at the scene. “The EMTs started treating my dad and giving him first aid. The whole time they were doing this the soldiers and settlers were pushing and shoving us,” Sami said.

Mohammed Mashani, with his son Tair

“When we picked my dad up on the stretcher and tried to put him on the ambulance, the soldiers started pushing us back, and saying they wanted to arrest him, because the settlers said he hit them,”

he continued.

Late into the night on Monday, the Huraini family learned through their lawyer that their father had been taken to a detention center inside the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, where he was to undergo interrogation.

The family’s lawyer was allowed to speak to Hafez for a few minutes before he was taken in for questioning, though the lawyer was not allowed to be present during the interrogation.

According to Sami, the army is accusing his father of attacking a settler – a crime that could carry a sentence of several years in prison if he’s officially charged and convicted.

“This is a clear representation of the Apartheid system that we live under,” Sami said.

Sami said that the residents of at-Tuwani have long come under attacks from Israeli settlers, who are rarely ever arrested or held accountable for their crimes.

“We know from our experience that the settlers hold the power. They can turn their attacks around on us, and the army will arrest and imprison him [Hafez] for anything, on bogus charges based on settlers’ false testimonies,”  he said.

Human rights groups, like B’Tselem, report that the army frequently colludes with settlers in their attacks on Palestinians. “Instead of taking preventive action, the Israeli authorities aid and abet the settlers in harming Palestinians and using their land,” the group said.

According to B’Tselem, since 2020, the group has documented 757 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians and their property.

In the rare case that an investigation is opened into settler violence against Palestinians, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group that documents incidents of settler violence in the West Bank, says the vast majority of those investigations are closed.

The group says that 92% of investigations into ideological crimes against Palestinians are closed with no indictment filed.

‘It was like a war zone’

Around the same time that Hafez Huraini was detained and evacuated in an ambulance, Israeli forces arrested two other Palestinians from Masafer Yatta who are still in custody.

Shortly after, dozens more Israeli troops raided the village of at-Tuwani, and began a massive detention operation that would last for hours into the early morning

“This is all part of their ethnic cleansing plans, and their efforts to scare us, intimidate us, and coerce us out of our homes,” Sami said, referring to Israeli plans to force over 1,000 Palestinians in Masafer Yatta out of their homes to make way for an Israeli firing zone.

Hebron settlers attack girl injured by stone

“The settlers can live happily while they attack us, and while the soldiers attack us. They want to threaten us, and scare us so we stop resisting their plans,” Sami said. “But our willpower is strong.”

As of Tuesday night local time, Israeli forces were raiding at-Tuwani for the second night in a row, throwing tear gas and sound bombs at peoples homes.

10 days later, after a video emerged, the military court in Ofer released Hafez with stringent conditions, including staying away from his own land. No such conditions were imposed on the settlers who attacked him because, of course, they were never arrested. See

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian man, breaking both his arms. Then the army arrested him.

Settler invasion of Ramallah exposes PA impotence

You may remember how the ‘bubble’ of Ramallah where the PA is based was held up by Israel and the PA itself as a showcase of how economic independence can lead to an improvement in the situation of the Palestinians.

two boys held up by Israeli soldiers outside their homes, in Ramallah’s Al-Tireh neighborhood

Yet on October 13 Israel demonstrated what it thought of its tame Palestinian lapdog. Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Tireh neighborhood in Ramallah, conductingTalmudic prayers and ceremonies. This practice, among other strategies, has been commonly employed by religious settlers as a means of providing the Israeli Supreme Court with legal grounds to take over Palestinian land. The invasion of Ramallah neighborhoods by these settlers indicates that the settler movement has become emboldened in its goal of accelerating the ethnic cleansing of Palestine,

Israeli troops in Jenin on September 28

The PA Prime Minister lives in the Al-Tireh neighborhood, only a few kilometers away from the Muqata’a (the PA’s headquarters in Ramallah), highlighting how easily the Israeli army can creep into the main area of PA sovereignty without repercussions.

Palestinians carry the body of Raafat Issa.

Below are just some of the many stories on the increasing violence and terror of the settlers and their protectors in the Israeli army. With the advent of the new far-Right coalition of Netanyahu this situation can only get worse as Israel is determined to ensure that Area C is ethnically cleansed and that Palestinians living there are driven off the land.

A 12-year-old Boy Goes Out to Sell Water at an Intersection, and Is Shot Dead

Masked Men Throw Stones at Palestinians, Burn Cars as Israeli Soldiers Stand By

Palestinian worker killed by Israeli forces in Jenin becomes “the martyr of daily bread”

‘You Gave an Order to Search a Palestinian Woman’s Private Parts.’ ‘That’s Irrelevant’

Israel’s Relentless War against the Children of Palestine