HIGH DEMAND FOR KILLER SPERM IN ISRAEL

A Sick Aftermath of War
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“A man who serves in the army in a combat role is usually assumed to have impressive constitution which confirm the genetic aspirations of the women. They believe he will be fit, healthy, and have several other important attributes.” 

Given the increased demand for specialized sperm, the donors’ bank looked into its database and discovered that all donors had served in the IDF and half had served in combat roles.

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Gaza fighting prompts spike in demand for soldier sperm donations

Haifa hospital sees surge in requests for donors who served in combat roles in wake of IDF Operation Protective Edge.

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Operation Protective Edge has sparked a new wave of patriotism in Israel, and it seems that this sentiment has manifested in a slew of other fields, including sperm donations.

Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center has reported a rise in the number of women requesting special donations, and specifically asking for donors with a background as combat soldiers.

In addition to choosing the donor’s educational background, hair and eye color, the hospital also allows women to choose from donors with and without a military record.

“These women build a profile of what they feel is the ideal donor and the father of their future child,” said Dina Aminpour, head of the hospital’s sperm bank.

“It seems that the (Gaza) military operation and the stories the Israeli public was exposed to recently (about the IDF) have helped clarify some things for those requesting donations.

“It touches on the donors’ character, and military service seems to indicate something about a person,” she explains, saying the women affiliated army service with resilience, determination, altruism and resolve.

“A man who serves in the army in a combat role is usually assumed to have impressive constitution which confirm the genetic aspirations of the women. They believe he will be fit, healthy, and have several other important attributes.”

Given the increased demand for specialized sperm, the donors’ bank looked into its database and discovered that all donors had served in the IDF and half had served in combat roles.

Each month some 60 women turn to the sperm bank at the Haifa hospital, and as many as half – in recent days – have asked for a donor with a history of combat service; before Operation Protective Edge, the request was rarely made.

Now the combat criterion has become as important as height and educational background of the donor.

In recent years there has been a significant decrease in the sperm quality of men in Israel and the world, meaning there are less and less potential donors which can actualize the donation.

“On average, only 10 percent of potential donors are accepted,” explained Prof. Shachar Kol, who runs the artificial insemination clinic at Rambam – the largest hospital in the north which supplies sperm donations to fertility clinics for the entire region.

The problem with the sperm quality has led to a large shortage in donations and the need to recruit more and more men to donate. In the past year the hospital even hosted an exhibit hosted by Ynet.

Source

WHEN MURDER IS NOT ENOUGH

Captions say …. A good Arab is a dead Arab … kahane lives!

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Two videos have emerged showing Israeli police brutally beating a Palestinian youth in the Shuafat neighborhood of eastern occupied Jerusalem.

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The second video posted on Facebook by Quds News Network shows the same incident. It appears to have been shot with a mobile phone from an adjacent building.

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Many injured

Red Crescent medics said 170 Palestinians were injured since Monday, including three with live bullets, Ma’an News Agency reported.

Dozens were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, and three people suffered fractures after being assaulted by Israeli police officers, Ma’an News Agency added.

The brutal beating caught on video is reminiscent of an indelible image of a similar attack on a young Palestinian during the first intifada in the late 1980s.

 

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‘SO LONG, IT’S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU’ ~~ A PALESTINIAN LOVE STORY

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Sam Bahour adds this … 

Carol and Osama are good friends; it’s sad to see them leave, physically that is. I am constantly asked by visitors, what I think the ultimate goal of Israeli actions on the ground is. Well, this is it. The goal is for us to leave or vanish–no less. Given we will do neither, collectively, as a people, buckle up for the long haul. Humanity must prevail before peace pokes out its head.

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‘So long, Israel, and thanks for nothing’

As a Palestinian Israeli married to a Palestinian, we’ve been waiting for Israel to grant us permission to live together. 15 years later, forced to choose between homeland and family unity, we have finally left.

By Carol Daniel Kasbari
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Carol Daniel Kasbari and husband Osama with two boys.

Carol Daniel Kasbari and husband Osama with two boys.
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After fifteen years of waiting, my husband and I have finally begun our life together. We have left Jerusalem for good.

I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, raised in Nazareth. My husband is also a Palestinian, but unlike me, he is not a citizen of Israel. In fact, he is not a citizen of any country.

I met my husband, Osama Kasbari, in Ramallah in 1997 when I was a student at the Hebrew University, and the connection was immediate. After that first meeting, we spent three hours talking on the phone – about life, identity, language, home – and within a year, we were married.

We began the process of building a normal life, applying for “family unification,” a process under which non-citizens married to Israelis could gain temporary residency status and further on down the line become permanent residents or citizens. At the Interior Ministry office in Nazareth, we were told that the process would be quite simple: We were to live inside of Israel’s borders, pay taxes, obey the laws and within four years, my husband would be granted permanent residency. This is what we were told, and this is what we believed, so this is what we did.

My husband was granted an Aleph/5 permit, a temporary status which enabled us to live together. He was one of those “good Arabs,” according to the Shin Bet, who reviewed our application to renew his permit. Every year, before the permit expired, I would spend an entire week on the phone, until I finally reached the clerk who would schedule an appointment for us at the Interior Ministry. The grilling would begin on the phone, and end in a day-long visit to an office where we submitted a pile of papers that revealed every detail of our life: Three months of a protracted, demanding and exhausting process. It involved explaining every move and every payment we made. We felt we were at the mercy of clerks and strangers who passed judgment on our life choices. My husband couldn’t leave the country, buy a house and or even open a bank account or pay his own cellphone bill.

In 2003, weeks before my husband was scheduled to receive permanent residency, our dreams were shattered, along with other Palestinian couples like us. On July 31st, 2003, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai successfully passed the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order)” which categorically denied Palestinians from “the hostile areas,” meaning, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, the ability to receive residency or citizenship as a result of their partnership with a citizen of Israel.

The initial reason provided was purportedly connected to security: One man in such a situation had been involved in a bombing in Haifa. The law was scheduled to last for a year, with the option to be renewed for an indefinite period at the end of the year. No other Palestinian who is in a family unification process has acted any act of terror or assault since 2003, yet the emergency law has been renewed every year until this day.

We were devastated. We had come so close to achieving some degree of normalcy for our family, which by then had expanded to include my two little boys, and suddenly we found ourselves waiting, again, for a political decision that would directly affect our personal lives.

And we tried everything to change it: We appealed to the Interior Ministry; I met with people involved in politics, people of influence with whom I worked with as facilitator for groups in conflict. Everyone would say, yes, yes, that’s terrible, but they would not lift a finger to do anything for us. One senior consultant for the government told me, “You know, Carol, this is the most sensitive issue for the Jewish people, the demographic one. It will be very hard for anyone to help you.”

Eventually, we filed a petition to the Supreme Court. The judges, too, expressed sympathy for our case. They said it was terrible, it was unfair, that we deserved better, and they suggested to the State Attorney that we find a compromise outside of the court that would allow my husband receive permanent status. The latter rejected this suggestion immediately: If we find a compromise with them, he said, we will open up the floodgates, and set a “dangerous precedent.” Our appeal was rejected.

So was this law truly about “security,” or was it about demography? In 2012, the Supreme Court collectively rejected every appeal against the law. They acknowledged that the law violated the principles of equality, but, as Judge Asher Grunis wrote, “[H]uman rights are not a prescription for national suicide,” referring to the “demographic threat” to the Jewish State posed by people like my husband. The treatment of our issue was humiliating and dealt with as a disease and a threat to Jewish existence. We couldn’t tolerate it anymore.

This year, after 15 years of waiting and struggling, of living with insecurity, fear, and harassment, we decided that enough was enough. We did not renew my husband’s temporary residency. Instead, we left the country and started looking for a permanent life in a place where would be welcome, wanted and respected. We moved to the United States, and bought a house in Virginia, something we had realized we may never have been able to do in Jerusalem. We knew this decision would possibly carry life-long consequences, as my husband would not be allowed to return to Jerusalem or Nazareth anymore. I have given up my right to bring up my boys in this country or to live my life close to my family and friends. I haven’t given up on my Palestinian roots or on my homeland, but on the suffering of being minority in a country that doesn’t respect the rights of others who are not Jewish.

Now, when I return to Jerusalem for a visit, I feel numb. My family – and the thousands of other families like ours – had to make the choice between a normal, full life abroad and a temporary life in our homeland. That is a choice no family should have to make.

Carol Daniel Kasbari is a conflict transformation specialist and veteran facilitator for groups in conflict in the Middle East since 1995 and has spoken about her work in this TEDx talk in Jaffa. Born in Nazareth, she holds a Masters degree in NGO Administration and Public Policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is pursuing Ph.D studies at George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She currently lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband, Osama Kasbari, and their two children.
Written FOR

STEPHEN HARPER ~~ SINGING AND DANCING FOR APARTHEID

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As a Canadian citizen, this truly saddens and disgusts me  *

Harper Sings ‘Hey Jude’ At State Dinner In Jerusalem

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It’s fair to say Stephen Harper has received a “rock star” welcome on his first official visit to Israel.

And on Tuesday, he rocked out.

The prime minister took the stage at a state dinner in Jerusalem to perform some Beatles tunes on the keyboard, including “Hey Jude,” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on.

And judging by the videos posted online, it seems Harper’s musical stylings were warmly received by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

The Jerusalem Post described Harper’s performance as courageous.

Netanyahu posted a brief clip to his YouTube account.

Harper also dusted off an old classic, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

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FROM

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Related Report

DROWNING IN THE FECES OF ZION (VIDEO)

334590_Gaza-sewage

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Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.

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Video: As siege stops pumps, Gaza children wade to school in sewage

 Ali Abunimah
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This video shows children in the al-Sabra neighborhood in eastern Gaza City wading through streets flooded with sewage.Some make their way carefully across stones to avoid the fetid water, while others wade right in or are carried on the shoulders of older children.With their book bags on their backs, they are determined to get to school. The video was shot by Jehad Saftawi for the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) (imeu.net).

Siege stops pumps

Why is this happening? As Reuters reported on 14 November:

Children waded through sewage submerging the streets of a central Gaza neighborhood on Thursday, a day after one of the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s largest waste water treatment plants stopped for lack of fuel.

Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.

Egypt’s months-long crackdown on cross-border smuggling tunnels that used to bring fuel in cheaply has already forced Gaza’s only power plant to stop, meaning two weeks of daily 12-hour blackouts for the territory’s 1.8 million residents.

“This is the start of a catastrophe and unless the world listens to our cries, a real disaster may hit Gaza and its people,” Gaza municipality’s Sa’ad El-Deen Al-Tbash said.

“This is a humanitarian, not a political issue. Gaza’s children did nothing to deserve being stuck in sewage,” he told Reuters.

As a consequence of the blackouts Gaza children must also study in the dark.

“Health catastrophe”

While media are reporting that electricity blackouts are now 12 hours per day, the new situation is that for many people, power is out for 18 hours daily.

On 7 November the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warned of the dire impact on Gaza’s already strained healthcare system.

With grid power so compromised, most hospitals rely on generators but, MAP warned:

The majority of generators in Gaza’s hospitals were not designed to work for up to 18 hours per day and the Ministry of Health expects to encounter difficulties in maintaining them, especially those requiring spare parts, due to the restrictions of Israel’s blockade.

The fuel crisis is making it difficult for ambulances to continue operating and hindering the ability of medical workers to get to health facilities. Its impact on other essential services such as sewage and water pumping stations also poses a public health risk. 

The video above shows that for the children confronted with sewage in the streets, “risk” has turned into a grim reality.

This is no “natural” disaster. It is the result of the sewer-like politics of the region, where Israel, Egypt’s coup regime and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority collude, with US and EU complicity, to tighten the siege and with it the deliberate collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

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NO NEED TO APOLOGISE TO PALESTINE, IT JUST DOESN’T EXIST!

Of course, you can never please everyone. Within hours the blog on which the change was announced was bombarded with several messages demanding to know why there was still no mention of Palestine.
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The ‘old map’
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Scholastic Puts Israel Back on ‘Stilton’ Map

By Dave Goldiner

And the new one

Scholastic had already apologized for publishing a children’s book in its popular Geronimo Stilton series that included a map of the Middle East leaving out Israel.

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Stung by the fierce reaction, the publishing giant has gone one step further.

It reworked the animated map to include Israel. It also told parents it would replace copies of the book, ‘Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab’ with a new updated one including the new and improved map.

Or you can download a copy of the new Israel-friendly map and paste it on top of the old offending map. Plus there are options for getting a new e-book if you purchased the book online.

Or you can call a special hotline.

Got the message? The folks at Scholastic are really, really sorry about the snafu. And they really, really care about Israel.

Of course, you can never please everyone. Within hours the blog on which the change was announced was bombarded with several messages demanding to know why there was still no mention of Palestine.

Source

FALSIFYING LIFE IN GAZA

Rather than admit that life in the Gaza Strip was virtually destroyed by actions of the Israeli army, they now want you to believe that just the opposite is the case …. here is how they do it; 
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A few questions came to mind after reading the following ….
1. Where are the building materials coming from (and how are they getting through the closed border)
2. Where are the goods on sale coming from seeing as the siege does not allow goods to enter the Strip?
Does the IDF really believe we are all stupid??
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Israel army publishes fake image of huge “Gaza shopping mall”

Ali Abunimah
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An enormous shopping mall the Israeli army claims is in the Gaza Strip. (Source: IDF Blog)

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In one of its periodic efforts to deny the devastating effects of its siege of Gaza, the Israeli occupation army published a blog post on 12 August claiming that Palestinians in Gaza are “out in force, enjoying themselves in sparkling new malls, beautiful beaches and hotels, and doing their shopping in pristine grocery stores and markets heaving with fresh produce.” (Screenshot of entire “IDF blog” post).

The “IDF blog” includes the impressive photo above of a shopping mall where Palestinians in Gaza are supposedly shopping for the latest imported fashions.

I showed the photo to The Electronic Intifada’s correspondent in Gaza, Rami Almeghari. His reaction: “I can assure you that there is no such mall in Gaza.” Rami is quite right.

Fake image

If you do a Google Image search using the image from the “IDF” blog post, the same image turns up associated with the Metro Plaza shopping mall in Kolkata, India as well as several other places. 

 

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kolkata

A Google image search turned up many examples, like this one, of the image associated with other malls.

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Where is it really?

But the “Gaza mall” photo published by the Israeli army is actually an image of the Suria KLCC Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as numerous user-generated photographs on the travel review site TripAdvisor.com attest.

You can also see many people shopping at the mall – in Malaysia – in this video:

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Israeli army sources: anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic blogs

Before publishing it on 12 August on its English-language website, the Israeli army published the same post in French on 4 August.

It was then published by the anti-Palestinian website Tribune Juive the same day.

But some of the material had already circulated on many other Islamophobic websites long before.

For example, the same Kuala Lumpur mall photo, purportedly in Gaza, appeared on a virulently Islamophobic blog called “Barenaked Islam” in April 2012, and was disseminated on Facebook by “Geert Wilders supporters,” a page dedicated to the Islamophobic Dutch politician.

It also appeared on “Religion of Peace,” another anti-Muslim hate site.

It would appear that the Israeli army gets its information about Gaza from Islamophobic hate sites.

Forced dependency

The Kuala Lumpur shopping mall is vastly bigger than any commercial facility anywhere in Gaza.

But another image, the supermarket shown on the “IDF” blog, appears to be the Metro supermarket in Gaza. I didn’t visit it, but I did visit the Abu Dallal supermarket in Nuseirat refugee camp.

I was told that Abu Dallal is one of largest supermarkets in Gaza. By American, European, or Jordanian standards it is not very big, smaller than an average CVS or Boots drugstore.

More important than its size, however, is that like other stores in Gaza, it is packed full of Israeli goods.

That’s one of the ways the Israeli blockade creates dependency: While Gaza industry and agriculture are devastated by the siege, Israel is happy enough to see its own companies profiting from people in Gaza, siphoning off what little income they have, whether from work, humanitarian aid or remittances abroad, by selling them Israeli goods.

Poverty and dependency are the real effects of siege

But Israel is much more restrictive when it comes to supplies that meet basic needs and could allow Gaza to move out of dependency. There is, for example, a shortage of 250 schools for Gaza’s children, which cannot be built due to the lack of building supplies.

And the reality is that while there is food in Gaza, “severe poverty has increased over years of closure and because of travel restrictions,” Gisha, an Israeli nongovermental organization that monitors the siege, noted in a recent factsheet.

More than 70 percent of the Gaza population receives some form of humanitarian aid, compared with one third in the year 2000.

For imports of raw materials and many basic goods, Gaza’s economy remains heavily dependent on underground tunnels to Egypt, as I saw myself during my visit, and as Gisha also documents.

Since the Egyptian military coup on 3 July, the Egyptian army, which works closely with Israel, has been instensifying its effort to destroy the tunnels.

Exports crushed

Israel continues to crush Gaza’s export industries. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has allowed a total of 94 trucks out of Gaza in 2013 – that’s about a dozen a month from a population of almost 1.7 million people. Insignificant.

By contrast, in 2007, the year before the siege began to bite, more than 5,000 trucks were allowed out of Gaza. In 2001 it was 15,000.

Cynical propaganda

The Israeli army’s cynical propaganda is supposed to distract people from the fact that the vast majority of people in Gaza live in deep poverty and a very precarious economic situation, without electricity for 8-12 hours per day, and depend on humanitarian aid, due to Israel.

Gaza’s per capita annual GDP is just over $1,000 dollars. Compare that with $32,800 for Israel.

The lesson: learn the facts and don’t be taken in by Israeli army fabrications.

With thanks to Twitter user @sallyidwedar who initially spotted “IDF” fakery, and Omar Ghraieb for answering my queries about Gaza’s supermarkets.

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SOLDIERS DESECRATE THE MEMORY OF RACHEL CORRIE

Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”

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Israeli soldiers have depraved “fun” making “Rachel Corrie pancakes”

Ali Abunimah 

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Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”

Photos of the event were posted on the Facebook page of the “Heritage House,” a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem that houses so-called “lone soldiers,” men recruited from overseas to join the Israeli occupation forces.

Nesim Pesarel, one of the “Heritage House” residents, seen in a photo from his personal Facebook page.

Above the photos of young men, some in Israeli army fatigues or apparently carrying guns, is the caption “Afternoon of ‘rachel corrie’ Pancakes and fun!”

Rachel Corrie is the young American woman murdered by an Israeli soldier who crushed her to death with a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family home in the occupied Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003.

The depraved joke that these men were presumably making is a play on the English idiom “flat as a pancake.” Their celebration and joking about Rachel Corrie’s death is utterly vile and reflects the culture of dehumanization inculcated into Israeli soldiers.

Ben Packer, the director and rabbi of “Heritage House,” hit back at some negative comments about the images, posting this response:

In honor of the all the hate messages from the anti-Israel/Jewish crowd, one of our supporters has pledged $5 towards Israeli settlements (maybe for additional bulldozers) for each additional comment. keep’em coming anti-semites! We love our Israeli soldiers and will not back down in the face of those who attempt to endanger them!

Packer added, “Anti-Israel activists are all in a tizzy about these pictures! makes them even funnier!!!”

The page also appeals for donations “to support our guests and ‘lone soldiers.’” Residents of the “Heritage House” settlement also take part in colonization activities in other parts of the occupied West Bank, including Hebron.

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Alex Winston is the “den mother” of The Heritage House men’s dormitory. Alex Winston is a member of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade.

Nesim Pasarel (right with weapon) and Jonathan Leibovits (seated)

 

(Update: The gallery was removed shortly after the publication of this post.)

The true face of the “IDF”

In recent months, The Electronic Intifada has highlighted incidents of Israeli soldiers using social media to advocate brutal violence, and acts of sadistic torture and murder of children.

The Electronic Intifada also revealed images soldiers posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram of nudity, drug use and violence and most notoriously of a Palestinian child seen through the scope of a sniper’s rifle.

This week, the army began investigating a video posted online of Israeli soldiers frying a small bird alive, an act that had no purpose but gratuitous animal cruelty.

Israeli army attempts to halt social media scandals

The “Rachel Corrie pancakes” photos provide yet another window into the Israeli army’s culture of violence and come just as the occupation forces have tried to staunch the flow of embarrassing incidents on social media that have hurt its propaganda efforts.

The campaign, which includes this YouTube video, urges soldiers to “improve their image online.” 

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The voiceover in the video commands:

Soldier! Improve your appearance! Always remember: You are the face of the IDF. So improve your appearance – online!

The IDF is glad to invite you to get connected, share, love, tweet, respond, and show the pretty face of the IDF.

So go into the official pages and send us pictures, videoclips, and stories. The IDF on the Internet. One army, everybody’s face.

The “lone soldiers” at the Heritage House settler-colony have clearly not got the message.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for assistance with research and translation and Benjamin Doherty for assistance with research.

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PALESTINIANS ARE THE FIRST TO SUFFER UNDER EGYPT’S NEW GOVERNMENT

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff  (Freedom for whom???) 
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The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.
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Egypt deporting Palestinians trying to return to Gaza

by Ali Abunimah 

A Palestinian woman waits at the closed Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 5 July.

 (Eyad Al Baba)

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Palestinians trying to return home to the Gaza Strip via Cairo airport are being deported by Egyptian authorities to the countries they flew in from, at their own expense.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.

In recent days, militant groups in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula have repeatedly attacked Egyptian army posts and checkpoints.

Yousef M. Aljamal, a writer and occasional Electronic Intifada contributor, was among those deported. Aljamal was returning home to Gaza from New Zealand, where heparticipated in the recent Conference on Palestine in Auckland.

Aljamal tweeted about his deportation from Cairo, back to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where he had stopped in order to obtain an Egyptian visa.

He reported seeing other Palestinians sent back to Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia and Canada, among other countries.

on Twitter

The Palestinian government in Gaza has appealed to Egyptian authorities to re-open Rafah, citing thousands of Palestinians, including many pilgrims, stranded away from home.

Even before the latest crisis in Egypt, conditions at the crossing have remained difficult and unpredictable, with “Mubarak-era cruelty” remaining the norm.

Anti-Palestinian campaign intensifies in Egypt

The deportation of Palestinians comes as campaigns against Palestinians are intensifying in Egypt.

Anti-Palestinian campaigns in the Egyptian media are not new, as Joseph Massad wrote last August. They have included outlandish claims that shortages of basic supplies including fuel and medicines for Egypt’s 83 million people are caused by supplies being sent to Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians.

The volume has however increased amid the ongoing crisis. Rumors circulated by Egyptian media and social media accuse Hamas – without evidence – of sending operatives to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood government.

Such rumors have led to false accusations and deportations of Palestinians living in Egypt,as the Egyptian journalist Fahmy Howeidy reported in a 7 July article in Egypt’s Shorouk News.

Howeidy concludes his powerful piece with these observations:

Who is the party that is keen to terrorize and humiliate Palestinians and fabricate charges against them in Egypt? And what is its interest in doing this? And why is there no clear political stance to stop these humiliations? My information is that there are elements within the Palestinian security apparatus still working against the government in the Gaza Strip and trying to malign it and bring it down.

There are also elements within the Egyptian security services – whose arms reach into the media – who despise Palestinians and sneer at resistance, and who cannot bear to hear the name of Hamas because of their relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. And these parties have rebounded lately, for well-known reasons. This leads to ask who they represent and to what extent they are connected with the deep state whose elements do not cease for even a day from spreading hatred between Egyptians and Palestinians in violation of all national and ethical norms.

Syrians, as well as Palestinians, have also been targeted by such rumors and campaigns.

As Egypt slips further into political chaos, Palestinians stranded abroad are hoping they can get home without falling victim to the increasingly poisonous atmosphere.

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ZIONIST HARASSMENT ON THE WALLS …

Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?
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Israel’s racists step up attacks on Palestinian citizens

David Sheen *

Men stand near wall sprayed-painted with graffiti

Graffiti reading “Arabs out” and “Racism – Assimilation” in Abu Ghosh, 18 June.

 (Jim Hollander /EPA)

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Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?

Are attacks on these communities reprisals for anti-Semitic attacks that emanate from them? Is it because the sons of Wahat al-Salam crash cars into Jews? Is it because the youth of Jaffa perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israelis? Is it because the residents of Abu Ghosh provide protection to anti-Zionist suicide bombers?

The attacks listed in the first paragraph of this article actually occurred, but the ones listed in the second paragraph are totally false — I just fabricated them. No residents of these communities have been accused of committing crimes motivated by nationalism — or anti-nationalism, for that matter.

Even if any of them had been, it would not justify the collective punishment of these communities. But it would at least provide motives for attacks on these communities, motives that some Israelis might sympathize with: “revenge” for prior attacks on Jews, “intimidation” to prevent future attacks on Jews.

But again, residents of these communities are not suspected of having committed any hate crimes against Jewish Israelis. So what could be the motive for attacking them? In addition to the prescriptive messages spray-painted in previous attacks — “Arabs Out” and “Death to Arabs” — the perpetrators of the most recent acts of vandalism also included another slogan, one that does point to motive: “Racism or Assimilation.”

“Racism or assimilation”

For outsiders unfamiliar with the internal Israeli discourse, this phrase needs to be parsed. The vandals have posited these two nouns — “racism” and “assimilation” — as either-or options for Jewish people living in Israel. Aligning themselves with the first option, the perpetrators are acknowledging that their attacks on Palestinian communities are motivated by racism, and they are calling for more of the same. The other option, the alternative to racism, is the choice that they loathe: assimilation.

What is this creature called assimilation, and why do these self-professed racists hate it so much? Assimilation is simply the process by which individuals, or groups of individuals, adopt ideas from other individuals and groups of individuals. These racists want to prevent Jewish people from adopting ideas of other people because they want all Jewish people to adopt their own ideology: Jewish Dominionism.

Dominionists seek to transform the State of Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy. The current government, a relatively secular regime that grants extra privileges to Jewish people on the basis of their ethnicity, is insufficiently Jewish in their opinion. The Dominionists want all affairs of state and all public spaces in Israel to conform to the rules of Orthodox Judaism.

If the Dominionists’ dreams were realized and they were able to forge the face of the state, what would it look like? At the first public conference of the Dominionist “Derech Chaim” movement in March, I listened to the movement’s leaders flesh out their shared vision for the future. They bemoaned the legal obstacles that hinder the accomplishment one of their main objectives: physically separating Jewish citizens from non-Jewish citizens in Israel.

Segregation

Dominionists do not make up a majority of the Jewish population in Israel; if they did, they would already have turned Israel into a full-fledged theocracy. But their desire to physically separate Jewish people and non-Jewish people into separate areas is shared by the secular segregationists, who do make up a majority of the Jewish population.

Secular segregationists do not want the country to be governed under the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism, but for their own racist reasons they would prefer to not have to see any non-Jewish Arab people as they go about their daily lives. When they seek medical attention at hospitals or recreation at amusement parks, there seems to be an increasing consensus among the majority of Jewish Israelis that religious segregation is a positive phenomenon.

To be sure, there are parts of Israel in which Jewish people and non-Jewish people choose to live close to each other and get along fairly well. They are few and far between, but they exist, and among them are Abu Ghosh, Jaffa and Wahat al-Salam. It is precisely because Jews and Arabs live there in relative peace that these communities are attacked. It is the option of Israelis and Palestinians living in a multicultural environment that the Dominionists want to eliminate.

If the government of Israel not only enabled segregation but also simultaneously enabled groups of Jews, Arabs and others to establish multicultural institutions and heterogenous communities, it could at least claim to be adhering to a libertarian interpretation of the right to equal treatment under the law. But there is only one such Palestinian-Israeli intentional community in the entire country — Wahat al-Salam — and as its first Palestinian resident told me just days before he died last year, it exists not because of the Israeli government’s efforts, but in spite of them.

While (what are likely) disorganized groups of Dominionist hooligans carry out physical attacks on mixed Arab-Jewish communities like Wahat al-Salam, highly organized groups of Dominionist activists move into mixed Arab-Jewish towns across the country with the avowed objective of preventing “assimilation” and eventually driving out the non-Jewish residents (Amy Teibel, “Devout Israeli Jews moving to Arab-Jewish cities,” Associated Press, 4 October 2012). And in the last three years, top Israeli political and religious leaders have stepped up their efforts to segregate areas of the country into Jewish and non-Jewish.

Racist rulings

In 2010, first dozens, and then hundreds, of chief rabbis on the government payroll issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to non-Jewish people. The rabbis justified their racist ruling by citing passages of the Bible which call for ethnic cleansing the land of Israel and implementing complete racial segregation (Deuteronomy 7). Their ruling still stands, and no disciplinary action was ever taken against the rabbis.

In 2011, Israel’s parliament, the Knessetpassed the Communities Acceptance Law, colloquially called the “Kaadan Loophole Law,” because it circumvented the Kaadan case at the high court, which made it illegal to bar a person from purchasing property just because he or she comes from a different culture. The new law granted hundreds of villages in Israel the right to veto home sales on the basis of the buyer’s background.

new government bill currently being debated in the Knesset would permit Israeli businesses to give preferential treatment to people who have served in the army. Although the law would also have a negative impact on some other groups, it is a thinly veiled attempt to sanction discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who, as a rule, do not serve in the military. If the law is enacted, it would essentially extend the legal right to segregate by religion to land developers in any area of the country, including downtown Tel Aviv.

After last week’s embarrassing attack in Abu Ghosh, just as a long list of Hollywood stars were visiting Jerusalem only a couple of kilometers away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the attack, saying that it contradicted the values of the Israeli people, and of the Jewish religion (“PM: ‘Price tag’ attacks contradict values of Jewish people and state,” The Jerusalem Post). While that may be true for some Israelis, and for some adherents of Judaism, these racist attacks are clearly in sync with the values of large number of Jewish Israelis, including secular segregationists such as Netanyahu himself, and the Jewish Dominionists that are his power-brokering political partners.

*David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Dimona.

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EVERYDAY ISRAELI APARTHEID … MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.

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Everyday ‘Apartheid’ and the Liberal Dream

By Larry Derfner

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The following items appeared in the Israeli media this month: Superland, an amusement park outside Tel Aviv, makes a policy of reserving separate days for Israeli Arab high school classes and separate ones for Israeli Jewish classes. A Jewish community pool in the Negev refused to admit a group of Bedouin children with cancer because, in the words of the manager, the patrons have a problem with that “sector.” In a hidden-camera investigation by Channel 10 news, branches of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, refused to allow three out of five Israeli Arab customers to transfer their accounts to a branch in a predominantly Jewish area, while routinely allowing all the Jewish customers to do so.

I have to admit, I am surprised. I didn’t think it was this bad.

I didn’t think the racist practices against Arabs in Israel — not Palestinians in the West Bank, but people who live in “Israel proper” as citizens — were so deeply entrenched. Unless I’m extremely mistaken, this sort of thing doesn’t, couldn’t, go on in the United States, or Canada, or other Western countries that Israel likes to think of as its peers in the democratic world.

No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.

There’s a lot more where that comes from, of course — Israeli Arabs looking for jobs, looking for apartments, trying to get into a nightclub, trying to reserve a table at a restaurant. It’s a matter of luck, of which Jew in a position of power they happen to come across.

Two out of the five Arabs at Bank Hapoalim got lucky, the other three didn’t. The five Jews, of course, didn’t need luck.

As the saying goes, it is what it is.

What does this state of affairs say, for instance, about Israel’s blanket defense of “security” in ethnically profiling Arabs (along with all other gentiles) at Ben-Gurion Airport? How much of the true reason for that is security, and how much is straight-up racism? (And – sorry to come back to that old duel – but how much is the security problem responsible for Israeli racism, and how much is Israeli racism responsible for the security problem?)

And what does the past week’s news say about the popular claim that not only isn’t Israel an apartheid country, but that it’s anti-Semitic to even suggest so?

Finally, what does all this say to the liberals? What does it say to those (including me) who want to believe that if this country just ends the occupation, if it allows a Palestinian state to come into being in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, if it goes back to living within its old, pre-Six Day War borders, its spirit will be healed?

Larry Derfner is a journalist in Israel who blogs for +972 Magazine.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT APARTHEID

 It’s much worse than you thought it was …
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Politicians have voiced outrage following revelations that an amusement park in central Israel segregated students from Jewish and Arab schools by having them attend on separate days. …..Outrage at the discrimination or the fact that it was exposed?
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And what about this? No outrage?? … There is even a website called Avoda Ivrit — Hebrew Labor — that boasts a database of 2,000 businesses nationwide that only employ Jews. The website administrators did not respond to a message from the Forward, but one of the advertisers, the owner of Jerusalem restaurant Shipudei Hagefen, spoke enthusiastically about its Jews-only staffing policy. Zion Anovil said that he introduced the policy 10 years ago and has found it “good for business.” Diners, said Hagefen are “more satisfied,” have “more confidence,” and like the policy from the point of view of service and ideology. “There’s no legal problem — I can hire who I want,” he insisted.
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Amusement Park Discrimination May Be Tip of Iceberg in Israel

Businesses and Web Sites Openly Cater to Jews Only

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THINKSTOCK

By Nathan Jeffay

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TEL AVIV — Politicians have voiced outrage following revelations that an amusement park in central Israel segregated students from Jewish and Arab schools by having them attend on separate days. But civil rights activists say this discrimination is more common than many realize.

After learning that, for years, Superland in Rishon Lezion has been keeping schools from different sectors separate, Education Minister Shai Piron declared himself “shocked at the face of such acts that have no place in Israeli society.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a Cabinet meeting June 2 by condemning the “phenomena of racism against Israeli Arabs.”

But according to Nadeem Shehadeh, attorney for the Israeli Arab nongovernmental organization Adalah, the incident at Superland doesn’t reflect a phenomenon — just everyday life. “This case isn’t unique,” he said. “What is unique is that it got to the media.”

The government’s practice of unequal allocation of resources between Jewish and Arab sectors is well documented. It was acknowledged bluntly in the findings of the Or Commission, a government panel appointed specifically to expose these practices, in the report it released a decade ago. But activists contend that discrimination by the private sector and by other service providers goes largely unchecked.

“There is no safeguard for equality,” Mohammad Zeidan director of the Arab Association for Human Rights, complained to the Forward. “And therefore there is a clear open window for discrimination.”

Israel did establish, in 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. But with just 11 employees, it is seen by critics as largely reactive rather than proactive. Its activities consist mainly of non-discrimination training for employers who volunteer for this; it does not identify patterns of discrimination or look for offenders. It has initiated fewer than six cases a year on average in the labor courts.

Janet Shalom of the EEOC said her agency was established “in order to receive complaints and through that enforce equal opportunity in the workforce.” The commission is nevertheless seeking “to enlarge its authority,” said Shalom, by having employers complete voluntary reports on their hiring practices.

Activists contend that instances of discrimination are obvious.

Ads for services in trade directories, for example, will commonly use phrases like “Hebrew labor” and “blue and white labor” to signal to readers that they employ only Jews. The former was a slogan of Zionists in the pre-state era who were proud to work their own lands and make their own products, and while the latter refers to the Israeli flag, it’s widely understood to mean that the employees in question are Jewish.

There is even a website called Avoda Ivrit — Hebrew Labor — that boasts a database of 2,000 businesses nationwide that only employ Jews. The website administrators did not respond to a message from the Forward, but one of the advertisers, the owner of Jerusalem restaurant Shipudei Hagefen, spoke enthusiastically about its Jews-only staffing policy. Zion Anovil said that he introduced the policy 10 years ago and has found it “good for business.” Diners, said Hagefen are “more satisfied,” have “more confidence,” and like the policy from the point of view of service and ideology. “There’s no legal problem — I can hire who I want,” he insisted.

In fact, the law is clear. At least on paper, Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Law forbids discrimination on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, views, party affiliation and reserve duty in the army.

Nevertheless, on Janglo, a website for English-speaking immigrants in Israel, some businesses dispense even with the euphemisms. “You have finally found the BEST and ONLY ALL JEWISH MOVING SERVICE for your moving needs,” one listing declares.

The Jewish Moving Service, which placed the ad, promised to get back to the Forward with a comment, but failed to do so. Janglo’s administrator, Zev Stub, insisted that the moving company’s ad message “is not one of employment discrimination,” adding, “We refuse messages that violate the law.”

The EEOC and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor “do not see the mentioned advertisement as an acceptable one,” the ministry told the Forward on behalf of both agencies.

Public pressures has forced some changes. Until April 2012, Ben Gurion Airport, the country’s aviation gateway, instructed taxi companies not to send drivers from “minorities” — that is, the Arab sector — to the airport. The rule was canceled after its existence became public. But the airport’s contract with the Hadar taxi company, which serves the facility, still specified that the company could hire only drivers who had performed army or national service, which the vast majority of Arabs don’t.

Arab cab driver Youssef Atallah argued last August that unless specific military experience is needed to do the job, a demand that the job be restricted to army veterans violates equal opportunity law. After Atallah complained to the EEOC, the airports authority canceled the employment criterion.

Still, a national service record continues to be a common requirement in all sorts of jobs, from high-tech to restaurant work.

“In military-related jobs, [that’s] okay,” said Auni Banna, a staff attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. “But you don’t need to have been in the military to know how to wash dishes.”

Zeidan, of the Arab human rights group, said that politicians venting their outrage at the Superland incident as if it were some rare occurrence have missed an opportunity to tackle more pervasive discrimination.

“The politicians and the prime minister talk against it, and that’s it,” he said. “But it’s not as if anyone says, ‘Let’s go to the root and deal with the problem.’” In Zeidan’s view, the government, parliament and courts need to become “proactive.”

Some Israeli Arabs claim that properties suddenly become unavailable when it appears to the would-be seller that that the buyers are Arab. More blatantly, in 2010 dozens of rabbis — including some who are state-salaried — signed a letter claiming that renting or selling to non-Jews violates religious law. Piron, the same education minister who condemned the Superland discrimination — and who is also a rabbi — wrote in an online halacha forum in 2002 that religious law prohibits selling homes to Arabs. Piron has said that he no longer stands by his ruling.

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WHY DID MALCOLM X SAY THIS?

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Here’s one reason …. (one that wasn’t reported in the Western media)
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Children with cancer barred from Israeli swimming pool for being Arab

 by Ali Abunima
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An Israeli public swimming pool has refused entry to a group of children with cancer because the children are Arab.

The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar, wanted to surprise a group of 20 Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabu’im village in the south of the country.

Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.”

Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies.

The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.” The report added that Ben-Gurion University agreed to allow the children to use its facilities.

Racism at public facilities in Israel

This shocking incident came to light just days after it emerged that another Israeli facility, the theme park Superland, segregates Jewish and Arab students on separate days.

While Arab and Jewish children in Israel attend separate and unequal schools, racial segregation in public facilities like parks or pools is not mandated by law as it was in apartheid South Africa or the United States. But Palestinian citizens of Israel have habitually faced discrimination.

As for millions more Palestinians living under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel’s strict closures, sieges and permit system effectively bar them from most recreational facilities, parks and beaches in historic Palestine.

In recent years, Palestinian and Israeli women have challenged these draconian movement restrictions by going on “illegal” trips to the beach together.

The latest cases of swimming pool racism are reminiscent of an incident caught on video last year when Palestinian families were turned away from a resort near the Dead Sea as Europeans, Israelis and dogs were allowed to enter freely.

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WHY WOULD CARLOS LATUFF SAY THIS?

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Here’s just one of many reasons …. Notice how it’s denied after being admitted;
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Amusement park denies entry to Arab teacher, students

Superland Rishon Lezion is trying to minimize damage after its decision not to allow Arab students in its gates on certain days caused tumult. Education Minister to discriminated teacher: I’m shocked

Shahar Chai

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A Jaffa school teacher complained that Superland Rishon Lezion prevented him from buying tickets for Arab students, a complaint which was followed by the amusement park’s management admission that the park is open to Jewish schools on certain days and Arab schools on other days. The park management released another statement on its Facebook page Thursday morning, announcing that the policy, which provoked fierce public criticism, will be reexamined.

“Throughout most of the year, Superland is open to the entire public without any difference to different segments of the population,” the management tried to explain the discrimination.

“In June, various schools ask to use Superland grounds to hold end of year events. The Superland management received requests from both Jewish and Arab schools to conduct the events on separate days. We have taken the requests into consideration and this month a few different days were set for different sectors. However, in the next few days, we will reexamine the decision to agree to these requests.”

The exposure of this discrimination led the Chairman of the Education, Culture and Sports Committee MK Amram Mitzna to hold an urgent hearing on Monday. Mitzna called on Education Minister Shai Piron to stop schools from sending their students to Superland and the mayor of Rishon Lezion to take legal actions against the discriminators. “This behavior is a slap in the face of the efforts to deal with racism within Israeli society,” said Mitzna.

‘No place in Israeli society’

Piron himself spoke on the phone with Khaled Shakra, the Jaffa high-school teacher who exposed the story. The minister said: “I’m shocked at the face of such acts that have no place in Israeli society. I see a joint life, between Jews and Arabs, as one of the fundamental values of the Declaration of Independence. Values of equality, partnership and tolerance are at the heart of the Education Ministry’s policies.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon referred to the story on his Facbook page: “When I hear the teacher who was discriminated against at Superland, and when I read Superlan’s unprecedented response, I ask myself how any one of us would respond if in any other country there would be a discrimination in parks between regular and Jewish schools. I believe I would be as shocked and ashamed as I am now.”

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, operating a venture to promote coexistence between Jews and Arabs, responded to the discrimination: “It is important that the Education Ministry send a clear message that there should be no activity in or with places that racially segregate between Jewish and Arab students.

Minister Piron spoke last week in front of the Knesset Education Committee about the importance he finds in programs that bring Jewish and Arab students together, and the severe incident at Superland highlights the urgency in implementing these measures in the education system.”

HaShomer HaTzair youth movement decided in response to these events that its thousands of members would not go to Superland as part of their summer camps. Hashomer Hatzair spokesperson Ofer Neiman said that “racism is a criminal and sick act that must stop leading the discourse in the Israeli public. If the Superland management conducts a proper investigation and deals with those responsible for this embarrassing behavior we will reconsider our collaboration with the park.”

The National Student and Youth Council said “this is contempt of the Israel democracy. Here, on our piece of land, to which we returned after many years of persecution and discrimination, it is inconceivable we would do the same thing. We call on school principals to cancel any agreements with Superland and demand the company operating the park to renounce this criminal act.”

Source

WELCOMING THE STRANGER IN ISRAEL, UNLESS THEY ARE BLACK

The Torah, (not the King’s Edition) clearly states in Deuteronomy 10: 19 You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Those that read only hatred in the Torah are not only destroying it, but are destroying the Jewish people as well.
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The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people.

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Israel’s Heartbreaking Policy to African Asylum-Seekers

Nation Founded by Refugees Now Turns Its Back on Them

Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

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Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

By Leonard Fein

Meet Omer Olivier. Mr. Olivier is an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been living in Israel for the last seventeen years without official status. Although he has filed a request to be recognized as a refugee, his lack of recognized status means he cannot work legally nor get medical services.

And so, typically, it goes for those who claim refugee status in Israel. In recent years, there have been 4,322 applications for refugee status; according to Physicians for Human Rights, three have been processed and approved. (The figures are murky. A different report estimates between 35,000 and 38,000 asylum seekers, the vast majority of whom, knowing how slim are the odds that they will actually be processed, let alone approved as “legitimate” refugees, have not applied for asylum. Of those who have applied, less than one percent have been processed and accepted as refugees.)

The stumbling block is Israel’s refusal to examine people who claim refugee status on a case-by-case basis. By Israel’s preferred definition, asylum seekers are in fact infiltrators. So much for being gracious to the stranger.

I met some of these “infiltrators” in a day-care center in Tel Aviv in mid-April. They are stateless people, unable to return to Eritrea for fear of arrest and worse, unable to establish legal residence in Israel. The ones I met were four years old. Thousands more, children and adults, are housed at a massive detention facility in the Negev, which I plan to visit on my next trip to Israel.

Often, the argument put forward in defense of Israel’s restrictive policy is demographic: Israel would be overrun were its doors to be opened. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu has inexplicably asserted that these people are “a threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.”

One obvious problem with this argument is that Israel is today a country with a population of more than eight million, and nowhere near the verge of being overrun, still less so were there a more thoughtful path to legal status.

Instead, Israel has determined that Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, the main asylum seekers, are simply not eligible for Refuge Status Determination, as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of Refugees, which Israel ratified on October 1, 1954. And when the terms of reference of that Convention were broadened in 1967, Israel ratified that, too, on June 14, 1968.

The Knesset Information Center acknowledges that Israel is the only developed country that uses temporary collective protection as an alternative to granting asylum on an individual basis, even though the guidelines of the UN High Commission on Refugees clearly state that granting collective protection does not relieve a country of its responsibility to guarantee basic social and economic rights to asylum seekers.

The collective “protection” currently imposed on Eritreans and Sudanese is, in effect, a deferred deportation order; those who are “protected” by it lack work permits, health insurance and welfare benefits. That means that Israel must somehow deal with the 60,000 asylum seekers in Israel who have survived the trek through Sinai, where many have been repeatedly raped or otherwise abused. Once in Israel, they congregate in poor neighborhoods where two-way resentment festers.

The problem: Israel makes the conferral of basic social rights contingent on at least legal residence. The unprocessed asylum seekers lack legal residence, hence lack access to health and social services, are cut off from all local social service frameworks, are barred from legal employment. This drives very many of them into an existence of indigency and want, renders them dependent on charity and non-profit social assistance organizations. Some women find their way to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which reports that many require gynecological attention in the wake of their experience of rape and abuse.

This is not the case in many other countries, where legal status and social benefits are de-linked. While awaiting a ruling on their legal status, asylum seekers in most developed countries enjoy many or all the social rights due a citizen. That is definitively not the case in Israel. After being detained for months or even years, they are given a document that explicitly states that they lack the legal right to work. Lacking the legal right to work, they enter the unregulated job market, where they are often underpaid and overworked and not protected by labor laws and where they are dependent on a network of volunteers for health care.

Plus: The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.

The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people. Israel is easy to love — but too often it breaks your heart.

Source

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website

MEDICAL RACISM IN ISRAEL

It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.
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Medical racism: Israel hospital director complains that too many African babies are being born

 by Ali Abunimah
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Israelis chant “Sudanese Back To Sudan” during a right-wing demonstration against African refugees in south Tel Aviv, 30 May 2012.

 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.

Israel’s Maariv reported yesterday the official’s comments in Hebrew:

“In Tel Aviv, today, there live approximately 80 thousand infiltrators from Africa, who constitute about 15 percent of the city’s population. In the last year about 700 babies were born to Eritrean and Sudanese mothers, and we currently have an average of about two births a day,” thus reported today Professor Gaby Barabash, director of the Ichilov Medical Center, in a hearing the Knesset held by the lobby for returning the infiltrators.

The problem is that they closed down the fence, but they did not close down the natural growth, and the number of Eritreans born here rises from year to year,” said Barabash.

Barabash’s use of the term “infiltrators” as a general term for Africans marks his comments as part of the long-standing campaign of racist incitement by Israeli leaders and officials that has resulted in horrifying demonstrations and pogroms targeting Africans in Israel, many of whom arrive as refugees.

In December, David Sheen profiled Israel’s “racist ringleaders,” the political leaders and public figures most responsible for racist incitement.

Barabash’s comments are also in keeping with the general outlook in Israel where it is socially acceptable to define the births of non-Jewish babies as undesirable or as a “demographic threat” to the so-called “Jewish and democratic state.”

Even more disturbing, Barabash played on common racist tropes of Africans and people of color as bearers of diseases, recognizable from racist discourses in other places and times, including traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric:

Professor Barabash reported high percentages of intrauterine deaths, and also contagious viral diseases among the delivering mothers: tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. The African population constitutes one third of the new cases of AIDS carriers [sic] diagnosed in Israel, and half of the cases of malaria carriers.

All of this testimony was taken at a parliamentary hearing organized by members who voice vocal support for mass expulsions of Africans and for the construction of a desert prison camp to hold them.

Recently, women of Ethiopian origin have accused Israeli officials of forcing them to take long-term contraceptives, allegations that came to light following an investigation into the precipitous drop in births to Ethiopian women in Israel in recent years.

A long tradition of Israeli baby-hatred

Barabash’s shocking comments also recall those made by Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, a senior researcher at the Israeli government’s Armaments Development Authority at the Herzliya Conference in 2003, who called for Israel to “implement a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population.”

Ravid added: “the delivery rooms in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba,” an area with a large Bedouin population, “have turned into a factory for the production of a backward population” (“Herzliya conference sees verbal attacks on Israeli Arabs,” Haaretz, 18 December 2003).

Palestine’s indigenous Bedouin population has long been the target of Israeli forced removal from their lands and other racist practices.

And as David Hirst wrote of Prime Minister Golda Meir in his classic book The Gun and the Olive Branch, “The Palestinians’ birth-rate was so much higher than the Jews’ that her sleep was often disturbed, she would say, at the thought of how many Arab babies had been born in the night.”

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation and analysis.

 

 

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THE SETTLERS FAVOURITE ‘WHINE': THERE ARE ARABS NEAR MY HOUSE

No-whining
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A glimpse into what Palestinians have to live with as their villages shrink to provide ‘room’ for the illegal settlers ….
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The video unintentionally provides a glimpse of the racist and colonial conditions Palestinians live under, where settlers – many from the United States – are happy to exploit Palestinian labor, but only under armed guard lest the oppressed natives revolt against the masters.
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Video: Racist West Bank settler whines that there are Arabs near his house

 by Ali Abunimah
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I came across this video posted on YouTube titled “Arab Workers in Susiya Unattended.” Susiya is an illegal Israeli colony founded in 1983 in the southern occupied West Bank on land stolen from the 200-year-old Palestinian village with the same name whose inhabitants have been harassed and expelled by settlers and the Israeli army for years.

The videographer appears to be a settler who speaks poor Hebrew with a heavy North American accent.

He marches out of his house toward a man who, it would appear, is Palestinian, and demands, “where is the guard?” The man gestures, and the videographer replies, “Inside?” before marching off toward a building that is under construction.

There the videographer approaches a man who is wearing a Jewish skull cap and tells him: “There are Arabs by my house. Why can’t I go out of my house? There is no guard. I don’t like this. I don’t accept this.”

The videographer again demands, “Where is the guard? where is the guard?” The man in the skullcap who has a pistol on his belt assures him, “I am the guard,” but the videographer sounds skeptical.

Sadly most settlements are built by Palestinians who have few other economic opportunities.

Colonial reality: A screenshot shows a glimpse of a settler’s pistol as a Palestinian laborer carrying construction supplies passes in the background.

 

The video unintentionally provides a glimpse of the racist and colonial conditions Palestinians live under, where settlers – many from the United States – are happy to exploit Palestinian labor, but only under armed guard lest the oppressed natives revolt against the masters.

It is an old story, as old as colonialism itself.

 

 

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ZIONISM: PRIMARY CAUSE OF DEATH IN PALESTINE TODAY

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The following report has some truth to it; the Palestinian prisoner did die of cancer complications. What the report doesn’t tell you is that it was a rare type of cancer known as zionism! In any civilised society a sick prisoner is allowed to get treatment in a hospital. In Israel he is allowed to die.
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In accordance with autopsy findings – carried out at the Abu Kabir Institute for Forensic Medicine – the Health ministry reported that the findings reveal that the cause of death was complications due to an existing condition of cancer there was no evidence of bruising.
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On Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the death of the terminally ill security prisoner.
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Autopsy reveals: Palestinian prisoner died of cancer complications

Findings of Abu Kabir Institute for Forensic Medicine reveal that cancer with metastasis throughout the body was behind death of Palestinian terrorist Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh who died on Tuesday

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Full (biased) report from Ynet can be read HERE

DENIAL OF WOMEN WHO PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST

With all the holocaust denial we read and hear about, here’s a new twist  from a section of the Jewish ultra orthodox camp. Censoring of photos seems to have become acceptable among them since they cut Hillary Clinton out of photos last year…
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Hillary Before …
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Hillary After …
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Now this …
The original …
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Where are the two women in the photo? …
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I just have two questions for those who are committing this assault on women’s dignity. First, how exactly is it that you are honoring the memory of a dead woman — murdered by the Nazis — by implying that her appearance serves as an inappropriate sexual temptation to men? And are you going to continue with this horrendous practice until you have totally erased women out of recorded Jewish history — past, present and future?
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Even Women of Holocaust Get Blurred

By Renee Ghert-Zand

The Sisterhood has covered Haredi exclusion of women from the Israeli public sphere for some time now. When it comes to the removal of women’s images from public view, we’ve seen the disappearance of women from advertisements; the photoshopping of female leaders like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out of news photos; the blurring of women’s and girls’ faces on memorial notices and even the erasing of a pair of women’s shoes from an innocuous photo of a family’s shoe drawer.

But now this practice has reached a high — or, rather low — point with the blurring out of the face of a woman in a Holocaust-era photo. Ynet reported that the Haredi newspaper “Bakehillah” (In the community) censored the face of Matilda Goldfinger, the woman who appears to the left of the little boy wearing a yellow star with his hands raised in the iconic photo documenting the final liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in May 1943, following the Jewish uprising there that began on the first night of Passover that year. Goldfinger’s daughter Henka (Hannah) was killed moments after the photograph was taken.

The paper ran the photo with a story profiling Aryeh Ludwig Simonson, who is one of the five men who claim to be the boy in the iconic photo (historical researchers have been unable to definitively identify the boy). Simonson is a retired former El-Al employee living in London.

In response to inquiries from Ynet, Avraham Dov Greenboim, editor of “Bakehillah,” said the blurring of the woman’s face was appropriate, given that the article was focused on the little boy. “In addition, we honor the memory of victims of the Holocaust, and we also respect our readers and only put in front of them what they need and want to see,” he said. The paper, along with other Haredi publications, operate under the watchful eye of a “spiritual commission” that ensures “modesty.”

I didn’t think the modesty police could stoop any lower than erasing the face of a female terror victim, but now they have done just that with the blurring of the face of a woman who was the victim of terror on a genocidal scale.

I just have two questions for those who are committing this assault on women’s dignity. First, how exactly is it that you are honoring the memory of a dead woman — murdered by the Nazis — by implying that her appearance serves as an inappropriate sexual temptation to men? And are you going to continue with this horrendous practice until you have totally erased women out of recorded Jewish history — past, present and future?

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IF YOU KNOW AN ARAB DON’T EVEN TRY ENTERING ISRAEL

I again asked why I was being deported. “Security.” “But what’s the reason?” “Security. That’s all I can say.”
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‘Do you know any Arabs in London?’ Israeli airport authorities grill British photojournalist before kicking him out

by Mark Kerrison
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“I don’t pretend to know night-time from day, but if I were your God I’d have something to say” (Ben Gurion Prison, 14th March 2013)

These words, scrawled inconspicuously on the wall just above my head amid a plethora of other graffiti, drew my eyes as I sat on a dirty, broken bunk in an Israeli ‘facility’.

Or at least that’s what the Israelis call it. In my lexicon, rows of cells with no door handles on the inside and double bars across the windows are found in a ‘prison’.

That’s where I found myself on 13th March, six hours after arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport at the start of a photographic holiday.

Initially, things were as I would have expected on arrival in Israel.

At about 4 pm, I waited patiently in a queue to have my passport checked with a colleague from work that I had met by chance on the plane.

I stepped forward and was asked why I was visiting Israel and whether I’d visited before. I told the immigration official that I was visiting as a tourist and that I’d visited before as a child and in 2011.

This answer sufficed for him to tell me that my passport was being retained and that I should direct myself to a room in a quiet corner of the immigration hall for “a few more questions.”

I was surprised – I’ve travelled extensively without problems – but aware that security at Ben Gurion airport is quite unlike anywhere else in the world. I was also uncomfortable at having surrendered my passport, aware that this ran contrary to UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice because of the risk of passport cloning by Israeli authorities.

At first sight, the room indicated by the immigration official wasn’t too unwelcoming; generic airport seating and a drinks vending machine for those who travel with currency. Every seat was taken, though. I wasn’t sure if that was reassuring or not.

However: a young German female and I were the only Caucasians present. Travellers to Israel were being selected for interrogation based on their racial or ethnic profile. This appalled me and I set about counting. During the six hours that I was to spend in and around that room, 25 travelers were similarly detained; only three of us were Caucasian.

My turn for interrogation came at 6:40 pm, 2½ hours after my arrival.

“Mark, come.”

I followed a young Israeli woman in uniform into a small office. We sat at either side of a desk and a computer. On my left sat two casually dressed males. I was later informed that they were officers from Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.

“Why did you come to Israel?” the woman started aggressively.

“For a much-needed holiday, a photographic holiday,” I replied calmly.

She failed to understand and asked me to speak up.

I repeated my answer, just as loudly and clearly as I had the first time.

It was already clear that no pleasantries were on offer in this office.

“Where are you going in Israel?”

I told her that I would first spend two or three days in and around Jerusalem, visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to pray for my brother (I explained why) and traveling to Bethlehem and Masada, before moving on to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Galilee and, I hoped, Eilat.

I was, of course, faced with the usual conundrum for anyone arriving in Israel wishing to include the West Bank as part of an itinerary. Mention any West Bank destination other than Bethlehem and you will be refused admission to Israel; fail to mention it and have it suspected and you will be refused admission anyway. I did also intend to visit the West Bank.

“Who do you know in Israel?”

“No one.”

“How long in Israel?”

“About three weeks.”

“What? Three weeks in Israel? Three weeks is too long! No one comes for three weeks to Israel!”

I considered pointing out that the Israeli Ministry of Tourism might see things differently, but thought better of it.

Instead, I repeated that I had three weeks in which to see as much of the country as I could.

One of the two men intervened.

“And the Gaza Strip? And the West Bank?”

“I am not visiting the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” I said firmly but politely.

I felt as though I had been catapulted into a scene from a cheesy spy thriller, but although uncomfortable at being forced to state only a partial truth, I remained completely calm.

“Where are you staying in Israel?” the woman resumed.

I told her the name of my guesthouse, that I had booked two nights and handed her a copy of the reservation.

“Why only two nights?”

I explained that I only ever book one or two nights when I travel, so that I can plan my holiday on the fly and stay longer in places that I like.

“Where have you traveled this year?”

“Paris, Prague, Dublin and Turkey.”

“How can you travel so much? It’s not possible that you can travel so much.”

I explained that some of my trips were for work rather than for pleasure.

More intrusive questions followed, about my family, my marriage and family holidays.  Almost every question was followed by an inevitable “Are you sure?”

One of the men stood up.

“What about the Gaza Strip? When did you go to the Gaza Strip?”

“I have never been to the Gaza Strip,” I replied calmly.

At times, their interrogation, although intimidating, bordered on caricature.

The woman resumed.

“Is it your first time in Israel?”

“No. I came with my school when I was 13 and again in 2011.”

“Why did you come with your school? Are you a teacher?”

“No, I was 13!”

“What’s your job?”

I told her that I work in consumer electronics; I didn’t tell her that I also freelance as a photojournalist.

“When was the second time?”

“2011.”

“How long in Israel?”

“Two weeks.”

“Where did you go?”

“Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Bethlehem.”

“What? In two weeks? Only Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Bethlehem? That’s not possible!” she mocked.

I explained that it would easily have been possible to spend the entire two weeks in Jerusalem, so much was there to see in and around the city. I added that this was the main reason for me returning to see more of Israel.

“No one comes to Israel more than once!”

Another strapline for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Other questions followed in quick succession.

I told her the name of the convent where I had stayed and that I had spoken to people in restaurants and shops as well as to other guests in the convent.

I reeled off a couple of random first names from memory and told her that we had spoken about Jerusalem’s religious and other tourist sites.

I recall thinking that it was a bit like conversing with a persistent toddler.

One of the men intervened.

“So you didn’t meet any Palestinians?”

“No, I didn’t,” I said clearly, gathering that there must be some kind of prohibition on speaking to Palestinians.

“Are you sure?”

“Very sure.”

“So if I take your phone I won’t find the names of any Palestinians?”

“No, you won’t.”

“It’s better if you tell me now because if I find them you’ll be in big trouble.”

I repeated my answer.

“Do you know any Arabs in London?”

“I have friends from many different countries owing to my work and studies.”

“What about Mohamed?”

“Mohamed? Who’s he?” I laughed.

He asked for my phone.

For an instant, I considered refusing – this seemed beyond the bounds of reasonable questioning – but any refusal would have been pointless.

He seemed satisfied with a quick check. I later discovered that he had used £5.00 of my PAYG credit without asking permission.

The woman asked me to write down my name, home phone number, mobile phone number, home e-mail address, work e-mail address, father’s name and grandfather’s name.

One of the men asked if I had any other e-mail addresses.

“No.”

“A facebook account?”

I had read an article suggesting that Israeli immigration officers ask travelers to open e-mail and facebook accounts for them to trawl, so I opted to say that I hadn’t.

This was a mistake.

He showed me on-screen an old e-mail address of mine entered in the sign-in page of a facebook account.

I started to explain, entirely truthfully, that I’d not actively used the e-mail address for years and that the facebook account has always remained entirely blank, but he cut me short and yelled at me from close proximity.

“You’ve been lying since the moment you walked through the door! Everything you’ve said has been a lie! Either you start to tell me the truth or you’re going to find yourself in serious trouble. I can make things very difficult for you. If I refuse you entry to Israel, you will have problems in many other countries. You will have to answer lots of questions about why you were refused entry to Israel. Now, tell me about your time in the West Bank. Who did you meet? Which Palestinians did you meet? Which Israelis did you meet? I want names. NOW!”

I repeated, quite simply, that I had not visited the West Bank.

“GET OUT! GET OUT!” he snarled at me.

It was about 7:25 pm. I shrugged my shoulders and walked outside.

He returned ten minutes later with my phone.

“You will not be entering Israel tonight.”

I sensed that there would be no tomorrow.

A shocked fellow detainee asked him why but he walked away.

On the face of it, I had been denied entry because I had forgotten about an e-mail account unused for years and a never-used facebook account; neither contained a single reference to either Israel or Palestine.

At 7.55 pm, an immigration officer led me to the baggage handling area.

The left-luggage attendant joked that he had completed a claim form because my rucksack had remained unclaimed for so long.

I guess he must repeat the same joke every day.

I was then led to a large room, closed to prying eyes. Everything was white. It contained a huge x-ray machine and a long row of tables.

I said that I didn’t have a laptop but that, as a photojournalist, I was carrying a lot of photographic equipment. This was the first time I mentioned that I also freelance as a photojournalist.

My luggage was x-rayed.

Two intelligence officers started to rifle through my rucksack with an electronic device as I was gestured into a small room by the immigration officer.

“Empty your pockets.”

I pulled out some British coins and my press credentials. My passport still hadn’t been returned to me.

I was then asked to remove my shirt and shoes and to unbutton my fly. I fixed the official in the eye as if to question this and he indicated that I should proceed.

I’d never been subjected to a strip search before.

Not in Soviet Russia. Not in Albania. Not in Latin America. Not in the US.

Only in Israel.

He patted me from head to toe and then swabbed me with an electronic device, including around my genitals.

An unwelcome invasion of privacy for me as a Caucasian male, I pondered how degrading and invasive this process must be for other travelers.

The contents of my rucksack and hand luggage had now been security-checked and were strewn all over the tables. I was asked to repack. Just the paraphernalia of modern life required by any backpacker on holiday.

Minus my bottle of water – they’d thrown that away.

At 8.25 pm, I was escorted back to the original room in the immigration hall. There were free seats now. An immigration official sat near to me.

A Muslim woman waiting when I arrived just after 4 pm was still there. There was no change in the ethnic profile of those waiting.

I had had no access to a toilet for over 5 hours and no food for 12 hours.

I phoned my guesthouse, knowing at least that I would no longer need accommodation that evening. I told them that I had been detained by Israeli immigration, that I did not know why and that I may or may not be allowed through the following day.

When I finished the call, the immigration official informed me that I was being deported. He apologised that I had not been told before and pointed out that he was not in charge. I asked him whether he knew why I was being deported; he said he didn’t.

At 9:20 pm, a female intelligence officer entered the room.

She also informed me that I was being deported and said that my flight to the UK would leave at 5 pm the following day.

I again asked why I was being deported.

“Security.”

“But what’s the reason?”

“Security. That’s all I can say.”

At 9:55 pm, two men told me that they were taking me to a ‘facility’ where I could eat and sleep.

One smiled as he read a form bearing my photo given to him by an intelligence officer.

“What did you do? Did you throw stones at the soldiers?”

I explained that I had just arrived in Israel on holiday and asked him if the form explained why I had been denied entry.

He said that my refusal came not from Israeli immigration but from the Shabak. I later learned that Shabak is another name for Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.

I was transported to a prison in the back of an armored prison van, a journey of around 10 minutes from the airport.

Once there, a warder told me to leave my baggage downstairs and to take only my money and any jewellery. I could not take my stomach medication.

He asked my nationality and why I was there. I told him that I was from the UK and that I had come to Israel on holiday.

He offered me food – which I refused in protest at my unjust detention – and then apologized as he showed me to my cell, adding before he slammed the door that I should bang on the door if I needed anything.

It was 10:20 pm, over six hours after my arrival.

The lights were off, but I could see that the cell contained three double-bunks. Two were half-occupied and the occupants were trying to sleep.

I sat on the free bunk.

The cell stank of urine. There were double bars on the window. The door had a peephole but no handle on the inside. I could see a toilet and a basin. The walls of the cell and the underside of the bunk above me were covered in graffiti.

I used the toilet – my first opportunity for seven hours – and settled down to meditate on my bunk. I knew I wouldn’t sleep so I didn’t even try. I later discovered that I had been bitten by bed bugs merely from sitting on the filthy bunk.

As the night wore on, I could periodically hear other inmates shouting and banging on the doors of cells in the same corridor. Some of the voices were female. The only response I ever heard was an unsympathetic “Go to sleep!”

Two more men entered at around 7 am. They talked to one of the other occupants in Russian.

As daylight started to penetrate the barred window, I could see more of my surroundings. My bunk was broken in several places and there were bare electric wires sprouting from the wall right next to my head.

I began to read the graffiti. Those detained here had come from all over the globe. There were so many different languages represented.

I was shocked to think that all these people were being deported.

Much, if not all, of the text was harsh in its condemnation of Israel and its human rights record. I noticed a number of slogans calling for a ‘Free Palestine’. The few anti-Semitic comments and swastikas sickened me.

My eyes were most drawn, though, to some words in small, inconspicuous lettering immediately above my head: “I don’t pretend to know night-time from day, but if I were your God I’d have something to say.”

I found these words comforting and I memorized them.

I refused breakfast and lunch and tried to explain to my cellmates – only one of whom spoke a few words of English – that my refusal was in protest at my unjust detention. I should not, in any case, eat without my stomach medication.

I was sharing the cell with a Thai and three Moldovans. The Thai was being deported after four years in Israel and one of the Moldovans after ten years.

At 10 am, a cleaner arrived and we were ushered out of the cell. The Thai and one of the Moldovans left for their deportation flights. I joined the other two Moldovans for a quick cigarette outside, amusing myself with the thought that this was the only sun I would see in Israel. They also left an hour or so later.

At 4:10 pm, 24 hours after my arrival, a warder informed me that I was being taken to catch the 5 pm flight to London. He granted me access to my stomach medication. I had difficulty swallowing it without water. I hadn’t drunk any water for well over 24 hours.

I sat alone in a sealed compartment in the middle of an armored truck. Two immigration officers sat in the front, one carrying handcuffs.

We passed through a number of security checkpoints.

At one, the door to my compartment opened.

“Hello,” said a very young Israeli woman.

I returned her greeting with a smile and had a strong sense that she found it difficult to imagine that I had done anything wrong.

I hadn’t.

Maybe she had that feeling every time she saw someone pass in one of those armored trucks on their way to a deportation flight.

At 5:45 pm, I was escorted across the tarmac towards my flight, the first passenger to board.

One of the immigration officers explained that my passport would be handed to the captain, only to be returned to me when we reached the UK.

I was greeted by the Easyjet crew at the top of the mobile stairway. The captain handed me my passport and smiled.

“You’re on British soil now,” he said.

I still don’t know for sure why I was denied entry to Israel.

I imagine, though, that Israeli intelligence Google-searched my human rights photojournalism in advance of my arrival and decided not to interrogate me around that as to deny access to a holidaying photographer is less likely to attract criticism than to deny access to a photojournalist.

Until such time as our Governments apply genuine pressure on Israel to permit travelers to openly state on arrival that they wish to visit the West Bank without risk of being denied entry, I fear that other people, too, may find themselves in the same distasteful predicament.

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