COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF THE BDS MOVEMENT

Their work is done .... time to move on

Their work is done …. time to move on

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Originally I was going to headline this post A SMALL STEP FOR MAN, A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND …. AN EVEN GREATER LEAP FOR THE BDS MOVEMENT.

BUT

I must say that when we call for a boycott of companies situated in the Occupied West Bank we are calling for a boycott of the occupation itself. It is not our intention to put these companies out of business, just to get them out of lands that do not belong to them or Israel.

SO

In reality, the workers of SodaStream are victims of Collateral Damage in our ongoing war against the occupation. The workers of the plant involved, both Israeli and Palestinian have our sincerest wishes that they will soon find suitable employment elsewhere … they were certainly not our target.

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Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

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SodaStream gives the following reason for the closure of their plant; Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

No mention of the fact that their company has been the number one target of the BDS Movement over the past year or so. Obviously consumers in the United States are opting against the occupation which is definitely unhealthy!

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Similar protests to these were held throughout the world on a regular basis

sodastream_flickr_img

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Below is a Reuters Report on the situation. You will notice that there is no mention the role that our Movement played in their decision. They are obviously proud losers, when in reality the workers involved are the true losers. There is also no mention of them in the report.

Despite the outcome of this, our efforts will continue globally to boycott the occupation until it ends!

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SodaStream Will Shut West Bank Factory

Onetime Start-Up Nation Star Cuts Costs Amid Financial Woes

By Reuters

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SodaStream, the Israeli at-home soda machine maker, is closing its controversial West Bank factory as part of a cost-cutting campaign amid poor financial results.

The beverage machine maker cut its 2014 revenue and profit forecasts after reporting a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings and said it would restructure to spur a return to growth.

Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

“Our third quarter performance was pressured by challenging selling conditions for soda makers and flavors primarily in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Daniel Birnbaum said, adding that performance outside the United States was mixed.

Birnbaum announced a “comprehensive growth plan” meant to return SodaStream to profitable growth.

As part of that plan, the company said it would be shutting down and relocating operations from two facilities into a new plant. It would also discontinue certain beverage makers and flavors at a cost of about $20 million to the company.

The financial impact of those two moves will be spread out from the fourth quarter into 2015.

“We are fully committed to getting the company back on track,” Birnbaum said.

It was reported in July that SodaStream was in talks with an investment firm to be taken private in a deal valuing the company at $828 million.

SodaStream’s shares received a boost last week when it said it would sell some PepsiCo Inc brands such as Pepsi Homemade, that are not sold in stores in a limited test.

SodaStream said third-quarter revenue was $125.9 million, down from $144.6 million a year earlier. net profit was $9.5 million versus $16.4 million a year earlier.

The company lowered its forecast for all of 2014, saying revenue was expected to decrease about 9 percent from $562.7 million in 2013, and profit was expected to drop about 42 percent from $42.0 million in 2013. Previously the company had forecast a 5 percent drop in both revenue and profit from 2013.

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Related post from the JTA

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Boycott Israel Activists Claim Credit for SodaStream Factory Closing

Company Points to Fizzling Profits in Cost-Cutting Move

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is closing its West Bank factory — and anti-Israel activists claimed credit for forcing the move.

The company, which makes home soft drink machines, made the announcement about its Maale Adumim facility on Wednesday. It also said that its third quarter sales had dropped 9 percent.

SodaStream said that closing the West Bank factory would result in a $9 million savings in production costs. A second factory in the Galilee also will be closed.

CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in September that the decision to shut down the West Bank factory would be based solely on economics.

The operations from the two plants are slated to be relocated by the end of 2015 to a new facility in Lehavim, a Negev community near Beersheba in Israel’s South. The company will receive a government subsidy for its operations in the new plant. The Lehavim plant is expected to employ a significant number of Bedouin Arabs.

Birnbaum told The Associated Press that the company is working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for its Palestinian employees from the Maale Adumim factory so that they can work in the new plant.

The company also has a plant in Ashkelon and 20 others around the world. There are currently about 1,100 employees in the Maale Adumim plant, including 850 who are Arab-Israelis or Palestinians.

SodaStream was at the center of controversy following the signing of actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman and the ensuing furor over its West Bank factory. Johansson resigned as a global ambassador for Oxfam over her position with SodaStream.

“We have witnessed a tremendous growth in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts this year to pressure Israel to ends its denial of Palestinian rights,” Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 400 groups, said in a statement. “Today’s news is just the latest sign that these global BDS campaigns are having an impact on changing the behavior of companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

Kudaimi said that SodaStream would remain a target of boycott efforts since its factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Negev desert for Bedouins, “thus still implicating the company in Israel’s displacement policies.”

GITMO # 2 ~~ TURNING GAZA INTO A SUPER-MAX PRISON

Gaza – Maus Image created by Gianluca Costantini

Gaza – Maus
Image created by Gianluca Costantini

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Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

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How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

ROLLING ALONG WITH THE OCCUPATION

The term apartheid does fit Israel

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

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The usual business of occupation is indeed unequal separation. Itʼs separation between the citizens of the occupying country and the residents of the territory being occupied. Separate buses might be the bitter icing on an even more bitter cake. But thereʼs little new here. The business of occupation rolls along, as usual.

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Separate Buses? That’s How Occupation Rolls.

By Mira Sucharov FOR

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Getty Images

As of next month, Israel will operate separate buses for Palestinian residents of the West Bank returning from jobs as day laborers in Israel, thanks to political pressure from West Bank settlers who donʼt want to ride on the same buses as “Arabs.” The question is: Should we care?

Settler leaders claim that the move was due to aggressive and uncouth behavior by Palestinian passengers, coupled with an overall concern for Jewish passengersʼ security. According to a report in Haaretz, one settler told a meeting of a Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, convened by MK Motti Yogev of the Jewish Home party, about having been sexually assaulted by a Palestinian rider. Another complained that his pregnant wife was not given a seat by Arab passengers. Others were worried that Palestinians on buses could lead to hijackings, or worse. But IDF officials insisted they did not see the Palestinian presence on board these buses as a security threat.

In a democracy, of course, an official report of sexual assault should result in an investigation and possibly individual charges being laid. An informal report — as this one was — might lead a municipality to intensify its safety and surveillance measures. But to collectively deny an entire ethnic group the right to travel on some buses would be collective punishment, rightly considered prejudicial.

Israelʼs rule in the West Bank, however, is far from democratic. Palestinian residents of the West Bank arenʼt Israeli citizens, which means that the normal democratic channels arenʼt open to them from the get-go.

Under the terms of the Oslo agreement, it is true that the Palestinian Authority rules over part of the West Bank (Area A). The rest is controlled either jointly (Area B) or fully (Area C) by Israel. And while most Palestinians reside in Areas A and B, Area C comprises over 60% of the West Bankʼs territory, and includes nearly 300,000 Palestinian residents.

Within the areas controlled by Israel, there is a system of roads dotted with checkpoints. Most roads are accessible to both Israeli citizens (including settlers) and Palestinian residents. But 65 kilometers of West Bank roads are accessible only to Israelis. (Whether this means “Jewish-only” roads is a matter of debate. Technically, Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal access. But in practice, given that some roads are intended for settler access, and settlers are Jews, some roads are de facto Jewish-only.)

As for the checkpoints — 99 fixed checkpoints as of February, plus hundreds of “flying checkpoints” — they control who gets to cross over the Green Line into Israel proper, thus helping keep Israelis secure. But, along with physical obstructions put in place by the military administration, they also restrict travel within the West Bank by subjecting Palestinians to humiliating searches and long lines. Add to this the so-called separation barrier snaking around the settlements, and Palestinian freedom of movement — even within the West Bank — is curtailed by a foreign power.

So about those separate buses: Should we care?

For my part, as someone who is concerned with human rights for both Palestinians and Israelis, I would say this: not really. The buses are simply a function of the overall system of occupation that inherently denies the Palestinians the basic human right of being ruled by the entity that represents them.

Recall that a Palestinian caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli military court. An Israeli caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli civil court. Add to this that neither court — military or civil — contains officials representing the regime that Palestinians have elected, and we have an overall situation that is fundamentally unacceptable from a moral, political and ethical standpoint. (Itʼs worth noting that the Palestinian Authority is also to blame for not having held elections since 2006, partly owing to the Fatah-Hamas split.)

Itʼs no wonder that BʼTselem, the Israeli human rights watchdog organization, issued a 2014 report called “47 Years of Temporary Occupation.” Accordingly, the current head of the organization, Hagai El-Ad, told me in an interview last month that he is seeking to challenge the view of the occupation, in the minds of Israelis, as constituting nothing more than “business as usual.”

The usual business of occupation is indeed unequal separation. Itʼs separation between the citizens of the occupying country and the residents of the territory being occupied. Separate buses might be the bitter icing on an even more bitter cake. But thereʼs little new here. The business of occupation rolls along, as usual.

#SettlementExpansion ~~ SAYING THIS BUT MEANING THAT …

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

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Be sure to read yesterday’s post

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According to the Israeli watchdog group Who Profits, “In October 2010, in an official letter to Who Profits, Africa-Israel stated: ‘Neither the company nor any of its subsidiaries and/or other companies controlled by the company are presently involved in or has any plans for future involvement in development, construction or building of real estate in settlements in the West Bank.’ However, the company soon after received a 78 million shekel contract to construct the C-Jerusalem project in the settlement neighborhood of Gilo in East Jerusalem.”

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Diamond magnate may be lying about Israel settlement pullout, activists warn

Construction site of Africa Israel housing project in the Gilo settlement, occupied east Jerusalem, 28 August 2013. (Ta’ayush)

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The campaign group Adalah-NY has given a skeptical welcome to reports that Africa Israel, the company controlled by diamond magnate Lev Leviev, has pulled out of all its settlement construction activities in the occupied West Bank.

According to a statement from Adalah-NY, Israel’s Ynet reported this week “that representatives from Africa Israel (AI) and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus, targets of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, say they will stop building Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.”

But, the statement warns, “this announcement – undoubtedly the result of seven years of pressure generated by Adalah-NY and allied groups worldwide and a sign of the growing strength of the BDS movement – should be greeted with vigilance because Africa Israel has in the past made similar statements that proved to be untrue.”

Lying to Norway

In 2010, Norway’s government excluded Africa Israel and its subsidiaries from eligibility to be included in the portfolio of a state pension fund because of the firm’s role in settlement construction.

In August 2013, the ban was lifted based on assurances from Africa Israel that these activities had stopped.

But video, photographic and documentary evidence emerged that the company was lying and in January this year, based on this evidence, Norway reimposed the exclusion.

Adalah-NY points to another instance of Africa Israel engaging in deception about its practices. In September 2013, the firm told the UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre that the settlement of Gilo built in the occupied West Bank should not be considered a settlement at all.

“Given Africa Israel’s pattern of falsely representing its settlement construction to the public, and even to the Norwegian government, and AI’s disagreement with international law and the international community over the very definition of a settlement,” Adalah-NY says “careful monitoring and review of Africa Israel’s work over a substantial period of time is required before AI’s statements today are accepted as accurate.”

Ongoing ties to colonization

Additionally, according to occupation watchdog Who Profits, Africa Israel “owns 26 percent of Alon Group, which has a monopoly over gas supply to the Gaza Strip, and controls the Blue Square retail chain, which has branches and offices in multiple settlements throughout the occupied territories.”

And, notes Adalah-NY, Africa Israel chair Lev Leviev is co-owner of a separate settlement company, Leader Management and Development, which “owns and operates the Israeli settlement of Zufim, which has been built upon the expropriated, fertile agricultural land of the Palestinian village of Jayyous, as well as the land of neighboring Palestinian villages.”

Adalah-NY, which began its campaign against Africa Israel’s occupation profiteering in 2007, also states that Leviev’s companies have been “involved in human rights abuses and unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia.”

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER ~~ SO IS PALESTINE!

Blood diamond mogul Leviev says he won’t build beyond the ‘Green Line’ ….. but which side of the line is he talking about?

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Image created by Gianluca Costantini

Image created by Gianluca Costantini

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Africa Israel has come under a boycott since 2008 because of its operations beyond the Green Line. That same year, UNICEF announced it was cutting ties with Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who had sponsored a portion of the UN organization’s activities, because of “his involvement in the building of settlements in the West Bank.”

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Lev Leviev, center, launches a new Africa Israel project (Photo: Courtesy of Africa Israel)
Lev Leviev, center, launches a new Africa Israel project (Photo: Courtesy of Africa Israel)

Business powerhouse Africa Israel: No building beyond Green Line

Sources in company say such investment is not economically viable; move comes after years of boycotts of company due to operations beyond Green Line.

Ofer Petersburg FOR

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Africa Israel Investments staged an event on Sunday to announce a significant expansion of its construction projects in central and West Jerusalem – 935 housing units at an investment of NIS 2.4 billion. The biggest noise, however, came from Oren Hod, CEO of Africa Israel Residences, who surprisingly announced: “We won’t be building beyond the Green Line.”

This change in policy does not apply only to the company’s entrepreneurial arm, Hod’s domain, which hasn’t been significantly active in such areas in any event, but to its executive arm, too, including the Danya Cebus construction firm, which also built for other companies. The decision means that Africa Israel will not participate in new tenders in Pisgat Ze’ev, Har Homa, Gilo and parts of Ramot.

The main reasons behind the Africa Israel decision are believed to be the political and security developments in Jerusalem in recent years, coupled with protests around the world against the company due to construction beyond the Green Line. According to Africa Israel sources, another reason for the decision is that construction in those areas is not economically viable.

Danya Cebus, a subsidiary of Africa Israel, has carried out construction projects in East Jerusalem in the past. Among other places, the company has built in Har Homa, Gilo, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and Adam, and was also responsible for a huge neighborhood, East Matityahu, in Modi’in Illit.

Africa Israel has come under a boycott since 2008 because of its operations beyond the Green Line. That same year, UNICEF announced it was cutting ties with Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who had sponsored a portion of the UN organization’s activities, because of “his involvement in the building of settlements in the West Bank.”

Also in 2008, Dubai threatened to sever ties with Leviev’s agents in the diamond trade abroad following demonstrations by the pro-Palestinian Adalah organization. And subsequently, following reports that the British Embassy was planning to lease a property from Africa Israel, a columnist in the Guardian newspaper wrote: “Rewarding Leviev with the contract for our new embassy shows that Her Majesty’s government is not serious about stopping Israeli settlements.”

In 2009, BlackRock UK, one of the world’s preeminent asset management firms, sold all its Africa Israel stock, despite having held a large stake in the company. According to reports, the move came as a result of pressure from the three Norwegian banks that market BlackRock funds. In 2012, New Zealand-government investment funds that turn over investments to the tune of some $20 billion joined the boycott.

In 2011, Adalah-New York demanded that the Fashion Institute of Technology, which was staging an exhibition of British designer Daphne Guinness’ clothing at the FIT’s museum in New York, reject funding from the LVD Foundation, headed by Leviev. “We feel confident that you do not wish to tarnish the good name and the good works of the Fashion Institute of Technology by associating yourself with Lev Leviev’s companies’ human rights violations and questionable business practices,” Adalah-NY wrote in its appeal.

Last January, the Norway’s Finance Ministry announced a boycott of the company and its removal from the investment portfolio of its Government Pension Fund Global after the Norwegian Council of Ethics found that Africa Israel is active in East Jerusalem. The pension fund is managed by the Norwegian central bank and is designed to ensure more efficient and equitable utilization of the Norwegian oil money.

“The decision to exclude Africa Israel and Danya Cebus from the fund stems from their contribution to significant violations of human rights in the framework of a war or conflict by means of building settlements in East Jerusalem,” read the Norwegian announcement.

According to a statement at time from the company, “Africa Israel and its subsidiaries operate in Israel and around the world with the purpose of promoting their business activities in accordance with the law in place in every country in which they operate. In light of this, all we can do is express regret for this decision that pertains to Africa Israel and other large Israeli companies, and wonder how it serves the best interests of the citizens of Norway whose money is managed by this fund.”

As mentioned above, in conjunction with its decision to cease construction activities beyond the Green Line, Africa Israel Residences is expanding its investments in the center and west of the city and is looking for additional land reserves, having recently acquired Mapai House on Jaffa Street where it is planning a 170-apartment high-rise at an investment of NIS 380 million.

Among others, the company will also be erecting two high-end projects – at 7 HaRav Kook Street, which will comprise 131 apartments at an investment of NIS 300 million, HaNevi’im Courtyard, where the company will be selling two-room apartments at NIS 1.82 million and three-room apartments at NIS 2.95 million. The company is also currently marketing its Savyonei Arnona project, with the Savyonei Ramat Sharet project to go on the market soon too. Africa Israel is also moving ahead with the planning of its President’s House hotel project, which will include residential and hotel space.

According to Oren Hod, the company is looking for additional projects in the capital as prices have yet to reach their peak level. “In Rishon Lezion West, we are selling for NIS 2.9 million, and the same apartment in Savyonei Arnona is going for NIS 2.4 million.”

 

WHO SAID ISRAEL IS AN APARTHEID STATE?

If this doesn’t prove they were
right, nothing will!

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Among the reasons given for keeping the Palestinians off Israeli buses is lack of room on the buses for Jewish residents of the West Bank, and Jewish women passengers saying they have been harassed by the Palestinian laborers.

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We sang that same song on the buses of the US South 50 years ago ...

We sang that same song on the buses of the US South 50 years ago …

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New Guidelines Prevent Palestinian Workers From Riding Israeli Buses

Harassment of Jewish Women Passengers Cited as Reason

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

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New guidelines issued by Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon will prevent Palestinian workers from riding on Israeli public transportation in the West Bank.

Under the new guidelines announced Sunday, all Palestinian workers must return to the West Bank through one crossing, the Eyal crossing located near Kalkilya in central Israel, and continue to their homes from there. Very few Israeli buses reach that area of the West Bank. Palestinian workers are not allowed to stay overnight in Israel.

The guidelines will go into effect next month, according to Haaretz. Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank reportedly is exploring other options to provide the Palestinian workers with appropriate transportation.

Jewish residents of the West Bank and their local governments have waged a vociferous campaign over the last few years in order to prevent Palestinians who work in Israel to use Israeli public transportation in the West Bank.

Among the reasons given for keeping the Palestinians off Israeli buses is lack of room on the buses for Jewish residents of the West Bank, and Jewish women passengers saying they have been harassed by the Palestinian laborers.

Unnamed security sources told Israeli media that the new guidelines are not being put into place to keep Palestinians off Israeli buses, but to make tracking their entering and exiting Israel easier.

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As reported in the Palestinian Press

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Palestinians barred from Israeli West Bank buses

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An Israeli army officer looks over a bus transporting Palestinians
into Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing in Israel
(AFP/File David Buimovitch)
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Palestinians will be effectively banned from riding the same buses as Israeli settlers in the West Bank, local media said Sunday, with a rights group slamming the plan as “racial segregation.”Hundreds of Palestinians travel each day to work in Israel from the occupied West Bank, mainly in the construction business, using a single crossing point at Eyal where they present travel permits.Currently they are allowed to return to the West Bank on the same buses as Israeli settlers.But a new measure announced by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, due to go into effect next month, will require them to again check in at the Eyal crossing point, the Haaretz daily reported.

The workers would have to find separate transportation from that point on.

The directive in effect “bans Palestinian workers from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank,” said Haaretz.

The defense minister was not immediately available for comment.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport there, arguing their presence poses a security risk.

But Haaretz reported that the bus ban contradicted the view of the Israeli army, which does not see Palestinian commuters on Israeli transport as a threat, since the workers go through security vetting before receiving their travel permits.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem accused Yaalon of making a racially motivated decision.

“It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements … and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses,” a group statement said.

Last year, the group criticized the Israeli government for its decision to launch separate bus lines for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

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The settlers themselves are surprised we are calling the above apartheid …

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Left-wing screams apartheid over new security edict for Palestinian laborers

Program would require Palestinian workers from the West Bank to head home at night through same IDF manned passageway through which they entered; new edict makes use of Israeli buses cumbersome.

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Qalandiya check-point

Israeli border policemen control Palestinian worshippers at Qalandiya check-point at the outskirts of Jerusalem. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s new security edict could soon prevent Palestinian laborers, who cross the security barrier to work in Israeli communities, from returning home aboard the country’s public bus lines.

The security program, which has yet to be put in place, would require the laborers to head home at night through the same IDF checkpoints from which they entered, security sources told The Jerusalem Post Sunday morning.

Technically speaking, Palestinians can continue to use Israeli buses on either side of the barrier, but the edict makes this very cumbersome.

There is no start date for the security edict, which is likely to begin with a pilot program at the Eyal crossing in Samaria, security sources said.

As work to construct the West Bank security barrier advances, the IDF’s Central Command is examining ways of supervising the transit of Palestinians and has drawn up proposals that entail them Palestinians leaving and returning through the same crossings, the source explained.

Israeli left-wing politicians and activists immediately attacked the decision, calling it tantamount to apartheid because it prevented Palestinians from using Israeli public transportation lines.

“This is an official governmental stamp on a policy of apartheid in the territories.

Separating Jews and Palestinians only deepens Israel’s status as a pariah state,” Meretz party head Zehava Gal-On said in a prepared statement.

“Not only has Defense Minister Ya’alon destroyed our relationship with the US, he is destroying our relationship with the entire world,” she charged.

Gal-On was referring to Ya’alon’s trip to Washington last week in which he was denied high-level meetings with US officials as payback for once having referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry as “messianic” and “obsessive” in his drive to restart peace talks.

Settlers, especially the Samaria Regional Council and the Samaria Citizens Committee, have long lobbied to keep West Bank Palestinians off Israeli buses, claiming they pose a danger to passengers. As such, they hailed the new edit as a victory.

But a security source clarified that it had nothing to do with public buses.

“This does not touch upon public transport,” the source said.

The source stressed that the matter was “security-based” and that the goal was to “supervise the entrance into and exit out of Israeli territory, thereby decreasing the chance of terrorist attacks inside Israel.”

Another security source said the decision had been taken “solely due to security considerations and would not prevent Palestinians from going out to work or making a living.”

“No one is preventing Palestinians from continuing to work in Israeli territory and heading to where they wish,” the source explained. “On the contrary.”

The source explained that “Palestinians authorized to enter Israel will do so through a single passage in order to prevent a situation in which Palestinians stay in Israel illegally instead of returning to their homes,” something that could increase the chances for terrorist attacks.

“This is a mechanism that is supposed to minimize the presence of Palestinians in Israel illegally yet allow Palestinian workers to continue to work inside of Israeli territory,” she source continued. “It is something that every sovereign country does to defend itself.”

But Sarit Michaeli of the rights group B’Tselem told The Jerusalem Post West Bank Palestinians who arrive in Israeli cities and towns to work must pass a rigorous security check before receiving a permit, so it is hard to imagine that they pose a threat.

“I think that it is very disingenuous to speak about it as a security issue,” Michaeli said.

NO JUSTIFICATION FOR TERROR ON THE STREETS OF JERUSLEM

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It didn’t start last week when a crazed motorist rammed his car into people waiting for the light rail in Northern Jerusalem. It didn’t start when a three month old Israeli child was killed in that incident. It started over 60 years ago.

Our hearts go out to the family of the dead child, Chaya Zissel Braun, killed that day. Our hearts went out to the families of over 500 Palestinian children in Gaza murdered by Israeli troops. It went out to the families of scores of Palestinian children murdered in the Occupied West Bank either by crazed settlers or Israeli soldiers.

There is NO JUSTIFICATION FOR ACTS OF TERROR AIMED AT INNOCENT CIVILIANS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE WALL!

The last photo of 3 month old Chaya Zissel, taken just hours before she was killed

The last photo of 3 month old Chaya Zissel, taken just hours before she was killed

 

Some of the Gazan children murdered in cold blood

Some of the Gazan children murdered in cold blood

 

A much more desired photo

A much more desired photo

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The hatred continues on the streets, fueling what can only become the rebirth of a new intifada. That was not the solution then, it is certainly not the solution now. We are seeing riots on both sides of the wall in Jerusalem. Crazed Jewish residents literally stopped the train in its tracks the other evening at the station where the attack took place. Residents on their way home from a hard day at work were delayed for hours because of these actions. Is there any sense to that? NO! Who are they aiming their anger at …. do you think they even have an answer to that? NO!

Even the New York Times is under attack for stressing their account of the situation on the extremist Jewish settlers, not on Palestinians. A usual voicepiece for zion seems to have gone astray.

YouTube banned a video of those same idiots, but you can still see it HERE. It was shot a few years ago but the same ‘mentality’ is caught for all to see …

Gideon Levy explains in HaAretz today why the Palestinians have a right to resist ….

BUT NOT TO TARGET INNOCENT CIVILIANS!

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They don’t want Israel to continue tyrannizing them, so they resist. They hurl stones and firebombs. That’s what resistance looks like. Sometimes they act with heinous murderousness, but even that is not as bad as their occupier’s built-in violence.

It’s their right; it’s their duty.

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The Palestinians’ right and duty to resist

Faced with a reality in which Israel is strong and the United States is in its pocket, it is the duty of Palestinians to resist the occupation. The only question relates to the means.

By Gideon Levy

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A Palestinian youth holds a slingshot during clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem.

A Palestinian youth holds a slingshot during clashes with Israeli police in a suburb of East Jerusalem, Oct.23, 2014. Photo by AFP

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Imagine you’re the Palestinians. Perhaps residents of East Jerusalem. Forty-seven difficult years are behind you; a big, depressing darkness lies ahead. The Israeli tyranny that dooms your fate declares arrogantly that everything will stay like this forever. Your city will remain under occupation “for ever and ever.” The defense minister, second in importance in the government that subjugates you, says a Palestinian state will never be established.

Imagine you’re Palestinian and your children are in danger. Two days ago, the occupation forces killed another child because “he lit a firebomb.” The words “Death to Arabs” were sprayed near your home. Everywhere you turn, a soldier or Border Police officer may shout at you. Every night, your home may be invaded brutally. You will never be treated like human beings. They’ll destroy, humiliate, intimidate, perhaps even arrest you, possibly without trial.

There are close to 500 administrative detainees, a record number in recent years. If one of your dear ones is arrested, you will have difficulty visiting him. If you succeed, you’ll get half an hour’s conversation through a glass window. If your dear one is an administrative detainee, you will never know when he’ll be released. But these are trivia you grew accustomed to long ago.

Maybe you’ve also grown accustomed to the land theft. At every moment a settler can invade your land, burn your plantation or torch your fields. He will not be brought to trial for this; the soldiers who are supposed to protect you will stand idly by. At any moment, a demolition order or random eviction order may appear. There’s nothing you can do.

Imagine you’re the Palestinians. You can’t leave Gaza and it’s not easy to leave the West Bank, either. The beach, less than an hour’s drive from your West Bank home, is beyond the mountains of darkness. An Israeli can go to Tierra del Fuego, between Argentina and Chile, much more easily than you can go to the beach at Ajami.

There are no dreams, no wishes. Your children have a slim chance of accomplishing anything in life, even if they go to university. All they can look forward to is a life of humiliation and unemployment.

There’s no chance that this situation is about to change anytime soon. Israel is strong, the United States is in its pocket, your leadership is weak (the Palestinian Authority) and isolated (Hamas), and the world is losing interest in your fate. What do you do?

There are two possibilities. The first is to accept, give in, give up. The second is to resist. Whom have we respected more in history? Those who passed their days under the occupation and collaborated with it, or those who struggled for their freedom?

Imagine you’re a Palestinian. You have every right to resist. In fact, it’s your civil duty. No argument there. The occupied people’s right to resist occupation is secured in natural justice, in the morals of history and in international law.

The only restrictions are on the means of resistance. The Palestinians have tried almost all of them, for better and worse – negotiations and terror; with a carrot and with a stick; with a stone and with bombs; in demonstrations and in suicide. All in vain. Are they to despair and give up? This has almost never happened in history, so they’ll continue. Sometimes they’ll use legitimate means, sometimes vile ones. It’s their right to resist.

Now they’re resisting in Jerusalem. They don’t want Israeli rule, or people who set live children on fire. They don’t want armed settlers who invade their apartments in the middle of the night, under the Israeli law’s protection, and evict them. They don’t want a municipality that grants its services according to national affiliation, or judges that sentence their children according to their origin. They also go nuts when the house of a Jewish terrorist is not demolished, while the house of a Palestinian will be torn down.

They don’t want Israel to continue tyrannizing them, so they resist. They hurl stones and firebombs. That’s what resistance looks like. Sometimes they act with heinous murderousness, but even that is not as bad as their occupier’s built-in violence.

It’s their right; it’s their duty.

EARLY LESSONS ISRAEL LEARNT FROM THE NAZIS

The new Auschwitz 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

The new Auschwitz ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II scarred American history for years to come.

Now, a new research paper argues that Palestinians share a similar traumatic experience. Pointing to a barely discussed chapter in the history of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the paper highlights a time when the fledgling Jewish state interned more than 6,000 Palestinian citizens without charge in camps across the country.

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Dueling Narratives Emerge On

Palestinian Internment Camps

Were They About Keeping Jews Safe — Or Getting Free Labor?

Legal Or Not? Palestinians labored in the Ijlil POW camp in central Israel, which housed 2,000 prisoners for 11 months in 1948 and 1949.

IDF ARCHIVE
Legal Or Not? Palestinians labored in the Ijlil POW camp in central Israel, which housed 2,000 prisoners for 11 months in 1948 and 1949.

By Nathan Guttman FOR

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The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II scarred American history for years to come.

Now, a new research paper argues that Palestinians share a similar traumatic experience. Pointing to a barely discussed chapter in the history of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the paper highlights a time when the fledgling Jewish state interned more than 6,000 Palestinian citizens without charge in camps across the country.

The descriptions included in the research paper, which was published in the summer volume of the Journal of Palestine Studies, are chilling: arbitrary arrests of civilians who were jailed in prisons described as “concentration camps” and subjected to torture, hardship, food deprivation and forced labor. The references made in the study to Nazi camps are not coincidental.

“It is amazing to me, and many Europeans, who have seen my evidence,” the study’s co-author Salman Abu Sitta, told the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, “that a forced labor camp was opened in Palestine three years after they were closed in Germany, and [was] run by former prisoners. There were German Jewish guards.”

But just like almost every other episode in the history of the Israeli–Arab conflict, the new study also quickly played into the battle of historic narratives waged between both sides. What Palestinians view as a new revelation of Israeli atrocities that included concentration camps and unlawful internment of innocent civilians is seen by Israelis as no more than a known and acknowledged, if little examined, chapter in Israeli history in which prisoners of war were held in internationally recognized camps under Red Cross supervision, and in accordance with all practices and rules set by the Geneva Convention. The allegations of “torture,” they point out, come not from the Red Cross’s reports but from oral testimonies that Abu Sitta and his co-author, Terry Rempel, gathered from internees many decades after the fact.

“We all know that there were cases of massacre, that there were expulsions and so forth. Why do you need this addition? How does this insignificant chapter help the Arab sense of catastrophe?” asked Alon Kadish, a professor of history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who argued that the new research is merely an attempt to “amplify the calamity” without offering any new facts.

“An easy way to silence a scandal is to say that it’s not new and was investigated in the past,” responded Ariella Azoulay of Brown University, whose book “From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947–1950” documented some of the camps used by Israel to hold Palestinians during the war. “It was investigated a bit in the past and is known, but that is too little for a crime of this magnitude.”

Abu Sitta is a Palestinian scholar based in London whose research is focused on Palestinian refugees. Rempel is a founding member of BADIL, a resource center on issues relating to rights of Palestinian refugees.

Camp 791: The POW camp in central Israel operated for 11 months between 1948 and 1949.

IDF ARCHIVE
Camp 791: The POW camp in central Israel operated for 11 months between 1948 and 1949.

Their research is based on documents from the Red Cross archives that include reports and correspondence from the organization’s representatives who visited the camps, and on interviews conducted with former detainees. The reports and testimonies paint a troubling picture of innocent civilians thrown into camps in subhuman conditions and forced to work for their captors.

“We had to cut and carry stones all day [in a quarry]. Our daily food was only one potato in the morning and half-dried fish at night. They beat anyone who disobeyed orders,” Marwan Iqab al-Yehiya, a former prisoner, told the authors. He added that detainees were “lined up and ordered to strip naked as a punishment for the escape of two prisoners at night.”

Another inmate, Tewfic Ahmed Jum’a Ghanim, said: “Anyone who refused to work was shot. They said [the person] tried to escape.” According to Ghanim, the Palestinians’ pervasive fear of being shot by their guards led them to alter the basic nature of their own movements. “Those of us who thought [we] were going to be killed walked backward, facing the guards,” he said.

The focus of the study’s research was on the way the Red Cross dealt with the POW situation. The authors conclude that “in the last analysis, Israel was able to ignore with impunity” any complaints the Red Cross raised, “thanks to the diplomatic cover of major Western powers.”

The treatment of Arab civilians concerned Israeli leaders from early days of the nation’s War of Independence, even before statehood was declared on May 14, 1948. In the early months of the war, waged between Jewish and Arab paramilitary groups sharing the land of Palestine under British mandate, both sides, for the most part, did all they could to avoid the burden of prisoners — whether this meant simply killing those they captured or leaving them be if they were judged to be no immediate threat.

But once Israel became a state with an organized military force, it changed its policy for dealing with local Palestinian civilians found in combat zones. Some were expelled, creating one of the most contentious and sensitive chapters of the War of Independence. But in many cases the order was to take all able-bodied men as prisoners, out of fear that if left behind, they’d join the fight against Israeli forces.

The prisoners were held in five camps: Ijlil, near Tel Aviv; Atlit, south of Haifa, and three smaller camps, all in central Israel. The camps were set up in haste, in some cases, such as Atlit, utilizing former British prisons that had been used in the past to confine illegal Jewish immigrants. In other cases, Israel built makeshift tent cities surrounded with barbed wire. In addition, there were several temporary camps in the front lines, used to hold prisoners before they were transferred to the permanent installations.

Treatment of POWs was determined by the highest ranks of Israel’s leadership, including Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. The Israelis were careful to inform the Red Cross whenever Palestinian civilians were imprisoned, and allowed Red Cross officials to visit and document the camps.

In the camps, prisoners were sent to work. Some labored on Jewish farms and factories that had lost their working hands when the war broke out. Others were sent to work building and reinforcing military and government facilities. In principle, going out to labor was voluntary. But most prisoners joined, mainly because it promised them a larger food ration and minimal wages.

At their peak, the camps held, according to Israeli and Red Cross records, 6,300 prisoners. Most were civilians living in villages and towns taken over by Israel. A minority were enemy combatants from Arab countries. On average, most spent less than a year in the camps, which were largely emptied by 1950. But a few prisoners were moved to prisons and held — without charge — for longer, some until 1955.

There is little dispute about these facts. But when it comes to their interpretation, Israelis and Palestinians paint two different pictures. The diverging terminology and context provide opposite stories of what happened to thousands of Palestinian civilians during the war.

Abu Sitta and Rempel, in their study, view the episode as an Israeli attempt to humiliate Palestinians and eventually facilitate ethnic cleansing of the land.

Both authors declined to be interviewed for this article.

Writing in the liberal Haaretz daily, columnist Amira Hass described a “nightmare question” about the role played by Holocaust survivors in allegedly torturing Palestinian POWs. “Whether they were German Jews or not, forcing prisoners to line up naked and using boots on those who fall are part of the family histories of many of us, but from the other side,” she wrote.

For Israelis, however, this historic episode represents an entirely different story.

Aaron J. Klein, an Israeli historian and author, said he was shocked to read the new study. Klein had researched the very same issue in the late 1990s for his master’s thesis at the Hebrew University. A version of it was later published in a collection of works on the War of Independence, edited by Kadish. Klein said the new study adds nothing to the facts already revealed and published in his thesis. He described himself as “disgusted” by the attempt to describe Israeli POW camps as concentration camps. “This is an attempt to enlist another piece of history to the Palestinian narrative, but it isn’t serious,” Klein said.

His reading of the documents from the time paints a picture of an Israeli leadership eager to win international legitimacy by adhering to the Geneva Convention and working with the Red Cross. The civilians arrested by Israel were legally recognized as POWs; their internment conditions were no better or worse than those of all Israeli soldiers at the time, and working outside the camps was seen as beneficial to the inmates. “Whoever reads the reports sees that the Red Cross understood the circumstances and gave Israel, all in all, good grades.”

But much of the firsthand testimony gathered by Abu Sitta and Rempel more than six decades later starkly contradicts Klein’s account of the Red Cross reports.

“We were tortured,” Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir Abu Sayf, a former internee told the researchers. He described a prison room with “a sandy floor to absorb blood and pus.”

“Many had broken teeth, hands and legs,” the ex-prisoner recalled. “Food consisted of one loaf for every 15 people, and one piece of vegetable floating in a big pot. In the early morning we were taken to work. They hit us on our heads to move. If one fell, they hit him with their boots…. Torture sometimes continued at night. More people came. They were picked up like us, in pastures or in lonely places.”

The Israeli researchers argued that it would be a mistake to give oral testimonies recorded 60 years after the events took place the same credibility as Red Cross reports that were documented and prepared in real time.

So why did this episode get lost in the broader picture of the tumultuous days of 1948?

In part, because of shame. As Abu Sitta states, Palestinian detainees felt their experience in the camps paled in comparison with the suffering of their fellow Arabs who lost their homes and, at times, their lives.

Israeli camp guards, according to Klein, were also reluctant to speak of their experience. The guard force was made up primarily of former members of the Irgun and the Stern Gang, two right-wing underground groups. The ruling Haganah leadership sidelined them to noncombat positions as POW guards. “They felt humiliated by not being included in the combat units,” Klein said.

But whether forgotten or not, authors of the new paper believe that the events surrounding the capture and internment of Palestinian noncombatants during the war can serve as an early indication of Israeli behavior, as seen by the Palestinians. “Gaza today,” Abu Sitta said, “is a concentration camp, no different than the past.”

DID ELIE WEISEL LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE HOLOCAUST?

IF SO, WHY IS HE SUPPORTING A NEW ONE??
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TO ANYONE!

TO ANYONE!

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Of all the organizations in Israel, he chose Elad, the most controversial, a group with no truth, grace or compassion. It’s all too clear why they chose him as chairman, but not at all clear why he agreed.

Wiesel has garnered enormous respect from the Jewish people and Gentile nations for surviving and becoming a mouthpiece for Holocaust victims. How about sharing some of that respect? Won’t you reconsider, identify with them and sign their cursed blessings?

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Elie Wiesel hides ethnic cleansing behind a prayer shawl

This ostensible messenger of peace supports an organization that evicts Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

By Yossi Sarid FOR
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Obama Wiesel

President Barack Obama hugging Elie Wiesel. Photo by Reuters
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Much have I learned from gossip columns, which for reasons of propriety are also called “social columns.” Without them how would we know who’s going with whom and for what gain?

Before turning to the news pages, cast an eye on the yellow stuff. It will help you understand how the system works.

The special ads – not those intended to sell chocolate pudding – also provide important information and develop your awareness. According to the numbers, under 10 percent of readers look at them, but that’s a mistake to be corrected.

So last Friday, this paper of all papers carried an ad in Hebrew blessing the “dozens of new families joining the Jewish community in the City of David.” According to the ad, “We salute the Zionist action of those involved; we all share the challenge of strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. With you we’ll receive the pilgrims who visit over the holiday.”

This is followed by the signatures of people linked to settler group Elad. Some of the names are unfamiliar, but some are astonishing. After all, this organization is notorious for making trouble in the City of Eternal Peace.

I wasn’t surprised to see singer Yehoram Gaon’s name, for example. He sees a flag in every rag and takes every broomstick for a flagpole.

But what are former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, former police chief Shlomo Aharonishki and former Hadassah University Hospital chief Shlomo Mor-Yosef doing there? What’s a former director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ilan Cohen, doing there? Maybe they should explain why they’re willing to sponsor people who evict people and take over their homes?

As they say in Isaiah 5:8, “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room, and ye be made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.”

And who’s their chairman? You’ll never guess. Not casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, not Jewish organization leader Malcolm Hoenlein. Not even U.S. businessman Irving Moskowitz and his wife Cherna.

It’s somebody identified more than anyone with the memory of the Holocaust — a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom — Elie Wiesel. The Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo wrote: “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind; his message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity.”

This is a man expected to show special sensitivity to the suffering of the other, whether in Romania’s Sighetu Marmației, where he’s from, or Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood. This is the man who portrays himself as a friend of Barack Obama, but who lends a hand to those who insult the president publicly.

Before every meeting in Washington, these people prepare another invasion in Jerusalem, sabotaging others’ laborious efforts. Maybe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew why he offered Wiesel Israel’s presidency at the time, but we didn’t.

He’s the man who declared he was keeping himself out of Israeli politics, anointing himself with pure olive oil. Every time he was asked to respond to some injustice in our midst, reminiscent of some injustice far away, he evaded the question.

He of all people burst into one house after another, houses bought in shady deals, fit for the night to be carried out before the sheets and coffee cups have cooled. He of all people is hiding creeping ethnic cleansing behind a prayer shawl.

Of all the organizations in Israel, he chose Elad, the most controversial, a group with no truth, grace or compassion. It’s all too clear why they chose him as chairman, but not at all clear why he agreed.

Wiesel has garnered enormous respect from the Jewish people and Gentile nations for surviving and becoming a mouthpiece for Holocaust victims. How about sharing some of that respect? Won’t you reconsider, identify with them and sign their cursed blessings?

BENEFITS OF BEING A PALESTINIAN IN JERUSALEM

In Jerusalem, however, the majority of Palestinians are not Israeli citizens but residents of Jerusalem who fell under Israeli military occupation in 1967 but unlike West Bank Palestinians were given permanent residency cards entitling them to certain benefits.

Read the report below to see one of those ‘benefits’ …

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Young Palestinian ‘beaten by Jewish mob’ in Jerusalem hotel

(MaanImages)
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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A mob of Jewish men assaulted a young Palestinian on Friday evening while he was working at a hotel in Jerusalem in an attack apparently motivated by racial hate, the victim’s father told Ma’an.

Faysal Azzam told Ma’an that 11 “extremist” Jews yelling racial epithets attacked his son Muhammad, 20, at his place of work at the Rimonim Shalom Hotel in West Jerusalem.

The attackers tried to strangle the young Palestinian man, he said, and as a result the youth suffered bruises and cuts in the face and hands.

He was also left bleeding from his nose and mouth, his father added.

Azzam said that before the “extremists” attacked his son, they insulted him and shouted racist curses against Arabs.

After verbally assaulting him, they attacked him with steel bars and tried to strangle him using a piece of rope, Azzam added.

The attack took place on the 8th floor, he said, adding that his son was rescued by security guards who heard his screams from the fourth floor.

The victim was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.

“It wasn’t just an attack, but rather a murder attempt by spiteful extremists. The signs of (attempted) strangulation are clear on his neck,” Azzam said.

The father said that Israeli police had summoned his son for questioning and he had filed a complaint against the attackers.

Cities across Israel have witnessed a string of attacks against Palestinians since early summer, as a “price tag” crime wave that targeted Palestinians inside Israel for perceived slights against Jewish settlements in the West Bank has evolved into recurring mob attacks and anti-Arab rallies.

Over the summer, Palestinian passerby have been repeatedly assaulted in majority-Jewish West Jerusalem, while right-wing Jewish campaigns to prevent mixing among Jews and Arabs have held numerous rallies and covered public areas in anti-Arab fliers.

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population.

In Jerusalem, however, the majority of Palestinians are not Israeli citizens but residents of Jerusalem who fell under Israeli military occupation in 1967 but unlike West Bank Palestinians were given permanent residency cards entitling them to certain benefits.

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE WORLD STANDS WITH PALESTINE IN HARLEM

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On Saturday evening, October 11th, a meeting was held at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Community Center in Harlem, NYC.  It was formerly the Audubon and the conference took place in the ballroom, almost sacred ground because it is where Malcolm was assassinated.  It began with a very good buffet dinner and the music of an excellent Latino band.  Tables were set up around the side of the large room selling beautiful handmade Palestinian goods, Mumia T-shirts and giving out information.   The theme of the evening was solidarity among oppressed peoples and the interconnections between the various peoples struggles.  It was also pointed out that ultimately we are all fighting the same enemy, capitalism. The teargas being used on the Palestinian people is the same teargas that is being used on the people of Ferguson, MO.  Nancy Mansour from Existence is Resistance spoke describing what is happening in Palestine including huge demonstrations on the West Bank that were never reported here where the IDF shot into the crowd. Another one of the speakers, Bassem Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, had just arrived from Palestine to speak to the crowd at the meeting. He described the struggle there as well as his years in Israeli prisons, the torture he endured there, and the deaths of people in his family at the hands of the IDF. Everyone was brought up to date by Johanna Fernandez on the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mumia addressed the people, by phone, and answered questions followed by applause and cheers from all present. We learned what was happening in the Puerto Rican community from former Young Lord Carlito Rovira, and there was excellent analysis of the current political situation in the US by Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report.  He pointed out that the Black Caucus in Congress went along with the militarization of the police who direct their attacks on Black urban communities. The audience of about 200+ people were very enthusiastic, eager to hear more.  Some speakers spoke through skype because they couldn’t make the trip.  Remi Kanazi was supposed to appear but he too spoke via skype because he was in Ferguson, MO in solidarity with the protestors there.  There are many from the Palestinian justice community in Ferguson supporting the fight against racism there. 

This meeting was a result of months of preparation by people from different organizations who recognized there was a common enemy and that we would have much greater strength working together.  That, in itself, is a revolutionary concept. It was made clear by many speakers who made the point that solidarity was not just about feeling good being together – solidarity is self defense.  Activists chant, “The people, united, will never be defeated”.   Efforts are now being made to unite them.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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On sale were shirts MADE IN PALESTINE

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Meanwhile, 

UNARMED CIVILIANS IN THE STREETS OF FERGUSON

The struggle continues at home and abroad

It is our duty to fight for our freedom…

“…It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains…”

Said 62 times for the 62 days that have happened since Mike Brown’s death – 62 days still lacking justice and a policing system that refuses to honor the inherent value and dignity of all lives equally.

WHY WAS MY DAUGHTER’S WEDDING SEEN AS A SECURITY THREAT TO ISRAEL?

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 Yes, I would like to receive an honest and convincing answer to my frustrating question.

My daughter and her fianceי have never been involved in any wrong doing or security violations. However, Israel is so notorious for invoking the security mantra to justify denying Palestinians their basic rights. 

One Civil Administration official in Hebron told me that “if your daughter wanted to join her husband in Gaza, she would have to sign documents, wavering her right to return to the West Bank. In other words, she would have to willfully accept eternal deportation.

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What does preventing a wedding have to do with Israeli security?
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Yes, I would like to receive an honest and convincing answer to my frustrating question. What does preventing a Hebron fiancיe from being wed to her Gaza fiancי have to do with Israeli security? Does it constitute a security risk? Does it compromise Israeli security in any real manner?

In recent months, I have left no stone unturned in order to obtain a real answer to my question from Israeli officials, but to no avail. Yes, I heard all sorts of prevarication and mendacious justifications and pretexts to justify the unjustifiable.

My daughter Azhar, 19, was engaged to Abdullah Abu Allaban, 23, from Jabalya in the Gaza Strip last year. Their marriage certificate was officiated at the Islamic Sharia court in Dura near Hebron where we live. Ever since, she has been trying in vain to travel the 30 mile-distance from Hebron to Gaza to join her husband. (It is like the distance between Oklahoma City and Norman).

We contacted the civil administration of the Israeli occupation and army and were told to contact the Palestinian Authority (PA) liaison office. However, when we did, we were told that the PA had no authority or power over these matters.  At the Israeli liaison office, a young female soldier told us rather sarcastically to “see Mahmoud Abbas, perhaps he could help you,” Mahmoud Abbas is the helpless chief of the helpless entity known as the Palestinian Authority. He is always at Israel’s beck and call.

My daughter and her fiancי have never been involved in any wrong doing or security violations. However, Israel is so notorious for invoking the security mantra to justify denying Palestinians their basic rights.

One Civil Administration official in Hebron told me that “if your daughter wanted to join her husband in Gaza, she would have to sign documents, wavering her right to return to the West Bank. In other words, she would have to willfully accept eternal deportation.

This is not fair by any standard of civility. Where else in the world does this gross injustice happen? Even the most rogue states don’t do this. Why must traveling a 30-mile distance from Hebron to Gaza lead to eternal banishment from one’s homeland?

The Israeli army authorities would deny that they are preventing a fiancיe in the West Bank from joining her fiancי in Gaza. They would argue that the couple could always travel abroad for the marriage ceremony and consummation and then return to occupied Palestine

This is partly true, but it usually involves a lot of problems, mainly stemming from the unkind treatment meted out to Palestinians by neighboring Arab authorities especially in Jordan and Egypt. Moreover, the traveler would have to incur a lot of extra expenses.

As a journalist who has been covering the bitter conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for more than 30 years, I have long become aware of Israel’s real goals behind this illogical policy of denying Palestinians the sort of things that other people around the world take for granted.

Israel simply doesn’t want us to be around. Israel wants a land without people and is always seeking an opportune time to get rid of us.  But, we won’t give Israel this opportunity, no matter what.

Israel also manipulates humanitarian issues such as this one in order to recruit informers and agents for its security agencies so that they would inform on their communities, friends and neighbors, thus corroding the Palestinian society from within.

The Israeli intelligence didn’t ask me, either implicitly or explicitly, to “cooperate” with them in exchange for permitting my daughter and me to travel to Gaza. Perhaps they knew that my profile wouldn’t allow this sort of thing to happen.   

But it is really sad that the very people who call themselves “the chosen people” and “light upon the nations” would ask the father or mother of a child afflicted with cancer, who need to have a travel permit to take the child to hospital in either Israel or the West Bank for medical treatment, to either “cooperate with us” or have your child dead in a few days or weeks.

Israel, for the sake of argument, may have some “legitimate security” concerns if it allowed Palestinians to commute freely between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But Israel also employs meticulous security measures that make it virtually impossible for Palestinians traveling through Israel checkpoints and roadblocks to indulge in any foul play.

Hence, the only remaining explanation for the draconian Israeli measures is that Israel is interested first and foremost in frustrating, harassing and tormenting the Palestinians in the hope that the latter would contemplate leaving their ancestral homeland for good in order to have a normal life in exile.

IN PHOTOS ~~ APARTHEID AND WAR ARE NOT GAMES! BOYCOTT ISRAEL ON THE COURTS!!

When activists arrived at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces fundraiser that was coupled with an exhibition game between the Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the police were waiting with a message of their own. As the night unfolded, this message spoke volumes. Protesters would not be allowed on the expansive plaza that unfolds from the front of the Barclays Center all the way to the Atlantic Yards subway entrance. Instead, they would have to be in a fenced-off pen on the narrow strip of sidewalk to the side of the arena. Yes, an outdoor space built with public funds was deemed a privatized, no-free-speech zone, enforced by armed public employees, otherwise known as the police.

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‘Israel’s War On Gaza Is Not A Game’: Scenes From the NBA Preseason Protest

IN PHOTOS ~~ VIGIL IN NEW YORK TO STOP ARMS TO ISRAEL

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(As a preface, yesterday Mondoweiss posted a letter by Alan Levine written to Schumer & Gillibrand urging them to follow the Leahy law which states that countries who use arms against a people in a way that violates international law and creates war crimes will no longer receive arms or $ for arms from the US.  

On Monday, October 6th, Jewish Voice for Peace NY and Jews Say No, with the support of several other organizations that support justice for Palestinians, held an 8 hour demonstration in front of the offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand at 780 3rd Avenue.  Demonstrators came and went in the course of the day but there were always between 50 and 80 people there.  Palestinian food was served to the demonstrators and people passing by, many having questions to ask or just wanting to chat a bit. It was explained that welcoming with food was part of a strong Palestinian tradition.  Informational leaflets were also distributed.  Most participants carried signs throughout the day created by We Will Not Be Silent. 

There was also an educational/cultural program.  People read Palestinian poetry, songs were sung accompanied by a guitar, there was a humorous skit about a trip to Israel and another about a news conference for a newly reformed Senator Schumer,  a reading of the Carol Churchill play, 7 Jewish Children, by some very talented actors (done twice) and a concert from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.  Another participant read a  list of some of the horrible conditions that Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza are forced to live with, all imposed by Israel because of the occupation. 

At one point the Granny Peace Brigade came with some of the representations that they made of the 519 children murdered by Israel in Gaza this summer.  The people present held up each figure, read their name and age, and noted that they were murdered by Israel, some noting that this was done with the active support of the 2 New York senators and U.S. taxpayer funds.  Some people were brought to tears because the action felt very much like a funeral.  One of the participants noted, “These children are all our children and our grandchildren.” 

The 8 hours passed very quickly.  Many strangers in the street stopped to read the signs and leaflets and to listen to the presentations.  It is hoped that as people learn what Israel is doing they will urge Congress not to give Israel $8.7 million a day and a carte blanc to kill and destroy at will.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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ISRAEL ORDERED TO COMPENSATE GAZA FAMILY OVER DEADLY ATTACK THAT KILLED 23

 

*A Jerusalem court has ordered the State of Israel to compensate a family in Gaza  after finding it directly responsible for attacks that killed 23 members of the same family.

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it_aint_necessarily_so_t

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WHOA ___________________________

That didn’t happen at all ….

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Here’s what did ….

Obviously, Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian ones …

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Israeli Weights and Measures 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Two Weights, Two Measures ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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PA ordered to compensate Israeli family over deadly attack


Palestinian Authority transferred weapons, money used by terrorists who carried out attack that killed 3 members of the same family in 2001.
AFP
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Jerusalem court has ordered the Palestinian Authority to compensate an Israeli family after finding it indirectly responsible for an attack that killed three of its members.

The decision from September 22 states that the PA had transferred weapons and money used by the terrorists who carried out an attack on a highway which killed the three Israelis in 2001.

Yaniv and Sharon Ben-Shalom were returning home from Jerusalem, where they spent Shabbat with Sharon’s parents to their home in Ofarim with their two daughters – Efrat, 20 months old, and Shahar, 8 months old – and with Sharon’s brother.

Palestinians opened fire from a passing vehicle, killing Sharon and Yaniv. Sharon’s brother Doron Sviri was fatally wounded by a shot to the head, and died the following day.

The PA knew of the potential dangers of using the arms and did not warn the users, so it therefore “owes damages to those who were hurt”, read the ruling, distributed on Sunday.

The district court added that popular Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti, serving multiple life sentences for his role in attacks on Israelis, “knew about the attack and was briefed on it after it was carried out”.

A spokeswoman for the court said the trial, which began in 2009, was still ongoing and the judge had yet to decide on the amount of damages the PA would be ordered to pay.

Other courts in Israel have in the past ruled that the PA pay damages to Israelis, but according to Haaretz newspaper the PA tends to reach out-of-court settlements with plaintiffs.

There was no immediate reaction on Monday from the Palestinian Authority to the latest ruling.

EID AL- ADHA MUBARAK

thanks-to-muslimvillage

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As one side of the wall fasts on Saturday, those on the other side will feast.  

To all of my Muslim family and friends, EID MUBARAK! May your prayers for Peace and Justice become a reality in the coming year.

To my Jewish friends and family, may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

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Eid-ul-adha-Mubarak-Islamic-Wallpaper

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A sampling of the wonderful date filled Eid cookies prepared by my family

LAST NIGHT I HAD THE STRANGEST DREAM

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I listened to Netanyahu utter the following words at the UN …

“I stand here before you today ashamed and mortified. I’m ashamed and mortified by the outcome of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza. Ashamed and mortified by the alarming number of civilians my country killed, ashamed and mortified by the scope of devastation its unrestrained army spread. The Israeli army made a certain effort to reduce injury to civilians, but I know that this was no more than conscience-soothing measures, if any conscience still remains in Israel, and the rest is propaganda tricks.

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But alas …

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It’s all a daydream


Benjamin Netanyahu should have told the UN General Assembly that he regrets Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and genuinely seeks a two-state solution. Of course, it didn’t happen.
By Gideon Levy

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1232292596
Israeli soldiers look toward the Gaza Strip from Israel, August 3, 2014. Photo by Reuters
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This is what Benjamin Netanyahu should have said in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week:

“I stand here before you today ashamed and mortified. I’m ashamed and mortified by the outcome of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza. Ashamed and mortified by the alarming number of civilians my country killed, ashamed and mortified by the scope of devastation its unrestrained army spread. The Israeli army made a certain effort to reduce injury to civilians, but I know that this was no more than conscience-soothing measures, if any conscience still remains in Israel, and the rest is propaganda tricks.

“The results rest before you – 2,200 bodies – and they speak for themselves. They should torment every decent Israeli, they torment me as well. From this podium I’d like to bow my head, express sorrow and apologize to the residents of Gaza for what we have done to them. My country will contribute as much as it can to compensate them.

“We launched this attack after we detected a golden opportunity – the abduction and murder of three teens in the West Bank – to wreak revenge on Hamas and sabotage the Palestinian reconciliation government, which threatened to advance an agreement with Israel. Hamas fell into the trap we laid for it and in retaliation to our harsh steps against its people in the West Bank, it began firing rockets at Israel. We responded in the language we love most when dealing with the Palestinians – the language of military power, killing and destruction. By so doing we also proved to the world that we don’t give a damn about it and have no reason to do so. The world grumbles and Israel conquers and kills.

“If anyone thought that after the Goldstone report there won’t be another wild operation in Gaza, we proved that not only will there be one, but it will be more brutal than its predecessor. Why should we listen to the world? The United States is deep in our pocket – there isn’t another state in the world that can disregard it as we can – and all the rest doesn’t matter. Public opinion? International law? They’re mere anti-Semitism.

“But all these are matters of the past. In the morning after the war in Gaza, Israel, myself included, awoke to new insights. Suddenly we understood that force and aggression aren’t advancing the state anywhere. We realized that Israel cannot live by the sword forever – there’s no historical precedent for that. Even Israel’s seemingly unlimited power has limitations and we cannot wipe Gaza out or remove the Palestinians. We realized too that the dozens of Israeli fatalities had died for nothing, that Israel had achieved nothing and that in another war it will pay an immeasurably higher price.

“The morning after the terrible war I realized what I had never understood before – that the only way to ensure my state’s future is to make an effort to integrate it into the problematic space it is located in, rather than turn its back on it, as Israel has done so far. I understood that precisely because of the upheavals in this region we must find a solution to the Palestinian problem, the mother of all problems, before it’s too late. I realized that if there’s still a chance for the two-state solution, which I committed myself to but never meant, this is the last opportunity.

“From this stage I now call on the representatives of the reconciliation government to enter into quick negotiations with Israel. Everything has already been discussed to excess and all we need to reach an agreement is to decide. Israel, for its part, will undertake to end the occupation completely within an agreed time frame. On the eve of opening the negotiations it will free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, to prove to the Palestinian people that it has truly changed direction. At the same time I propose to the Palestinian government to hold a joint Israeli-Palestinian referendum, to determine whether we’re going for a two-state solution within the 1967 borders, or a solution of one egalitarian democracy, a state whose citizens all have equal rights.”

All this never happened – and won’t happen. It’s all a daydream. Instead we got another propaganda-filled, hollow, patronizing speech. The obsequious advisors cheered, the Adelsons invited the Netanyahus to dinner and Israel remained, of course, intransigent.

SICK AND TIRED OF ISRAEL’S WHINING

It is the imposed solution that will come from the Western world, which is already sick and tired of hearing about Hamas and about the victims of terror and about the IDF’s successful operations. The world of late 2014 wants peace and quiet, not to be driven up the wall.

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Israel obsession

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World won’t listen to Netanyahu’s UN speech


Op-ed: Sick and tired of hearing about Hamas terror and IDF’s successful operations, Western world is preparing to impose a solution on Israel and Palestinians.
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It’s more than likely that very few people, if any at all, will be glued Monday evening to the television, computer and smartphone screens or to the radio in order to watch and listen to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly.

It seems that even fewer people did so on Friday, during Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ speech.

The Palestinian leader said what he said. The Israeli prime minister will say what he’ll say. The statements and the speakers hardly interest anyone anymore. Both in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority, people have had enough of things that are said, of promises that are not kept and of dreams that don’t come true. The question is: Is there anything new under the sun? The answer seems to be: There is nothing, for now.

For almost 150 years, we have been fighting over the same piece of land. It’s the same piece of sky covering the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Those are the same olive trees planted on the Galilee mountains and on the Samaria mountains. Thousands have already paid with their lives for this tough and bitter fight between two people seeking to sit and live on the same part of the ground. Nothing leads the decision to one side or another so that one of the sides, or better yet – both, will live in peace and tranquility.

Those who believe that “God’s right hand is victorious” don’t believe in any political solution anyway, and will do a lot – if not everything – to make it fail. Those among the Palestinians who believe in the option of expelling Israel’s citizens from their land once again are devotedly sticking to this belief. These days Abbas is joining those who believe that, if only for tactical reasons. He is fighting for his political life right now, if not for his actual life.

At the UN on Monday, Netanyahu will insist that our lives will be in danger if the Palestinians try to fulfill their dreams. Netanyahu is also fighting for his political life these days, and not just these days. He has to say these things firmly for the sake of the public, mainly his public, which no longer believes anything.

The solution, at least for now, following the aggravated political discourse and before the stones and Kalashnikovs are pulled out, seems distant but not impossible. The two rival sides will reject it out of hand, but we are nearing its execution.

It is the imposed solution that will come from the Western world, which is already sick and tired of hearing about Hamas and about the victims of terror and about the IDF’s successful operations. The world of late 2014 wants peace and quiet, not to be driven up the wall.

At these moments, I remember the attempts to make peace between the two nations, as well as the tremendous efforts to thwart these attempts. We are probably going to miss them.

WATCH HOW THE OCCUPATION TURNED AN AMERICAN TEEN INTO A PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family

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Until recently, Tariq Abu Khudair  was a ‘happy go lucky’ American teenager. Watch and listen to the following account as to how the brutality of the occupation changed his life…

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Transcript

Tariq Abukhdeir: Thank you for having me tonight. Good evening. I’m happy to be back in the US – safe – and when I went overseas I had a tough time.

And actually when I arrived in Palestine the Israelis kept me in the airport for ten hours. At that time I was confused so I thought about it a little bit. I thought about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. As we speak right now, the Palestinian people are suffering.

I visited Palestine for six weeks and what happened to me was just a small taste of what they go through every single day. And the Palestinians do not have rights and when I went over there I forgot that I had freedom. I wish, now that I’m back, that they have the same freedom I have. I appreciate freedom more now that I’m back in the US.

I’m just an average kid. I was born in Baltimore and I moved to Tampa when I was eleven. I’m fifteen and I’m in tenth grade right now – I started school already.

Now, about my cousin Muhammad Abu Khudair. He was my first friend that I made when I went to Palestine this year – because I hadn’t been to Palestine for eleven years. So right when I went there I saw him with all my cousins. We became friends on the spot. We went out every day – we had so much fun. We stayed up all night.

So one night during the month of Ramadan, I passed by him and I said “Hi” to him. I was on the way to the bakery to buy some food. I came by and I drove off and I came back and I saw the cops were exactly where he was sitting. And I asked – there was only one of my cousins that was there – and I asked him “What happened?”

He told me that they kidnapped Muhammad and that, right when he told me that, so many things went through my mind. I was thinking, is he going to come back alive, what are they going to do to him, is he saying anything, can anybody hear him?

So at that point I got a call, the same second that I was told that he was kidnapped – and it was my cousin and he said “What are you doing at 4:30 AM outside?”

And I’m like “Bro, Muhammad just got kidnapped.” So then all my cousins, all of Shuafat came down, and they were like, “Where is he? We need to know where he is right now.” And we were talking to the cops. And the cops asked me, “Were you the last person to see him?” And I said “Yes. All I saw – and he was just sitting there in front of his house and I drove off and I came back and I saw you guys.”

So later on, a couple of hours later, we found out that he was killed. I found out first and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I just sat by myself and my cousins were like, “Why are you sad? He’s going to be back. He’s going to come back. We have to be positive.”

And I’m telling them “I hope so. God’s will.” And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, “Is this true?” I don’t want to think about it in a bad way but did he really get stabbed and burned alive? Could that really happen? Could someone actually do that to another person? And I was scared for his life.

And then, he was stabbed and burned alive and finally everyone knew when they announced it in the mosque. And when they announced it in the mosque everyone just dropped. They were like, “Is it true? We don’t even know how someone could to that to someone else.”

And to even make it worse, they began to fire rubber-coated metal bullets at us, at everyone. They even were firing at my mother, at my aunts and uncles that were inside their houses. They were shooting at every house. And it was so sad and inhumane that they could do that when we lost someone in our family. We’re the ones – my mom is still grieving and my cousin’s mom, my aunt, is still grieving over her son’s death. When he was murdered we thought to ourselves that we tried our best to think he was going to come back, until we found out everything.

To make it worse, later that day, I was on the side of the street when there were some protestors in front of me and there were the IDF [Israeli army] firing rubber bullets at them. And that’s when I was on the side and I’m thinking to myself, “Is this really happening in front of me? Are they really firing rubber bullets to the whole city, to my family?

It made me think how could this happen right in front of me? And then I heard Israeli soldiers behind me, and then I’m thinking they’re going to run by me. They’re just going to shoot like the rest of the soldiers did. They began to run after me. That’s when I panicked. And everyone began to scream and panic too and then they ran. And I began to run too and I panicked because I didn’t know what to do. And that’s when they stuck to me. Three of them were running after me, one person.

And that’s when I jumped the fence on my left and I was at a dead end. It was not actually a dead end but there was like a little ten-foot drop in front of me which everyone jumped. I was going to jump it because I was scared and so many things were running through my mind. So when I was about to jump it, they tackled me and punched me and zip tied me. So I couldn’t make any movements.

I was zip-tied and leg-cuffed and beaten, punched and kicked in the face until I was unconscious. And even when I went unconscious they kept punching and kicking me like I was a punching bag. And I woke up blindfolded in jail. I woke up like I thought I was in the same place, I felt like I was in my cousin’s place, God rest his soul. I’m like, “Where am I? Are they going to kill me? Am I going to live through this?” And I’m bleeding down my neck, and I’m bleeding down every part of my body and I feel like my face is a bubble because of how much it hurt.

After being six hours in jail – they took me to jail – they finally took me to a doctor. And when I went to that doctor I went unconscious again and when I woke up I saw my dad and my uncle in front of me. They said “you might come back home with us tonight, or you might go to jail.”

I thought to myself “why would I go to jail? They beat me up!”

And later on I began to drink and eat and while I was drinking and eating the soldier came up to me to go get dressed. I’m going back to jail. And I’m like – I couldn’t say anything.

So I went to the bathroom and I changed back into my clothes, the same clothes – I was in a gown in the hospital. I had to change back into the same clothes that had all my blood on it, and my ripped shirt.

I went back to the jail and I saw all my cousins in jail and it was so sad. It’s inhumane like how you can just take a bunch of kids for no reason and beat them. I saw my one cousin sitting next to me and his whole shoulder is dislocated and his whole shoulder is bleeding. And I’m looking at myself like how, how is this happening to me? How’s it happening to all the Palestinians? How do they live through this?

I stayed in jail for four days. Actually on the second day I was in jail they said I went to a court date. I went to the court, sat in a jail cell inside the court. I didn’t even get to go to my court date. They just tortured us. They put us in a cell inside the court. Nine people in a closed cell and it was so small. We had to stand, we couldn’t sit down. For six hours we kept standing in that cell. We couldn’t do anything until one by one, [I] was called.

So that’s when I returned to jail. Two days later I had another court date. The same thing happened. I went to the jail cell, stayed there for a couple of hours and finally I got out and there was a bunch of media in front of me. I was getting a bunch of questions. Right when I walked into the courtroom I saw my parents. My face lit up. I was so happy. So many things running through my mind. I’m finally going home. I’m finally going home. I’ll think about everything when I’m going home.

Then the judge told me I’m going to be on house arrest. Usually when I think about house arrest I’m like, “house arrest, I don’t know what that is.” Until she told me that I’m not allowed to go back to my city where my parents are staying – you’re supposed to stay away from your family. Why should I stay away from my family? They’re like trying to torture me.

So they did all this with no charges. That’s what they do to all the Palestinian people – with no charges filed. So on the day I left Palestine they attacked all my cousins, the rest of them. They took half my cousins when I was there and then they took the rest when I left – the night I left.

They waited for me to leave and then they took my cousins, ransacked my house that I was staying in. They took my fifty-year-old uncle. He got back from work and they took him. He works every day from eleven in the morning to six in the morning the next day and they took him. He was so tired.

And I really want to thank everyone that supported me and it’s sad that my cousins are still being persecuted. And the three cousins that were arrested with me – their names are Karim, Muhammad and Mahmoud – they’re still in jail because they’re not American and they didn’t have a video that showed the brutality of the Israelis.

Now, I think all people should be treated equal, no matter who they are or where they come from. We were all created equal and we all deserve to have our rights and I feel my cousins should have the same rights that Israel gives the Israelis.

And giving Palestinians the same rights is a key to peace in the Middle East. I pray one day my cousins can feel safe to play outside and have fun. And I don’t want them to feel scared when they’re outside trying to play with their other cousins. It’s inhumane, I can’t explain it. It’s really sad. Thank you.

** Suha Abukhdeir**: Thank you. Good evening everyone. I want to thank the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for having us here tonight. We’re honored to be here. My name is Suha Abukhdeir. I’m the mother of Tariq Abukhdeir.

I cannot begin to describe the pain of seeing my beloved son held in an Israeli prison without charges, denied medical care and suffering from a brutal beating given to him by the Israeli police.

When I first heard about the vicious beating he faced at the hands of the Israeli police and saw his bloody and swollen face and his unconscious body in the hospital, I feared for his life and I didn’t know if he was going to survive.

I could not bear to watch the video of his beating. What if he was screaming for help and I could not be there for him? When I arrived at the hospital, when I found out about him being in jail and then taken to the hospital, I found an Israeli policeman at the hospital door.

And I asked him if I can go in and see my son. He refused at first. After my husband had pleaded with him he finally allowed me but proceeding to say, “You cannot get near him, you cannot touch him and you cannot speak to him.”

So I proceeded to go to the hospital room and I looked over and all I could see is this helpless body laying there – he had a distorted face. I did not recognize him. I didn’t know if he was alive, what had happened exactly. So I told my husband, “Please, don’t leave him” – because he was handcuffed to the hospital bed.

I felt like since he was handcuffed to the hospital bed that the same people that brought him to the hospital could take him right back. So I was afraid.

The next morning, we got a call from the American consul Josh Wagner and he told us that he had made an appointment for all of us to go see Tariq in jail. I found out before [consular official] Josh Wagner called that they took Tariq back to jail and I couldn’t believe it.

I knew he was on antibiotics so the first thought I had was “Are they really going to give him his antibiotics? Are they really going to take care of him? Are they going to feed him?”

And especially after seeing the condition he was in, I couldn’t bear to think he was in a jail cell when he should have stayed in the hospital. So the next morning we went with Josh Wagner to the jailhouse. So when we proceeded and told the Israeli police that Josh Wagner had an appointment to see Tariq today. They said no one was going to see any prisoners and that was it and they closed the prison doors in our face.

Josh Wagner could not believe it. He told them, “I am not going to leave here until I see him because I made an appointment with you guys and I’m going to stay until I see him.

He proceeded to call the US embassy and the Israeli embassy back and forth for three hours until finally they agreed to let him in alone. So he got in – before he got in I told him, “Please Josh, can you just let me know of his condition. Ask him, is he eating, are they giving him his medications because the medications are in Hebrew and obviously he can’t read Hebrew.” These are the same people that beat him that now are caring for him.

I’m grateful to be back in America safe with my son but I know Palestinians go through what my son faced every day. Tariq was not able to grieve his cousin’s death or attend his cousin Muhammad’s funeral as a result of the beating Israeli police had given him that same day his cousin was brutally murdered by the Israeli extremists.

Instead of the police protecting us they taunted us, telling us that Muhammad was just the first to be killed and that 300 Palestinians would be killed for the three teenagers who were killed.

My son and family have been very traumatized by this whole experience. Our cousins are still in jail and the only reason Tariq is out is because he is an American citizen and his beating was caught on tape.

While some of the Israeli officials tried to justify the vicious beating my son received by smearing his name, my son has never been charged with any crime. Nothing, nothing can justify restraining the hands of a fifteen-year-old child and beating him unconscious. Although as Americans we enjoy great freedom in America, in Jerusalem we felt worse than second-class citizens because the Israeli government treated us differently because we had a different religion and ethnicity.

Like my Palestinian cousins I felt that my family had no rights. My son was viciously attacked while in custody. He was in jail for four days. We were forced to pay a $1,000 bond and my son faced nine days of house arrest away from his family – although he committed no crime and faced no charges.

When we left to America, Israeli police raided the family home where we were staying and arrested the males there. They’re still being held today without any charges. The Israeli police involved in the beating of my son must be held accountable so that no other mother must go through the pain that I went through.

My son still suffers from body aches and pains and headaches, not to mention the emotional trauma he must now struggle through. I just pray that America and the world can have the same sympathy for the countless children who are wrongfully arrested or even killed by Israel who do not carry a US passport like my son Tariq.

None of this would have happened if the Israeli government valued the life of my son Tariq and other Palestinian Muslim and Christian children in the same way they value the lives of Israeli children. Thank you.

 

More HERE

WHERE IS MOHAMMED?

Peek-a-boo, I don’t see you

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Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn’t there

It isn’t a matter of racism. It’s a matter of denial.
By Asher Schechter FOR

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Babies born in Israel. Photo by Ancho Gosh
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Earlier this week, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel’s population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA’s annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.

The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.

But Yosef wasn’t actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz’s Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

One would be hard-pressed not to suspect racism. No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel’s population.

On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn’t a matter of simple, blatant racism. It’s worse. It’s denial.

Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.

But mostly it’s a denial of a reality that isn’t convenient. In recent years, Israel has developed a habit of trying to embellish or simplify reality by ignoring inconveniences. Let’s call it the “not counting the Haredim and Arabs” trick.

Peek-a-boo, I don’t see you

For instance, back in April 2012, PM Netanyahu made a revealing admission. Asked about the extreme inequality in Israel and the surge of public anger, as shown in the social protests of 2011, Netanyahu claimed: “If you deduct the Arabs and the Haredim from inequality indices, we are doing great.”

His statement caused an uproar but since then, the claim that Israel is doing just great if you don’t count it’s most impoverished groups has become a cliche of sorts among Israeli officials: if not for those pesky Haredim and Arabs, Israel would have been one of the most advanced countries in the OECD.

A study conducted by the Taub Center for Israel Studies in 2013 proves that even if you discount the Haredim and Arabs, Israel remains a poor, unequal, relatively-unproductive country by OECD standards. But the misconception has become entrenched, appropriated by ordinary and official Israelis for other walks of life beyond economics, whether it’s Israel’s troubled education system or, well, baby names.

In that sense, if you don’t count the name Mohammad, Israel’s most popular baby name is Yosef. And if you deduct the Arab population, Israel is a Jewish state. It’s a cool mental trick, that enables Israel to be the Jewish country it always wanted to be. It also implies, quite ominously, that Israel as a nation has lost some capacity of dealing with reality.

For years now, for instance, Israel has been concerned with the so-called “demographic threat”, a scenario in which Palestinians, both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, become a majority thanks to their high birth rates and therefore risk Israel’s Jewish majority and its status as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to raise this concern, back in 2003. Some analysts suggested the fear of it forced Ariel Sharon to unilaterally disengage from Gaza.

Which brings us back to Mohammad, and the reality that its omission masks. After all, what is the acknowledgement that Mohammadis the now most popular baby name in Israel, if not an embarrassing admission that the so called “demographic bomb” has already exploded? That Israel, despite its definition of itself as Jewish, is a lot less Jewish than it would have liked? How would you like a dose of demographic gunpowder with your honey-dipped apple this year?

But, if you deduct Mohammad, everything seems just fine. We are not racists, we swear, we are simply escaping to a much-less complicated fantasy land.

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