In First, Israel Mulls Using New Law to Confiscate Palestinian Lands for Illegal Settlement

Israel tells court contemplating using new land-grab law to 'legalize' seven structures, roads built on private Palestinian land.

Israel has told the High Court it is contemplating using recently passed legislation to confiscate privately owned Palestinians lands in the West Bank. The lands in question contain seven structures in the West Bank outpost of Adi Ad and a number of roads built illegally on private lands.

This could be the first time that state uses the so-called Regularization Law to expropriate private Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

A group of Palestinians had filed a petition with the High Court through the Yesh Din legal aid group in 2014, demanding that the illegal outpost of Adi Ad be dismantled. At the time, Israel's legal representatives said in response that a demarcation team surveyed the area and found that six structures in the outpost were built on parcels "that are not state lands."

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Solidarity is not selective: Michael Bennett brings the struggle for Palestinian freedom to the NFL

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett created ripples in the sports world when he publicly tweeted he was no longer going on a Post-Super Bowl trip to Israel.

In a world where privileged football sports figures make vacuous and cowardly statements about politics, Bennett has been a voice of intelligence and compassion. He was vocal in supporting Colin Kaepernick’s protest against systemic injustice and anti-Blackness in the United States, and his most recent public comments have cemented his unwavering commitment to understanding the roots of injustice — despite the attempts by Israeli organizations to gloss over the oppression of Palestinians.   .....

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Israel passes bill retroactively legalising Jewish settlements

The bill was supported by Benjamin Netanyahu, but opponents said the law ‘makes theft an official Israeli policy’

Israel’s parliament has approved a controversial bill to retroactively “legalise” illegal Jewish outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land, setting up an inevitable confrontation with the international community.

The so-called regulation bill paves the way for Israel to recognise thousands of illegally built Jewish settler homes constructed on privately-owned Palestinian land in what opponents have dubbed a “theft” and “land grab”.

The law retroactively legalises the construction, with the original landowners to be compensated either with money or alternative land – even if they do not agree to give up their property.

The new law is the latest in a series of pro-settlement moves by Israel since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, which has seen some 6,000 new Jewish settlement homes announced in the occupied Palestinian territories in the past fortnight.

The international community overwhelmingly opposes settlements and sees them as an obstacle to peace.

Read more on The Guardian


Major Victory to Weaken Prisons & Immigrant Detention

Enlace, a partner with Occupation-Free Portland just achieved another great victory:

The University of California Regents, which controls one of the largest endowments in the world, has decided to end $475 million dollars of existing contracts with prison profiteer Wells Fargo. Details here.

This victory comes after a multi-year campaign led by the Afrikan Black Coalition, member of the National Prison Divestment Campaign, calling for divestment from prisons and reinvestment in Black students and communities.

The Afrikan Black Coalition writes,

By taking a stand against the amoral practices of an enormous corporation like Wells Fargo, the Afrikan Black Coalition is pushing the UC to exhibit the kind of leadership necessary for the survival of communities unfairly targeted by a criminal financial system. We dedicate this small victory to the hundreds and thousands of our people who are trapped in America’s gulags. Through the organized struggle of our masses, we believe our liberation is inevitable.

After the Prison Divestment campaign and allies revealed the role that major investors and lenders play in funding prison expansion, divestment campaigns across the country have called for Universities, Cities, Pensions, and Faith Organizations to divest their constituents' dollars from these financial backers of the prison industry.

In December 2016, Portland, Oregon became the first City to put investments these prison profiteers on hold, along with corporations complicit in the Palestinian occupation, when they voted to end all corporate investments until Socially Responsible investing could be assured. Now, the University of California becomes the first University Endowment to move towards ending their relationship with these financial backers.

These victories show us is that in an era of Trumpist attacks on our immigrant, refugee, Muslim, and Black communities, there is bold and meaningful action that leaders of Cities and Universities can take to not only protect our communities, but to uproot the problem at it's source. Prison Divestment efforts in Yale University and Princeton University are escalating, and will be the next universities to divest!

We call on Wells Fargo and other prison backers to realize that as long as they continue to fund prison expansion and the Trump agenda of widespread detention and criminalization, our communities will take strong and coordinated action to ensure that they are exposed and sanctioned.

In hope and struggle,

Amanda, Basma, Cindy, Daniel, Jamie and the Enlace community

‘We have nowhere else to go’: Bedouins say they will continue to rebuild as Israel carries out home demolitions at a record pace


A white tent is the only structure left standing among the scattered piles of twisted metal and tarp that was a Jahalin Tribe Bedouin encampment West of Jericho city in the Wadi Qilt valley.

On the morning of Wednesday, January 25th, Israeli forces escorted two bulldozers down from the main road up to the small Bedouin community. Mohammed Jahalin and his family were ordered out of their houses and forcefully gathered together on the edge of their encampment where they watched as the metal blades of bulldozers smashed through their homes.

Israeli forces destroyed every standing structure in the encampment — including three houses and two livestock barns — leaving 12 people homeless, half of whom are children.

In 2016, Israeli forces demolished homes, particularly Bedouin homes, in record numbers. According to United Nations documentation, Israeli forces in 2016 demolished or seized an unprecedented 1,093 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, resulting in the displacement of 1,601 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of another 7,101.

In the first 23 days of 2017, Israeli forces demolished 119 Palestinian-owned structures, leaving 177 Palestinians displaced. The bi-weekly average for home demolitions in 2017 is nearly a third higher than 2016’s, putting 2017 on track for another record-breaking year.

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