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The WCLAC Bulletin - February 2017

Amnesty International released its annual report providing an overview of the state of human rights around the world - The Amnesty International Report 2016/2017 covers human rights concerns during the 2016 calendar year and includes a section on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The report concludes that Israeli forces unlawfully killed Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians from the OPT who opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, including by attempting to retroactively “legalize” settlements built on private Palestinian land, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, closing some areas after attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. Read more

Offering on-line technical services, leading young Palestinian business woman provides jobs for 360 young men and women – “This lap top is what gave me possibilities. As long as it’s with me, I feel safe. It took me a while to save up enough money to buy it so I could work. The minute I bought it, I felt reassured.” Abeer had graduated with honours from one of the local universities but that did not secure her a job. A network of contacts provided by an international women’s group to aspiring young female entrepreneur gave her a head start and Abeer capitalieed on the momentum - Watch the video

“After two years of waiting all we have is what you can see”. - Laila has been trying to rebuild her Gaza home for two years after an Israeli bomb destroyed it in 2014. She has nothing to build it with. “Aftertwo years of waiting all we have is what you can see; this half-finished house. The authorities gave us the usual excuses that there are no reconstruction materials because the crossings are closed, so we wait”. Israel has besieged Gaza since 2007. Construction materials can’t be get in without Israeli permission. Even when deliveries are approved, the UN monitors everything coming in to quell Israel fears that they might be used for military purposes. Gaza’s Ministry of Public Works then distributes the materials to warehouses, right now these warehouses are empty. Watch the video. 

Women’s Voices - On 8 Februray 2017, Israeli soldiers raid the house of 45 year old mother from Kafr 'Aqab at 3:00am and detain her son after pushing her to the ground and causing damage to the furniture. Hania is a 45 year old mother of two children aged 13 and 22 from Kafr 'Aqab in East Jerusalem. “On 8 February 2017, at around 3:00 a.m. , my husband and I woke up to the sound of a loud explosion. I got dressed quickly then we all went to the living room where I was shocked to see about 20 Israeli soldiers in full military gear spread all over the house. Some of them had camouflage mud on their faces. I then realised they had blown up the front door and entered the house.” Read more

Israelis post anti-Arab racism online every 46 seconds, study finds - A new study shows that Israeli Jews published 675,000 racist posts on social media in 2016 — a dangerous increase from 2015, when only 280,000 such posts were published. Every 46 seconds an Israeli Jew publishes a racist or inciting comment against Arabs on Facebook and other social networks, a new study finds. According to the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media (7amleh), which published its Index for Racism and Incitement on Social Media last week, 60,000 active Israeli social media users published at least one racist post against Arabs in 2016. Read more

83-year-old thinks back on what was once her property: From a distance, Mariam Hammad, 83, stood with one of her grandchildren, observing the Amona outpost evacuation. As trucks shuttled between Amona and the nearby Israeli settlement of Ofra, Mariam remained skeptical, questioning whether the evacuation operations were serious. "My heart will not rest until they remove the water tank," she said, pointing to the large water reservoir that was placed on the plot of land she inherited from her father in the Thahir al-Mazari' region, atop a rugged hill, northeast of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Eight other families from nearby villages own plots in the same tract of land. When Mariam arrived closer to the scene of evacuation, Israeli soldiers, who stood behind the concrete blocks, were on full alert. Read more

Using art to heal: Battling cancer in Gaza - Aya Abdulrahman was informed by her doctors that she would be dead by the end of 2014. At 21, she had seven malignant tumours. "Your daughter has two months left to live. You cannot do anything. Go home," the doctor told Abdulrahman's mother. The painful news, however, did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. Since childhood, all Abdulrahman wanted to do was become an artist and leave her mark on the world through art. Abdulrahman seized every opportunity that came her way to display her paintings and drawings across the Gaza Strip and abroad, from Los Angeles to Morocco. She participated in art competitions, worked with sick and disabled children in Gaza to have them express themselves through art, and trained youth in drama and acting. Read more