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From the field

Happy New Year to Isaac and Ishmael - Sep. 2018


Several miles east of Jerusalem, some 180 children are studying – for now – in a school made of tires and mud. A new school year has just begun in Khan al-Ahmar, but with the High Court’s recent approval Israel intends, in the coming days, to demolish the entire community, including the school, and expel the residents.

Several miles south of Jerusalem, the Da'na family is recovering from a familiar nightmare. Soldiers again entered their Hebron home in the middle of the night, this time during 'Eid al-Adha. They arrested 17-year-old 'Udai, after one soldier commented to the boy’s father: “We’re behaving well. If we weren’t, we'd grab you and take you by force.”

Several miles north of Jerusalem, the villagers of 'Urif are waking to another day of occupation violence: settler militias backed and aided by the military are assaulting them, as part of a broader strategy to strengthen Israeli control and take over more land. While “the rule of law” is bandied about, the law itself is serving to both perpetrate violence and cover it up.

Meanwhile, several miles to the west, we are living in Israel, ruling over the lives of millions of Palestinian subjects in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Every day we decide, over their heads and under their feet, how they will live their lives.

For more than half a century, since the Jewish year 5727 (1967), we have had the rights and privileges – they, oppression and dispossession. Now, with the year of 5779 about to begin, this reality is truer than ever, with the Deputy Knesset Speaker talking of Gaza “population dilution” and the Justice Minister, as well as the Defense Minister, celebrating the sanctioning of yet another “legal” abomination.

With your help, we will continue – this new Jewish year and for as long as it takes – to expose the facts, document reality and capture it on video, in order to inform you and the rest of the world, and play our part in this struggle. When we are all “heads” and no one is a “tail”, we will be able to celebrate a year of rights.

Shanah Tovah,

Hagai El-Ad

Executive Director, B’Tselem

We thank the 1,886 donors who made donations to B’Tselem during the last Hebrew year and hope you will continue to support us – and that many more will join you.