Tag archive for "West Bank"

General, Occupied Territories, Press Releases

Human Rights Organizations: “Refrain from Collectively Punishing Palestinians.”

No Comments 22 June 2014

22.06.2014
PRESS RELEASE – for Immediate Publication

Human Rights Organizations: “Refrain from Collectively Punishing Palestinians.”

HebronOperationBrothersKeeperBtselem

 

IMAGE:  An Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near the West Bank City of Hebron. Baz Ratner, Reuters via B’tselem

Concern that many of the military’s actions in the Occupied Territories do not directly serve the aim of locating and returning the three abducted Israelis and are severely and unnecessarily violating basic human rights. Continue Reading

General, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

REPORTS: Palestinian Child Chased by Extremists near Susiya Settlement

No Comments 16 June 2014

Yesterday, Palestinian residents from the Palestinian village Susya reported that two right wing extremists chased a Palestinian boy in an agricultural area belonging to the village, located near the settlement Susiya. Palestinian residents of Susya have suffered from many instances of violent harassment in this agricultural area and following legal action by Rabbis for Human Rights, an order was issued prohibiting Israelis from entering the area. (In more “typical” circumstances, a government would deter criminal activity and there would be no need for an order forbidding entry on the basis of nationality.) In any case, the boy was able to run away and reach the village before he was caught and adults from the village ran towards the boy to deter those chasing him. Their fears range from the regular attempts to harm Palestinians including children to the fear that this is a retaliation for the recent kidnapping of three Yeshiva students.

Maan News: Settlers ‘Hurl Rocks at residents, houses,’ in South Hebron Hills

RHR prays for the safety of the three kidnapped yeshiva students

The reasons behind the incident are not clear and thus the fears surrounding it remain. We will continue to monitor the situation and warn that violence without intervention simply perpetuates the cycle of hatred and revenge and endangers life on both sides. We can point, for example, to Iraq, the country with the highest rate of terrorism in the world and see how the extremists on both sides – Shiite and Sunni – have chosen to respond to terrorism with more indiscriminate terrorism and see that it has not led to quiet or to deterrence but to an intolerable cycle of violence.

IMAGE: For demonstrative purposes only.

General

Add a bit of human rights to your seder: RHR 5774 haggadah supplements

1 Comment 10 April 2014

It is our duty to carry on the Jewish traditions of compassion, equality, and justice. Please consider adding all or parts of the below Haggadah supplements to your Passover seder.

SederPlate

 IMAGE: Seder plate CC-Wikipedia

 

Rabbis for Human Rights Haggadah Supplements 5774

 

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 Rabbis for Human Rights 5774 Passover haggadah supplements

 

WHO SITS WITH US AT OUR SEDER?

Eloheinu v’Elohei Kadmoneinu (Avoteinu, Avoteinu vEmoteinu), our God and God of our ancestors, we are gathered around this seder table as b’nei khorin, free people commanded to remember our dark nights of oppression. Your Torah warns us never to become oppressors ourselves, reminding us, “For you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Yet, when we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have been Pharaoh to other peoples, and to the disadvantaged among our own people. Our awareness that “In every generation there are those who arise to destroy us” often causes us to harden our hearts, and perceive hatred where it does not exist.

We therefore turn to You, as in days of old. Stand with us, so that our fears not rise up to be our taskmasters. Help us to banish Pharaoh from our hearts, and let others in.

With Pharaoh at bay, we become more painfully aware of the desecration of Your Image found in every human being. As with the plagues of old, our joy is diminished when we hear of those whose lives remain embittered. “Hashata Avdei,” “This year we remain slaves because of their oppression ” We remove additional drops of wine from our cup of celebration and renew our commitment to winning their freedom, thereby completing ours. We make room in our hearts and at our table for: (Choose one or more. One person can read out loud, and all participants can read the final section together)

Arabiyah has seen her home demolished six times.There is a hollow and vacant look on her face, and she has struggled with depression ever since the first demolition in 1998. Pictures drawn by children on our office wall testify to the trauma suffered by thousands of Palestinian children who left their homes in the morning, only to find rubble where their house once stood. The pictures are full of violence, blood and tears. With the numbers of demolitions skyrocketing both in the Occupied Territories and in the “Unrecognized” Bedouin villages of the Negev, Arabiya, the children and all the families of all the homes we have seen demolished over the years will be in our hearts as RHR goes to court on April 28t to return zoning and planning in Area C to Palestinian hands.

As we sit at our seder table in our secure homes, we leave a place for those whose tables lie under the rubble of their bulldozed homes.

Rivka struggles every month with only 700 shekels, after rent, for food, water, electricity, health care, transportation and municipal taxes. She wouldn’t even have that without the help of RHR. And, there was no open door or place at the table for the poor at the meetings of the Alaluf Committee given three months to find solutions to Israeli poverty.But, with our intervention, Rivka was invited to tell her story.

As we gather tonight to tell our people’s story, we know we must include the forgotten and untold chapters of those whose suffering has not ended, whose tears continue to fall, and who have nothing but the bread of poverty all year long. As we tell their story, we commit to ending their degradation.

Salim was born in the “Unrecognized” village of Umm El Khiran, after Israel moved his family from their lands near what is now Kibbutz Shuval in the 1950′s.They were given long term leases and promised that they would be able to stay in their new homes “until there are no more Jews or Arabs living on this land.” But now the government has approved building the Jewish community to be called “Khiran” on the rubble of their homes. They must move to a poverty and crime stricken township.

Tonight we are asked to recall Laban the Aramean, who changed our ancestor Jacob’s wages time and time again. Tonight we invite to our table those Israeli Bedouin who have learned that a promise is not a promise, and an agreement is not an agreement. As up to 40,000 Israeli citizens face expulsion from their homes and villages, they have a place in our homes and our hearts, and our commitment not to rest until justice is done.

Natalie breaks into tears every few minutes as she tries to explain why she and her young daughter were forced to squat in an empty public housing after being kicked out of the apartment her job didn’t allow her to afford. She has been on the waiting list for public housing for eight years. But, with successive governments seeking to eliminate housing, the supply is short and every time she gets close to the top of the list, she falls back again.

Tonight we dipherbs in salt water reminiscent of our ancestors’ tears. As we dip tonight we gaze at Natalie’s empty seat, her tears are our tears. As we sing Adir Hu and dream of the day when God’s house will be built, know that first our national home must have a home for all.

Ismail. A bitter wind courses through the South Hebron Hills. RHR returned Ismail and other families to Bir El ‘Id almost ten years after settler intimidation forced them to abandon their villages. The laughter of children was heard again where there had been only desolation. However, Ismail and his family have continued to pay a price since returning. They eked out a living from their flocks, while suffering arbitrary arrests, harassment from settlers and soldiers, tires slashed, water tankers emptied, midnight visits and much violence. Ismail could return to his cave, but everything he and others built was demolished. They build again. A year ago Ismail was brutally attacked by knife wielding masked settlers. The final straw for his children was when settlers attacked them and sent one to the hospital while working their land next to the Mitzpeh Yair outpost, but they were arrested and are about to stand trial. Ismail and the other families of Bir El ‘Id would gladly accept the bitterness of hard labor, were it not for the ruthlessness of army backed settlers.

Our ancestor’s lives were made bitter. As slaves they worked endlessly, with no reward for their labor. Ismail and all the residents of Bir El ‘Id sit with us tonight if we commit to their struggle to peacefully and safely live on their lands.

African refugees. Even after Israel’s High Court struck down the law allowing African refugees to be imprisoned for the crime of fleeing for their lives, the Knesset approved a new law creating “Open” detention facilities. The detained are the lucky ones. A fence prevents most from crossing our border. Traumatized Israeli soldiers tell how they defy orders when they can, but often helplessly watch those cannot cross being shot and raped by Egyptian soldiers.

As we open our doors to invite all who are hungry to come and eat, we remember the many doors closed to us over long years of persecution. As we await Elijah, the empty seat next to us waits for those who our fences prevent from arriving.

Even ma’asu habonim – “The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.”

As we joyfully recite these words as a part of our seder, we pledge to build a homeland with a place for all those who are today rejected, ignored or oppressed. Tonight, they all have a place at our table.

Recalling the midwives of old, we know that the seeds of redemption are planted when we oppose Pharaoh’s command.

This year we also celebrate accomplishments. Lands have been returned to Palestinian owners, olives have been picked, trees planted and fields successfully sowed and reaped. Inside Israel the Bedouin displacement program has been frozen, while the public attention we have focussed on the Alaluf Committee on fighting poverty will apparently lead to a significant change in the recommendations for the better.

MAY THESE GLIMPSES OF WHAT COULD BE STRENGTHEN OUR RESOLVE TO STRIVE FOR WHAT MUST BE:

NEXT YEAR IN A JERUSALEM REDEEMED THROUGH JUSTICE 

The Four Children at the Seder Table: Which Child Am I?

As we celebrate this Holiday of Freedom, the ending of slavery, we ask, “Who am I, when I hear of human rights abuses? Who will I choose to be when I know that others are suffering?”

Will I be one who does not ask? Will I close the newspaper or turn off the television, the computer or the mobile device so that I do not hear or see? Will I turn my head and heart away?

Will I ask only simple questions? “What is this?” Will I ask what, but never why?

Will I let the evil impulse, my yetzer hara ask: “What has this to do with me?” Will I let the problem belong only to the victims and the do-gooders? Will I distance myself from those in need?

Or will I strive to act in wisdom, to ask: “What are the underlying causes of the problem and what needs to be done to stop the abuse and free the oppressed? What are the laws and what does Gd expect of me?”

May Gd open the eyes of those who do not see, the mouths of those who do not ask, and the hearts of those who do not care, and grant us the wisdom to open our hands to our fellow humans when they are in need – the hand of generosity, the hand of support, the hand of peace and friendship.

Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, Commentary to the Torah

You shall not wrong a ger (Non-Jew living among you and living by your rules) or oppress him/her, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:20)

The great, meta-principle is oft-repeated in the Torah that it is not race, not descent, not birth nor country of origin, nor property, nor anything external or due to chance, but simply and purely the inner spiritual and moral worth of a human being, that gives him/her all the rights of a human being and of a citizen. This basic principle is further protected against infringement by the additional explanation, “For you were gerim in the land of Egypt.” Your entire misfortune in Egypt was that you were “foreigners” and “aliens.” As such, according to the views of other nations, you had no right to be there, had no claim to property, to homeland, or to a dignified existence. It was permissible to do to you whatever they wished. As gerim, your rights were denied in Egypt. This was the source of the slavery and wretchedness imposed upon you. Therefore beware, so runs the warning, from making human rights in your own state conditional on anything other than on the basic humanity which every human being as such bears within him/her by virtue of being human. Any suppression of these human and civil rights opens the gate to the indiscriminate use of power and abuse of human beings, to the whole horror of Egyptian mishandling of human beings that was the root of abomination of Egypt.

 Do not “wrong”, Do not “oppress”…means to be illegally deprived of material or spiritual possessions…[thus, the full implication is] – Neither by words nor by deeds shall you hurt a ger…[and] here the admonition against differentiating against gerim is directed primarily to the state as such. It is not to practice any discrimination and injustice against gerim because they are gerim.. It is not to impose heavier taxes or grant lesser rights than it does to the native-born; and in no ways is it to restrict them in the free exercise of any means of gaining their livelihood…The main point is not to limit where s/he can live, or taking away his/her hold on his/her possessions.

 

 

 

General, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

Jalud farmer prevented land access

No Comments 01 February 2014

Palestinian farmer Fawzi  Ibrahim of the village Jalud near the illegal outpost Esh Kodesh  stands to lose approximately 18,000 shekels on seed if the Israeli army does not permit him access to his own lands in order to sow the seeds. Despite a 2006 High Court ruling ensuring that the IDF allow Palestinian farmers with lands near settlements be enabled access to their land, the army thus far has refused/ignored his requests. He has since turned to Rabbis for Human Rights for help.  Continue Reading

Documents, General, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

REPORT: Agriculture as a means of land-grab

No Comments 27 January 2014

From Kerem Navot’s report “Israeli Settlers’ Agriculture as a Means of Land Take-over in the West Bank”

keremnavot

The Zionist ideal of Jewish agriculture in the Land of Israel reached the occupied West Bank within months of the end of the 1967 War. Eventually, agriculture became a central means by which the settlement movement (with the overt or tacit approval and direct or indirect support of the state) staked a claim to and consolidated control over large areas of the West Bank. The first Israeli West-Bank settlers viewed agriculture as a means of solidifying Jewish settlement in the West Bank for three main reasons: Continue Reading

Occupied Territories

Vandalism in Qabalan

No Comments 23 January 2014

Twenty unused vehicles in the Palestinian town Qabalan had their tires slashed on Tuesday, January 21 2014. Graffiti reading: “Stop Stealing our Cars” and “thieves” along with a star of David was also found. The vehicles belong to a garage and, according to the Palestinians, are used for spare parts. Some of them were bought from Israelis.

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There is also a suspicion that olive trees were cut as well. Zakaria Sadah of Rabbis for Human Rights is surveying the area.

This vandalism act is not a clear case of “price tag,” but it is a clear case of racism and revenge (playing into the stereotype that Arabs are “thieves”). RHR cannot verify the status of the cars, but the fact that photos were taken and a complaint was filed indicates the cars are unlikely to be stolen. Regardless, no theft justifies racist graffiti.

 

SinjiltheftADDITIONAL REPORT: On Wednesday, January 22nd, it was reported that 1,000 baby olive and fruit trees were stolen from the Palestinian village Sinjil. Investigations are on-going from police as well as from Rabbis for Human Rights. More photos on Facebook

General, Occupied Territories

Tu B’Shvat 2014 Activities

No Comments 20 January 2014

In celebration of Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday of renewal and nature that marks the new year for trees, Rabbis for Human Rights planted trees in a Palestinian village which had recently been subject to “price tag” attacks,  and in a low-income neighborhood in Jerusalem where little “green” can be found at all. We also paid a solidarity visit to a Palestinian village whose mosque was burned and vandalized in a “price tag” attack the previous day, and we ended our day with a Tu B’Shvat social justice seder. With an increase in tensions in the Occupied Territories recently, our activities felt especially urgent.

Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

South Hebron Hills Study Tour

4 Comments 13 January 2014

On Friday, January 3rd 2014, Rabbi Ascherman led a group of rabbinical, cantorial and education students  on study-tour to the South Hebron Hills, the major geographical focus of RHR’s legal department.  Students learned about the fascinating culture of the cave-dwelling Palestinians there, and visited Bir El ‘Id, a village abandoned for ten years due to settler intimidation until RHR’s legal team returned them to their homes in 2009, Palestinian Susya, where RHR’s legal department continues to fight on behalf of its residents to keep their homes and lands, as well as Ad Dirat. The group was joined by one of RHR’s attorney’s, Miya Keren.  Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

Donate a Tree of Hope!

No Comments 05 January 2014

“It is a tree of life to all who hold it fast”

You used to purchase trees in Israel as a gesture of hope, love and support for the Jewish people. Now, through Rabbis for Human Rights, you can purchase trees in Palestine as a gesture of hope, love and support not only for the Jewish people, but also as a gesture of friendship, peace and tikkum olam towards the Palestinian people.

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IMAGE: Olive Tree, Appie Verschoor, cc: flicker

During the months of January and February, RHR will be bringing busloads of volunteers to Palestinian villages where we, together with Palestinian farmers, their families and their friends, will plant olive tree saplings. We will focus on planting in villages and on land where trees have previously been uprooted, cut down, poisoned or burned by extremists from nearby settlements. Planting trees with our Palestinian brothers and sisters is a tradition RHR has carried on for a decade, and we do it in honor of many things, including Tu B’Shvat– the Jewish holiday celebrating nature, renewal and hope. This year,  our task feels especially urgent as the 2013 fall olive harvest season saw unprecedented levels of vandalism towards these precious, and often ancient, trees. In 2013 alone, approximately 2,000 trees were damaged. Many of the trees were hundreds of years old.

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Each year, RHR plants around 3,000 saplings. In addition to universally symbolizing “peace,” these olive trees represent goodwill and the righting of wrongs between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, reminding the world that there is indeed another side to Judaism and that it shines bright and proud.  Our trees represent hope both symbolically as well as practically– one day each will blossom and drop lovely, ripe olives from which generations of Palestinians will benefit by curing them for eating or making them into olive oil. In order to bless each tree as it starts a new life in its new home,  an interfaith prayer is recited at each planting.

Plant a Seed of Hope

UntitledBy donating one or more trees (each $36*), you and those you love have a chance to be apart of this. Purchase a tree in Palestine in the name of someone you love to sew a seed of peace for Israel and for Palestine.  You will receive a personalized certificate from Rabbis for Human Rights in thanks for your donation.  Purchase a tree in honor of:

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • A couple, on their marriage
  • A Bar or Bat Mitzvah
  • A graduation
  • In memory of a loved one
  • A beloved friend, family member, teacher etc
  • Any other meaningful life cycle event

Click on the tree below to donate your olive tree today! 

(Just be sure to indicate that your donation is for a tree to be planted, and the name of the person, event etc you are honoring in the “message” button at the bottom of the form)

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PS. If you’d like to give by check or money transfer, please click here.

*$36 covers the cost for purchasing the tree, transportation of the trees to the planting site, cost of bus transportation of the volunteers and staff to the planting site, coordination of the various plantings and media work.

 

 

General, Occupied Territories

Tu B’Shvat Tree Planting

No Comments 01 January 2014

TuBshvatTreeplanting

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