[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance, Subversion, and Social Mobilization in the Arab world and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the DARS Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each monthly roundup to DARS@jadaliyya.com.]
“Sheikh Jarrah residents reject ‘oppressive’ agreement with settlers”, Mondoweiss (2 November 2021)
On Tuesday, residents of Sheikh Jarrah announced that they reject the Israeli Supreme Court’s proposal to make them “protected tenants” in their own homes. The deal aims to classify Palestinian residents as “protected tenants” who would then have to pay an annual rental fee of 2,400 shekels ($750) to settle organization, Nahalat Shimonim. However, this status would only be offered to the residents for two more generations, after which the families would once again be subjected to eviction. This “compromise” comes after the Supreme Court failed to rule against the families’ appeal against their evictions earlier this year. Accepting this deal would acknowledge settler ownership of the land, as well as lay precedent for the displacement of more than a dozen other families who face eviction orders in Sheikh Jarrah.
“Pro-Iran protesters stage fresh Baghdad demonstration after deadly clash”, Arab News (7 November 2021)
On Saturday, hundreds of supporters of pro-Iranian factions convened in Baghdad to participate in another round of demonstrations over last month’s election results. Preliminary results revealed a substantial loss in parliamentary seats for the Fatah Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Iran multiparty Hashd Al-Shaabi paramilitary network. As a response, the group’s supporters have denounced the results as “fraud” and have gathered at one of the four entrances to the Green Zone, home to government buildings and the US Embassy. The protests come while Iraq’s political parties negotiate to form coalitions and name a new prime minister, and a day after at least one protester was killed in a clash with police. According to Iraqi political analyst Ihsan Al-Shamari, pro-Hashd protests are aimed to strengthen its negotiating position during the coalition bargaining process.
“Report: NSO spyware found on 6 Palestinian activists’ phones”, Associated Press (8 November 2021)
Spyware from the Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group, Pegasus, has been detected on the cellphones of six Palestinian human rights activists—half of which have been accused of being involved in terrorism by Israel’s defense minister. Although it is not clear who placed the NSO spyware on their phones, researchers claim that the hacking began in July 2020. Through Pegasus, intruders can have access to everything a person does and stores on their phone, including real-time communications. Ireland-based Frontline Defenders and at least two of the activists, have publicly claimed that they consider Israel to be the main suspect. They also believe that the terrorism accusation against them may have been deliberately timed to try to overshadow the hacks’ discovery.
“Hamas slams UK's intention to label it as a 'terrorist organization'”, Middle East Monitor (19 November 2021)
On Friday, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement denounced Britain's intention to label them as a “terrorist organization” for its “links to terrorism and anti-Semitism against Jewish people”. Since 2001, the UK has been calling Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, a terrorist organization, but it did not include Hamas within the designation. In a statement by Hamas, the group accused Britain of continuing to favor “the (Israeli) aggressor at the expense of the (Palestinian) victims''. Moreover, they claim that “resisting the occupation with all possible means, including armed resistance, is a guaranteed right by the international law for the people under occupation". Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, welcomes Britain's decision.
“Uproar over detention of 36 Jordanian students protesting water deal”, Arab News (26 November 2021)
This week, 36 Jordanian students were detained for reportedly taking part in demonstrations against Jordan’s signing of a declaration of intent with Israel to trade clean electricity for water. According to a Jordanian official, the 36 detained students had broken the law by defying security directive when protesting in Dakhiliya (Interior) Circle, where they blocked the movement of people and traffic. The arrests have been criticized by human rights groups and civil society organizations as a violation of articles seven and eight of the Jordanian constitution, which guarantees citizens’ right to the freedoms of expression and assembly. In parliament, thirty Jordanian MPs have signed a petition calling for the immediate release of the detained students. Meanwhile, on Friday, 3,000 demonstrators gathered in downtown Amman to protest the deal with Israel, many of whom held signs with the names of the detained students.
“Lebanese protesters block roads over economic meltdown”, Arab News (30 November 2021)
Days after Lebanon’s currency sank to new lows, demonstrators blocked roads across Lebanon in response to the country’s economic meltdown. On Monday, burning tires blocked roads in central Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon, forcing schools in Beirut to close. Meanwhile, protesters in the city’s southern suburbs blocked access to the airport in front of Al-Aytam station. A spokesperson for the protesters said, “...today’s move does not have any political, electoral, parliamentary or ministerial dimension. Its sole purpose is the livelihood of citizens after a large number of students now go to school without any food.” The protests coincided with President Michel Aoun’s visit to Qatar, where he discussed the country’s economic meltdown and unprecedented diplomatic crisis with Gulf states. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani expressed Qatar’s readiness to aid Lebanon in all areas needed while Aoun welcomed any investment from Qatar to implement developmental projects in Lebanon.
“Being designated as 'terrorists' by Israel reflects the good work that NGOs do in Palestine”, Middle East Monitor (4 November 2021)
Without due process, credible evidence, or prior notification, Interpal, a small British charity, was designated a terrorist organization by Israel in 1996 and by the US administration of George W Bush in 2003. The US administration froze the assets of several individuals and organizations, including Interpal, due to their alleged support of Hamas. Although this had an extremely debilitating effect on the organization’s ability to operate with normal banking facilities, essential for any charity, they continued to receive support from various prominent people. Although Israel designated six new human rights groups as “terrorists” last week, the organizations should find some comfort in the fact that the designation reflects the good work that they are doing in occupied Palestine. As a response, they should increase their efforts and reassure their supporters, all for the sake of the Palestinian people.
“Who are they shooting in Sudan, and why?”, Middle East Monitor (16 November 2021)
The protests that took place in December 2018, showed the greater will of the Sudanese people to overcome intellectual and ideological differences in order to create a unified front against their authoritarian government. This month, the youth of Sudan again displayed the same level of organization and will to break the deadlock created by oppression and totalitarianism, and the disappointments of politics and politicians. Protesters show that they will go beyond the limits of a “movement” and traditional political opposition, in search for new paths to redraw their country's fate. In order to avoid further bloodshed, mistakes from the past two years of the transitional period must be addressed before conducting any reforms.
“The banning of human rights defenders: Israel and South Africa compared”, Mondoweiss(16 November 2021)
Through the 2016 Israeli law, Israel’s terror label on the six Palestinian human rights groups gives the government authorization to close their offices, seize their assets, jail their staff members, prohibit funding and publish public support for their activities. Similarly, South Africa used legislation resembling the 2016 Israeli law to outlaw the communist party, the African National Congress, and the Liberal Party, among others. However, even though these laws were clearly wide enough to allow the apartheid regime to close any organization, South Africa never outlawed human rights defenders in the manner that Israel just did. Unlike Israel, South Africa needed to maintain some semblance of respectability with Western states, and because these organizations were using the Rule of Law to advance racial justice, South Africa needed to respect it. The fact that Israel is not concerned about its image as a state that respects the Rule of Law, proves that it knows that the West will not act against it for any wrongdoing. It is clear that Israel commits the crime of apartheid in occupied Palestine, and perhaps one that crosses more lines than apartheid South Africa.
“Sudan’s coup is on shaky ground”, Al Jazeera (19 November 2021)
There are many reasons to believe that the anti-coup side has the upper hand in Sudan’s nationwide protests. Last month’s coup, in which the military seized power, was executed by four unlikely allies that united for the purpose of remaining in power and/or for financial interests. Therefore, existing tensions amongst them makes it unlikely that the “Coup Quartet” will remain united. Moreover, they will have a difficult time convincing the Sudanese public and the international audience that they will deliver on democratic gains, such as fair and free elections. Without the necessary constitutional legitimacy and support from political parties, it will be difficult for General Burhan to persuade technocrats into participating in the new civilian-military government he promised to form. Meanwhile, resistance committees have pledged to continue with protests and civil disobedience until their demands are met, the core of which is: they want a fully civilian government to be set up immediately to take the country out of this crisis.
“About the 'Energy for water' agreement: Implications and risks”, Middle East Monitor (29 November 2021)
Arab parties that are involved in normalization agreements with Israel are aware that they are crossing popular red lines that will not be supported by the people they represent. The deal signed by Jordan and Israel that will reportedly see the two countries swap electricity for water, is a prelude to what is worse than the "Deal of the Century". It can be summed up in “opening wide the doors of Arab normalization, while improving the position of the Authority in the West Bank (economically, in particular), without a political solution; without negotiation (Bennett explicitly tells them that there is no Palestinian state, and settlements will continue).” The Jordanian people will not fall for slogans such as “regional solution” or “economic peace” that aim to sugar coat agreements and initiatives that offer normalization without a solution. Instead, they are confident in their resistance, and in both the Palestinian and Jordanian people’s ability to reject the conspiracies without hesitation.
“‘Facing Gaza’ in DC: An exhibit of startling Facebook mash-ups from the 2014 onslaught”, Mondoweiss (11 November 2021)
“Facing Gaza” is an exhibit by artist-scholar Robert Hardwick Weston, that consists of montages that show images drawn from the Facebook posts of young Israelis, many of whom were apparently involved in the attacks, combined with images posted the same day by Gazans who were under attack. In one of Weston’s images, one can see scenes of young Israelis cramming a bar in Israel during the operation, and in the background, one sees Gaza under brutal attack. In another one of Weston’s images, a young, shirtless Israeli is sunbathing in front of a vandalized building with shattered windows and destroyed furniture. By itself, the images of Israelis horsing around or posing in uniform are not violent, but when juxtaposed with the Gazans’ images of death and destruction its audience is forced to decompartmentalize the linked realities of the two peoples. Moreover, to see them deliberately placed together shows more than just another part of the Israel-Palestine story, it showcases the psychological reality of settler colonialism.
“Thousands of anti-coup protesters continue to march in Sudan”, Al Jazeera (18 November 2021)
Wednesday was the highest daily death toll since the October 25 coup, killing at least 15 people in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, and its twin city Omdurman. According to activists, security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas onto thousands of anti-coup protesters. Meanwhile, prime minister Abdalla Hamdok is still under house arrest in Khartoum, and more than 100 other government officials are detained at undisclosed locations. Authorities have now shut bridges linking Khartoum and Omdurman, in hopes to tighten security across the capital. These pictures capture confrontation between protesters and police, as well as other acts of resistance.
“‘Together we walk’: Lebanon seeks economic revival via Expo 2020”, Al Jazeera (23 November 2021)
In the past year, Lebanon has witnessed crippling political instability, economic downfall, increasing discontent at home, and diplomatic strain with Gulf countries. With those realities in mind, the creators of the Lebanon pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 created the slogan “Together we walk”, to show that “whatever has happened and whatever will happen in Lebanon, we’re still standing”. The aim of the pavilion is to show how Lebanon is rising again and trying to improve its economy. Attendees can interact with the experience room, which features Lebanon’s seasons as well as places to visit for potential tourists. The pavilion also exhibits more than 2,500 Lebanese products including jewelry, art pieces, and authentic food and beverages, in the hopes of bringing Lebanon’s economy back to stability.
“Palestinian theatre group uses art to resist Israeli occupation”, Middle East Monitor (29 November 2021)
The Freedom Theatre is a Palestinian community-based drama group in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the West Bank. Set up in 1989, its founders Arna Mer Khamis and her son, Juliano Mer-Khamis, devoted their lives to support the Palestinian children in the camp. Today, the theatre continues to generate cultural resistance against Israeli occupation by building national cultural identity through art. Some of the children like Alaa Sabagh, Ashraf Abu Alhija, and Yousef Sweatat, who participated in the theatre in their younger years, later joined the battle of Jenin to resist the Israeli army which had entered the camp during the second Intifada. This inspired Juliano to direct the film Aran’s Children, which tells the story of the Palestinian child artists, who were killed during the military invasion of the camp. Although Juliano was assassinated in 2011, the theatre continues to work with actors and has recently launched the moving theatre, “The Bus of Freedom”, which narrates stories of resistance and Palestinians.