In Human Rights, International, Middle East

In 2015, Palestinian-Canadian artist Rehab Nazzal was shot by an Israeli sniper in occupied Bethlehem. She was targeted while peacefully photographing an Israeli ‘skunk-truck’ that was spewing noxious fluids onto Palestinian homes. When Palestinian medics tried to rescue Rehab, Israeli forces rained tear gas down on their ambulance.

As Rehab’s lawyer, I petitioned Canada’s then-Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, to demand that the Israeli sniper who shot Rehab be held accountable. Freeland, who is now Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, did nothing.

Today, Rehab is in Bethlehem again. She is effectively confined to Bethlehem after the Israeli military sealed off virtually every town and village in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, less than sixty kilometres from her home, Israel’s military is waging its most destructive war on Gaza to date. As Jewish Voice for Peace warns, Israel’s latest war on Gaza amounts to an imminent genocide.

Today, I spoke with Rehab about current conditions in the West Bank, her fears for the people of Gaza, and the future of Palestinian resistance.

According to Rehab, Palestine will never be the same after resistance fighters broke out of the Gaza “cage” on October 7, 2023.

You can watch and listen to our discussion here:


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  • Lee Hammond

    Holocaust survivor Gabor Maté

  • Carol

    Thank you for providing this important and absent perspective. No one is listening to the Palestinians.

  • Eric Peter

    If anyone hasn’t seen Marc Steiner’s oh so relevant post on the Real News, here it is. It speaks my heart…

    Madness reigns over Israel/Palestine, in the place they call the Holy Land. As I write this, over 3,600 Palestinians and Israelis have been killed and over 8,000 wounded in the past week alone. My heart hurts, and I know yours are hurting too. There is a deep, bitter, and bloody irony to the fact that, when Hamas launched its attack on Israeli kibbutzim and towns by the Gaza border, many of the people murdered and kidnapped were Israelis on the Left, peace activists and their children. And as Israel relentlessly retaliates with mass indiscriminate bombings and the coming flattening of Gaza, the thousands of innocent Palestinians who will lose their lives or be wounded have nothing to do with Hamas.

    Israel’s birth was bathed in tragedy. As an idea, Zionism never really took hold among the Jewish people until the Nazi Holocaust. Survivors would not return to the lands of their death, the West did not want them, and so they came to Palestine, and a new state was forced into reality. As I wrote in a poem 55 years ago, “refugees creating refugees.”

    The Israeli Occupation of the West Bank is in its 55th year. The Palestinians in Gaza have been living in poverty, under the control of Israel, in what is tantamount to an open-air prison, since 1948, when refugees streamed over the border in the wake of the birth of the Israeli state. As Haggai Matar, editor of the online journal +972 wrote in The Nation this week, “The terror Israelis feel right now—myself included—is a sliver of what Palestinians have been feeling on a daily basis under the decades-long military occupation of the West Bank.” A sliver indeed… fifty-plus years of an ongoing Occupation that has meant continually, as a matter of course, advancing an ethno-religious-nationalist project of apartheid, displacement, and ethnic cleansing: demolishing or stealing Palestinian homes; uprooting olive groves and farms; imprisoning men, women, and children; regularly, indiscriminately, stealing their dignity and their lives.

    Nothing justifies the horrendous murders and kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli civilians at the hands of Hamas or other resistance groups. Nothing justifies the vengeful Israeli response that has already killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and cut off food, fuel, water, and electricity for the 2.2 million people living in Gaza.

    As a Jew, as someone who has worked for peace between Israelis and Palestinians for 50 years, my heart breaks and my soul is bleeding right now. I don’t want any of these people to die, I want the death to stop. And it will never stop so long as the Occupation continues.

    Often in history the greatest tragedies open the greatest possibilities for a new kind of future. That has to be the case here, it has to be the case now, because this can’t go on. There is no future down this road, only death. If we are going to fight for and on the side of life, the answer, I think, is some configuration of One State, Two Peoples, Three Faiths.

    • Robert

      Marc Steiner wrote :

      Israel’s birth was bathed in tragedy. As an idea, Zionism never really took hold among the Jewish people until the Nazi Holocaust. Survivors would not return to the lands of their death, the West did not want them, and so they came to Palestine, and a new state was forced into reality.

      Factually and historically wrong. As an organized nationalist movement, Zionism is generally considered to have been founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. However, the history of Zionism began earlier and is intertwined with Jewish history and Judaism. The organizations of Hovevei Zion, held as the forerunners of modern Zionist ideals, were responsible for the creation of 20 Jewish towns in Palestine between 1870 and 1897. At the urging of Lord Shaftesbury, Britain established a consulate in Jerusalem in 1838, the first diplomatic appointment in the city. In 1842, Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saints movement, sent a representative, Orson Hyde, to dedicate the land of Israel for the return of the Jews. Furthurmore, the first Zionist congress was held in 1897.

  • Agnes Davis

    Israel, or at least Zionists, have been treating the Palestinians and all who support universal human rights, in this manner, ever since they assassinated Count Bernadot of Sweden shortly after WWII.

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