TOOSDAY’S TOON ~~ US COPS ON TRAINING MISSION IN ISRAEL

ADL took US cops to Israel prison, occupied Hebron, settler winery in counter-terror event

Image by Carlos Latuff

CrEmrhpXgAABu0q

ADL took US cops to Israeli prison, occupied Hebron and settler winery during counter-terror seminar

Alex Kane

The cops flew into Tel Aviv on a Sunday afternoon. Four hours later, they met with an Anti-Defamation League official and an Israeli professor, who gave them an “introduction to Israeli politics and society.” A week later, the officers got time for an “optional walk on the Mediterranean Sea,” and in between their Tel Aviv arrival and their idyllic walk, they traveled to occupied Hebron and drank settlement wine in the Golan Heights.

Those are some of the details of a recent U.S. law enforcement trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The itinerary for the 2016 ADL National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, obtained by Mondoweiss from a public records request to the Orlando Police Department, provides a look into what American cops do when they’re flown into Israel to meet with Israeli security officers. (The document is embedded at the end of this article.)

Since 2004, the ADL has taken American law enforcement on annual trips to Israel, where, the ADL says, the cops get “strategies and best practices in fighting terror” from “Israeli experts.” The ADL trips, and similar jaunts sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, are promoted as ways for U.S. law enforcement to learn how Israel deals with terrorism and to forge ties with Israeli security forces. The pro-Israel groups typically pay for the officers’ trips to Israel.

But the trips have come under withering controversy from Palestine solidarity activists and Black Lives Matter protesters. In an age of police militarization and a growing movement to combat police brutality, critics see these trips as potentially fueling harmful police tactics. And they point out that the Israeli army and police are occupying forces that have repeatedly been accused of violating Palestinian rights.

These trainings, Amnesty International’s Edith Garwood recently wrote, put U.S. police “in the hands of military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years”–including extrajudicial executions, torture, surveillance and excessive use of force against protesters.

The ADL and Orlando Police Department did not return requests for comment.

This year’s one-week trip began on July 31, and included members of the New Jersey State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Illinois State police, and the heads of the Orlando and San Bernardino police, two cities recently hit by mass shootings.

The ADL and the police departments do not release details about what specific tactics the U.S. police learned in Israel. John Mina, the head of the Orlando Police Department, told the Orlando Sentinel that the information he received was “law enforcement sensitive,” and that he “learned about how the Israeli Police respond to and investigate terrorism.” He told the paper he liked the random Israeli checkpoints security forces set up, and that while he wouldn’t do that in Orlando,  “it did give me a few ideas about security measures here in Orlando that I won’t share.”

The itinerary Mondoweiss obtained does provide specifics on where the officers traveled and who they spoke to. On August 1, they met with Roni Tidhar, who does security work at Ben Gurion Airport. Security forces at Ben Gurion Airport routinely racially profile Arabs and Muslims, including Americans, and subject them to invasive interrogations.

The next day, after meeting with Palestinian Authority police in Bethlehem, the American officers traveled to occupied Hebron, the most distilled microcosm of the Israeli occupation, where Israeli soldiers and police protect around 800 extremist settlers who routinely abuse Palestinian residents. In Hebron, they spoke with Israeli Police Commander Ron Gertner and received a “security overview” of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a holy site in the city.

On August 4, the delegation traveled to Gilboa Prison, a site criticized by lawyers and Palestinian rights advocates as a place run by authorities who have tortured prisoners and withheld air conditioning units in extremely hot cells. Later that night, they traveled to the Golan Heights, an area taken from Syria in the 1967 war, then occupied and annexed by Israel. An estimated 20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights. The police officers visited the Assaf Winery, a well-known winery, and drank wine and had lunch there.

U.S. law enforcement trips to Israel have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. In July, Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Atlanta called for the end of “the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.” But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pushed back on that demand, saying he believes Israel has “some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world” and that it “benefits our police department.”

Despite the criticism from activists, programs to forge relationships between U.S. law enforcement and Israel continue to expand. As Mondoweiss reported, Birthright recently started a program for Jewish law enforcement officers to travel to Israel.

ADL Itinerary for 2016 Law Enforcement Trip to Israel by alexbkane4538 on Scribd

1-16a49e12ef

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ THANK YOU CELTICS! LOVE FROM GAZA!!

Footballers in Gaza thank Celtic fans for their recent displays of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Cq-JBm5XgAAoygQ
Carlos Latuff adds his two cents …

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

ISRAEL’S INTIFADA CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Video intifada

Image by Carlos Latuff

third-intifada-palestine

When you hear the word ‘Intifada’ you think of a Palestinian uprising ….

Below are videos of the zionist Intifada, where not a stone is thrown, but bullets are in their stead.

*

This video of Mustafa Adel Al-Khatib, 17, being shot in the back and killed in the Old City last year.

*

*

On this video of a Palestinian girl being shot at a bus shelter inside the occupation as she holds up a knife in obvious desperation.

*

 
*
This video obtained by the human rights group B’Tselem a year ago of Muhammad al-Kasba, 17, throwing a rock that broke the windshield of a jeep a brigade commander was riding in. So the commander jumped out of the vehicle and pursued al-Kasba, shooting him 3 times in his upper body and killing him. The beginning of the execution was captured on the video:
*
*
The above is taken from a report by Yakov Hirsch.
Read it in full HERE

PAYPAL WON’T PAY PALESTINE

Palestinians Can’t Use PayPal—but Israeli Settlers Can

A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

PayPal and Palestine

By Sam Bahour

As a Palestinian-American management consultant in Ramallah, Palestine, I advise my Palestinian clients living under Israeli military occupation to use world-class software and online services, assuring them that it will help them enter global markets. Some of these clients are not-for-profit outfits, like the Palestinian Circus School and Birzeit University; others are tech start-ups, many of which are funded by U.S. tax dollars via USAID. Time and again, I regretfully must explain to clients that the most popular worldwide online payment system, PayPal, is unavailable to them.

As an American from Youngstown, Ohio, trying to contribute to building a modern Palestinian economy, and a former software developer who worked all over the U.S., I can never offer a satisfactory answer to those who ask why PayPal refuses to follow the lead of technology giants like Google, Cisco, HP, Oracle, and many others, that all operate in Palestine.

Palestine has a thriving banking sector and all Palestinian banks have corresponding U.S. banks that make money transfers daily. The U.S. Treasury Department is also active in Palestine and has praised the level of Palestinian banking compliance. Considering these financial ties, it is a mystery why PayPal, which is widely considered the most trustworthy company in its sphere, continues to ignores this market. While it’s available to users in Israel and to Israeli settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land, PayPal does not extend its services to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Many of these illegal Israeli settlers live literally a few minutes walk from my home, yet they have access to PayPal, but Palestinians do not. This is doubly unfortunate since Palestinians who live in other parts of the world and are regular users of PayPal cannot use the platform to conduct business with Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel has continuously placed suffocating limitations on the Palestinian economy, many which have been directly challenged by successive U.S. presidents, such as Israel’s refusal to release the needed frequencies for Palestinians to have 3G services. The Internet age has brought with it a bit of relief from these physical limitations, and the Palestinian tech sector is a key area of the economy that has potential to grow, especially considering the population is so young. Palestine produces roughly 2,000 IT graduates per year that are well-positioned to address the huge gap between growing demand for online Arabic content and the current lack of supply. Currently, however, only one-third of these graduates find work in their field. Without access to the needed services that facilitate businesses to grow, more Palestinian youth will fall into the despair of unemployment and all that it carries with it.

In order to meet these market needs and generate employment opportunities, Palestinian startups and entrepreneurs need equal access to services like PayPal for business and charitable services. In December, the President of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE), Edward Thompson, and myself, as Chairman of AVPE, wrote to inform PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman of the company’s shortcomings in Palestine, but our request for a meeting went unheeded. Now, a group of 40 prominent Palestinian organizations have penned a public letter asking Mr. Schulman to reconsider.

Among the signatories are the Palestinian Telecommunications Group (Paltel) the largest private-sector company in Palestine and one that I assisted in establishing, the renowned startup incubator Gaza Sky Geeks, and Palestine’s National Beverage Company, whose CEO Zahi Khouri is an early stage startup investor through another signatory, the Ibtikar Fund. And these are just a few examples — those in tech, business and finance have come together from across the span of the struggling Palestinian economy to make this request. Seemingly small but poignant indignities like this one block the road toward freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians, and we hope to methodically clear them from our path.

In the letter, my co-signers and I explain that while other payment portals are available, there is no replacement for the trust and familiarity that PayPal inspires among potential users, particularly those that are unfamiliar with Palestine-based companies. Without access to PayPal, Palestinian entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and others face routine difficulties in receiving payments for business and charitable purposes.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about PayPal’s presence in Israel-Palestine, however, is that access to it depends on ethnicity. Again, while Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are completely integrated into the Israeli system and have access to PayPal and other technologies, the Palestinians they live among do not. These are settlements that are considered illegal under U.S. foreign policy and international law, and the settlers who live in them enjoy access to resources that are regularly denied to the Palestinians next door. In fact, Human Rights Watch released a report earlier this year stated that businesses should withdraw from the settlements entirely to end their complicity in “an inherently unlawful and abusive system that violates the rights of Palestinians.”

This is not just about access to PayPal. It is about PayPal’s role in empowering entrepreneurs, small businesses, and individuals to make a living and conduct commerce, particularly in parts of the world where physical barriers and limitations are established by governments. We would be doing ourselves, as Americans and Palestinians, a disservice by allowing any company to deny their service based on ethnicity, heritage or because of Israeli pressure to enforce a clear suppression of the Palestinian economy via the limitations of occupation.

It is our sincere hope that our latest attempt to right this wrong will not fall on deaf ears. For the Palestinian people, breaking free from Israeli military occupation will mean carving out a meaningful space for ourselves in the global economy, and we cannot do that without equal access to indispensable tools like PayPal.

 

IN MEMORY OF A GREAT DREAM

 

Rosa sat so Martin could walk …
Martin walked so Barack could run …
Barack ran so all our children could fly …
*
There is no doubt in my mind that Martin Luther King would have rejoiced the day Obama was elected President of the United States. His dream was finally realised ….
*
Or was it??
*
The dream did not include the continuation of illegal wars …
Nor the racial profiling and hate crimes in the streets …
Nor the use of drones against innocent civilians …
Nor the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
*
The dream spoken about above was supposed to set us free, but we still have a long way to go.
*
Don’t Give Up The Fight!
*
*
This could be the end result …
*

#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

#Celtics ~~ THE SAGA CONTINUES

Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.

UEFA has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for display of an “illicit banner.” The “illicit banner” is a reference to Palestinian flags waved by Celtic supporters last week.

Fans hold up Palestine flags during Glasgow Celtic’s match against an Israeli football team on 17 August. (Russell Cheyne/ Reuters)

Fans hold up Palestine flags during Glasgow Celtic’s match against an Israeli football team on 17 August. (Russell Cheyne/ Reuters)

 

Celtic fans defy threat by hugging Palestine tighter

Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.

UEFA has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for display of an “illicit banner.” The “illicit banner” is a reference to Palestinian flags waved by Celtic supporters last week.

The fundraising campaign has been set up by the Green Brigade, a Celtic fan group, which has pledged to put part of the money towards setting up and sustaining a youth soccer team in the occupied West Bank.

Another part of the proceeds will go to the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, MAP.

The Green Brigade “ultras” were largely behind a solidarity action at a Champions League against Hapoel Beer Sheva match in Celtic Park, the Glasgow club’s home ground, last week. Celtic won the game by five goals to two.

Supporting Palestine

The money raised by the Green Brigade will not actually go towards paying any fine imposed by UEFA. Rather, it will be used to support projects in Palestine.

Green Brigade has described UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings as “petty and politically partisan.”

It set the objective of raising £15,000 (about $20,000) to form and sustain a football team, Aida Celtic, based in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

The target of £15,000 is based on a previous fine UEFA handed out to the club after another display of Palestine solidarity in 2014.

By Monday, the Green Brigade had already raised more than three times the initial £15,000 target, according to the fundraising page.

Celtic fans have previously raised funds for Aida camp. A youth delegation from the camp toured Scotland earlier this summer.

The only football pitch in the camp was built by the Lajee Cultural Center in Aida. Its coordinator, Salah Ajarma, has welcomed the initiative and pledged to call the team Aida Celtic in recognition of the show of support from Celtic fans.

“It will mean so much to our young people to be part of an official team, to have boots and strips and to represent the camp wearing the colors of our friends,” Ajarma was quoted as saying by the Green Brigade group. “Aida Celtic will be a source of pride for all in Aida.”

The funds raised will provide equipment, team uniforms and cover travel costs to allow the camp to enter a team in the Bethlehem Youth League. It will also pay for an annual Aida Celtic football tournament of teams from refugee camps across the West Bank.

Sense of history

UEFA bans the display of symbols deemed political at football games.

Celtic has strong connections to the Irish community in Glasgow. The repeated displays of solidarity reflect the affinity between Irish people and Palestinians as both have experienced colonization and occupation.

“There is a strong sense of history among that community, even though it’s now third, fourth and fifth generation Irish,” Scottish historian Tom Devine told Al Jazeera. “The situation in Palestine is a classic example of land that is being taken from people who lived there for generations. It chimes in with the course of Irish history.”

In a statement following last week’s game, the Green Brigade explained that its action sought to challenge the normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“From our work with grassroots Palestinian groups in the West Bank and the refugee camps of Bethlehem, we know the positive impact international solidarity has on those living in the open prisons of the occupied territories,” the Green Brigade stated.

“We also know that their suffering cannot be ignored by the international community and last night’s actions also sought to raise awareness of the boycott, divest, sanctions (BDS) campaign which seeks to challenge the normalization of the Israeli occupation.”

Since the action last week the story has gone viral on social media with Palestinians using the hashtag #thankscelticfans to show their appreciation for the display.

In Ramallah, the crest of the club was projected onto a building over the weekend.

Celtic will play the return tie in Israel on Tuesday.

US IS FUELING ISRAEL’S CIVIL WAR

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern  city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ  File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

US should withhold military aid until Israel recognises Palestinian sovereignty

US fueling Israel’s civil war

Sam Bahour

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

On one side of this civil war is the elected government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a bunch of the most extremist politicians one can find, several illegal settlers themselves. Aligned with the government are a cohort of settlers in the West Bank, which have surpassed their widely acknowledged role as the largest impediment to peace and have become an electoral consistency that is hard to reckon with.  Supporting this camp in Israel are party faithful that in any other country would be called outright racists. You can find some of them at Israeli soccer games chanting “Death to the Arabs.” A few have actually made that chant a reality.

On the other side is everyone else, albeit unable to see themselves on the same political side. In this camp are many Jewish Israelis who voted for Netanyahu, some more than once, and have watched their candidate move Israel to the most isolated position it has ever witnessed. These Israelis do not feel any safer today than they did when Netanyahu first ran for office. Added to this group are the second, third and fourth class Israeli Jewish citizens who traditionally vote Likud, against their best interests, and they make up the bulk of Israel’s poverty-stricken class; they sometimes are referred to as Mizrachi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and the like. Then there is the 20 percent block of Palestinian citizens of Israel. This Palestinian constituency comprises the third largest elected block in the Knesset, but no other Israeli Jewish party deals with them; thus is the extreme state of racism inherent in the Israeli political system.

These two warring sides are fiercely at each other’s throats to claim the nature of Israeli society. The government has embarked on a tragic course to complete the process started in 1948 when Israel was established, to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants. The other camp, however fragmented, understands that Palestinians are never going to disappear into thin air and seek their government to end the nearly 50-year military occupation so Israel can reenter the community of nations with some sense of normalcy.

We are told to believe, ad infinitum by Israel’s most senior officials and an endless stream of flashy media clips, that Israel is a “light upon nations,” and brought the world high-tech, modern agriculture, and even cherry tomatoes. Israel brags that it is a “start-up nation” and Intel, Microsoft and HP, just to name a few multinationals, have all enthusiastically setup shop in the country. What these exaggerated quips and polished marketing tools do not tell us is that Israel is at a point where it is at war with itself.

The social inequality in Israel has reached epic proportions. As reported in Haaretz in 2015, as of 2013 “Israel remained at the bottom of the OECD rankings for measures of inequality and poverty.” Added to this acute class strata, indigenous Palestinians who make up one-fifth of Israel’s population are dealt out of the Israeli melting pot. Jewish Israelis are divided to the point where physical altercations frequently occur across race divides in the streets of Tel Aviv. Additionally, imported foreign labor, brought to replace the traditional Palestinian labor force from the West Bank and Gaza, are tearing Israel at its already fragile seams.

The “start-up nation” started up because Israel acquired, by the use of brute military force, land and water, the two key ingredients to statehood in the Middle East. Israel thrives because the US has chosen to relieve it from its full financial burden as a nation by granting it over $120 billion since its founding. Furthermore, all of this start-up buzz is a result of research and development spending by the military, without which there would be no start-up sector to speak of. This external budget support frees Israeli funds to do other business.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently negotiating President Obama for a 10-year military aid package to the tune of $40 billion. This new package follows President George W. Bush’s administration’s generous 10-year aid package of $30 billion. Historically, the bulk of these funds have been earmarked for Israel to purchase US weaponry, but the current package under negotiations allows Israel to spend the money in Israel. These monies are Israel’s slush fund. With these funds at its disposal, no wonder Israel can afford to offer multinationals 10 and 20-year tax incentives. In 2014 alone, it was reported that “Intel, the US chip giant, will invest $6bn in the upgrade of its main manufacturing plant in what will be the biggest single investment by a foreign company in the country [Israel]. The company will receive a grant of $300m over five years and will pay a corporate tax rate of only 5% for a 10-year period.” With that kind of financial underwriting, I can make the roof of my house a start-up nation.

Part of that other business that the US indirectly funds allow Israel to pursue its continuation of repressing by military occupation 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US Department of State registers in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – year in and year out how Israel violates human rights. US human rights attorney Alice Lynd, with the assistance of her husband, Atty. Staughton Lynd, documented these report’s human rights violations in a pamphlet for the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW). Yet, US policy remains uninformed by these reports. Israel laughs all the way to the bank as they continue to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territory and entice multinationals to come to Israel to do business.

Don’t do it President Obama. This is an unwise use of US tax dollars. If for some unorthodox political reason, you must agree to this (which I do not buy into), then make sure today’s fundamentalist, right-wing Israeli government finally walks up to the plate and takes the move that is inevitable, recognising the State of Palestine, not to mention ending their occupation. Actually, the world is awaiting the US to make the same recognition. Better yet, take Israel’s hand and head to the UN Security Council and pass the pending resolution which upgrades Palestine’s status at the UN to a full member state. Later, both countries, Israel and the US, can decide when to extend direct recognition.

If Israel refuses to accept recognising the State of Palestine, the ultimate act to save the rapidly vanishing two-state paradigm, then hold the military aid package and take bold political action before you leave office, grant US direct recognition of Palestine. When the incoming president is faced with the wrath of Israel and the pro-Israeli lobby for this US recognition, the new administration will have a $40 billion card to subdue them. Maybe by then, these funds can be leveraged to get Israel to end their military occupation once and for all.

It’s sad that tax dollars are used in such a fashion, but if that is how the US works, then let it work for peace, not to continue fuelling Israel’s civil war, which will ultimately spill over to yet another armed clash with Palestinians under occupation. As a Palestinian-American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I have an obligation to my two daughters and all Palestinian children, as well as all of Israel’s children too, to speak up before we all end up paying the price, again, for US inaction, or worse.

 

Written FOR

FRANCE’S NEW DEMOCRACY ~~ #BurkiniBan

If it is OK for a man to wear it, why is it illegal for a woman to wear it?

If it is OK for a man to wear it, why is it illegal for a woman to wear it?

*

This is what it used to be like ...

This is what it used to be like …

*

This is what it is like today ...

This is what it is like today … (By Latuff)

Related (Click on link)

#BurkiniBan

Meanwhile in Canada ….

Justin Trudeau rules out burkini ban in Canada

Canadian PM defends individual freedoms and says Canadians value ‘acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding’

Justin Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach tolerance but act to undermine individual rights. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Justin Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach tolerance but act to undermine individual rights. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has defended individual rights and freedoms when asked about a controversy in France over a burkini ban.

“We should be past tolerance in Canada,” Trudeau said after meeting with his ministers to plan the government’s legislative agenda.

The prime minister dismissed the idea of a burkini ban in Canada.

“In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich communities,” he said.

Some lawmakers in Canada’s Quebec province have called for outlawing “burkinis” – body-concealing Islamic swimsuits – following bans in at least 15 towns in France’s southeast.

They include the French Riviera resort town of Nice, the target of a jihadist attack on July 14, with the proponents citing the need to prevent public disorder.

Trudeau called for “the respect of individual rights and choices.”

This, he said, should be “at the top of public discourse and debate”.

Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preached tolerance but acted to undermine individual rights, saying with irony: “Tolerating someone means accepting their right to exist on the condition that they don’t disturb us too, too much.”

FROM

TOON OF TODAY ~~ CELTICS MATCH THE FINE FOR PALESTINE

Image by Carlos Latuff

Match the Fine for Palestine

Match the Fine for Palestine

#matchthefineforpalestine

We, the Green Brigade, are the passionate Ultra fans of Celtic Football Club, Scotland’s most famous and successful football team. At the Champions League match with Hapoel Beer Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned our club respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from UEFA, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’

In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine. We aim to raise £75,000 which will be split equally between Medical Aid Palestine (MAP) and the Lajee Centre, a Palestinian cultural centre in Aida Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem. From our members’ experiences as volunteers in Palestine we know the huge importance of both organisations’ work and have developed close contacts with them.

MAP is a UK-based charity which delivers health and medical care to Palestinians worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement. Working in partnership with local health care providers and hospitals, MAP provides vital public health and emergency response services. This includes training and funding a team of Palestinian surgeons and medics to treat and operate on those affected by the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

MAP has publicly thanked the Celtic support and all who have donated for their support. You can read their statement and find out more about their incredible work on their website: http://www.map-uk.org/home/homepage (their statement is available here:http://www.map-uk.org/news/archive/post/43…r-palestinians).
All funds raised for Medical Aid Palestine will go to mending broken limbs in Gaza and other vitally important projects in the Occupied Territories and Palestinian refugee camps.

Aida is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank and has for 66 years played temporary home to Palestinians forcibly expelled from their homes in Hebron and Jerusalem. Its residents live in the shadow of Israel’s apartheid wall, cut off from social and economic opportunities by the wall and neighbouring illegal settlements and military checkpoints.

For the young people of Aida, the Lajee Centre in the heart of the camp offers hope and an escape from the realities of life under Israeli occupation. Its programme of arts, culture and sporting activities are a lifeline for its impoverished and oppressed people.

Last year, the Centre built Aida’s only football pitch. Residents had previously played on recreation ground that has now been stolen by the wall. Within months of opening, the new pitch was severely damaged by tear gas canisters fired onto it by the Israeli military. It is now protected by metal netting.

Funds raised will provide a much needed boost to this fantastic project and will allow the Lajee Centre to extend its arts, dance and football programmes. As a token of their appreciation, the Centre have committed to setting up and sustaining the camp’s first ever football club and to name it Aida Celtic.

Aida Celtic will enter the Bethlehem Youth League at the start of 2017 and will host a tournament for teams from all of the West Bank’s refugee camps in Spring next year. Your generosity will also allow the Centre to buy a minibus for use in transporting Aida Celtic to matches and its other groups around Palestine.

Salah Ajarma, the Lajee Centre’s Coordinator told us the importance Aida Celtic will have for residents of the camp: “it will mean so much to our young people to be part of an official team, to have boots and strips and to represent the camp wearing the colours of our friends. Aida Celtic will be a source of pride for all in Aida”.

You can hear more from Aida’s young people and the volunteers at the Lajee Centre here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdm09DOieHc

We have been overwhelmed by the early response to this appeal and have set a new target of £75,000. Any money raised above this sum will continue to be split on an equal basis between MAP and the Lajee Centre, and will go some way to mending the broken limbs and damaged lives of the displaced and deprived people of Palestine.

At the end of the fundraising drive we will present representatives of both organisations with a cheque for their share in Glasgow.

Let’s #matchthefineforpalestine and show the footballing establishment the true spirit of the game.

OLYMPIC IMAGES ~~ ISRAEL’S PRIVATE GAMES

While is  celebrating closing ceremony Israel continues the murdering games of airstrikes

CqaP5h1XgAAKiqS

A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

*
Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand. (Photo: Getty images)

Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson’s hand. (Photo: Getty images)

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the “Jewish people” and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for “poor sportsmanship.”

One day before El-Shehaby’s refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

While the Olympics are without a doubt an athletic competition, they are also, and to an equal degree, about the countries that send these athletes to the games. At the end of the day, and at the end of the games, we have a countdown of medals by country. And even as the Games are said to be about nations coming together, they are really yet another venue for pitting nations against each other. When any athlete competes, their country and their country’s flag is displayed as prominently as their own name. The winner’s national anthem is played during the medal ceremony, and all are expected to show their respect to that country. It is no surprise that the formidable gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been pilloried by her compatriots for her refusal to place her hand on her heart during the US national anthem, (even though she was otherwise very respectful), and one of the most iconic political images in Olympics history remains the raised Black Power fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Of course then, the snubbing by Lebanese, Egyptian, and Saudi athletes of members of the Israeli delegation is a political act. And of course, Israel has complained that these athletes “are bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.”

The actions of these athletes are in keeping with the Palestinian call for global solidarity in the form of BDS, including the sports boycott of Israel. A sports boycott is an individual gesture with the greater immediate negative consequences suffered by the person engaging in it, as they will likely be disqualified from further competition. Yet the Arab athletes who refused to normalize with the Israelis have been criticized as violating “etiquette” and “the Olympic spirit.” Which drives one to wonder, is this yet another venue where Israeli exceptionalism wins, as the violent, racist state is left off the hook, not held accountable for its assault on Palestinian athletes?

Over the recent years, Israel has prevented Olympics-bound Palestinian team chiefs from leaving the country. It had restricted their freedom of movement, making it basically impossible for them to practice in adequate facilities, and it has shot at the ankles of Palestinian soccer players. Where was the criticism when these crimes were committed? Two years ago, an international campaign to ban Israel from FIFA, because of its human rights violations, had failed to pressure the international organization into censoring that country.

When no official organization is willing to hold Israel accountable, individuals can do so. The snubbing by some athletes of the Israeli delegation is a noble gesture in a political arena, and it is incumbent on us to appreciate it for what it is: a refusal to normalize with a country that bombs young boys playing on the beach, prevents young swimmers from reaching a pool, and prohibits Olympic hopefuls in Gaza from training with their compatriots in the West Bank. We then can surely appreciate the exquisite irony of the separate buses at the Olympic village for the delegation from a country that builds separate roads for its Jewish citizens, transporting them to their Jewish settlements in illegally occupied territories.

While the Olympics athletes were competing in Rio, another game was being played halfway around the world with an overt political message as well: we will not be cowered into “civility” towards an apartheid state. In Glasgow, Scotland, fans of Scotland’s Celtic FC had organized an event to “Fly the Flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” during a game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.  The Facebook page of the event is clear about its understanding of the political reality of Israel, as the organizers explain that the display of flags would be to “invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”

The fans had been warned by UEFA that they could face fines or the closing down of part of their stadium if they flew the Palestinian flag. But, as John Wight writes, “Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and against apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.”

Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere. And as the game began, Palestinian flags appeared everywhere in the stands. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Israeli team in defiance of UEFA rules, and at the risk of the Celtic FC being penalized. Yes, flying the flag was without a doubt an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it was also a rejection of the system behind the oppression of the Palestinian people; a rejection of apartheid, colonialism and racism. The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at the Celtic FC game showed an understanding of shared experiences of discrimination, disenfranchisement, dispossession, and a rejection of the Zionist narrative. Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.

Beyond the boycott of consumer products in grocery stores, BDS has so far dealt a major blow to Israel’s image. Artists continue to cancel scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv, academic associations are voting to boycott complicit Israeli institutions, churches are screening their portfolios to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal practices, and the recent events in Scotland and at the 2016 Olympics are the principled athletes’ way of saying: we do not normalize with the representatives of a pariah state. Before these gestures get spun into anti-Semitic incidents by Zionist hasbara, it is incumbent upon BDS activists and organizers to explain the context of the snubbing, the defiance, and the refusal to engage in “good sportsmanship” with a country that violates the most basic human rights of an entire people.

IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY IN THE FOOTBALL STADIUM

Celtic fans were warned not to raise the Palestine flag when they played an Israeli team. So they raised a thousand flags.

CqHA3kBVYAASPRb

Celtic fans ignore threats of fine and show support for Palestine as they play the Israeli team Beer Sheva.

CqHA4vqVYAAPg7Q

*

CqHA5y6VYAAoeYO

*

CqHA6bCUkAAy9Ds

Carlos Latuff commented on the above ….

I dunno much about the Celtics, but this demonstration deserves all my respect.

ISRAEL’S LOVE FOR PALESTINE CAUGHT ON VIDEO

First see THIS previous post …..

This video shows four Palestinian youths sitting and relaxing outside a home when an Israeli jeep drives up to them and stops briefly.

As it drives off a few seconds later, the youths leap from their chairs and there is a huge explosion that sends smoke and debris into the air.

Israelis use stun grenade in unprovoked attack on youths

The website Ramallah News, which published the security camera video on its Facebook page on Tuesday, says it was filmed a day earlier in the village of Kafr Laqif, near Qalqilya in the northern West Bank.

At 30 seconds, as the jeep drives off, an object can be seen flying from the back of the vehicle towards the young men, just before the explosion.

Stun grenades, also known as flashbang grenades or sound bombs, are meant to be used to temporarily disorient an enemy.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, says stun grenades are “a predominant crowd control weapon” used by Israeli occupation forces.

The US-made weapons “are designed to cause panic, thereby enabling security forces to overpower people,” it adds.

Stun grenades are part of a whole arsenal of allegedly non-lethal Israeli “crowd control” weapons. “In fact, however, they are dangerous weapons that can cause death, severe injury and damage to property if used improperly,” B’Tselem states.

B’Tselem says it has “documented cases in which security forces have thrown stun grenades directly at demonstrators or into a crowd, causing injuries and burns.”

The Israeli army is investigating the incident, according to Israeli media.

Harassment and scorn

Israeli military occupation means death, injury, destruction, land theft, imprisonment and loss of livelihood, among other grave abuses.

But it also means countless other acts of daily, gratuitous cruelty and humiliation inflicted by armed men against a population that has no rights and few protections.

While this is Palestinian daily experience, it seldom makes headlines.

In a recent incident, also caught on video, an occupation soldier in Hebron assaulted a Palestinian girl. The soldier took the 8-year-old’s bicycle and threw it away. Her apparent crime: playing on a Jews-only street.

Another feature of occupation is the systematic impunity Israeli forces enjoy for crimes and violations big or small.

Not surprisingly, Israel’s occupation authorities ruled on Monday that the combatant who took the girl’s bicyclewould face no charges.

Back in 2007, the late Yosef Lapid, a former Israeli justice minister and then chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s advisory council, compared life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation to the abuses faced by Jews in 1930s Europe.

“It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn,” Lapid said, commenting specifically on attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers in Hebron.

Seeing the video of the bicycle incident and the stun grenade attack brought Lapid’s words back to me.

TODAY’S TOON ~~ BIBI’S LOVE FOR PALESTINE

Image by Carlos Latuff

 Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’


Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heightened his row with international charities operating in Gaza in a video Thursday where he announced, “Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.”

“Who cares more about Palestinians.” pressed Netanyahu, “Israel, that facilitates the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, every single day? Or Hamas, that robs Palestinian children of that very same aid?”

In wake of Gaza indictments, Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’

The prime minister continued by repeating accusations that have put international organizations under scrutiny. In the last two weeks two Palestinian aid officials in Gaza have been accused by Israel of misusing resources. 

“A few days ago, the world learned that Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, stole millions of dollars from humanitarian organizations like World Vision and the United Nations,” Netanyahu said.

On August 3, Mohammed el-Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of World Vision, was criminally charged by Israel for allegedly funneling 60 percent of his organization’s projects budget—$7.2 million annually—to support for Hamas.

World Vision has denied the Israeli accounting. ”There is a huge gap in these numbers the Israeli government is telling and what we know,” the group’s German spokesperson Silvia Holten told the AP.

A few days later a second humanitarian worker, Waheed Borsh, a contractor with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was also indicted for supporting Hamas. Borsh confessed to a list of ways that he had “aided Hamas,” according to a statement from Israel’s Security Agency.

“Last year he helped build a military jetty in the northern Gaza Strip – utilizing UNDP resources – to be used by Hamas’ naval forces,” the statement said. “Also in 2015, he acted to persuade UNDP managers to prioritize the rehabilitation of housing in areas populated by Hamas members… Borsh was acting in response to a request by Hamas.”

The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) alleged that Borsh admitted knowing the location of Hamas military facilities, and said when he found weapons stowed in UNDP facilities he allowed Hamas to “confiscate the arms and other materials.”

The actual indictment against the UN worker filed lesser charges than the offenses alleged by Israel’s security agency, a source who has seen the indictment told Mondoweiss. 

The court document indicated Borsh will be prosecuted for “communicating with a foreign agent, providing services to a foreign group, dealing with properties in an attempt to be used against Israel,” the source said, adding that the one-page indictment does not assert Borsh aided any “illegal organization,” Israeli legal-speak for terror organizations and Hamas.

Laith Abu Zeyad, an advocacy officer with the Palestinian legal rights group Addameer said the language of the criminal case is typical for those charged after traveling abroad and meeting with representatives of governments at odds with Israel.

Abu Zeyad said that “spying of having connection with a foreign agent” is a “a very common accusation used by the Israeli government” merely in cases where an individual has traveled to an enemy country such as Lebanon.  

“The accusation are really vague,” he went on, saying that there are difficulties in distinguishing between a resident of Gaza interacting with Hamas as the ruling civil administration, and interacting with its military wing. 

“Even if they provide evidence, even if they provide a pictures of him shaking hands with a Hamas militant, it cannot be used as evidence because it could be his relative or something,” Abu Zeyad continued.

This is the second recorded message from the prime minister in recent weeks in which the subject was the well-being of Arabs and Palestinians. In the first he said he hoped for greater inclusion of Palestinian citizens into Israeli society. The message was timed after his government passed a series of economic-improvement programs.

The medium of goodwill clips is a staple of Israeli public relations for ceremonial greetings and religious holidays. It is far less common when the subject is the Israeli conflict with Palestinian armed groups and their backers.

EIGHT YEARS OF WAITING IN (FOR) PALESTINE

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world).

My 'official welcome back' by the occupation police

My ‘official welcome back’ by the occupation police

EIGHT YEARS

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world). Briefly, under difficult circumstances in 2008-2016, I (with support)

1- Published many scientific research articles including critical ones on environment and genetics

2- Wrote books (one published in 2012 on Popular Resistance in Palestine and two on the way)

3- Founded and directed a clinical cytogenetics laboratory

4- Mentored dozens of graduate and undergraduate students

5- Taught over 8 different courses ranging from molecular biology to anthropology to biodiversity at four colleges and universities

6- Founded and directed the Palestine Museum (PMNH) of Natural History and Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) including its nascent botanical garden. http://www.palestinenature.org

7- Traveled throughout occupied Palestine and collected over 8000 specimens and over 10,000 photos that are a basis of current and future research

8- Traveled and represented Palestine in over 20 countries

9- Wrote over 200 articles on issues ranging from popular resistance to the one state solution to BDS.

10- Spoke to over 5000 visiting internationals about the situation

11- Spoke to thousands of locals on issues ranging from environment to human rights

12- Created jobs and helped some students manage their financial burden with some scholarships and work-study programs

13- Organized dozens of workshops that built human capacity

14- Built working relationships with dozens of local and international groups

15- Performed a number of consultancies to local and international agencies that made a direct impact on course of human development and the environment

16- Read over 500 books and hundreds of articles that helped me change and grow as an individual

17- Built friendships with hundreds (and met thousands)

18- Challenged oppression wherever it was found (via demonstrations, media work, etc) and got arrested a few times and questioned by intelligence services of three countries😉

All of this was done while struggling against not just Israeli occupation with its repression (e.g. inability to import things normally, lack of freedom of movement) but some Palestinian societal backward culture including nepotism, patriarchy, bureaucracy, and corruption. We were learning as we go how to deal with people (including the “mental occupation”). We gave chances to some who abused them and some who benefited from the chances to improve themselves and serve Palestine. But what sustained me/us was good honest people who I met and worked with everywhere. Hundreds of individuals like you on this list who helped us in so many ways by donations, volunteerism, actions, and other kinds of support. Of course what we have done is miniscule compared to what needs to be done. And there are many millions of candles in this darkness. We are humble enough to realize that we can only continue to achieve with collective work towards a peaceful., just, and SUSTAINABLE world.

Staying in the US would have been much less demanding on my physical and psychological health (and with a six figure income would have been financially “logical”). And there was lots of activities we were doing in the US for Palestine, for global peace, and for the environment. Much remains to be done within the US as it continues to be the country that is in the words of Martin Luther King Jr “the biggest purveyor of violence”. It certainly is the most enabling and the major sponsor of apartheid Israel and the endless wars in neighboring countries (conflicts thought to serve Israeli interests). Without the US support “Israel” would fold in two weeks and would have to become a democratic country for all its people and allow the Palestinian refugees to return. However and having said all of that, the decision to return to Palestine was the best decision I made in my life and this feeling grows stronger every day. The most important accomplishment I feel will last generations is my mentoring of young people. I would like to spend more time with young people (this is part of the reason we built PMNH/PIBS) and work harder at helping people help themselves. As I look forward with optimism to the next eight years here (If I live that long), I want to sincerely thank all of you who contributed and continue to contribute your time and energy.

END OF REFLECTION. Now for other good news

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted overwhelmingly in the annual convention to set up a screen and not invest in any company that profits from Israel’s occupation. They also called to end US unconditioonal aid to Israel. The Green party of the US developed a great latform on the question of Palestine (see below) that is based on human rights and justice. Social media are abuzz after the disastrous choice of Clinton and Trump to be nominees of the “democratic” and “republican” parties. Many argue that this continuing deterioration was a predictable outcome of the permission of lobbies (like the Zionist lobby to shape elections) and/or an expected outcome of several elections where people vote for the lesser of two evils rather than vote their conscience.

Following the diminishing water supply to Palestinians in the West Bank and the severe water shortage and pollution in the Gaza Strip, a light installation was held simultaneously in eight locations: Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Boston, New York, Houston, Johannesburg, Melbourne and Perth, Australia. In an illuminating display of lights reflected in water, activists from four continents stood near lakes and beaches creating the message “WATER IS A RIGHT” in various languages.

Green Party Statement on The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.

We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.

We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region. Still, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.

We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.

We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apartheid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.

We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law.

We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.

We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel, especially violations committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) as documented in the 2009 “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”(“The Goldstone Report”) authorized by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

We recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights; and that, despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the OPT, while Israeli crimes continue with impunity. We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form—remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support. We recall that in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society appealed to the international community to support a BDS campaign against Israel, and that in response the Green Party of the US endorsed this BDS campaign in 2005. Therefore, we support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by

-Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
-Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
-Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and “facts on the ground” that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.

We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We also acknowledge the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among people genuinely seeking peace.

As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.

GRAFFITI OF THE DAY

This is Israel: hate speech found in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport “No Muslims No war. LET’S KILL THEM ALL”

Cp1UyW7UsAAfjWf

#InPalestine ~~ IT KILLED IN THE PAST, WHY NOT USE IT AGAIN?

An old weapon appears to have re-emerged in Palestine.

Over the past six months, say activists in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military has resumed the use of Indoor Barricade Penetrators, a form of high velocity tear gas 40mm projectile designed to deliver its payload inside buildings or homes and used during raids, demonstrations and clashes.

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas towards Palestinian protesters at Beit El on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2015. (Shadi Hatem/ APA images)

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas towards Palestinian protesters at Beit El on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2015. (Shadi Hatem/ APA images)

Deadly gas projectiles return to West Bank protests

An old weapon appears to have re-emerged in Palestine.

Over the past six months, say activists in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military has resumed the use of Indoor Barricade Penetrators, a form of high velocity tear gas 40mm projectile designed to deliver its payload inside buildings or homes and used during raids, demonstrations and clashes.

The use of such heavy duty tear gas projectiles fell by the wayside in 2013 after a number of high-profile court cases demonstrated how easily this particular form of delivery could kill or maim. However, a modified version is now employed across the West Bank, say protestors, and no matter what claims the military and manufacturers may make, these barrier piercing projectiles remain potentially lethal.

Israel has used them to deadly effect before.

In 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed during the weekly protest in the West Bank of Bilin, after he was struck in the chest with an Indoor Barricade Penetrator.

Just a few weeks earlier, Tristan Anderson, an American volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, was hit with a high velocity tear gas canister in the nearby town of Nilin. He didn’t die, but was permanently paralyzed on his left side and suffered massive brain damage.

Recent injuries

Anderson and Abu Rahmeh are among the best known victims of such attacks: many others sustained injuries.

According to Murad Shtaiwi, head of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kafr Qaddum, there have been three moderate injuries from these projectiles since March alone. Ahmad Nasser, a medic working in the Ramallah district, has noted two injuries at clashes outside Ofer prison in the same time period. Nasser himself was also struck with one of the projectiles, but was not injured since he was wearing a bulletproof kevlar vest.

Indoor Barricade Penetrators are a more dangerous means of using tear gas for several reasons. As the name implies, they are not intended for use directly against individuals, rather they are designed to penetrate doors, windows and interior drywalls, and release their payload inside a building.

US weapons manufacturer Combined Systems, a longstanding supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military, makesspecial note that these “less lethal” weapons are intended for use on doors, windows and wallboard, and operators should take caution to avoid firing them in a way that risks hitting a person.

Like other kinds of tear gas, barrier penetrating projectiles are fired from a grenade launcher; however some models used by the Israeli military also have a secondary propulsion mechanism, which takes them further and faster. And unlike outdoor short range tear gas, it does not disperse gas until after impact. This means that protesters cannot see the trajectory of the projectiles until they are detonated, making them much more dangerous.

Harmful gas

In addition to the dangers posed as a high velocity projectile, activists from Ramallah and Nabi Saleh have also reported that the projectiles are more likely to carry an Oleoresin Capsicum- (OC spray — more commonly known as pepper spray) based gas than the more common, and less harmful, CS- (O-chlorobenzylidene malonitrile) based tear gas.

Manal Tamimi, an organizer in Nabi Saleh, cannot find a lab in the West Bank with the capacity to analyze the different types of tear gas. She told The Electronic Intifada that protesters who were exposed to gas from Indoor Barricade Penetrators exhibited symptoms consistent with OC gas, including immediate loss of motor control.

The renewed use of these tear gas projectiles has had a significant impact on demonstrations. In Kafr Qaddum, which Israeli soldiers raid on a regular basis, houses near the village’s weekly protest route have installed metal shutters to protect their interiors. But this provides little protection against a projectile that can move at 122 meters per second.

In Nabi Saleh, where demonstrators try to walk from the center of the village to a spring located in a nearby valley which Israel has confiscated for settlers, there’s little hope of ever getting close. The military can keep protesters at bay from a cool 500 meters with these tear gas projectiles, according to those who have taken part in the demonstrations.

Their renewed use was first noted in early 2016 by activists in Ramallah and came after a new wave of protest and deadly confrontation between Palestinians and the Israeli military that began in October last year.

Activists in Ramallah started to note the return of these tear gas projectiles during weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum and Nabi Saleh and speculate that the army has chosen to reintroduce them because they serve a dual purpose: like live ammunition, it is long range and potentially deadly, thus keeping protesters farther away from soldiers than almost any other weapon. However, unlike live ammunition, deaths caused by high velocity tear gas can more easily written off as accidents.

The Israeli military declined to comment for this article.

For demonstrators who face these projectiles, the threat is very tangible.

“After the October uprisings, more Palestinians broke the wall of fear inside themselves. They began to take more risks,” said Tamimi. “This prompted the Israelis to find a weapon that will not directly cause death. In the middle of all the chaos … they don’t want more criticism.”

*Clare Maxwell is a journalist and human rights activist working in the Salfit region of the West Bank.

BEX ALERT ~~ ISRAEL WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE THAT PALESTINIANS ARE ENJOYING THE SUMMER

Before you read the report below, have a look at the reality of how Palestinians are enjoying the summer … (Click on links)

The file photo shows Israeli forces arresting a Palestinian boy in front of his school in East al-Qud

The file photo shows Israeli forces arresting a Palestinian boy in front of his school in East al-Qud

Israeli forces detain 4 Palestinians, confiscate property, in southern West Bank raids

*

Israeli forces briefly detain, assault 15 Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem

*

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen in Gaza, detain 5

The above are just a few examples of the ‘fun in the sun’ Palestinians are enjoying ….

Now for the Bex Alert ….

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza have fun in the sun

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza have fun in the sun
As the dog days of the summer come into full swing, families in the West Bank and Gaza are looking for things to do with their kids who are on summer vacation; the West Bank has a host of amusement parks to choose from, while the ‘Palestine Festival’ arrives in Gaza for the first time.
*
Just like in Israel, Palestinians have to decide what to do with their kids on summer break from schools and kindergartens during the dog days of summer.
A wealth of fun attractions await these kids in the West Bank and Gaza. The toughest decision they have is; which ones should they choose from?
One of the options is to go to Sky Land in Ramallah. Sky Land is the largest amusement park in the West Bank. It not only has rides, but also a challenging adventure course.

There is also Water Land – the West Bank’s largest water park – located in Jericho. There are also plans to expand the water park in the coming years.

For those who don’t want to get wet, there’s always the world record holding cable car in the city. The cable car – which goes from the ancient city of Jericho to the Monastery of the Temptation in the mountains above the city – is the longest cable car below sea level, and provides panoramic views of the city of Jericho and of the Jordan Valley.

There are also fun options in Gaza for the whole family to enjoy, including the “Palestine Festival.” The festival, held every year since 1993 in Ramallah, features Palestinian music concerts and art and culture exhibitions.
This year is the first year it is being held in Gaza, as the ruling Hamas terror group usually takes a hard-line stance against public music festivals.
BEX From

ISRAEL IS IN MOURNING TODAY ~~ AND ONCE AGAIN PALESTINE IS FORGOTTEN

Today is Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) on the Hebrew calendar. The saddest day on those pages …. read about it HERE.

*

These brave folks remember the horrors facing Palestinians today, especially those living in the besieged Gaza Strip ….

*

‘Solidarity ships’ to sail to the besieged Gaza Strip

*

Two “solidarity ships” are set to sail towards the besieged Gaza Strip from Barcelona, Spain, in mid-September.

*

Named ‘Amal’ and ‘Zaytouna’ — meaning ‘Hope’ and ‘Olives’ in Arabic, respectively — the ships will be led by an all-female crew of 24, including Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
*
According to Issam Yusif, head of the world popular committee for the support of the Gaza Strip, most of the crew members are affiliated with civil society organizations, and will be making the nearly 2,000-mile journey to show solidarity with the Palestinian people against the decade-long “illegal Israeli blockade” on Gaza.
*
In a statement on Sunday, Yusif urged the Palestinian and international communities to support the new all-female “solidarity ships” initiative politically, financially and morally.
*
Yusif emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying it would help to highlight the Palestinian struggle for freedom and an independent state, as well as the everyday Israeli violations of international law and the Palestinian right to freedom of movement.
*
He also expressed hope that the initiative would help to end the increasingly “tragic situation” of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as the needs of the Gazan people continue to multiply despite the little aid they receive.
*
The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.
*
The 51-day Israeli offensive, termed “Operation Protective Edge” by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of at least 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the UN.
*
The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the nearly decade-long Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience the widespread destruction wrought by the Israeli offenses, and the slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 of Palestinians who remain displaced following the last Israeli assault.
*
FROM

DIRECT LINE TO JOE McCARTHY IN ISRAEL

Jerusalem-based BDS watchdog call center takes the fight to anti-Israel activities by providing activists’ information reported by civilians to Interior Ministry; group seeks deportation of activsts or barring their entry into Israel.

joe-mccarthy

Israel’s watchdog center fighting BDS

In a small office situated in the heart of Jerusalem a telephone center has been established which allows people in Israel to call and report Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement (BDS) activities inside the country designed to harm its international standing.

In recent years, the influential watchdog center against the BDS movement, ‘Lev B’Olam’ (Heart of the World), has taken on itself the struggle against the pernicious phenomenon by relying on civilians to bring it to their attention.

When a caller alerts the organization, a representative completes a complaint form and asks a series of questions to gather as much information as possible such as how many BDS activists are involved in a given incident, what they are doing, whether they are using cameras etc. As much pedigree information is compiled about the individuals in question including their names, their places of residence and whether the activists belong to any specific organization.

The accumulated information is then added to a special file and transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security.

The initiative, which has already been around for some three years, was intensified following the Israeli deportation of Rita Faye, a BDS activists known to the IDF for her activities at checkpoints and harassment of Israeli soldiers.

Faye, from Switzerland, had visited Israel several times in pursuit of her efforts to document alleged Israeli wrongdoing. However, she was deported in accordance with a deportation order from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) at the end of July after being taken in for questioning upon arrival in Ben Gurion Airport.

In addition to Faye’s deportation, Deri and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan established a team dedicated to deporting, or preventing the entry of, activists bent on promoting boycotts against the State of Israel.

According to Nati Rom, the general manager of ‘Lev B’Olam’, “The watchdog is the answer to the calls by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This is a civilian initiative whose aim is to locate the activists arriving in Israel under the guise of a tourist and trying to sabotage the Zionist enterprise in Israel. We are here in order to receive as much information about them as possible.”

‘Lev B’Olam’ has already been operating for three years and has been undertaking efforts to combat BDS activities designed to delegitimize Israel. As part of its efforts, the organization engages in PR activities by sending its representatives to European capitals and to BDS hotspots.

The center operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9am and 4pm and has both Hebrew and English speakers. Callers are also able to send relevant footage, photographs and documents via email.

Source and photos @

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,230 other followers