Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

The Unholy City is more divided than ever before.


  The Unholy City

Uri Avnery


IN its long and checkered history, Jerusalem has been occupied by dozens of conquerors.

Babylonians and Persians, Greeks and Romans, Mamluks and Turks, Britons and Jordanians – to mention just a few.

The latest occupier is Israel, which conquered and annexed Jerusalem in 1967.

(I could have written “East Jerusalem” – but all of historical Jerusalem is in today’s East Jerusalem. All the other parts were built in the last 200 years by Zionist settlers, or are surrounding Arab villages which were arbitrarily joined to the huge area that is now called Jerusalem after its occupation.)

This week, Jerusalem was in flames – again. Two youngsters from Jabel Mukaber, one of the Arab villages annexed to Jerusalem, entered a synagogue in the west of the city during morning prayers and killed four devout Jews, before themselves being killed by police.

Jerusalem is called “the City of Peace”. This is a linguistic mistake. True, in antiquity it was called Salem, which sounds like peace, but Salem was in fact the name of the local deity.

It is also a historical mistake. No city in the world has seen as many wars, massacres and as much bloodshed as this one.

All in the name of some God or other.

JERUSALEM WAS annexed (or “liberated”, or “unified”) immediately after the Six-day War of 1967.

That war was Israel’s greatest military triumph. It was also Israel’s greatest disaster. The divine blessings of the incredible victory turned into divine punishments. Jerusalem was one of them.

The annexation was presented to us (I was a member of the Knesset at the time) as a unification of the city, which had been cruelly rent asunder in the Israeli-Palestinian war of 1948. Everybody cited the Biblical sentence: “Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together.” This translation of Psalm 122 is rather odd. The Hebrew original says simply “a city that is joined together”.

In fact, what happened in 1967 was anything but unification.

If the intent had really been unification, it would have looked very different.

Full Israeli citizenship would have been automatically conferred on all inhabitants. All the lost Arab properties in West Jerusalem, which had been expropriated in 1948, would have been restored to their rightful owners who had fled to East Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem municipality would have been expanded to include Arabs from the East, even without a specific request. And so on.

The opposite happened. No property was restored, nor any compensation paid. The municipality remained exclusively Jewish.

Arab inhabitants were not accorded Israeli citizenship, but merely “permanent residence”. This is a status that can be arbitrarily revoked at any moment – and indeed was revoked in many cases, compelling the victims to move out of the city. For appearance’s sake, Arabs were allowed to apply for Israel citizenship. The authorities knew, of course, that only a handful would apply, since doing so would mean recognition of the occupation. For Palestinians, this would be paramount to treason. (And the few that did apply were generally refused.)

The municipality was not broadened. In theory, Arabs are entitled to vote in municipal elections, but only a handful do so, for the same reasons. In practice, East Jerusalem remains occupied territory.

The mayor, Teddy Kollek, was elected two years before the annexation. One of his first actions after it was to demolish the entire Mugrabi Quarter next to the Western Wall, leaving a large empty square resembling a parking lot. The inhabitants, all of them poor people, were evicted within hours.

But Kollek was a genius in public relations. He ostensibly established friendly relations with the Arab notables, introduced them to foreign visitors and created a general impression of peace and contentment. Kollek built more new Israeli neighborhoods on Arab land than any other person in the country. Yet this master-settler collected almost all the world’s peace prizes, except the Nobel Prize. East Jerusalem remained quiet.

Only few knew of a secret directive from Kollek, instructing all municipal authorities to see to it that the Arab population – then 27% – did not rise above that level.

KOLLEK was ably supported by Moshe Dayan, then the Defense Minister. Dayan believed in keeping the Palestinians quiet by giving them all possible benefits, except freedom.


A few days after the occupation of East Jerusalem he removed the Israeli flag which had been planted by soldiers in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Dayan also turned the de facto authority over the Mount over to the Muslim religious authorities.

Jews were allowed into the Temple compound only in small numbers and only as quiet visitors. They were forbidden to pray there, and forcibly removed if they moved their lips. They could, after all, pray to their heart’s content at the adjoining Western Wall (which is a part of the compound’s ancient outer wall).

The government was able to impose this decree because of a quaint religious fact: Orthodox Jews are forbidden by the rabbis to enter the Temple Mount altogether. According to a Biblical injunction, ordinary Jews are not allowed into the Holy of Holies, only the High Priest was allowed in. Since nobody today knows where exactly this place is located, pious Jews may not enter the entire compound.

AS A result, the first few years of the occupation were a happy time for East Jerusalem. Jews and Arabs mingled freely. It was fashionable for Jews to shop in the colorful Arab market and dine in the “oriental” restaurants. I myself often stayed in Arab hotels and made quite a number of Arab friends.

This atmosphere changed gradually. The government and the municipality spent a lot of money to gentrify West Jerusalem, but Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were neglected, and turned into slums. The local infrastructure and services degenerated. Almost no building permits were issued to Arabs, in order to compel the younger generation to move outside the city borders. Then the “Separation” Wall was built, preventing those outside from entering the city, cutting them off from their schools and jobs. Yet In spite of everything, the Arab population grew and reached 40%.

Political oppression grew. Under the Oslo agreements, Jerusalemite Arabs were allowed to vote for the Palestinian Authority. But then they were prevented from doing so, their representatives were arrested and expelled from the city. All Palestinian institutions were forcibly closed down, including the famous Orient House, where the much admired and beloved leader of the Jerusalem Arabs, the late Faisal al-Husseini, had his office.

KOLLEK was succeeded by Ehud Olmert and an Orthodox mayor who didn’t give a damn for East Jerusalem, except the Temple Mount.

And then an additional disaster occurred. Secular Israelis are leaving Jerusalem, which is rapidly becoming an Orthodox bastion. In desperation they decided to oust the Orthodox mayor and elect a secular businessman. Unfortunately, he is a rabid ultra-nationalist.

Nir Barkat behaves like the mayor of West Jerusalem and the military governor of East Jerusalem. He treats his Palestinian subjects like enemies, who may be tolerated if they obey quietly, and brutally suppressed if they do not. Together with the decade-old neglect of the Arab neighborhoods, the accelerated pace of building new Jewish neighborhoods, the excessive police brutality (openly encouraged by the mayor), they are producing an explosive situation.

The total cutting-off of Jerusalem from the West Bank, its natural hinterland, worsens the situation even more.

To this may be added the termination of the so-called peace process, since all Palestinians are convinced that East Jerusalem must be the capital of the future State of Palestine.

THIS SITUATION needed only a spark to ignite the city. This was duly provided by the right-wing demagogues in the Knesset. Vying for attention and popularity, they started to visit the Temple Mount, one after the other, every time unleashing a storm. Added to the manifest desire of certain religious and right-wing fanatics to build the Third Temple in place of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock, this was enough to create the belief that the holy shrines were indeed in danger.

Then came the ghastly revenge-murder of an Arab boy who was abducted by Jews and burned alive with gasoline poured into his mouth.

Individual Muslim inhabitants of the city started to act. Disdaining organizations, almost without arms, they started a series of attacks that are now called “the intifada of individuals”. Acting alone, or with a brother or cousin whom he trusts, an Arab takes a knife, or a pistol (if he can get one), or his car, or a tractor, and kills the nearest Israelis. He knows that he is going to die.

The two cousins who killed four Jews in a synagogue this week – and also an Arab Druze policeman – knew this. They also knew that their families were going to suffer, their home be demolished, their relatives arrested. They were not deflected. The mosques were more important.

Moreover, the day before, an Arab bus driver was found dead in his bus. According to the police, the autopsy proved that he committed suicide. An Arab pathologist concluded that he was murdered. No Arab believes the police – Arabs are convinced that the police always lie.

Immediately after the Synagogue killing, the Israeli choir of politicians and commentators went into action. They did so with an astonishing unanimity – ministers, Knesset members, ex-generals, journalists, all repeating with slight variations the same message. The reason for this is simple: every day the Prime Minister’s office sends out a “page of messages”, instructing all parts of the propaganda machine what to say.

This time the message was that Mahmoud Abbas was to blame for everything, a “terrorist in a suit”, the leader whose incitement causes the new intifada. No matter that the chief of the Shin Bet testified on the very same day that Abbas has neither overt nor covert connections with the violence.

Binyamin Netanyahu faced the cameras and with a solemn face and lugubrious voice – he is a really good actor – repeated again what he has said many times before, every time pretending that this is new recipe: more police, harder punishments, demolition of homes, arrests and large fines for parents of 13-year old children who are caught throwing stones, and so on.

Every expert knows that the result of such measures will be the exact opposite. More Arabs will become incensed and attack Israeli men and women. Israelis, of course, will “take revenge” and “take the law into their own hands”.

For both inhabitants and tourists, walking the streets of Jerusalem, the city which is “joined together”, has become a risky adventure. Many stay at home.

The Unholy City is more divided than ever before.


The clashes and arrests across Jerusalem came after days of intense security across the city, where Israeli police have deployed heavily amid four months of tensions between local Palestinians and occupation authorities.


'Peace or Peaces' by Latuff

‘Peace or Pieces’ by Latuff


28 injured as clashes rage across Jerusalem overnight
A Palestinian protestor throws a burning tire during clashes with Israeli
forces at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem
on Oct. 31, 2014 (AFP Abbas Momani)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — At least 28 Palestinians were injured as clashes with Israeli forces continued into the late hours of the night on Friday across Jerusalem, as anger over a series of killings by Israeli police boiled over into the streets of the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods.Clashes broke out in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, al-Issawiya, al-Tur, and Wadi al-Joz, as hundreds marched and fought pitched battles with security forces in anger over the killing of Mutaz Hijazi, 32, early Thursday, as well as the killing of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the week before.Both men were suspected by authorities of involvement in violent incidents targeting Israelis. But Palestinians have been outraged by their killings, highlighting that instead of being arrested both were shot dead by police on sight.

An autopsy on Friday revealed that Mutaz Hijazi, 32, was shot 20 times by different officers and left to die on his rooftop, as Israeli police refused to allow locals to reach him — and later forced an ambulance to surrender his body, before returning it to the family late Thursday.

On Friday evening, Israeli forces raided the area around Hijazi’s home al-Thawri neighborhood in Silwan, and locals told Ma’an that soldiers attacked a tent set up by the mourning family where friends and relatives were dropping in to offer condolences.

Israeli forces reportedly fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters, and rubber-coated steel bullets at mourners gathered at the tent, and several men and women suffered severe tear gas inhalation while many others were injured by rubber-coated bullets.

Activist Jihad Oweida told Ma’an that one mourner, Attiya Shabbaneh, was injured by shrapnel from stun grenades in his face and was taken to al-Maqasid Hospital for treatment.

In the Bir Ayyub neighborhood, Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters at more than 200 Palestinian youths who had gathered to visit the mourning tent set up in Hijazi’s home.

Many suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation and one was injured and received a fracture in his foot. A Palestinian youth identified as Rami Salah was detained by Israeli forces.

An official responsible for ambulance and emergency services at the Palestinian Red Crescent, Amin Abu Ghazaleh, told Ma’an that 28 Palestinians suffered from light injuries, including from rubber-coated steel bullets injuries and tear-gas inhalation, while three were taken to hospitals after they were hit at close range with rubber-coated steel bullets in the head, legs, and stomach.

In the al-Issawiya neighborhood, meanwhile, dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters heavily during clashes that erupted as Israeli forces detained an unidentified Palestinian.

Clashes also erupted in the Sur Baher village, Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, and other neighborhoods in the Old City of Jerusalem.

An Israeli police spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Old City security tight

Also on Friday, Israeli police released the director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Jawad Siyam, along with Yazan Siyam, Muntaser Faraj and Mahmoud Gaith who were all detained Friday on charges of “assaulting” Israeli settlers in September.

It was unclear why the arrests had taken place more than a month after the alleged assault, but some have speculated that the arrests were related to the political nature of the work of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, which focuses on resisting settler encroachment in the neighborhood of Silwan.

The four were released on the condition to pay a 500 shekels bill each, and were sentenced to house arrest until next Monday.

The clashes and arrests across Jerusalem came after days of intense security across the city, where Israeli police have deployed heavily amid four months of tensions between local Palestinians and occupation authorities.

Police, some in riot gear, guarded a series of checkpoints leading from the Old City’s outer gates all the way to the Al-Aqsa compound, an AFP correspondent said.

They checked identity papers of people passing between the barricades, both those on their way to pray and those who worked nearby.

Zuheir Dana, 67, said he was unable to get from his shop to his home.

“I wanted just to get home, which is about 50 meters (yards) away from the Al-Aqsa compound, but police didn’t let me through,” he said.

“It’s been bad every day here since Ramadan,” he added, referring to the Muslim holy month that fell in July.

Markets in the Old City, normally bustling on a Friday morning, were nearly deserted due to the security measures.

The security measures followed the unprecedented complete closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — the third-holiest site in Islam — for the first time since 1967, which ignited protest across the Arab world and even from the United States.

Palestinian community officials say the wave of unrest gripping the city is fueled by a sense of hopelessness resulting from Israel’s policies in occupied East Jerusalem, which have left many young people with a sense that they have nothing to lose.

The arrests of hundreds over summer for participation in protests against Israel’s massive assault on Gaza — which left nearly 2,200 dead in the tiny coastal enclave — has only added fuel to the fire.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They face discrimination in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate abroad.



Short documentary about life in Jerusalem on the other side of the wall




The short documentary ‘3 Houses’ was filmed in Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada, Jerusalem neighborhoods that were cut off from the rest of the city when the Separation Barrier was built in 2002. Since then, these neighborhoods and the tens of thousands of people who live there have been utterly neglected by the Jerusalem municipality. In 2013, the desperate situation in this no-man’s-land was even further exacerbated when the municipality announced its intent to demolish the homes of thousands of residents.

Directed and Edited by Omri Shenhar
Producers Ronit Sela and Marc Grey
Cinematographers Hanna Abu Saada and Issa Qumsiya
Sound recording by Shiraz Rashmawi
Sound design by Yuval Shenhar
Music by Yehezkel Raz
Additional instrumentation Gilad Weiss
Online editor Ron Lindenbaum
Finished at Edit Post Production Studios, Tel Aviv
Produced by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Produced with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv

For further information about ACRI and its work in East Jerusalem, visit us online at

Donate to help ACRI support Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories:



This week, the Australian Attorney-General George Brandis said in a speech that his country ought to stop viewing East Jerusalem as an occupied city.




Muslims must respond to Australia’s latest affront

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
The Arab world, if indeed there is still an entity as such, and Muslims around the world must respond in a meaningful manner to the latest affront coming from Australia.
This week, the Australian Attorney-General George Brandis said in a speech that his country ought to stop viewing East Jerusalem as an occupied city.

Brandis is notorious for his racist views and xenophobia. Some of his critics have already described him as “Nazi-minded.” The Australian press recently quoted him as saying that “people have the right to be bigots,” which made racist and anti-immigration groups in Australia ecstatic.

Unfortunately, much of the man’s vindictive chauvinism is reserved for Arabs and Muslims. His remarks about E. Jerusalem encapsulate a morbid mind-set not unlike that of the people who wanted to create the Third Reich.

We Palestinians don’t wish to harm our or Arab-Muslim relations with the people and state of Australia.

However, Brandis by embracing the illegitimate Israeli view that East Jerusalem is not an occupied territory and that the city is part of the criminal Israeli state has actually gone beyond the pale. For us, this is no less than a political adultery and it can’t be forgiven or allowed to pass.

Not only he has seriously offended 1600 million Muslims, including over half a million in Australia itself, he has actually flown in the face of international law and numerous resolutions by the United Nations and UN Security Council which all ruled that East Jerusalem is illegally and unlawfully occupied by Israel.

Hence, the repulsive statement by Brandis must be condemned in the strongest terms and rejected by the Australian government.

However, given that government’s record in dealing with Arab and Islamic issues, especially the Palestinian problem, there is little hope that Australia would rethink this offensive decision.

Unfortunately, Australia has always been among the most extreme western states in displaying hostility to the Palestinian cause. Its propensity to appease Zionist whims is probably unmatched by any other western country. Even Germany, which has sought relentlessly to atone for the holocaust by effectively embracing Jewish Nazism, and Britain, which inserted the venomous Jewish snake into the Palestinian child’s cradle, doesn’t recognize East Jerusalem as part of Israel. Hence, the audacity and offensiveness of Brandis’s remarks.

Arab-Muslim reactions:
It is not enough to voice our displeasure to the Australian government over this manifestly hostile move. We must make it unmistakably clear to that distant state that Jerusalem is our soul and heart and that the Holy City is the ultimate inviolable Red Line. We must not have normal relations with Australia unless its government reconsiders this provocation.

We are not bereft of the means to respond effectively to this premeditated insult. The size of the Muslim world’s trade with Australia is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Australia exports livestock to Muslim countries worth of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

If we proved to the Australian government that our national and religious dignity is worth so much, then that government might reconsider its unprovoked hostility to our people.

But the proverbial ball is not in the Australian government’s court. It is squarely in our court, both as people and as nation-states.

That is why we must make it abundantly clear to the government of Australia that it has a few weeks to rescind its odious decision or else we would stop all our imports from that country.

We surely can do without Australian lamb meat. There are numerous other destinations from which we can import lambs.

Needless to say, when the choice is between an Australian lamb meat meal, soaked in hatred and hostility for our paramount causes and our religion, and the First Qibla of Islam, Muslims ought to know rather innately which choice to take.

Otherwise, Australia and other like-minded countries would be correct in treating us this way because those who don’t respect themselves are not entitled to be respected by others.

For me and my family, from this moment we will not buy anything produced in, made by or exported from Australia.Australia must be treated by all Arab and Muslim states as an enemy state until it rescinds its hateful step toward our people and our faith.

Khalid Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist
living in occupied Palestine





 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Israel classifies Jerusalem natives as noncitizens

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM  — The Israeli ministry of interior has come up with a new plan to expel the Palestinian natives of occupied Jerusalem from their city through classifying them as “noncitizens,” lawyer Ahmed Roweidi revealed. Roweidi stated on Tuesday that the Israeli interior ministry started to specify periods for the residence of the natives in Jerusalem and classified them as noncitizens who are susceptible to deportation anytime. Roweidi described this new measure as a prelude to a new ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Palestinian natives in the holy city. He affirmed that a number of Jerusalemite citizens went lately to the Israeli occupation authority to renew their IDs and noticed that the word “resident” was added into the new cards with an expiry date for their residence in the holy city.
The response …
Jerusalemite groups: The natives of Jerusalem are citizens, not residents


OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, The higher Islamic commission and the council of awqaf and Islamic affairs in occupied Jerusalem said that the Palestinian natives of Jerusalem are citizens and can never be residents.

This came in a statement released on Saturday by the two Jerusalemite institutions in response to a recent Israeli measure classifying the Palestinian natives of Jerusalem as residents and not citizens in new IDs issued by the interior ministry.

The new Israeli IDs given to the Palestinians in Jerusalem do not only identify them as residents, but also they are provided with an expiry date for their residence in their holy city.

The higher Islamic commission and the council of awqaf and Islamic affairs condemned the Israeli measure as racist and urged the Palestinians in the holy city to uphold their legitimate rights, protect their homes and property and defend their holy sites.

They highlighted that the Palestinians in the holy city are its native citizens and their citizenship cannot be decided by the Israeli occupation regime, for they are deeply rooted in their city.



Both reports FROM


Freezing cold winds, rain and threats of snow is what Jerusalem is experiencing today. That’s fine for those living in homes or apartments, but what about those living in tents or on the street? Even worse than the storm itself are the ongoing illegal activities of zionism in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, Sheik Jarrah in particular. The evictions from private homes continue due to the implementation of lebensraum; Israel’s ‘final solution’ in motion … a policy that is supposedly opposed to by the West and the EU, but still in motion nevertheless.
For some background on this almost forgotten struggle, I present here a three year old Op-ed from The New York Times;

Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.


Who Lives in Sheik Jarrah?

Published: April 30, 2010
AS a boy, I lived in Sheik Jarrah, a wealthy Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Annexed by Israel in 1967 and now the subject of a conflict over property claims, my former home has come to symbolize everything that has gone wrong between the Israelis and Palestinians over the last six decades.

Despite talk of a slowdown in Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, toured Washington earlier this week and told officials that the expansion into Arab neighborhoods is going ahead at full speed.

As a result, “The battle line in Israel’s war of survival as a Jewish and democratic state now runs through the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” writes David Landau, the former editor of the Israeli daily Haaretz. “Is that the line, at last, where Israel’s decline will be halted?” I hope so.

My family lived in Israel from 1956 to 1958, when my father, an American diplomat, was stationed in East Jerusalem. We lived in the Palestinian sector, but every day I crossed through Mandelbaum Gate, the one checkpoint in the divided city, to attend school in an Israeli neighborhood. I thus had the rare privilege of seeing both sides.

At the time Sheik Jarrah was a sleepy suburb, a half-mile north of Damascus Gate. One of my playmates was Dani Bahar, the son of a Muslim Palestinian and a Jewish-German refugee from Nazi Europe. Before the establishment of Israel in 1948, such interfaith marriages were uncommon, but accepted. Another neighbor was Katy Antonius, the widow of George Antonius, an Arab historian who argued that Palestine should become a binational, secular state.

The Sheik Jarrah of my youth is gone; Mandelbaum Gate was razed by Israeli bulldozers right after the Six-Day War in 1967 that united Jerusalem. But the city remains virtually divided. Few Jewish Israelis venture into Sheik Jarrah and the other largely Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and few Palestinians go to the “New City.”

Today East Jerusalem exudes the palpable feel of a city occupied by a foreign power. And it is, to an extent — although much of the world doesn’t recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to halt the construction of new housing units for Jewish Israelis in the Arab neighborhoods. “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” he recently told an audience in Washington.

Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.

The Palestinians have stubbornly refused to pay any rent to these “absentee” Israeli landlords for nearly 43 years; until recently, their presence was nevertheless tolerated. But under Mr. Netanyahu, a concerted effort has been made to evict these Palestinians and replace them with Israelis.

This poses an interesting question. If Jewish Israelis can claim property in East Jerusalem based on land deeds that predate 1948, why can’t Palestinians with similar deeds reclaim their homes in West Jerusalem?

I have in mind the Kalbians, our neighbors in Sheik Jarrah. Until 1948, Dr. Vicken Kalbian and his family lived in a handsome Jerusalem-stone house on Balfour Street in Talbieh. In the spring, the Haganah, the Zionist militia, sent trucks mounted with loudspeakers through the streets of Talbieh, demanding that all Arab residents leave. The Kalbians decided it might be prudent to comply, but they thought they’d be back in a few weeks.

Nineteen years later, after the Six-Day war, the Kalbians returned to 4 Balfour Street and knocked on the door. A stranger answered. “He was a Jewish Turk,” Dr. Kalbian said, “who had come to Israel in 1948.” The man claimed he had bought the house from the “authorities.”

That year the Kalbians took their property deed to a lawyer who determined that their house was indeed registered with the Israeli Department of Absentee Property. Under Israeli law, they learned, due compensation could have been paid to them — but only if they had not fled to countries then considered “hostile,” like Jordan. Because in 1948 they had ended up in Jordanian-controlled Sheik Jarrah, the Kalbians could neither reclaim their home nor be compensated for their loss.

The Kalbians eventually emigrated to America, but their moral claim to the house on Balfour Street is as strong as any of the deeds held by Israelis to property in Sheik Jarrah.

If Israel wishes to remain largely Jewish and democratic, then it must soon withdraw from all of the occupied territories and negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. And if not, it should at least let the Kalbians go home again.

Kai Bird is the author of “Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978.”


Even The New York Times seems to disagree with their report;

Hours after the publication of this post, the text of the AP report on The New York Timeswebsite was changed removing the reference to Jerusalem as an “Israeli” city. It now states:

Hamas, meanwhile, has gained new support among Palestinians following eight days of fighting with Israel in November, during which Israel pounded the seaside strip from the air and sea, while Palestinians militants for the first time lobbed rockets toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


Propaganda or news? Associated Press names Jerusalem an “Israeli” city

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

A Palestinian man and his son walk in front of the rubble of their house after it was demolished by Israeli occupation authorities in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur on 5 November 2012.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)


The Associated Press today seemingly awarded Israel sovereignty over Jerusalem.

An AP report posted by The New York Times and numerous other publications, on a rally held by the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip today, claims:

Hamas has gained new support among Palestinians following eight days of fighting with Israel in November, during which Israel pounded the seaside strip from the air and sea, while Palestinians militants lobbed rockets toward the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time.

Another instance of the AP report, published on the Time website refers to “the heartland Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.”

No country in the world, including the United States, formally recognizes Jerusalem as part of “Israel.”

The AP’s influential stylebook states:

Jerusalem stands alone in datelines

In other words, no country is identified. It is one of only a handful of non-US cities for which the stylebook makes this exception.

Fear of the facts

Under the 1947 UN Partition resolution (181) which Israel alleges grants it international legitimacy, the entirety of the city of Jerusalem was designated a “corpus separatum” – an international zone belonging to neither the Arab nor the Jewish states that the resolution envisaged, but which were never created according to its terms.

During the 1947-48 Nakba, as Zionist militias conquered most of historic Palestine far beyond the boundaries envisaged in resolution 181, they ethnically cleansed and conquered western Jerusalem, expelling its Palestinian residents and seizing and settling their property.

Many countries, for example the UK since 1950, recognize Israel as having “de facto authority” but not “de jure” sovereignty over the areas of Jerusalem occupied by Zionist militias in 1947-48.

No legal validity

In 1967, Israel conquered eastern Jerusalem then annexed it, an action that has been rejected unanimously and repeatedly in international law. UN Security Council Resolution 465 of 1980, for instance, declares:

all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Israel, endlessly indulged and coddled by the so-called “international community,” has been able to flout this and many other resolutions with total impunity, as it continues its violent process of ethnic cleansing, land theft and settlement, with the goal of turning Jerusalem into an exclusively Jewish city.

A major part of its effort to violate Palestinian rights and international law has been to market Jerusalem – in defiance of legal, geographical and demographic facts – as an “Israeli city.”

Many media organizations – intimidated by constant bullying by Zionist groups – have succumbed to referring to Jerusalem as “disputed” rather than “occupied” in order to mask the facts and appease anti-Palestinian critics.

It looks like the influential AP has gone a step further and is now fully on board with Israeli propaganda.

Update 20:12 UTC: New York Times deletes reference to Jerusalem as “Israeli” city in AP report

Hours after the publication of this post, the text of the AP report on The New York Timeswebsite was changed removing the reference to Jerusalem as an “Israeli” city. It now states:

Hamas, meanwhile, has gained new support among Palestinians following eight days of fighting with Israel in November, during which Israel pounded the seaside strip from the air and sea, while Palestinians militants for the first time lobbed rockets toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

No editor’s note or correction documents the change but it is confirmed by screenshots made by The Electronic Intifada.

The change has not been made on other major publications carrying the AP report including Time and USA Today.

Written FOR




There is an expression ‘divide and conquer’, but in Israel they say ‘conquer and divide’. This is not because of the fact that Hebrew is read from right to left, but because that is how zionism operates. First they conquered the homes and lands of the Palestinian people, then they divided them to insure that they remain under occupation. We see evidence of this daily because of the wall of apartheid that has literally cut off all of Palestine from the rest of Israel, and from each other.


As if that is not bad enough, the newest tactic is to build roads that run through the centre of Palestinian villages cutting off access for the residents from those living on the other side. The following describes what is taking place today in occupied Jerusalem …


The village residents will not benefit from the new road, whose main beneficiaries will be West Bank settlers from Gush Etzion who will be able to drive to Jerusalem’s center or Tel Aviv without stopping at a single traffic light.


New Jerusalem highway to cut Arab neighborhood in half

Construction of highway through Beit Safafa is based on plans drawn up 22 years ago, although no detailed plan for the road was submitted and no permits for the bridges above it were issued, according to municipal officials.

By Nir Hasson
Beit Safafa highway construction
A resident of East Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa overlooking the highway construction works yesterday.Photo by Emil Salman

The Jerusalem municipality is constructing a highway running through the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, cutting the pastoral area in the south of the city into two.

The road, passing mere meters away from residents’ homes, will not only ruin their quality of life but will cut many of them off from the mosque, bakery, nursery school and other facilities located a few minutes’ walk away. They will now have to travel a long way via roads, underpasses and bridges to get to the other side of the village.

The highway’s construction is based on plans drawn up 22 years ago, although no detailed plan for the road was submitted and no permits for the bridges above it were issued, according to municipal officials.

The village residents will not benefit from the new road, whose main beneficiaries will be West Bank settlers from Gush Etzion who will be able to drive to Jerusalem’s center or Tel Aviv without stopping at a single traffic light.

Ten days ago Attorney Kais Nasser filed an administrative petition against the municipality and its Moriah development company, demanding to halt the construction work and replan the road. Since he filed the petition the residents say the construction has speeded up.

The road is being built on the basis of a plan from 1990, when the city confiscated the residents’ lands for this purpose. But two later master plans for the Jerusalem district stipulated the city must submit detailed plans to build the road before beginning construction. A detailed plan was made for the road section near the Malha mall and the Gilo neighborhood, but no such plan was submitted for the section going through Beit Safafa.

Consequently, the people whose lives will be forever changed by the new road were not given a chance to submit objections or demand compensation.
The construction in Beit Safafa began although the confiscation process of the lands on which the road is to pass has not been completed, and before building permits have been issued for the bridges. The city maintains the road’s construction was approved in 1990. But since then the city issued building permits to houses built very close to the planned route in violation of planning regulations requiring to remove homes from roads of this size.

Alla Salman, who lives meters away from the planned road says since the petition against the road was filed, the construction in the neighborhood has accelerated. About 50 trucks carrying earth enter and leave the village daily, he says.

The work continues until 7 P.M., forcing people living near the site to suffer constant noise and dust.

All the trees in the small orchard in Salman’s yard will have to be cut and a few meters from his balcony the city plans to build an eight-meter acoustic wall, which the city says is a “concession” to the residents.

Mohamed Salman, the family’s father, aged 77, will no longer be able to walk to the mosque or bakery a few minutes’ walk away, and the neighborhood’s small children will have to walk hundreds of yards further and cross a bridge to get to their nursery school.

“There’ll be a separation wall like in the West Bank, in the middle of Beit Safafa,” says Ala Salman. “It’s a great injustice.”

The city responded that the road is a major project with “a high economic value.” It said the residents will benefit from the road and be able to enter it at either intersection on the village outskirts.



The above took me back to something that happened almost 30 years ago;


I was a new immigrant to Israel and had to go to special classes to learn Hebrew. The students were divided into study groups of four to work together on special assignments. In my group, there was a young Palestinian man named Osama. We became close friends which continues until today.


Our group took turns at working together in each other’s homes. There was some reluctance on the part of the others to go to Osama’s home despite his willingness for us to go there. He constantly referred to his village as “his country”. His home was in Beit Safafa, the village described above.


Finally, the entire group agreed to visit ‘his country’. It was an eye opener for all of us. Here we were in an Arab village in the heart of Jerusalem, yet we were in a different country, a country called Palestine. We were welcomed into Osama’s home by his loving family and treated with the most delicious Palestinian dishes reserved only for special holidays.


When I read the above report I wept for Osama’s family and neighbours. It brought to light the need for a Palestinian State which would put an end to the occupation and devastation of ‘THEIR country’.


Remember this ( No Jews Allowed)


Now we have this


I think it is a shame that in a city where over 1/3 of the population are Palestinians, the authorities are planning only for Israelis, even near Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem, where such construction is desperately needed. This policy is not only taking us away from the possibility to get to Two States, but is also discriminatory and adds to the instability in Jerusalem.


180 new units in East Jeruslam

The Israeli Land Administration announced last week the allocation of 180 new housing units in East Jerusalem for families of people from the Israeli security forces (the army and police). The decision was made in accordance with the Israeli Government’s decision from 20.5.12 to allocate units for security people in Jerusalem in “places with special characteristics that can justify such allocations, according to the ILA considerations”.

Since almost no Palestinians serve in the Israeli security forces, this decision is clearly intended to prevent from Palestinian families the possibility to buy homes in the new neighborhood, which is located between two Palestinian neighborhoods, Sur Baher and Um Lison.



The plan, number 7977A, is on lands that were confiscated by the Israeli Government back in 1970 as part of the confiscations for the East Talpiyot (AKA Armon Hanatziv) neighborhood. On July 2012, the plan was officially announced valid after the final approval by the regional planning committee.

I think it is a shame that in a city where over 1/3 of the population are Palestinians, the authorities are planning only for Israelis, even near Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem, where such construction is desperately needed. This policy is not only taking us away from the possibility to get to Two States, but is also discriminatory and adds to the instability in Jerusalem.


Another sign from the ugly past



Welcome to colonized Jerusalem — the capital of Israel

by Philip Weiss

What do people mean when they say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? You can see in the video below: Israel is colonizing the entire eastern half of the city and the supposed future Palestinian “capital” is far away and behind a 26-foot-high concrete separation wall.

The guide in the video is Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. We’re standing on a hill on the eastern side of the city, looking north and east at Palestinian neighborhoods.

You can see the Al Aqsa Mosque on the left (at 5:40) between the cypresses (enlarge the video if you have to) and Abu Dis on the right (at 5:25), closed off on the West Bank from the Palestinian city of Jerusalem.



Some of the highlights of the video: You will see the billboard for an Israeli settlement right below us being built inside the Palestinian neighborhood of Jebel  Muhaber. The billboard features an appeal for American Jews to buy here. The colony is called Nof Zion, the vista of Zion.

At 2:08 you will see the black barrels on the tops of Palestinian homes alongside Israeli colonies with no such tanks — because the Israelis have all the water they need, and the Palestinians only get it a few times a week.

At 2:44 or so Halper points out Abu Dis, the supposed Palestinian capital of a dreamed Palestinian state, behind the wall on the right.

At 3:20 he points out a new Jewish colony being built on a hillside at the east side of these Palestinian neighborhoods, called the “Forefront of Zion.”

At 5:28 Halper points out the supposed Palestinian parliament building, on the other side of the wall.

You will hear Halper describe 3 or 4 colonies before our eyes. Some of them are built and growing, some are just started.

Halper describes the Israeli effort to bring more Jewish colonists in by building a modern road so they don’t have to go through Palestinian neighborhoods. The road will connect the Old City to Ma’ale Adumim, the city-settlement deep in the West Bank, and connect all the colonies we see before us.

This is the reality in Israel and Palestine: complete Israeli control over the territory, and the calculated colonization of that territory by Jews, so as to solidify Jewish control of Jerusalem. The Israeli capital.

Where’s the Palestinian capital? That’s it below, Abu Dis, on the other side of this 26-foot-tall wall:

Wall at Abu Dis
Wall at Abu Dis

And watch all the signs of apartheid here: separate roadway, separate communities, separate standards of living.


Written FOR


The ongoing Nakba ….

Setters Evict Family From Room of Jerusalem Home

Palestinians Blocked From Part of Home by Sheeting

A room and a courtyard of a Palestinian family home in eastern Jerusalem were turned over to Jewish residents.


On Sunday, the room was sealed off from the rest of the house with metal sheeting and barbed wire, according to reports.


A Palestinian couple and their 2-year-old son had lived in the room. Seventeen other members of the family live in the rest of the house.


The home is claimed by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, who purchased the property from the Chabad Kollel, who bought it in 1886 from the occupying Ottoman. Chabad lost the land in 1948 when Jordan took over eastern Jerusalem and it was sold to the Hamdallah family, which has lived in the home since 1952.


The Kollel regained its rights to the land after the Six-Day War, but the family remained in the home. Moskowitz has been working through the courts to evict the family for nearly two decades. He recently succeeded in getting a court’s permission to evict the family from additions made to the property. It is believed Moskowitz that wants to expand the Jewish enclave of Ma’aleh Hazeitim, which he helped to fund, on to the property.

Written FOR


I was born in the United States, I left there 45 years ago. I never lost my American citizenship. I immigrated to Canada, became a citizen there but left 28 years ago. I never lost my Canadian citizenship. I have lived in Israel since leaving Canada giving me 3 citizenships…
A man who was born here has no status whatsoever; Amir Salima, 21, from the Old City of Jerusalem, has no legal status – not in Israel, not in the Palestinian Authority and not anywhere else. He has no identity card, no passport, he cannot register for university studies, apply for a job, sign up for an HMO or open a bank account. He cannot visit the West Bank or anywhere else outside of Jerusalem. In fact, he can barely leave his house, for fear of being caught by the police.
HERE …. in the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East???
Yup! Something is definitely rotten in the State of Israel….

Amir Salima in his home in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.  Photo by: Michal Fattal


East Jerusalem man, denied residency by Israel, effectively prisoner in own home

Interior Ministry refuses to recognize 21-year-old Amir Salima as resident of the city, despite the fact that his parents and siblings are all considered residents.


Amir Salima, 21, from the Old City of Jerusalem, has no legal status – not in Israel, not in the Palestinian Authority and not anywhere else. He has no identity card, no passport, he cannot register for university studies, apply for a job, sign up for an HMO or open a bank account. He cannot visit the West Bank or anywhere else outside of Jerusalem. In fact, he can barely leave his house, for fear of being caught by the police.

Salima is a man with no identity. The absurdity of his situation is amplified by the fact that his parents and five siblings all hold Israeli identity cards. The reason is simple: unfortunately for him, he was born in a hospital in Ramallah, and not in Jerusalem.

Over the years, the Interior Ministry turned down several requests by his parents for an Israeli identity card for their son. In three weeks, the Jerusalem District Court is set to discuss a petition he submitted against the state through the organization Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual.

Salima fell victim to a complex legal situation in which Palestinians from East Jerusalem are eligible for “residency,” under the Entry to Israel Law, similar to tourists who enter Israel for a limited stay. Residency, however, does not pass automatically from parents to children, and the law does not address a situation in which the child of residents is born outside of Israel.

Salima was born in 1991 in a hospital near Ramallah, after his mother began having labor pains while visiting her sister, who lives there. “At first it didn’t matter, he was a child and there were no checkpoints,” said his father Naim.

The problems began when Amir’s parents tried to register him for school, but through connections and good will they managed to sign him up for a school in East Jerusalem, despite his not holding an identity card.

After a long journey through the bureaucracy, he managed to take his matriculation exams, using his father’s identity number. He got high marks on the exams, but three years have passed since then during which he has essentially been a prisoner in his own home.

In one case, a police officer even sought to expel him from his house, after declaring him “illegally present.” In another case, he was caught by police and strip searched. Since then, he is reluctant to leave home.

As a result, while all of his siblings are now completing degrees in law and engineering, Amir is stuck in his room, in a small house next to Herod’s Gate in the Old City, spending most of his time in front of his computer. “Facebook, Hotmail, what else can I do?” he says.

“Dad says driving him around in his car is more dangerous than transporting hashish,” says his brother Fadi.

In the petition, Salima’s lawyer Adi Lustigman argues that the right to legal standing is anchored in Israeli law and in international agreements signed by Israel.

“Amir Salima has spent his whole life in Israel on the seam line, a son to two parents who are Israeli residents and a brother to five brothers and sisters who are Israeli residents. His whole life is centered here. There is no other place where he can go and receive status,” she wrote.

“This obtuseness toward a person, when a government body knows that he is a minor, is deplorable and reveals the system’s double standard toward the Palestinians,” the petition states.  

The petition concludes with a line from a Leonard Cohen song: “Show me the place, where you want your slave to go.”

The Interior Ministry said in response, “The family’s request was rejected due to various reasons, among them center of life. Moreover, their request was recently rejected by [an Interior Ministry] committee. Beyond that, our full response will be submitted to the court.” 


Even WITH residency status or citizenship, when the State DECIDES you are in the way of illegal settlers moving into YOUR home, you are simply evicted.

First forced eviction of Palestinian family in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina to make way for Jewish settlers

Submitted by Adri Nieuwhof

On 18 April, the Palestinian Natsheh family was evicted from their home in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood in the north of occupied East Jerusalem The eviction was carried out by the Bailiff’s Office with police back-up. Beit Hanina’s first forced removal left two parents and nine children homeless.

Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, immediately released a statement condemning Israel’s unlawful act. “Evictions of Palestinians from their homes and properties in occupied territory contravene international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should cease,” he said.

A few days later, the European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah followed Gaylard’s example. The EU missions expressed their deep concern about the plans to build a new settlement in the midst of Beit Hanina, reported press agency AFP. The missions reiterated the EU position that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law.

Family has been on land since 1940s

The eviction follows a court case brought against the Palestinian families by Aryeh King, founder of the right-wing settlement organization Israel Land Fund. King claimed that the property belonged to Jewish residents prior to 1948 and were purchased by a Jewish buyer 35 years ago. Palestinian owner Khaled Natsheh could not prove his ownership of his property because land transactions in Beit Hanina between Palestinians are generally not filed with the municipality, he told the Jerusalem Post. Members of the Natsheh family possessed the land as far back as the 1940s.

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court decided to grant ownership of the property to King’s “client.” Following the court decision one Palestinian family “voluntarily” left their home after King promised to waive the NIS 250,000 debt the court awarded to the Israel Land Fund for damages. However, the Natsheh family refused to move. “Even if [King] gave me a million shekels I wouldn’t give him the keys,” said Natsheh. “I’m not going to leave, I will die here. Whatever they want to do, they can do. Whatever they want, I’m not leaving the house. If they kill me, they kill me,” he told the Jerusalem Post.

The Israel Land Fund plans to build 50 apartments for settlers on the land which is located close to the Jerusalem Light Rail. King advertised the Israel land Fund’s illegal business in Beit Hanina on twitter on 28 March:

Screenshot of Arieh King’s tweet with a photo of the Natsheh family home.

Judaizing Beit Hanina

The photo in King’s tweet shows the house of the Natsheh family. In Judaizing’ Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, with backing from Americans, Jeff Halper described the harassment of the Natsheh family.

Driving Palestinians out of their homes in “east” Jerusalem is, as you can imagine, a dirty business. But its not terribly difficult. The Palestinians are a vulnerable population, poor (70% subsist on less than $2 a day), completely unprotected by the law or Israeli courts, and targeted by determined Jewish settlers with all the money and political backing in the world – much of its coming, of course, from the US, mainly from orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists. Over the past few days settlers led by Arieh King have been harassing Palestinian residents of Beit Hanina, according to King, settlers will “very soon” take over four houses, plus an additional two houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where violent nighttime evictions aided by the Israeli police have become commonplace. The immediate target of window-breaking, curses, violent encounters and now a police search of the home “for weapons” is the Natsheh family of Beit Hanina.

The illegal practices in Beit Hanina of King’s Israel Land Fund are welcomed by the Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari. “The city of Jerusalem needs to remember that every government talks about a united Jerusalem, that means that Jews can build in every place, and we’ll continue to build through the entire city,” he told the Jerusalem Post.

However, East Jerusalem is occupied territory under international law and Israel has no right to demolish Palestinian property, to evict Palestinians from their homes or land, or to build on Palestinian land: no walls, no settlements and no light rail. To condemn these violations of the rights of the Palestinians is not sufficient.

Written FOR


 As the Palestinian Authority itself continues to erode away at Human Rights..
How ironic that Mahmoud Abbas is slowly turning the Occupied West Bank into a mini Israel void of Human Rights and Civil Liberties…
Are these the ploys he wants to use to convince the West that Palestine is as Democratic as Israel is and deserves Nation  Status? (sic)
Here are some of the latest violations;
From a report by Amira Hass in today’s HaAretz….

What happens when a Palestinian journalist dares criticize the Palestinian Authority?

Palestinian journalist Yusuf Al-Shayeb dared raise suspicions of corruption at the PA’s mission in France. Now he languishes in a Ramallah cell.

And an AP Report from the same edition….

Palestinian woman arrested for alleged anti-Abbas Facebook post

A 37-year-old university lecturer is being detained over comments found on her Facebook page calling for Abbas’ retirement.

Finally, a comment from our own Khalid Amayreh, written FOR
A game of make believe
By Khalid Amayreh

Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas is behaving in a theatrical manner these days. It is very much like “now you see it, now you don’t,”

The talk about his mythical “letter” or “ultimatum” to Israel reminds us of the notorious illusions of the past few years such as the “September entitlement,” the Annapolis conference and the numerous other lies and events orchestrated in coordination with the U.S. and meant to deceive and mislead the Palestinian public by giving the masses a false hope that something is in the offing.

The PA-run media has been babbling and blathering about “Abbas’s letter” as if the Day of Judgment would take place the day after the letter is delivered to the “graceful hands” of Bibi Netanyahu.

According to the latest reports, the Americans and their European partners have convinced Abu Mazen to delete any indication or threat from the letter alluding to the dismantlement of the PA.

On some occasions, Abbas alluded to the possible dissolution of the PA regime if the world community failed to force Israel to end the occupation that started in 1967.

But neither the US nor Israel took this warning seriously. It also seems that many Palestinians as well, perhaps a sizeable majority, don’t believe the PA leadership.

There is no doubt that the very existence of the PA is an Israeli achievement and vital interest. This is why Israel, and especially the United States, will think twice before allowing Abbas to reach the Rubicon.

This is not say though that the Israelis and their guardian-allies, the Americans, will meet Abbas’s demands, including taking a decision to freeze all Jewish settlement expansion activity and seriously revive the effectively moribund two-state solution.

The maximum the Obama administration would do, especially at this juncture, is to give the PA some extra money and tell it to shut up. They would also do a little bit of cajoling and bamboozling, along with some prodding and bullying.

Hasn’t this been the American and European modus operandi in dealing with the PA ever since the death of Yasser Arafat and even before?

I believe a great majority of our people, both at home and in the Diaspora, are fed up with Abbas’s whimsical rituals. Some unctuous hangers-on and hypocrites would portray the huge disillusionment of the people as support for Abbas. But this is the task of these sycophants, namely to falsify facts to make their boss feel that all’s right.

But this is not the case.

First of all, the PA and Mr. Abbas in particular, ought to be frank and honest with the people, and tell them in straightforward manner that the goal of establishing a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank is no longer realistic due to the ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish colonies.

And there is no shred of evidence that a prospective Israeli government, let alone the present Nazi-like coalition of hard-line Zionists and brashly racist Talmudic gurus, would under no circumstances agree to dismantle or depopulate these colonies, even in return for a perfect peace offer.

The Israeli political-military establishment is too arrogant, too insolent and ideologically too rigid to allow any real transformation toward peace. In fact, the only transformation that we notice in Israel these days is a transformation toward Jewish fascism.

The recent election of Shaul Mofaz, a certified war criminal by every standard of imagination, as Leader of the Kadima party should provide us with some food for thought in this regard.

Second, the United States, on which the PA and like-minded Arabs still pin their hope for achieving peace and justice, is actually part of the problem. Israel through its powerful Jewish lobby is simply grabbing America by the throat, so much so, that most American politicians have come to realize that without throwing themselves squarely into the Jewish lobby’s lap, they would have no chance of winning elections or staying in their jobs for five minutes.

And, of course, Barack Obama, is no exception.

I know that most American politicians shake at the mere notion of criticizing Israel or saying a kind word about the Palestinians. I also know that many others are virtual political whores who would just side with richer and more powerful party, and American Jews have both the political power and money.

This American reality should enable us to argue rather objectively that if the Palestinians wanted to wait until the US restores a sense of justice, morality and balance to its Middle Eastern policy, they would have to wait decades, many decades, perhaps even centuries.

In short, America is part of the problem, it can’t be part of the solution.

As to the Europeans, their role seems innocuous, but they can’t be relied upon to make Israel budge. Europe is simply too weak, too undetermined, too unprincipled and too divided to force Israel to succumb to the logic of peace.

Added to this is the fact that the two-state strategy is actually dead, even though its kept alive by artificial means. Yes, the Americans, Europeans and some Palestinian leaders keep talking about it, but they all know in their hearts that this solution is no longer possible.

Last week, PLO official Ahmed Qrei’ pointed out that it was too late for establishing a Palestinian state, especially one enjoying territorial continuity, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It is really mind-boggling why Abbas and his coteries in Ramallah don’t really listen to these words. Are they blind? Or are they treating the national interests and legitimate rights of their people with recklessness and nonchalance?

Well, it is time these people sought an alternative strategy to put our people on a definitive track that would lead to freedom and liberation.

We certainly are not demanding miracles from President Abbas and his partners. We only would like to see them think right for the future.*

Adding to the irony of the situation, THIS report was filed before I even finished editing this post…*

Jerusalem Mayor aims to establish new settlement in East Jerusalem

About 200 new homes are being planned for the new neighborhood, known as Kidmat Zion, on a plot of land purchased by U.S. millionaire Irving Moskowitz.


Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause. East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. If Jerusalem is lost, the whole concept and idea of Palestinian statehood is lost, and the possibility of peace is lost. And Jerusalem is an important place for all of humanity, a holy place for Muslims, Christians, and the Jewish people. It should be the place where peace begins.

Mustafa Bargouti: Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause

by Elsa Rassbach* 
mustafa barghouti Mustafa Barghouti at a demonstration in Bil’in, 2010. (Photo: Dan Halutz)

Every year on March 30th Palestinians around the world celebrate Land Day, which commemorates a general strike and marches in 1976 against Israeli land appropriation, an event that was a pivotal event in bringing about Palestinian national unity. This year Palestinians throughout the Middle East and in the Diaspora will commemorate Land Day by calling attention to the dangers facing Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has long denied most Palestinians – whether Muslim or Christian – access to Jerusalem, even to visit holy sites. The organizers of the Global March allege that through methods of ethnic cleansing, Israel has been forcing Jerusalem’s remaining Arab inhabitants out, thus endangering the multi-religious, multi-ethnic character of the city that is the intended capital of Palestine.

On March 30th, the Palestinians will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the West Bank, or at the Erez crossing in Gaza. There will also be a demonstration in Jerusalem itself. The Palestinians will be joined by supporters from five continents. An eminent Advisory Board includes the Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire. Solidarity vigils and actions are also planned on March 30th at Israeli Embassies and other locations in sixty cities around the world.

The Palestinian coalition organizing this Global March to Jerusalem is perhaps unprecedented in its breadth. Equally unprecedented is the Israeli campaign against the March, which has included faux Websites and Facebook pages to mislead participants regarding gathering places. After seventy supporters from India, Malaysia, Pakistan and other Asian countries visited Iran on their way to Lebanon to join the March, the Israeli press alleged that the March is directed from Iran and that violent “clashes” with Israeli forces are planned.

Among the most outspoken Palestinian supporters and organizers of the Global March is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, 58, the well-known nonviolence advocate. As General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Bargouti played a key role in recent attempts to bring Hamas and Fatah together. He is medical doctor educated in the former Soviet Union, the US and Jerusalem; he founded and leads Palestinian Medical Relief society, which provides health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2005 Dr. Bargouti ran for presidency of the Palestinian National Authority and won 19% of the vote. He resides in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Elsa Rassbach: You have joined with Palestinians from many different political perspectives and many places in the world to call for a Global March to Jerusalem. What is this initiative about?

Mustafa Bargouti: It’s an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people. It will take place on Land Day, March 30th, a day that symbolizes the unity of Palestinians in the struggle for freedom and dignity and against theft of their land. We hope to bring to the world’s attention the very grave violations that Israel is committing against Jerusalem. Both the UN and The International Court of Justice hold that annexation of East Jerusalem, which is part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is a violation of international law.

ER: But there is illegal Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land throughout the Occupied Territories and also within Israel. Why the focus on Jerusalem?

MB: Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian cause. East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. If Jerusalem is lost, the whole concept and idea of Palestinian statehood is lost, and the possibility of peace is lost. And Jerusalem is an important place for all of humanity, a holy place for Muslims, Christians, and the Jewish people. It should be the place where peace begins.

Today in Jerusalem you see the Israeli system of segregation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the sharpest possible way. If a Palestinian man from Jerusalem marries a woman in Ramallah, only sixteen kilometers away, he will not be able to live with her. The Israelis will never grant her the right to move to Jerusalem, but if he moves to Ramallah, he will lose his ID and his residency permit in Jerusalem. And the permit may be withdrawn for political reasons as well. Though I was born in Jerusalem and worked there as a medical doctor for fifteen years, after I ran for president in 2005, the Israeli Army thereafter has refused to allow me in. Most Palestinians including Christians and Muslims, also cannot enter.

But any Jewish person from anywhere in the world who decides to immigrate to Israel, whether from Siberia or the United States, will immediately be granted the right to live in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Jerusalem is accessible to every Jewish person. It should be accessible to everybody. Many Jewish people from Israel and other parts of the world agree and are participating in and even organizing the Global March.

ER: Among the demands of the March is “the right of return.” Why would Palestinians who live in historical Palestine support such a demand? 

MB: This demand means a lot to us, too, because there are huge numbers of refugees living in Gaza and West Bank who are denied access to the place they were forced to leave. Even Palestinians living in Israel who carry Israeli citizenship are not allowed to return home to their villages in Israel like Iqrit and Kafr Bir’im. The right of return is a right recognized by international law under a special UN resolution, 194. We do understand that its implementation will have to be negotiated, but the right itself has to be respected.

ER: Last year on May 15th, Nakba Day and also Israeli Independence Day, Israeli soldiers killed dozens and wounded hundreds of unarmed Palestinians who tried to cross over the borders of Lebanon and Syria. Could the Global March lead to a repeat of such violence? 

MB: The March will be an act of peace, an act of nonviolence, and that’s why Palestinians everywhere are united in supporting it. It reflects the consensus of Palestinians today on adopting nonviolence totally. We know that Israel is capable of terrible violence. All the organizers in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Israel/Palestine are aware of this risk. We hope that the U.S. and the European countries will pressure Israel not use violence against our nonviolence.

*Elsa Rassbach is a filmmaker and journalist. Member of CodePink living in Germany.  Part of the European organizing committee of Global March to Jerusalem.


Written FOR


Before you watch the second video,
always remember …
When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of nonviolent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are foiled when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side.

Photo Essay: 3 years of settlement, struggle in Sheikh Jarrah

Following the recent release of Just Vision’s new documentary “My Neighborhood,” which details the struggle of Palestinian families and Israeli activists against settlement in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah, +972mag is presenting a series of articles on the state of the protests, past and present. All images in this post essay are copyrighted by the Activestills photo agency.

An Israeli protester that tried to block settlers from taking over a Palestinian house is arrested by police, July 26, 2009 (photo: Meged Gozani/

Settlers, accompanied by police (on the roof) take over a Palestinian house in Sheikh Jerrah, July 26, 2009 (photo: Meged Gozani/

Members of the Al-Kurd family outside their home, following their eviction by police. The house was taken over by Jewish settlers. March 11, 2009 (photo: Meged Gozani/

Protest in Sheikh Jarrah, October 22, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, March 12, 2010 (photo: Anne Paq/

Palestinians and Israelis confront police in Sheikh Jarrah, January 21, 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Mass sit-in by protesters in Sheikh Jarrah, May 14, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Solidarity march with Sheikh Jerrah evicted families, December 25, 2009 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Arrests of activists during a protest in Sheikh Jarrah, December 18, 2009 (photo: Silan dallal/

Arrests of activists during a protest in Sheikh Jarrah, December 18, 2009 (photo: Silan dallal/

Arrests of activists during a protest in Sheikh Jarrah, December 18, 2009 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Israeli and Palestinian activists leading chants during the weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, January 7, 2011 (photo:

Novelist David Grossman leading a protest march in Sheikh Jarrah, April 9, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Two Palestinian children in front of their house in Sheikh Jarrah, February 7, 2010 (photo: Anne Paq/

An Israeli settler confronts protesters in Sheikh Jarrah, during a Jewish march organized by the Jerusalem municipality, June 1st 2011 (photo: Anne Paq/

Night protest in Sheikh Jarrah, August 28, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Palestinian boys watch the demolition of Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, where a housing project for Jewish settlers will be built. January 14, 2011 (photo:

Protest during the demolition of Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, where a housing project for Jewish settlers is to be built, January 9, 2011 (photo:

A march against settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, March 11, 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Palestinian children from Lod singing at the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah, January 28, 2011 (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills)

Israeli activist Sara Benninga and a Palestinian local boy lead chants in Sheikh Jarrah, January 21, 2011 (Oren Ziv/

A Palestinian woman in front of policemen in Sheikh Jarrah, April 23, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

President Jimmy Carter addresses the crowd at Sheikh Jarrah protest, October 22, 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/

Israeli activist cleans the face of a Palestinian woman that was pepper sprayed by the police at a protest in Sheikh Jarrah, February 24, 2010 (photo: Silan Dallal/


Legend has it that Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years …. Reality has it that East Jerusalem has been occupied for almost 45 years … and Mahmoud Abbas just woke up to that fact?
Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an “ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city.”
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
‘Mr. Settler’ Himself …
Abbas: Israel carrying out ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of trying to erase any Arabic identity from Jerusalem, drawing a strong response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas, speaking at a conference in Qatar, said that for the past few years Israel has been waging a “final battle” aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war.

Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an “ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city.”

Netanyahu called the Palestinian leader’s remarks “a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace.”

“(Abbas) knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Israeli human rights organization BT’Selem says that since 1967 “the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians” living in Jerusalem.

“The government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city,” the group says.

Netanyahu, who opposes dividing the city, said that Jerusalem has been the “eternal capital for the Jewish people” for thousands of years. He said that Israel will continue to maintain the city’s holy sites and freedom of worship for all.

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, exchanging a volley of tear gas and rocks. 



Graffiti by night…..
As the photos show, the art includes the map of Palestine with the Arabic prounoun أنا (“I” or “me”) and an image of a woman wearing a kaffiyeh with the word “revolt.” This image is a reminder of the central role women have played in Palestinian popular struggle. The artists plan to undertake similar actions in coming days and weeks.

Photos: Palestinian graffiti artists penetrate heavily fortified heart of West Jerusalem

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

Palestinian artists penetrated the heavily fortified heart of West Jerusalem overnight and painted graffiti bearing political messages on walls, doors, construction sites and other surfaces.

The artists struck in two areas, the West Jerusalem city center (near Jaffa Road and King George Street) and the German Colony/Talbiyye area.

The city center is today full of bars and restaurants frequented by Israeli Jews and tourists. Talbiyye was a once prosperous Arab neighborhood. These areas and large swathes of West Jerusalem were ethnically cleansed of their Palestinian populations in 1948 and are now almost exclusively Jewish.

As the photos show, the art includes the map of Palestine with the Arabic prounoun أنا (“I” or “me”) and an image of a woman wearing a kaffiyeh with the word “revolt.” This image is a reminder of the central role women have played in Palestinian popular struggle. The artists plan to undertake similar actions in coming days and weeks.




 The Dome of The Rock in Old Jerusalem’s skyline ….
After editing job by IDF rabbinate ….
And that’s supposed to bring about new Peace Talks?

IDF rabbinate edits out Dome of the Rock from picture of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

Photo appears in army packet on Hanukkah describing the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic rule; IDF spokesman: Image meant to illustrate a period in which holy Muslim site did not exist.

Israel’s military rabbinate released an educational document ahead of the holiday of Hanukkah last month, featuring a photo of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount without the Dome of the Rock, Haaretz learned on Thursday.

The photo was featured in a packet prepared by the Military Rabbinate issued to Israel Defense Forces bases ahead of Hanukkah, under the section titled “The Festival of Jewish Heroism,” which included an article and a quiz on the Jewish struggle against Hellenistic rule.

One reserves officer talking with Haaretz said that when he “received the materials from the battalion rabbi something seemed strange about that picture.”

“We get material from the rabbinate every week and it’s mostly positive things,” the IDF officer said, adding that the edited picture was part of an “official release, which is why it’s problematic the army is distributing it.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in the response that Haaretz’s description was “absurd and biased, a fact which we can only regret,” adding that the educational packet included a photo meant to illustrate Jerusalem during the period of the Second Temple.

“As was explained to the reporter, the Dome of the Rock did not exist at that time, so there was no need for it to appear in the picture,” the IDF said.

Speaking with Haaretz, the reserves officer said he expected “the Military Rabbinate to be more alert about the educational messages it passes on, especially considering the Temple Mount’s history,” adding: “A world war could break if someone would try to do something about that place, and I think they should be more cautious when approaching the subject.”

“It’s infuriating that the rabbinate isn’t more being more responsible about this,” the officer added.




Question: What do you get when you combine racism and land theft?

Answer: An illegal zionist settler!*


The name given to the dog shown in the video below is ‘Shiksa’, one of the ugliest words in the Yiddish language. It translates to non-Jewish woman, but is used in the most derogatory of ways.

It is not an accident that the racist scum in the clip shown chose that name for their ‘pet’ …*I leave it to you to determine who is the mad dog in the video and why is he not on a leash as well?

The guard dogs of east Jerusalem

Meet Shiksa, one of dozens of canines sent to guard in West Bank settlements, dangerous neighborhoods.*


In an east Jerusalem neighborhood where tensions between Arabs and Jews run high, sometimes a dog is needed to keep the peace.
Yaakov Fauci lives with his Belgian Shepard ‘Shiksa’ in one of the few Jewish houses of an almost entirely Arab neighborhood.

Israel’s Best Friend sends dogs like Shiksa to settlements in the West Bank and to Jewishhomes in dangerous neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.



“The settler security guards are like a militia. They can do anything and they have the green light from the state to do anything they want.”

Private security guards kill with impunity in East Jerusalem

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours

A photo of Samer Sarhan, killed by a settler security guard in 2010, is held by one of his six children. (Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images )


SILWAN, occupied East Jerusalem – Ahmed Qaraeen walks with a limp, more than two years after he was shot twice, in the hip and left knee, by an Israeli settler near his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

“It was Ramadan,” Qaraeen said, his grey crutch leaning against the wall behind him. “I was sleeping in my house and I heard people shouting in the street. I went out and saw a settler point his M-16 [machine gun] at my son.”

The 41-year-old father of two said that he was shot in full view of private security guards, who were employed by Israeli settlers in Silwan, shortly after he confronted the settler who had threatened his child.

“I fell down and people started shouting around me. I was bleeding, and my two children were at my side, crying,” Qaraeen said. “The settler guards were there. They saw what happened, everything, but they did nothing. They’re here to protect the settlers, not to protect us.”

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 350 private Israeli security guards are currently employed in East Jerusalem by private security firm Modi’in Ezrahi, which is subcontracted by the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction.

The guards’ stated purpose is to protect approximately 2,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers living in East Jerusalem from the Palestinian population of the area.

Lack of accountability

In an attempt to combat the lack of accountability benefiting these settler security guards,ACRI and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem submitted a petition to the Israeli high court on 31 October, demanding an end to their use in Israeli settlements in the city.

“Unlike police officers, who are subject to the laws and ordinances governing police behavior, private security guards in East Jerusalem do not labor under these laws, nor do they share any commitment to the basic norms that guide the police in carrying out their role as a public body serving the entire public and not just one particular sector,” ACRIwrote in its high court petition.

“Whenever privatization increases the potential for violating human rights and endangering human life, an increased level of oversight must be demanded and more sophisticated and effective supervision mechanisms put in place, by as many regulatory bodies as needed. Unfortunately, regarding the current security arrangement in East Jerusalem, this is not the case,” ACRI found.

In 2005, the Israeli housing ministry appointed a public committee to investigate the security arrangement in Israeli settlement compounds in the Old City and East Jerusalem. The committee recommended that responsibility for security be given back to the Ministry of Internal Security and the Israeli police.

Still, while the Israeli government voted in a resolution to implement this recommendation, it shortly thereafter revoked its decision and returned the situation to the status quo.

According to ACRI, the budget for this private system of protection in East Jerusalem has grown from seven million Israeli shekels ($1.8 million) in 1991 to 76 million shekels ($2 million) in 2011, a sum entirely financed by Israeli taxpayers.

“As stated in Article 7 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law’. The decision to operate private security guards, funded by the state, in order to protect one segment of the population, Jewish, from the other segment of the population, Palestinian, clearly violates this principle,” ACRI found.

Privatized murder

In September 2010, Silwan resident Samer Sarhan was shot and killed by a settler security guard. Sarhan’s death sparked violent clashes in the neighborhood between Israeli police and Palestinian youth, while the security guard responsible was never formally charged in the killing.

A settler security guard also shot and killed 17-year-old Milad Ayyash in May of this year, when clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli security forces near Beit Yonatan, an Israeli settlement compound in Silwan’s Baten al-Hawa neighborhood. The guard claimed Ayyash had been involved in the clashes and that he wasn’t held responsible for his death.

“The settler security guards are like a militia. They can do anything and they have the green light from the state to do anything they want,” Ahmed Qaraeen said.

According to Qaraeen, while limiting the impunity with which settler security guards operate is important, the only way to ensure the safety of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is to dismantle the Israeli settlements there completely.

“The settlers, the guards, the police, they are all the same. They all have weapons. The thing that we need is to get the settlers out of our village. The settlers brought for us problems. They brought for us the police, the security guards,” he said.

“They want the people to be afraid. My children feel that nobody can protect them, not even their father.”



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