Monday, January 30, 2017


Dear friends,
As you will be aware from my posts in previous years, January 26 officially marks the day of the start of the European colonisation of Australia. In Australia it is a national holiday sanctioned by the Australian government. For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Australia, however, it is marked as Invasion Day and/or Survival Day.

As I have explained in my previous posts, one of the reasons I became active in the Palestine solidarity campaign was because I saw the similarities between the Indigenous struggle in Australia and the struggle of the Palestinian people. Coming from a family of mixed heritage (my mother is Aboriginal and my father comes from a mixed European background), my first engagement with political activism was around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, the struggle for land rights and Indigenous self-determination and justice in this country. 

Among other things, one of the reasons, I became active in the Palestine solidarity campaign was because I saw the similarities between the Indigenous struggle of the Palestinian people and the struggle of Indigenous Australians.  Coming from a family of mixed heritage (my mother is Aboriginal and my father comes from a mixed European background), my first engagement with political activism was around Aboriginal and Indigenous rights and the struggle for land rights and justice in this country.

This year, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities around the country once again marked Invasion Day by holding  Invasion Day protests and Survival Day events, with the main slogan at many being: NO PRIDE IN GENOCIDE. 

There was a huge turn out at the protests around the country, the biggest we have seen in many years: In Melbourne between 10,000 – 15,000 people joined the protests (the organisers have said up to 20,000).  In Sydney, more than 8000 joined the protests and up to 3000 turned out in Brisbane in Queensland. Sizeable turn outs happened in Adelaide and other cities and town around the country.

Here is a video from the Melbourne Invasion Day protests. I have also include photos from the Melbourne rally.

Progressive not-for-profit organisations, Left media and activists are welcome to reuse the photos but please credit me as the photographer to this blog or my other blog.

You can also check out my previous post's about Invasion Day below:

January 26: No Pride in Genocide

2016: PHOTO ESSAY: Melbourne 2016 Invasion Day Protest & March

2015: January 26: White Australia has a Black History

2015: REPORTS & PHOTOS: INVASION DAY 2015 (Melbourne)

2014 Invasion Day: Nothing to Celebrate

2012: Always was, Always will be Aboriginal Land: commemorating Invasion Day in Australia

In solidarity, Kim





Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Racism in Israeli academia: David Sheen's tweets from the Professors for a Strong Israel conference

Dear friends,
independent Israeli-Canadian journalist and film maker David Sheen, who reports regularly on racism and religious extremism in Israeli society, recently attended the "Professors for a Strong Israel" conference held at Bar Ilan University on 24th January 2017. Sheen tweeted the conference, posting a series of tweets reporting on the conference speakers, their presentations and comments.  As he notes in his tweets, all of the speakers at the conference are from the "hard-right".

"Professors for a Strong Israel" was established in 1988 but expanded their activities in 1993 at the time of the Oslo Accords.  While it was founded as  a "non-partisan organisation of academics united in a common concern for the security and the Jewish character of the State of Israel" and it aims "to counter the activities of some leftwing members of the academic community in support of anti-Zionist and post-Zionist political parties".

According to David Newman, a professor of political geography in the department of politics and government at Ben Gurion University, it is an "extreme right group" and "its members are involved in opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state and support settlement and the policies of successive rightwing governments".   Newman has written a number of articles on the organisation, which you can read here and here.

The conference topic  was "The end of the 'occupation' " (indicating that the conference organisers and participants don't believe Israel is engaged in an illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory in violation of international law).

Sheen's tweets are enlightening because often such conferences enjoy little english language reporting. The tweets reporting on the conference presentations and speeches illustrate the racism of the hard right with Israeli academia and the racist nature of the Israeli state.  Sheen's tweets from the conference amply illustrate why we should be supporting the Palestinian BDS campaign and the academic boycott of Israel.

I have screen shot his tweets and reposted them here as I think they are well worth reading in their entirety.   I have screen shot the tweets into group batches, retaining their tweeting order and all tweets, because it makes them easier to read.

You can follow Sheen on twitter: @davidsheen

His website can be accessed by clicking here.

In solidarity, Kim


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Apartheid Israel: The ethnic cleansing of Umm al-Hiran

Dear friends,
please find two article below from Haaretz on Israel's ethnic cleansing of Bedouin from Umm Al-Hiran and the killing of a Palestinian Bedouin man by the police. Both articles highlight the apartheid nature of the Israeli state.

You can read my earlier post on the shooting in Umm al-Hiran here.

in solidarity, Kim
Kill Them, They’re Fair Game

To most Jewish Israelis, Arabs aren't human beings equal to us. This dehumanization makes the soldiers and police trigger-happy.

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Jan 20, 2017

Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are fair game. They’re fair game in the occupied territories and fair game in Israel. They’re fair game because their blood is cheap. It’s cheap in Umm al-Hiran and cheap at the Tul Karm checkpoint. It’s cheap at construction sites and cheap at roadblocks.

When the people killed are Arabs, nobody cares. When a soldier is killed in an accident, it’s front-page news. But when a Palestinian is killed while just waking up at home, nobody cares.

Not one of the people killed in the last few days would have been shot to death if he weren’t a Palestinian or a Bedouin. It’s doubtful if any of them deserved to die. Was this wholesale killing designed to divert attention from another story, as has happened in Israel before and is customary in dark regimes? It’s hard to tell. But it’s easy to say with certainty: They’re fair game.

They were fair game Wednesday in the Negev. Behold, Zionism 2017 – destroying a community of Bedouin refugees in order to build a Jewish community in its place. That’s the basic Zionist violence; nationalist and racist. Compare the case to the Amona outpost and you have perfect evidence of apartheid: negotiations and compensation for Jews, brutality for Arabs.

In no eviction of Jews would the police have fired that way. In Umm al-Hiran it’s allowed. It’s also allowed to wound Joint List leader Ayman Odeh because the police have been trained to think Arab Knesset members are traitors. That’s what they heard from their public security minister, Gilad Erdan.

Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, a teacher, was shot to death in his car for allegedly ramming it into policemen on purpose. Immediately the authorities spread their lies about him. They said he was linked to the Islamic State and had four wives. (MK Ahmad Tibi says Abu al-Kiyan’s only wife has a Ph.D., while his brother is an inspector in the Education Ministry).

After that, how can anyone believe the police, who hastily claimed he deliberately ran over policemen? At least one witness, Kobi Snitz, told a website he saw the opposite. First the police sprayed Abu al-Kiyan’s car with bullets, then he lost control. A video posted Wednesday also raises heavy suspicions about what happened. You get the impression the shooting preceded the ramming.

But so much over the past week preceded the events at Umm al-Hiran. In the Fara refugee camp, soldiers killed a man who had just woken up; 11 bullets from point-blank range in front of his mother; the soldiers say he tried to attack them. Mohammed al-Salahi was an only son who lived with his mother in a single room.

In the Palestinian town of Tuqu, the Border Police shot a 17-year-old, Qusai al-Amour, who had thrown stones – obvious revenge. They then dragged the dying youth on the ground like a sack of potatoes. His head was battered on the rocks as they did so, while the cameras filmed.

The next day, the cameras also documented the killing of Nadal Mahadawi, 44, at the Tul Karm checkpoint. The sight was horrific. He’s seen standing quietly while the soldiers shoot for no apparent reason. When he tries to flee, in what appears to be a dash for his life, they kill him.

But no big deal, the “terrorist” was killed. That’s how the media portrayed it. The dragging of the wounded youth at Tuqu and the execution at the checkpoint should shock anyone. Above all, they should shock all Israelis, because the perpetrators are theirs sons, their soldiers and their police. But the victims were Palestinians.

A straight line passes through Umm al-Hiran, Tuqu, Fara and Tul Karm – the line of dehumanization guiding the soldiers and police. It begins with the incitement campaigns and ends with trigger-happy troops.

The roots are deep; they must be acknowledged. To most Israelis, all Arabs are the same and they’re not human beings equal to us. They’re not like us. They don’t love their children or their lives the way we do. They were born to kill. There’s no problem killing them. They’re all enemies, suspicious objects, terrorists, murderers – their lives and deaths are cheap.

So kill them, because nothing bad will happen to you. Kill them, because it’s the only way to treat them.


Women from Umm el-Hiran surround a home slated for demolition in the village. (Isaac Kates Rose)

 Israeli Coverage of the Incident at Umm al-Hiran Is Proof That Apartheid Exists

In the so-Orwellian Israeli animal farm, pigs live in Amona and rats live in Umm al-Hiran.
Rogel Alpher, Haaretz Jan 20, 2017

In the so-Orwellian Israeli animal farm, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” as Orwell put it. Take, for example, the pigs from the settlement of Amona. The greedy pigs, lords of the land, who blocked the land of other animals, Palestinians who are less equal than they, who deserve less equality. When the court declared that the pigs must be removed from Amona, the media screamed out the settlers’ desperate cry. The poor victims. For months the media screamed out their cry. Just like the loyal pig from the book, Squealer, the aide and spokesman of the racist pig Napoleon.

For months the public heard about the distress of Amona’s settlers and the supreme efforts the government was making to satisfy and appease them and prevent their evacuation. In contrast, the police raided Umm al-Hiran without any prior notice. Negotiations have been underway for months over evacuation of the Bedouin from there. But Squealer didn’t squeal. The squealing media doesn’t care about the Bedouin. In Israel, Bedouin are less equal animals. They deserve less equality.

Considering the media silence over talks on the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran, the debate over whether there is or is not apartheid can be silenced in the Israeli media, which of course reflects apartheid in society. There can be no doubt that the Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran were discriminated against, methodically so, in the media coverage following the court order to evacuate them. The resemblance between their story and that of Amona is so great that it is almost the exact negative.

The public did not hear a word about Umm al-Hiran, which means the community does not exist. Like the residents of Amona, the intention was to move the residents of Umm al-Hiran a short distance away to an alternative site, by the name of Hura. Squealer did not say a word about this. Squealer never heard of a hole named Hura, while next to Umm al-Hiran a Jewish community by the name of Hiran is going up. A community of animals who are more equal.

Why did the flock of sheep at home, grazing in front of the television, hear endlessly about the distress of Amona yet heard not a word about the distress of Umm al-Hiran? The answer is: apartheid. There is no other answer. The only difference between the stories is that pigs live in Amona and rats live in Umm al-Hiran.

There was a time, in a different place, where the pigs had suffered terribly, much more than the rats, when they lived on Mr. Jones’ farm. But then they rebelled and established their own farm. Slowly but surely they started to look more like Mr. Jones.

The pigs are not wrong. Anything they do is right. And so, of course, they were not wrong when a large police force entered Umm al-Hiran before dawn. Only the rats who lived there were wrong. It’s all their fault. They are wrong all the time. They are worth nothing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two killed in Bedouin village slated to be demolished, replaced with Jewish town

Dear friends, 
no doubt you will have heard about the events in the Naqab (Negev), where Israel is attempting to raze a Palestinian Bedouin village and replace it with a Jewish only town.  The village of Um al-Hiran have been actively seeking to prevent the demolition of their homes. Israel, however, has used brutal deadly force against the villagers, opening fire on them with live ammunition. In one incident, a driver of a vehicle was hit and he lost control of his vehicle resulting in the death of two, one Israeli police officer and a Palestinian civilian. The Israeli police have since claimed that the driver deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon and is associated with ISIS (offering filmsy, if not non-existent proof).  Video footage has since emerged which shows that the police lied about what happened and instead the driver was shot and then lost control of the car as residents had asserted.   

Palestinian MK to the Israeli Knesset, Ayman Odeh was also injured in Um al-Hiran, when the Israeli police opened fire indiscriminately. He was wounded in the head with a sponge tipped bullet.

Um al-Hiran is one of 45 “unrecognised” villages in the Negev.  Despite the majority of the villages being in existence before the establishment of the Israeli state, repeated Israeli governments have refused to give them legal status. As a result, the villages are systematically excluded from government maps and the provision of local and national government infrastructure, such as electricity, water, telephone lines and educational and health facilities and services.

Prior to the establishment of the Israeli state, more than 100,000 Palestinian Bedouin, making up 95 tribes, lived in the Negev (or Naqab as it is known in Arabic). They made up approximately 99% of the region’s inhabitants. In mid-1948, however, the Bedouin, along with other Palestinian Arabs, were ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces. In the wake of the 1948 Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), which marked the destruction of Palestinian society by Zionist forces, only 19 tribes remained inside the ceasefire lines, which became the 1948 boundaries for the newly created Zionist state.

Israel has systematically banned development, with Adalah, the Legal Centre for the Arab Minority in Israel noting: “the [Israeli] government refuses to allow any physical infrastructure development in these villages, thus prohibiting the building and repairing of homes and the construction of paved roads and proper sewage facilities in these communities. New construction requires a permit from the government; however, without a local council, the residents do not have an office from which to request a permit. Consequently, any new construction by the residents is declared illegal and potentially targeted for demolition.”

Between  2013 and 2015, the Israelis state demolished 1,041 Bedouin structures in the Naqab/Negev, with a further 1,711 structures being destroyed by their owners after receiving demolition orders, according to a report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF). In 2015 alone, nearly 1,000 structures were demolished in the Negev — 365 by Israel and 617 by the homeowners themselves.

As some Patrick Strickland has noted, "Palestinian Bedouins 'live the Nakba every day'. "

I have included below two articles on the events in Um al-Hiran, one from +972 and one from Haaretz. I will most likely post a follow up post in the next day or two.

in solidarity, Kim


Two killed in Bedouin village slated to be demolished, replaced with Jewish town

Police shoot MK Ayman Odeh in the head with sponge-tipped bullet. Conflicting versions emerge of ‘car ramming’ and shooting that left one officer and a village resident dead.

By Yael Marom and Keren Manor

Israeli police run toward the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/
Israeli police run toward the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/
Two people were killed and several others wounded when large numbers of police officers entered the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, in southern Israel, to demolish the village at dawn on Wednesday. Police fired tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets, and there were reports of live ammunition as well.

Police officers shot and killed a resident of Umm el-Hiran, Yaqub Musa Abu Qi’an, claiming he drove his vehicle and struck and killed at least one officer. Police also quickly claimed, without offering any evidence, that Abu Qi’an had “connections” to ISIS. The police officer who was killed was named as 34-year-old Erez Levy.

However, local residents and activists at the scene deny the police version of events, saying that Qi’an’s car veered toward the officers only after he was shot and lost control of the vehicle.

Among those wounded was Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh, who police shot in the head and back with sponge-tipped bullets. Odeh was brought to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva in stable condition at the time of this report. The other casualties were both local residents and security forces.

MK Ayman Odeh lies wounded from sponge-tipped bullets next to Israeli police in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, Negev, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/
MK Ayman Odeh lies wounded from sponge-tipped bullets next to Israeli police in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, Negev, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/

Hundreds of fully armed police arrived at Umm el-Hiran around 5 a.m., pulling drivers out of vehicles, and attacking and threatening others, according to Israeli activist Kobi Snitz, who was in the village Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Police enter the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/
Police enter the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/
Shortly thereafter, shots were heard, Snitz said, adding that he saw a white pickup truck about 30 meters from police. “They started shooting at the car in bursts from all directions,” he said, adding that only after the driver appeared to have been wounded and lost control of his vehicle did it strike the police officers.

Police reportedly sealed the village off and barred any additional journalists from entering by mid-morning.

Israeli police positioned on a rooftop in Umm el-Hiran with their guns trained, January 18. 2017. (Isaac Kates Rose)
Israeli police positioned on a rooftop in Umm el-Hiran with their guns trained, January 18. 2017. (Isaac Kates Rose)
Snitz said that state authorities had been pressuring residents to sign an agreement to leave voluntarily up until around midnight Tuesday night, but that negotiations broke down.
MK Odeh showed up at Umm el-Hiran early Wednesday morning in order to stand alongside the villagers, who were told by Israeli authorities that the demolition would take place imminently.

By late morning, bulldozers, trucks, and demolition equipment had begun preparing to clear and demolish the village.

Women from Umm el-Hiran surround a home slated for demolition in the village. (Isaac Kates Rose)
Women from Umm el-Hiran surround a home slated for demolition in the village. (Isaac Kates Rose)
Umm al-Hiran is one of dozens of so-called “unrecognized villages” in Israel’s south, in which approximately 100,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel live without electricity, water, and other basic services the state refuses to provide.

Here is a quick summary of this history of Umm al-Hiran: Long before the establishment of the State of Israel, members of the Abu Qi’an family lived in an area called Khirbet Zubaleh.
In 1956, the Israeli military government forcibly moved the Qi’an family to the location where they live today. (Their former land was given to Kibbutz Shoval as agricultural land.)

A Bedouin woman enters a tin shack in the unrecognized village of Umm el-Hiran, the Negev. November 22, 2016. Residents expected Israeli authorities to demolish the entire village a few hours earlier. (Keren Manor/
A Bedouin woman enters a tin shack in the unrecognized village of Umm el-Hiran, the Negev. November 22, 2016.(Keren Manor/
This forced land “swap” is well documented in state archives, but despite the fact that the Qi’an family was settled in its current location by the state itself, its homes have never been connected to the electricity or water grids.

In 2015 Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that the state can change its mind and take back the land it gave to the al-Qi’an family. In place of their current village, Umm el-Hiran, from which they are to be expelled, a new township for religious Jews will be established.

Residents of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran waiting the Supreme Court's decision on the village's case, Jerusalem, November 20, 2013.
Residents of the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran wait for a High Court decision on their village’s case, Jerusalem, November 20, 2013.
For the past few years, Jewish Hiran’s future residents have been waiting for their new homes at an encampment in the adjacent forest of Yatir.

“The government has no problem with Jewish citizens living on this property – so why should they have a problem with us?” Raed Abu al-Qi’an, a resident and activist from the village, told +972 in 2015. “They allow rural communities to be built for Jews across the Negev – why not us?”

“We have always said, and continue to say, that we have no objections to Jewish families living here or nearby us – but not in place of us. That is racism and injustice,” he added.

Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Eli Bitan contributed to this report. A version of this article also appears in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.


Police say Bedouin shot and killed after plowing into officers, residents claim he was shot and then lost control – watch aerial video of event.

Almog Ben Zikri Jan 18, 2017 Haaretz

A video released on Wednesday may shed new light on the events that ended in the death of an Israeli police officer and an Israeli Bedouin who police claim ran over the officer during clashes in the southern Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran.

The clashes erupted after police officers arrived to demolish illegally built structures in the Bedouin village early Wednesday morning, to make way for a Jewish town slated to be built nearby. Police said that the officer, Sgt. Maj. Erez Levi, 34, was killed when the Bedouin, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, deliberately ran him over with his car. Locals contested the account, saying al-Kiyan lost control of his car after he was first shot by police. Another police officer was wounded in the incident.

The video, shot from a police helicopter hovering above the scene, appears to show police officers walking toward al-Kian's vehicle and shooting at him as he was driving at a slow pace. Only several seconds after the gunfire his car appears to speed up and then plows through police officers. It is unclear if the driver sped up intentionally.

Following the release of the video, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that the police gunfire that can be seen at the beginning of the video were warning shots which were not directed at the driver. Erdan said the warning shots were fired after al-Kiyan refused to heed calls to halt, and instead he attempted to run over the police force.

A short while after the video was leaked to the media, the police released an edited version with captions explaining how the incident unfolded. The captions did not mention the gunfire and the beginning of the incident is seen as the moment the car started accelerating.

A statement by the police accompanying the video, referred to al-Kiyan as a "terrorist" and said that the video showed his car on the side of the road and only after he noticed the police officers it accelerated and hit them.