Fighting to bury their sons: on the necropolitics of occupation

In Roar Magazine

In her 1969 book On Death and Dying, Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined five major emotional stages that people tend to go through while coping with the death or loss of a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Over three months have passed since the killing of his son Bahaa, but Muhammad Alayan has not been able to experience any of them. The 60-year-old lawyer has been too immersed in the struggle to recover the body of his slain son to actually contemplate his loss.

“More than a hundred days have gone and I couldn’t sit with my wife and three (remaining) children at one table together and realize that there is an empty chair no longer occupied by Bahaa,” Muhammad Alayan told me. “We have had no time to discuss his absence because our entire lives have revolved around getting him back.”

Parents whose children’s bodies or remains are detained by Israel, either in morgues or in the infamous “cemeteries of numbers” (where the remains of at least 268 Palestinian combatants have been buried for decades in closed military zones) wait to receive their bodies as if they were waiting to welcome living people after their release from their prisons. Continue reading “Fighting to bury their sons: on the necropolitics of occupation”

Muhannad Halabi: A terrorist to Israel, a hero to his family

In Electronic Intifada

When Muhannad Halabi stabbed two Israeli men to death and injured a woman and a baby in Jerusalem’s Old City, he started what many Palestinians have called the “intifada of the knives.”

Halabi was shot and killed by Israeli police during the attack in early October last year and the 19-year-old law student was branded a “terrorist” by the media. His parents, however, have a sharply different view: they regard Muhannad as a hero.

“I will always be proud that my son sacrificed his life for the liberation of his homeland,” said his mother Suhair.

In his final posting on Facebook, Muhannad expressed deepanger about the incursions of Israeli settlers into the compound around al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. He had just watched a video of a Palestinian woman being arrested by Israeli police at al-Aqsa.

Urging a “revolution,” Muhannad compared Palestine to a battered and tormented orphan who had been forsaken by fellow Arabs. Continue reading “Muhannad Halabi: A terrorist to Israel, a hero to his family”

Palestinians Refuse to Be Deported from Where They Fell in Love

In TeleSUR

Israel is citing vague security fears to justify removing Palestinians from Jersulm, but those who have been targeted are putting up a fight.

For Palestinian activist and filmmaker Samer Abu Eisheh, walking in the narrow alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City is like being embraced by his mother.

It was in Jerusalem where he fell in love for the first time and where he met his wife and partner in struggle, Rawan Abu Ghosh. It was in Jerusalem where he has led protests against the occupation with roaring chants and where he was chased on numerous occasions by the Israeli police.

Few things give him more pleasure and warmth than drinking a cup of tea on the steps of Damascus Gate during a cold morning. He wasn’t prepared to relinquish that warmth voluntarily. Continue reading “Palestinians Refuse to Be Deported from Where They Fell in Love”

The steadfast women of Al-Aqsa remain defiant

“You are so precious to us! It’s only when you were taken away from us that we realised how indispensable you are,” squealed Umm Hussam as she embraced Zinat al-Jallad, commonly known as Umm Ihab, in a tight embrace.
It was Umm Ihab’s first day back among her “sisters’ in Bab Hutta in the Old City after four days in an Israeli jail and an additional five days under house arrest. There’s little need to ask the women gathered around Umm Ihab how much she means to them as their reception of her speaks volumes. The 61-year-old cuts a motherly figure even to her older friends.

“We couldn’t sleep when she was arrested,” Ikram al-Ghazzawi told MEE. “I wished I could do something, anything, to free her. We cannot imagine our lives without her,” she added.

“Umm Ihab is universally loved because she supports everyone in need,” said Zina Amr. “When any of us is arrested, Umm Ihab is always the first to come to our hearings and to welcome us when we are released. Her tenderness and defiance is an example for all of us,” added Amr, before handing out letters of support that the women have received from Algeria in which Algerian women stress their solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem. Continue reading “The steadfast women of Al-Aqsa remain defiant”

Jerusalem expulsions target activists and community leaders

in Electronic Intifada

Whenever Palestinians stand up for their rights in Jerusalem, it is a safe bet that Samer Abu Eisheh will be there. It is hard to imagine a protest near the Damascus Gate — an entrance to the Old City — without his bellowing voice.

It is the 28-year-old’s relentless activism that could sunder him from his home, however. After nearly three months under house arrest, the TV producer and community leader was handed a five-month expulsion order from Jerusalem this week. It was issued by an Israeli district commander. Continue reading “Jerusalem expulsions target activists and community leaders”

Why won’t Israel return the body of a 14-year-old girl?

in Electronic Intifada

It is hard to believe that Hadil Awwad’sroom has been abandoned for more than two weeks. It is clean, tidy and smells beautiful.

Teddy bears of many colors are scattered on the two sides of her bed. Hadil received them as a gift from one of her brothers when he returned from China. Even as she turned 14 she continued to keep those teddy bears in her room.

Her new jacket that she had bought recently and only wore once is hanging in the wardrobe.

She will never have a chance to wear it again. Continue reading “Why won’t Israel return the body of a 14-year-old girl?”

Israel’s revenge demolitions only stiffen Palestinian resolve

in Electronic Intifada

When residents of Shuafat woke on 2 December to free-flowing traffic at the checkpoint where Israeli forces control movement to and from this overcrowded refugee camp, many were unnerved.

“We immediately knew that this was not a charitable gesture and that there was an ulterior motive,” Abdullah Alqam, a veteran local activist, told The Electronic Intifada.

And sure enough: that day hundreds of Israeli troops entered the Jerusalem-area camp. Hours later, the home of Ibrahim al-Akkari had been destroyed in accordance with a demolition order handed down by an Israeli court more than a year earlier. Continue reading “Israel’s revenge demolitions only stiffen Palestinian resolve”