Israel’s hailed COVID–19 vaccination campaign continues to exclude Palestinians
While the Israeli government has received significant praise for having vaccinated nearly a quarter of citizens, millions of Palestinians have been excluded from its vaccination campaign.
Israeli and Palestinian officials have pointed to different international agreements that render one or the other responsible for public health, but regardless of responsibility, the starkly unequal global distribution of vaccines has significantly inhibited Palestinian authorities’ access to vaccine doses (as Israel is significantly richer and more influential).
The Palestinian Authority is expected to receive vaccines in the coming months through COVAX, a WHO-coordinated humanitarian program.
Global Protests: #BlackLivesMatter / Anti–Police Violence
Nearly four years ago, Outlas published a catalog of media coverage focused on global protests connected to the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement. Today, the murder of Black American George Floyd by the police has re-galvanized demonstrations across the world’s continents, promoting diverse forms of solidarity across movements focused on affirming Black lives, eliminating racism, and ending police violence.
Floyd’s death is one among many that have pushed people into the streets of cities from Honolulu to East Jerusalem, drawing together accounts of the criminalization of people of color and other minority groups around the world. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters around the world have gathered to interconnect their causes, demonstrating the resilience of a global anti-racism and anti–police brutality movement despite the lull in media coverage in recent years. This collection has gathered more than 150 articles, statements, and multimedia stories documenting the recent surge in protests and their interconnection.
A number of media outlets have mapped the development of demonstrations around the world and compiled media and accounts from protests, summarizing the connections between the diverse sites and expressions of solidarity journalists have uncovered.
The U.S. has experienced more than a week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. His death was the latest in a series of events that had drawn attention to ongoing violence and threats of violence faced by Black people in public space across the U.S., from racist vigilantism in Georgia to a dead-of-night police break-in and murder in New York. Protesters across all 50 states mobilized to contest police violence, prompting spectacular forms of police repression—including tear-gassing, beatings, tasing, and shootings—captured on video and circulated across social media platforms.
Canada has experienced its own widespread condemnation of police violence in the U.S., organizing massive demonstrations from Vancouver to Halifax in honor of the memory of George Floyd. Participants have also drawn attention to recent fatal incidents involving police—including the recent death of Afro-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet—and the disproportionate effects of police violence experienced by Black and Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians of color.
Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and allied Latin American communities have also expressed solidarity with Black Americans, highlighting both the ongoing forms of marginalization experienced by Afro-descendant people in Central American countries and the complex relationships to racism across the Caribbean. Brazil, in particular, has been grappling with an entrenched police brutality problem that overwhelmingly threatens Afro-Brazilians—particularly those living in poor communities. The recent killing of 14-year-old João Pedro has reignited protests, with demonstrators drawing explicit connections to anti-Black police violence in the U.S.
Massive protests across Europe have centered not only the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but also ongoing forms of racism across the continent. In France, George’s death scratched at the wound of the 2016 murder of Adama Traoré in a suburb of Paris. In the UK, protest participants were quick to shut down any attempt to distance the UK from U.S.-style racism, highlighting ongoing discrimination experienced by Black communities in the country. Whether in the commemoration of colonial leaders responsible for the death of millions of Africans or stubborn denials of institutional racism, contemporary manifestations of racism drew the ire of demonstrators of all backgrounds.
Solidarity with protesters in the U.S. found diverse expression across Africa and the Middle East, from a mural in the rubble of an obliterated Syrian building to an open letter signed by dozens of African writers demanding accountability and pressuring African governments to do more. African political leaders, for their part, took the rare step of condemning the situation in the U.S.. But activists across the region also worked to draw attention to local police brutality problems as well, including the killing of autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak by Israeli border security and high levels of violence against women (both by police and by others not held to account by police) in Nigeria.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a range of responses to unrest in the U.S. has emerged. In a tit-for-tat with the U.S. government, Chinese officials have used the situation to draw attention to human rights violations in the U.S. as the U.S. has condemned China for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, police brutality has been a longstanding issue with respect to the treatment of indigenous communities. Thousands of protesters across Australia and New Zealand expressed solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement while also integrating the long history of anti-Indigenous violence into their calls for change. Similarly, the outbreak of protests in U.S. and the resurgence of global anti-racism consciousness provided an opportunity for activists and members of the Papuan diaspora to highlight the ongoing discrimination and violence experienced by indigenous Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian government.
Israel denies Palestinians with cancer access to treatment as medication dwindles
The Israeli government has indicated that six Gazan women suffering from cancer can travel to the West Bank (despite its lack of treatment capability) or abroad for treatment.
The women had previously been denied exit from the Gaza Strip because they are related to members of Hamas—a common punishment disproportionately burdening women—and continue to be denied permit to travel to East Jerusalem, where Palestinian hospitals are located.
The Gaza Health Ministry also announced the termination of its chemotherapy treatments in Gaza hospitals due to depletion of medical supplies, which cannot be replenished due to the recent tightening of the Israeli military blockade.
Israeli parliament passes law formally establishing country as Jewish nation-state
The new basic law codifies a number of ultranationalist principles, including Hebrew as the sole national language, the expansion of Jewish settlement as a national priority, Jewish symbols as national symbols, and a unified Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.
Previously, Israel existed formally as a multiethnic democratic state, with Arabic as the second national language and the concerns of Arab Israelis—who comprise a fifth of the population—at least nominally afforded equal weight in matters of national identity and self-determination.
While some observers have dismissed the law as largely symbolic, Arab lawmakers and progressive advocates argue it provides the legal ground for segregation and discrimination and reduces ethnic and religious minorities to a second-class citizenship.
Israeli troops kill dozens, injure more than 2,000 Palestinians as U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opens
More than 50 Palestinian protesters—most unarmed and including children—have been killed and more than 2,200 injured by Israeli forces after tens of thousands of Palestinians arrived at the fence between Gaza and Israel to protest.
Multiple nations and international organizations condemned Israel’s use of lethal force as a violation of international law.
Nearly 100 have died since the Great March of Return began in late March, when Palestinians initiated demonstrations demanding the right to return to their homeland ahead of the 70th anniversary of their expulsion.
51 MPs of color (black and minority ethnic, or BME) were elected to the House of Commons, an increase of some 25% from the 41 elected in the previous election cycle.
208 women were elected, an electoral record though still only 32% of Parliament, and more than 40 LGBT MPs now form the largest cohort of openly queer politicians in the history of the House of Commons.
The new parliament also features the first Palestinian, first female Sikh, four black female, first turban-wearing Sikh, and four openly disabled MPs.
Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli facilities win increased visitation rights following hunger strike
Incarcerated Palestinians were granted a second visitation day per month following a 41-day hunger strike in the lead up to Ramadan and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s seizure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Nearly 1,000 protesters took part in the strike, which ended following a deal struck by Israeli prison officials, the Palestinian Authority, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
More than 6,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from throwing stones to murder.
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas→
U.N. Security Council passes resolution condemning Israeli settlements in West Bank following U.S. abstention
The 15-member council passed the resolution 14-0-1 after it was taken up by members from four countries following its withdrawal by Egypt under pressure from U.S. President-elect Trump and Israel.
Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, on the increase in recent years under the conservative government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, have involved the expropriation of land from Palestinians and the demolition of Palestinian villages.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., defied pressure from Trump, U.S. legislators, and conservative Israeli lobbyists in abstaining, paving the way for a united international declaration of the settlements as in violation of international law.
Israel revokes travel permits for tens of thousands of Palestinians following Tel Aviv killings
Four Israelis were killed and six wounded after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire in a Tel Aviv market.
In response, the government cancelled entry permits for some 83,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for three days, revoked work permits for more than 200 of the attackers’ relatives, and increased its security presence in the occupied West Bank.
Following a condemnation of the homicides, the U.N. warned Israel that their response could be classified as collective punishment, illegal under the Geneva Conventions.
Comprising nearly half of those who have attempted or carried out attacks against Israelis since October, Palestinian youth have found themselves imprisoned in increasing numbers as a result of Israel’s two-tier criminal justice system. Since October, the number of imprisoned youth has more than doubled to 430, including 103 under the age of 17. While Palestinian families and human rights advocates have called for rehabilitation over punishment, Israeli authorities have cited the severity of the crimes as cause for the imprisonments, which would be illegal were the youth Israeli. The New York Times investigates recent cases of youth imprisonment, from the impact of the media to the effects youth violence has had on Palestinian families and communities.
Israel triples rate of demolition of Palestinian and Bedouin structures in the West Bank
Since the beginning of 2016, the average monthly demolition rate has increased to 165 a month, a dramatic increase from the 50-per-month of 2012-2015.
The coordinator of Israel’s activities in the West Bank indicated the increased rate is an attempt to get through the 11,000 outstanding demolition orders.
Palestinian and Bedouin structures are deemed illegal in the West Bank if built without difficult-to-get permits, in a designated (but often seldom-used) firing range, or in violation of colonial-era planning and zoning restrictions.
More than half a million in number, Syrian-born Palestinians face a unique and particularly challenging vulnerability when applying for refugee status. While they have been born in Syria, many lack Syrian citizenship (and thus a Syrian passport) due to Syria’s citizenship laws as well as the desire to maintain their Palestinian nationality to retain the right to return to Palestine. Most of Syria’s neighbors have traditionally denied entry to Palestinians as part of complex politics resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As residents of Syria, Palestinian Syrians have faced the same circumstances as other Syrian refugees, and immigration officials have been instructed to extend the same consideration to Palestinian Syrians as other Syrians. Al Jazeera investigates cracks in the process of asylum application and other challenges faced by Palestinian-Syrian refugees.