WILL NEW SETTLEMENTS REPLACE THE WALL OF APARTHEID?

wall_must_fall

The city would cover 14,000 dunams (3,500 acres) of the Jerusalem Hills, encompassing the existing small towns of Tsur Hadassah and Mevo Beitar with 20,000 new housing units, just inside the Green Line dividing “Israel proper” from the West Bank.

Planners eye Jerusalem Hills as site for new city of 100,000

Israel Lands Authority plans town to be called Bat Harim, but Jerusalem municipality, greens aim to stop it.

By Nimrod Bousso IN
A construction site in Tsur Hadassah. Photo by Eyal Toueg

A construction site in Tsur Hadassah. Photo by Eyal Toueg

Jerusalem could be getting a giant satellite city in what is today verdant, rolling countryside.

The city would cover 14,000 dunams (3,500 acres) of the Jerusalem Hills, encompassing the existing small towns of Tsur Hadassah and Mevo Beitar with 20,000 new housing units, just inside the Green Line dividing “Israel proper” from the West Bank.

Plans for the proposed city of Bat Harim, which could one day be home to 100,000 people, are due to get their first hearing at a meeting of the Israel Lands Authority Council on Sunday.

But long before the first ground is broken, opposition to the planned city has already been quietly coalescing. The ILA and the Interior Ministry’s Planning Administration favor the idea, but the Jerusalem municipality, which is supposed to take over the area, is opposed.

The area is now under the jurisdiction of Yehuda Regional Council, but plans call for putting the area under the jurisdiction of Jerusalem, even though the capital lies two kilometers northeast of the region.

The area’s existing residents are fighting the idea as well. The Yehuda Regional Council, which would lose control of the area, is leading the battle, backed by residents of Tsur Hadassah and Mevo Beitar, who are loathe to give up their quiet small-town life for decades of construction and urban sprawl.

As it is, even while plans for Bat Harim are just getting started, plans have been approved to build 2,500 homes in Tsur Hadassah, which would double its population and turn the Jerusalem suburb into a small city in its own right.

Plans for about 1,000 of those units were presented a few months ago to a special committee created to speed building approvals to alleviating Israel’s housing crunch. There are also plans for 1,400 homes in Mevo Beitar.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who apparently has not been party to the plans, made known his opposition in a letter to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan and the director general of the ministry, Shuki Amrani, a month ago.

“I was disappointed and surprised to discover in recent months that the Finance Ministry, Housing Ministry, ILA and National Planning and Building Council have been advancing … in an aggressive way – irresponsibly and without coordinating with the Jerusalem municipality – a massive building program in the environs of Jerusalem and its metropolitan area,” he wrote, referring for Bat Harim.

Barkat said that after a slowdown last year in housing starts in Jerusalem, the pace had been recovering and there was no reason for officials to be looking for places outside the city to start massive building projects.

Barkat expressed concern that Bat Harim would destroy the green belt that now surrounds most of Jerusalem and undermine his efforts to keep people from leaving the city because of the high cost of housing and lack of jobs.

“We are talking about erecting a new neighborhood [Bat Harim] that would attract quality population away from Jerusalem and undermine our efforts to strengthen neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s unacceptable that outside forces that don’t understand the national strategy for Israel’s capital are operating over the head of Jerusalem’s mayor.”

In fact, an earlier plan for a new city back in 1999 was ultimately rejected in favor of increasing population density in Jerusalem. A city spokesman said Barket had not yet decided what he would do next to block Bat Harim.

The Interior Ministry had not responded by press time to the report of Barkat’s letter. But the ILA, Environmental Protection Ministry and the Society for the Protecting of Nature in Israel are attacking the plans as an unnecessary assault on open countryside, even as there is plenty of undeveloped land inside Jerusalem still available for development.

The SPNI, which estimates that Jerusalem still has land available to build 100,000 housing units, launched a campaign in February to stop the plans and is organizing a rally outside ILA Council meeting on Sunday.

“Expanding Jerusalem westward by developing an area unconnected geographically from the city will require huge infrastructure investment,” David Leffler, the Environmental Protection Ministry’s director general, said in a letter to Erdan and Amrani last week, calling on them to abandon the plan entirely.

For its part, the ILA says it has little choice but to open up new areas for development to meet the area’s housing needs. It estimates that the Jerusalem area needs 2,500 new homes to be built every year, or 50,000 over the next two decades.

“The solution is the p’nui u’vinui program [enlarging existing buildings] and urban renewal, and also through new cities,” the ILA said in a statement to TheMarker, saying the area slotted for Bat Harim is one of “relatively low environmental sensitivity.”

Despite the opposition, the ILA in October budgeted 1 million shekels ($250,000) for initial planning for Bat Harim by an outside architectural firm. Its proposals will be presented at Sunday’s meeting.

The SPNI contends that the entire process violates the law, noting that planning authorities have in the recent past rejected any attempt to develop the area. The decision to build a new city can only be made by the government, it contends.

“We are amazed that such an ambitious and significant planning undertaking can get underway solely because of an internal decision taken by the ILA,” said SPNI’s attorney Tal Tsafrir.

WHAT DOES JON STEWART’S REPLACEMENT THINK OF ISRAEL?

Noah’s own origins also trigger interest on this topic, since many critics compare Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa. Noah lived through the late years of apartheid as child. Although he has not commented directly on the Israel-Palestinian relationship so far, a couple of his past posts on social media indicate he probably won’t be appearing at next year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

Trevor Noah   Getty Images

Trevor Noah Getty Images

Noah’s own origins also trigger interest on this topic, since many critics compare Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa. Noah lived through the late years of apartheid as child. Although he has not commented directly on the Israel-Palestinian relationship so far, a couple of his past posts on social media indicate he probably won’t be appearing at next year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

Watch Noah discuss his biracial family and childhood in South Africa in the video below from his standup special at the Apollo Theatre in London.

What Does Trevor Noah Think About Israel?

By Gabe Friedman

Many late-night comedy fans had the same reaction Monday morning when it was announced that Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old South African standup comedian who is relatively unknown in the United States, will replace Jon Stewart as the next host of “The Daily Show”: Who exactly is this guy?

Viewers had been calling on Comedy Central to appoint someone well-known like Tina Fey or the fan-favorite “Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams to succeed Stewart (overall, the insistence on having a female host in the male-dominated world of late-night comedy was also a constant).

However, some hard-core “Daily Show” fans may recall Noah’s three memorable appearances as a correspondent on the show starting in December of last year, in which he skewered American (and more generally Western) views and stereotypes of Africa.

Noah, born to a black South African mother and a white Swiss father (when interracial relationships were illegal in apartheid South Africa), is already a star in his home country, where he has filmed several standup specials. In 2012 and 2013 he became the first South African comedian to perform on “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman” respectively, and in 2012 he was the subject of a documentary called “You Laugh But It’s True.”

Amid all of the anticipation surrounding Noah’s surprise appointment, fans are already keenly interested in his views on the hot-button political topics that Stewart has never been afraid to address – especially the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

This interest in his Middle East views is of course mainly due to the fact that Jon Stewart was (and has been) one of the only mainstream American comedians to harshly critique Israel’s stance towards the Palestinians. Even HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher, one of this era’s most outspoken and unapologetically liberal comics, is usually seen as more pro-Israel than Stewart (and has even been pegged by some as anti-Muslim because of his views on Muslim extremists). Meanwhile former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, who will travel to Israel in June to host the Genesis Prize award ceremony for the second consecutive year, recently told the Associated Press, “It seems like [Israel has] the worst PR in the world,” adding “I don’t understand how Israel is the bad guy here. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But Noah’s own origins also trigger interest on this topic, since many critics compare Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa. Noah lived through the late years of apartheid as child. Although he has not commented directly on the Israel-Palestinian relationship so far, a couple of his past posts on social media indicate he probably won’t be appearing at next year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

Lastly, “The Nightly Show,” hosted by black comic Larry Wilmore (the show that has replaced “The Colbert Report” in Comedy Central’s coveted 11:30 pm slot), has introduced a new level of social critique to late-night television. Wilmore has made race relations between blacks and whites in the U.S. one of his primary topics.

Naturally, people will now wonder whether Noah will focus as candidly on race and related social issues on “The Daily Show.” Based on his prior “Daily Show” appearances and his standup routines, it seems like Noah is more than willing to do so.

Click HERE to see Twitter links

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The Israeli right wing press is already replacing the word Israel with Jews …

Click on link

(Note in Twitter links above that the word ‘Jew’ never appears)

What Does Jon Stewart’s Replacement Think of Jews?

Trevor Noah, who replaces Jon Stewart as daily Show host, is facing outrage over tweets about rich Jews, pugnacious Israel.

#JeSuisAnti-Apartheid

Paris university shuts down Israeli apartheid event featuring Max Blumenthal

Author Max Blumenthal banned by zion

Author Max Blumenthal banned by zion

In the current context, to ban such a conference amounts to aligning with the policy of exploiting the reaction to the attacks of last January 7 and January 9 in order to install permanently a version of freedom of expression with variable rules. We can still read “We are Charlie” on huge posters on the walls of the university. Doesn’t this mean the university is showing support for a controversial newspaper ? Should we understand that controversy is not legitimate unless it is consistent with the dominant ideology ? 

The following news statements about an event set for tomorrow night in Paris at a university founded in 1969 as an experimental center on social issues were issued today by the French Palestinian solidarity organization AURDIP (Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine) and the Collectif Palestine at the university.

AURDIP COMMUNIQUÉ – We have just learned that, once again, the presidency of the University Paris 8/Saint-Denis decided, at the last moment, to ban a conference, this one entitled Israel apartheid is real [featuring Max Blumenthal and Bilal Afandi]. The conference intended to shed light on Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinian people, a policy that AURDIP itself has constantly condemned. As a collective of academics, we are outraged by this attack on academic freedom, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of open debate. As defenders of human rights and the respect of international law, we wish to express our deep dismay at the complicit silence that the administration of the University Paris 8 aims to force upon its students and faculty. We demand that the president of this university reverse a decision that can only exacerbate tensions while pretending to calm them.

Press Release of the Collectif Palestine Paris 8
Stop censorship at the University !

Once again the president of Université Paris 8-Saint Denis has flouted the principle of freedom of expression, by banning a conference organized by the collective Palestine Paris 8, in partnership with other organizations supporting the Palestinian people, just two days before the intended date. The goal of the conference is to condemn the apartheid policies of the state of Israel toward Palestinians. Among the invited speakers are Bilal Afandi, a young Palestinian activist; Max Blumenthal, a journalist from the United States, and a speaker from the BDS campaign.

The presidency’s motivation in censoring this event have never been clear. Expressing itself by means of the Maison de l’étudiant [house of students], which it uses to control student initiative, the university presidency has alternatively pointed to the absence of an available auditorium, the presence of a “controversial” speaker (Max Blumenthal, whose writings are nevertheless published in numerous outlets in the United States), publicity that “doesn’t meet norms,” the risk of disorder… Apart from this bureaucratic censorship, the presidency has not hesitated to use more direct means of repression, including sending university personnel to tear down our posters announcing the event.

In the current context, to ban such a conference amounts to aligning with the policy of exploiting the reaction to the attacks of last January 7 and January 9 in order to install permanently a version of freedom of expression with variable rules. We can still read “We are Charlie” on huge posters on the walls of the university. Doesn’t this mean the university is showing support for a controversial newspaper ? Should we understand that controversy is not legitimate unless it is consistent with the dominant ideology ?

Thus, according to the presidency, freedom of expression ends where there is the slightest risk of undermining the politics of the state of Israel at the level of the university. Still worse, this conference had the audacity to be listed as an activity of Israeli Apartheid Week — an international week of struggle and reflection against the apartheid policies of Israel, which is organized in numerous other universities in the world, notably in England, the United States, Palestine, South Africa, and several Latin American countries. Since 2012 (when the president decided to close the university in order to ban a meeting), pressure and censorship have become systematic when apartheid in Palestine is in question.

But we will not allow ourselves to be tamed by the presidency of the University of Saint-Denis, wallowing in its goals of normalization (whether they be in the domains of security, austerity, bureaucracy, or ideology) And since it prefers to yield to pressure and to accept the arguments of the defenders of Israeli policies, we will take responsibility on our side. We therefore intend to go ahead with this conference and we are calling for massive participation in a rally in front of Building D of the university, starting at 6 PM, to assert our right to speak about “controversial” subjects, our right to express our solidarity toward the Palestinian people, our right to self-organization and to independence of the student movement.

 

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THE ZIONISATION OF MLK? …. NOT QUITE!

Based on this one quote …

Best they look at the whole picture to see the truth …

King canceled a planned trip to Israel in September 1967 in part because of political misgivings over the annexation of Jerusalem. He reportedly told his aides in a telephone call:

[“I’d run into the situation where I’m damned if I say this and I’m damned if I say that no matter what I’d say, and I’ve already faced enough criticism including pro-Arab.  I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt…  Most of it [the pilgrimage] would be Jerusalem and they [the Israelis] have annexed Jerusalem, and any way you say it they don’t plan to give it up…  I frankly have to admit that my instincts – and when I follow my instincts so to speak I’m usually right – I just think that this would be a great mistake. I don’t think I could come out unscathed”]

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Wall picture from NYC2Palestine on Facebook

Wall picture from NYC2Palestine on Facebook

On MLK Day, lots of folks are talking Palestine

It’s nighttime now on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the day has not gone by without a lot of folks talking and thinking about Palestine.

USA Today has a big piece on how King’s legacy is being carried on today in the U.S. by leaders of #BlackLivesMatter, including Phillip Agnew of Dream Defenders (which was founded after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012). Reporter Rick Hampson notes one of King’s strengths, and Agnew’s:

  • The internationalist. His ability to elicit support from abroad – and shame Americans with segregation’s inherent contradictions — resonates with Agnew, who recently traveled to Palestine with other activists.

Dream Defenders lately held an action in Nazareth.

Speaking of King’s internationalism, Jamil Dakwar writes:

“If you wonder what #MLK’s position on #BDS would be read this newly found 1964 London speech.”

BDS is of course the international movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel. Dakwar links to this speech reported on DemocracyNow today in which King addressed racial injustice at home and abroad in 1964 and called for boycotting South Africa:

Our responsibility—our responsibility presents us with a unique opportunity: We can join in the one form of nonviolent action that could bring freedom and justice to South Africa, the action which African leaders have appealed for, in a massive movement for economic sanctions. In a world living under the appalling shadow of nuclear weapons, do we not recognize the need to perfect the use of economic pressures? Why is trade regarded by all nations and all ideologies as sacred? Why does our government and your government in Britain refuse to intervene effectively now, as if only when there is a bloodbath in South Africa—or a Korea or a Vietnam—will they recognize a crisis? If the United Kingdom and the United States decided tomorrow morning not to buy South African goods, not to buy South African gold, to put an embargo on oil, if our investors and capitalists would withdraw their support for that racial tyranny that we find there, then apartheid would be brought to an end. Then the majority of South Africans of all races could at last build the shared society they desire.

Electronic Intifada reported that speech excerpt some years ago, as well as a letter that King wrote in 1962 along with Albert Lutuli, a leader of the African National Congress. Key sentence:

The apartheid republic is a reality today only because the peoples and governments of the world have been unwilling to place her in quarantine.

Israeli supporters are promoting the fact that King also said nice things about Israel– calling it one of the outposts of democracy in the world (youtube clip here). Avi Mayer also tweets this photo of MLK Street in central Jerusalem.

MLK Street in Jerusalem

But Dakwar is surely on target here. King was martyred when Israel was still Plucky Israel in the eyes of the west, before the occupation took real form. And it is the treatment of Palestinians under occupation that has driven the BDS movement in the west. There’s no question that if King were alive today, he would be in lines with that movement. Besides, think of how far America has come since King’s death. Diversity is today widely celebrated, and some establishment institutions are actually fostering diversity.

[Update: King canceled a planned trip to Israel in September 1967 in part because of political misgivings over the annexation of Jerusalem. He reportedly told his aides in a telephone call:

[“I’d run into the situation where I’m damned if I say this and I’m damned if I say that no matter what I’d say, and I’ve already faced enough criticism including pro-Arab.  I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt…  Most of it [the pilgrimage] would be Jerusalem and they [the Israelis] have annexed Jerusalem, and any way you say it they don’t plan to give it up…  I frankly have to admit that my instincts – and when I follow my instincts so to speak I’m usually right – I just think that this would be a great mistake. I don’t think I could come out unscathed”]

Brooklyn for Peace urges folks to support negotiations with Iran– “Dr. King knew that war abroad means misery at home”– and is pressing activists to get on the campaign to pressure that NY City delegation to Israel not to go. From NYC2Palestine’s Facebook page:

Join us on Thursday, Jan 22nd at 1pm in City Hall Park to tell New York City Council members – Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel!

New Yorkers are outraged by 15 New York City Council members’ decision to take an all-expenses-paid propagandatour of Israel, organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council and United Jewish Appeal in February 2015.

Multiple social justice groups and organizations participating in a press conference on the steps of City Hall this past Monday told the New York City Council: #DontTourApartheid. We, the people of NYC, need to do the same.

Also, on Fresh Air today, Eric Foner spoke of the importance of solidarity to the antislavery movement, whites and blacks joining together. What was a difficult thing that was to achieve in the 1850s:

You know, the barriers between black and white were far higher than they are today. And overcoming that in order to work in a collaborative way, cooperating with each other in a, I think, noble cause of trying to assist people who were escaping from slavery and trying to undermine the institution of slavery and, eventually, bring about its abolition. And I – you know, I think on Martin Luther King Day, it should lead us to remember that the civil rights movement had antecedents in our history. It had, you know – that this was a great social movement of the mid-19th century and that these are the things that inspire me in American history – the struggle of people to make this a better country. To me, that’s what genuine patriotism is.

Of course Martin Luther King built that sort of coalition with considerable care in the 1960s, and today we should be thankful for the transformative coalition that we and so many others are building across racial and religious and national lines to free Palestinians (and Israelis), and lift a glass to MLK.

Thanks to Annie Robbins, Allison Deger and Alex Kane.

ISRAELI JOURNALISTS WHO REFUSE TO BE SILENCED

Unless your name is Gideon Levy ;)

Unless your name is Gideon Levy ;)

They say that the truth will set you free …. but that’s the last thing Israel wants for the Palestinians ….

They let us go in the evening. The Israeli Police’s APC brought us back to the checkpoint. The case awaits a decision. Another decision is obvious: We will keep on covering the occupation.

False arrests won’t stop us covering Israel’s occupation

The allegations against us: violating an emergency order and insulting a soldier. The law books contain no statutes about insulting a journalist.

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Palestinian drivers wait in their cars next to the separation barrier

Palestinian drivers wait in their cars next to the separation barrier, ahead of crossing through the Qalandia checkpoint. February 9, 2014. Photo by AFP

On Monday of this week we drove to the village of Artah, south of Tul Karm, to report yet another story of the evil of the occupation, this one particularly infuriating and sad. The photographer Alex Levac and I were in Artah, intending to return home to Tel Aviv. The soldiers at Checkpoint 407 were surprised to see Israeli Jews leaving from the direction of Tul Karm. We showed our press cards and told them that we had been accustomed to going everywhere in the West Bank for more than 25 years.

Thus began an episode in the theater of the absurd that lasted until evening. The Israeli army and the Israel Police kept us in custody for about the next nine hours. The soldiers confiscated our car keys and identity documents lest we run for our lives. We were not allowed to get out of the car, even for a moment. One insolent soldier was insulted on account of nothing and the police were summoned on account of nothing. The police did not even ask us what had happened – and just like that, we were “detained.”

We were put inside a “Caracal” – an armored, reinforced metal monster with barred windows – and we drove for about an hour to the Ariel police station. There we were questioned and fingerprinted. Mug shots were taken of us for the criminals’ photo album, and we were subjected to humiliation. On the way there, I thought about the Palestinian children whom these police arrest and place in this same metal monster and what they endure. The police officers said we were being “detained” – a euphemism for arrest. When we asked to go to the bathroom, the duty officer barked: Not without an escort. The detective said we were endangering national security.

The police station in Ariel is a place to see. There is a photograph of a rabbi on the wall of the interrogation room, and a thick-bearded man walked freely around the station, offering Hanukkah donuts to the police officers and asking if they had put on tefillin that day.

The allegations: violating an emergency order and insulting a soldier. The law books contain no statutes about insulting a journalist. Even as we were on our way to Ariel, we heard the false accusation that came from the army, and then the official statement of the Judea and Samaria District Police: We had spat at the soldiers. First the “murdering” pilots (which I never wrote), and now the “spitting libel” (I never spat on them). If we were suspected of having spat at soldiers, it is easy to imagine the intolerable ease with which the soldiers could say, falsely, that a Palestinian had pulled a knife at a checkpoint or threatened them a moment before they shot him dead.

This could have been a negligible story if it did not signal the ill wind that is blowing in the Israel Police and in the army: journalists are a nuisance (in the best case) and a hostile element (in any other case). Israeli press cards from years ago bore the following sentence: “The Israel Police is asked to assist the bearer of this card.”

It never occurs to the police in the territories to assist journalists; they usually try to sabotage their work, with the army beside them. Even the sanctimonious concern that IDF Spokesman’s Office personnel express for journalists’ safety – the explanation given for why any entry into Area A must be coordinated with that office – is flawed by a basic lack of understanding. Some professions are dangerous, and journalism is not doing its job by “coordinating” with the authorities. The authorities’ intention is clear: to close the West Bank to scrutiny, or at least to make it hard for journalists to work there. Gaza has been closed to Israeli journalists for about eight years – a scandal in itself – and journalists bow their heads in surrender. That must not be allowed to happen in the West Bank too, even if only a tiny group of people still shows the slightest interest in what goes on there.

They let us go in the evening. The Israeli Police’s APC brought us back to the checkpoint. The case awaits a decision. Another decision is obvious: We will keep on covering the occupation.

Here’s an example of the reporting Israel wants silenced …

If you want to see apartheid in action, here’s the place. There’s no need to elaborate. Here are Jews opposite Palestinians, landowners opposite trespassers. Apartheid in a nutshell.

Jews vs. Palestinians, landowners vs. trespassers

Israeli security forces have descended over and over again on Ali Moussa’s family compound in the West Bank and demolished the houses he built. Across the way the settlement of Efrat expands, unchecked.

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Ali Moussa

Ali Moussa. Photo by Alex Levac

The numbers speak for themselves: four demolitions, six razed houses, one husband, two wives, 17 children, 17 grandchildren.

The story behind the numbers: Ali Moussa, a farmer who lives in the West Bank, has clung stubbornly to his land for more than 30 years. Repeatedly, forces of the Civil Administration, Israel’s governing body in the occupied territories, have demolished the houses Moussa has built. Repeatedly, he has rebuilt them. His applications for a construction permit have been ignored, but this is his home, this is his family’s land.

The compound of Moussa’s ramshackle dwellings lies on a hill overlooking the valley through which Highway 60, linking Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Hebron, passes. On the hill across the valley rise the homes that are part of one of the unchecked expansions of the settlement of Efrat. They are a lot less legal than Moussa’s houses – the land does not legally belong to the settlers – but they, of course, are not under threat of demolition at the hands of the Civil Administration. Those dwellings are inhabited by Jews.

If you want to see apartheid in action, here’s the place. There’s no need to elaborate. Here are Jews opposite Palestinians, landowners opposite trespassers. Apartheid in a nutshell.

A short drive from Jerusalem reveals a scene of squalor that seems to have come out of a different time and place. The repeated demolitions force Moussa to rebuild his hovels with the cheapest materials he can find so that he can house his extended family – until it’s all tumbled down again by the Israel Defense Forces.

It makes for a pitiful sight: eight children huddling in one room whose tin roof is leaking and where bone-chilling cold prevails even on a sunny, late-fall day. Mildewed walls through which rain drips in, bare rooms without closets, without beds, only a stack of mattresses, and sacks to hold the clothes.

Kittens and children prowl about aimlessly outside; the women’s clothes are tattered. Five shacks plus a heap of ruins from the last house that was demolished, and pervasive neglect. Welcome to the compound of the Moussa family on the edge of the village of Al-Khader, outside Bethlehem. Next to the latest pile of ruins is a column of gray bricks, awaiting the next demolition and the rebuilding that will inevitably follow.

Farmer Moussa is 61, and he has 17 children – the eldest 37, the youngest six months old – by two wives, as well as 17 grandchildren, most of whom live here. He has always made a living from his land, but part of it has been plundered over time for the nearby settlements and for construction of the separation barrier. And the security barrier has prevented his access to another area, in which he has olive groves.

Moussa sold his flock of sheep some time ago to finance his obsessive rebuilding efforts. To date, they’ve cost him between 300,000 and 400,000 shekels ($75,000 – $100,000), he says, adding that the Civil Administration has offered him alternative land and compensation if he’ll leave. What did he tell them? He’s surprised at the question. He didn’t consider the offer for a second, he says.

Moussa has been living here since 1982. There was a different atmosphere in the territories when he built his first house in the compound – the only one that still stands intact and has never been demolished. The government agreed to the project, at least tacitly, back then. But things change. The first demolition came in 1995 – the house he had built for a married son. At the time, the authorities cited security reasons: There was an IDF post in the valley below, where the pillbox that overlooks Highway 60 now stands, just a few hundred meters from the house.

Moussa married his second wife in 2000 and built her a house. It too was swiftly demolished. In addition, the army tore down a house that he had built for his second son and his new family. The official reason: It was illegal.

He explains that he spent 30,000 shekels ($7,500) on building plans, which he submitted to the Civil Administration at its request – he displays the maps – but nothing came of them. There was a third round of demolition in 2011, and a fourth last June 14. The heap of ruins remaining at present comes from that most recently razed dwelling, belonging to Moussa’s second wife and their eight children.

In recent months, that dwelling has been rebuilt near the original one, in the form of a shack of 170 square meters, made of bricks and tin. It is still standing, at least for now. Additinally, a humanitarian aid association donated a tin hut, where they can store clothes, household utensils and furniture from all the structures that have been destroyed.

At his lawyers’ advice, Moussa builds each new house a few meters from previous ones. Indeed, one can see the remnants of a concrete pillar from the first house that was demolished in the compound, between the shacks, like a denuded monument.

Moussa’s story is also documented in a sheaf of documents that he keeps with him: no fewer than a dozen demolition and stop-work orders, issued over the years. For example, there’s a “stop-work order” from 2012 and a “final stop-work and demolition order” issued a few months later. There’s a demolition order for a “25-square-meter concrete surface,” another for “two cisterns and a lean-to,” another for “an electricity line and cable.”

One document is High Court of Justice decision No. 8902/06: an interim injunction issued by Justice Elyakim Rubinstein on November 23, 2006, to stop the demolitions, which notes: “This injunction shall not apply in the event of the need for demolition for urgent combat purposes and salient security reasons.” Justice Rubinstein did not bother to specify the security reasons or, more importantly, whose security he had in mind.

The spokesperson of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories offered this response to a query from Haaretz: “The structures in question were built in an illegal manner, without a building permit, on an archaeological site called ‘Abu Sud,’ and for that reason they were demolished. Furthermore, the structures were rebuilt upon the ruins, even as the matter was under consideration by the High Court of Justice, which is a gross violation of the law. The requests for a building permit were rejected, and an appeal to Supreme Court was also turned down. It should be noted that the owner was offered the opportunity to rebuild within the planned area of Al-Khader, the adjacent village, but the owner rejected the offer and instead illicitly continued to build [at the original location].”

We make our way through the compound. Four shacks belong to Moussa’s immediate family – his two wives and two of his sons and their families – and another, in the back, is inhabited by relatives, members of the family of Ismail Moussa. A makeshift water tower, an electricity pole and the shacks, each crowded with women and children.

A television is on in one of the hovels, tuned to Israel’s Channel 10, with simultaneous translation into Arabic provided by the local Bethlehem channel. The program: “Kahane Lives: The Life and Death of the Extremist Right-wing Leader.” The family was watching.

IN PHOTOS ~~ SILENCING THE SONGS AND DANCE OF APARTHEID

SONY DSC

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Anti-Apartheid Dance and Songs Meet Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company in Protest at Brooklyn Academy of Music

On busy Lafayette Avenue outside Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 80 New Yorkers gathered last night to dance and sing in protest of Batsheva Dance Company’s performances in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival (photos). Batsheva’s appearance is part of the “Brand Israel” initiativedesigned to distract from the facts of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. The demonstration was organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 15 other local human rights organizations including the BDS Arts Coalition, Brooklyn For Peace, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs touts Batsheva as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture.” Batsheva is funded in part by that government office as well as by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. While Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin has criticized Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Batsheva Dance Company continues in its role as a prominent cultural ambassador of the Israeli state.

The demonstration began with a dabke (traditional Palestinian dance) lesson led by Adalah-NY member Riham Barghouti, with musical accompaniment by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra followed by songs from Dave Lippman. Chants highlighted the disconnect between the Batsheva dancers’ virtuosity and their company’s political role, including, “Their range of motion cannot hide / Their support for apartheid” and “Batsheva gets no ovation / Ambassador for occupation!”

Protester Carlos Pareja, an independent media maker, said, “I support drawing attention to the abuses against the Palestinian people. We can’t have only the ‘nice’ face of Israel, which is what we often see here.” Barghouti echoed that point, telling the crowd, “Today, only a few months after the most brutal of all Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip—which killed over 2100 Palestinians including 500 children and leveled whole neighborhoods, leading Amnesty International and others to accuse Israel of war crimes—yet again BAM has invited the Israeli dance company Batsheva to whitewash Israel’s crimes.”

Interactions with Brooklynites were mostly positive, as curious people tookflyers and asked questions about the activities. Passersby and BAM ticket holders alike stood and watched the high-energy Freedom Debka Group and the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade, two Palestinian dance troupes. The protest ended with two moving dances by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl, a Mexica danza group, who offered “dance and prayers for dignity and solidarity” with Palestinians during their performance. Dancer Karen Lopez explained afterward, “We are indigenous people who have been displaced and seen our traditions threatened with destruction. We are always there in solidarity and resistance with other displaced peoples, including Palestinians.”

Wednesday night’s protest is part of the global movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. The Palestinian civil society call for BDS includes boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Adalah-NY is also organizing a protest next Tuesday, November 18, at the concert of the Touré-Raichel Collective, which features another premiere Israeli “cultural ambassador,” musician Idan Raichel.

More photos from the protest can be found here.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Adalah-NY

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THE WALL ~~ I WROTE ABOUT IT YESTERDAY, IT’S HAPPENING TODAY!

knocking down apartheid wall.2

*Yesterday I posted about the fall of the Apartheid wall in Israel. Today it started to crumble! Let’s hope this trend continues!

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Click HERE to see the report including a video….

From Berlin to Palestine: Palestinian activists blast hole in separation fence

‘It doesn’t matter how high the barriers will be, they will fall. Like the Berlin Wall fell – the Palestinian wall will fall,’ activists say on 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It WILL happen!

It WILL happen!

TODAY’S SPOOF ~~THIS WALL WILL ALSO FALL!

The Berlin Wall officially fell on Nov. 9, 1989, after having divided the German capital for nearly 30 years.

“No matter how high walls are built, they will fall. Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation.”

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Image created by Gianluca Costantini

Image created by Gianluca Costantini

ROLLING ALONG WITH THE OCCUPATION

The term apartheid does fit Israel

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

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

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Separate Buses? That’s How Occupation Rolls.

By Mira Sucharov FOR

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Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So about those separate buses: Should we care?

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

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

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

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

WHO SAID ISRAEL IS AN APARTHEID STATE?

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

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

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

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

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New Guidelines Prevent Palestinian Workers From Riding Israeli Buses

Harassment of Jewish Women Passengers Cited as Reason

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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As reported in the Palestinian Press

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Palestinians barred from Israeli West Bank buses

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

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

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

The defense minister was not immediately available for comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Qalandiya check-point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGING APARTHEID IN GAZA

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Pat Perry is an artist from Michigan. He currently lives and works itinerantly in the US.

This image was created for Imaging Apartheid, a Montreal-based initiative aimed at bringing awareness and support to the Palestinian struggle for liberation through the production and dissemination of poster art.

HERE’S HOW PALESTINIANS WILL LIVE IN A ONE STATE SOLUTION

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

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A must read for anyone who still supports that ‘solution …

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The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

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Israel’s discriminatory housing message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage.

By Jack Khoury FOR

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Adel Kaadan

Adel Kaadan outside his home in the town of Katzir, which challenged his right to live there because he is Arab.Photo by Moran Mayan / Jini

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Every time the issue of Arabs living in small rural Jewish communities arises, the same question arises: Would Arabs be willing to let Jews live in their small rural communities? The goal of this question is to throw the ball back into the Arabs’ court and portray them as the bad guys, who don’t want Jews in their villages, and therefore have no right to demand to live in equivalent Jewish communities.

But the people who raise this claim ignore several important facts in an attempt to justify a fundamentally racist and discriminatory policy.

First, all the Arab villages – without exception – existed even before the state was established, and the vast majority of their houses were built on privately owned land that the owners inherited from their forebears, not on land provided by the state. Most of the rural Jewish communities, in contrast, were built on state land based on terms set by the state, and according to the High Court of Justice’s precedent-setting ruling in the Kaadan case in 2000, the state cannot discriminate in allocating land on the basis of a person’s ethnic or national background.

Second, Arab citizens of Israel currently own only about five percent of the country’s land, because most of what was once Arab-owned land has been expropriated over the years since 1948 via a series of draconian laws and decisions. In contrast, the regional councils where most of the Jewish communities in question are located control about 70 percent of the country’s land.

The fact that Arabs are barred from living in these areas due to their ethnicity, while almost any Jewish citizen who meets the relevant socioeconomic criteria can live there, means that Jews have considerably more options than Arabs when it comes to choosing a place to live.

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage, which stems from blatant discrimination in the allocation of land, the expansion of existing communities’ jurisdictions and the approval of master plans. There is an urgent need for tens of thousands of houses for young Arab couples. “Where will we build our house and raise our children?” has become the problem that keeps such couples awake at night, and the options available to them are steadily shrinking.

Every young couple, even an Arab couple, is entitled to aspire to a decent standard of living in every area of life. But instead of enjoying their rights as citizens, striving to realize this aspiration and being able to talk about fair allocations of land and equality of opportunity, Arab citizens feel they are being pushed further and further into a corner. Arabs are searching for any possible solution, including the option of living in small Jewish communities, not out of a desire for separatism, but out of a desire to integrate.

The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

APARTHEID; IN DEFENSE OF THE INDEFENSIBLE

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

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Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine

By Nima Shirazi FOR

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Just like another Israel,
by enemies surrounded, lost in the veld,but for another Canaan elected,
led forward by God’s plan.

– Reverend J.D. du Toit, Potgieter’s Trek (1909)

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This past May, in a relatively banal column touting the necessity of an impossible “two-state solution” in the context of what he deemed to be U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “specious comparison” of a potential Israeli future to South African apartheid, formerHa’aretz editor-in-chief David Landau wrote:

This resort to apartheid infuriates the majority of Israelis and Israel-lovers, including those in the peace camp, and one can readily understand why. Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism.

It would be a gross understatement to say that Landau’s formulation was fundamentally flawed.

First and foremost, there is a vast amount of evidence proving that Jewish Israeli society – built wholly upon the 19th century premise (and promise) of ethnic and religious superiority, exclusivity, and privilege enforced through ethnic cleansing,forced expulsion, displacement and dispossession, segregation, colonization and occupation – is somehow becoming even more openly racist. Poll after poll revealsincreasingly bigoted trends.

The work of reporters like David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, for instance, routinely demonstrates a viciously militarized and unjust society masquerading as an embattled liberal democracy, acting with aggression and impunity. More recently, pogroms targetingmigrants and refugees from Africa, incitement against Palestinians inside Israel, andexplicit anti-miscegenation campaigns are becoming more frequent and more dangerous.

A country for “the white man”

In a mid-2012 interview, Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Africans, “along with the Palestinians, will bring a quick end to the Zionist dream,” since “[m]ost of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.” Referring to refugees from Sudan and Eritrea as an “infiltrator threat,” he told the press he was eager to deport all African immigrants for, in his words, “the benefit of the Zionist dream.”

A chapter in a forthcoming book, detailing a three-year, anthropological study of the attitudes of typical, secular Israeli high school students conducted by Dr. Idan Yaron, isstark in its assessment of the cultural racism and hatred present in Israeli society. Reporter Ori Kashti notes that, based upon Yaron’s observations, “such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social ‘unity.’ What he observed is unfiltered hatred.”

Landau’s desperate defense against the apartheid label perfectly demonstrates theLiberal Zionist need to insist that Israel and its founding ideology are not inherently racist, a position less and less palatable to people who are actually paying attention.

His claim that because “Israeli Jews are not racist,” and therefore Israel can’t possibly be deemed a “apartheid” state, not only misunderstands the actual definition of apartheid, which isn’t merely race-based discrimination and oppression. It also mirrors precisely the arguments made by defenders of South African apartheid in opposition to calls for equal human and civil rights.

Zionism’s defenders mirror apartheid’s apologists

Beyond the shared “promised land” and “chosen people” rhetoric that has inspired boththe Afrikaner and Zionist ideologies of racial, religious, and ethnic supremacy, so has that of land redemption through settler-colonialism and transplanting indigenous populations. The connective tissue between apartheid and Zionism is thick, and not only in that both European colonial ideologies were officially institutionalized and implemented against native peoples as government policy in 1948.

Historian Donald Akenson has written, “The very spine of Afrikaner history (no less than the historical sense of the Hebrew scriptures upon which it is based) involves the winning of ‘the Land’ from alien, and indeed, evil forces.”

One can easily see a corollary in the words of David Ben-Gurion, written in a 1937 letter to his son, Amos. Palestine, he wrote, “contains vast colonization potential” for Jewish settlement to exploit. Moreover, he declared, “What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish. A unified Eretz Israel would be no source of satisfaction for me – if it were Arab.” (emphasis in original)

This past June, settler leader Dani Dayan argued in the New York Times that, assummarized by David Samel, “Israel retain control of ‘Judea and Samaria,’ that it continue to exercise military rule over millions of stateless Palestinians, but that it loosen its stranglehold by making concerted efforts to make Palestinians happier despite the permanent loss of freedom, equality in the land of their birth, and justice under international law.”

Dayan’s essay calls for what is essentially, in Samel’s words, “window dressing of reduced restrictions on Palestinians” in order to “keep the natives happy.” Just like his more “liberal” counterparts like David Landau on the west side of the Green Line, Dayaninsists, “we settlers were never driven — except for fringe elements — by bigotry, hate or racism.”

This argument effectively relies on the disingenuous presumption that the actual victims of an exclusivist, 19th century European ideology – the colonized indigenous population – are merely incidental to the ideology itself. That is, as Landau wrote, “misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict” are really to blame for the oppression, discrimination and violence against Palestinians, not the racist obligations of Zionism.

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, “In Defense of Apartheid,” by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa’s right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as “a heritage from a complicated past.”

Quoting approvingly from the 1954 Tomlinson Commission, Manning wrote that while “a continuation of the policy of integration would intensify racial friction and animosity… the only alternative is to promote the establishment of separate communities in their own separate territories where each will have the fullest opportunity for self-expression and development.”

Two states for two peoples, indeed.

In the face of international opprobrium, apartheid is “the philosophy of patriots,” Manning explained, “a remedial treatment for a state of things deriving from the past.” He added that apartheid is a matter of “nationalism, rather than racialism.”

It is easy for the foreigner to deride a nationalism which he does not share; but nowhere in human history has nationalism ever been destroyed by foreign scorn. Admittedly, Afrikaner nationalism is a form of collective selfishness; but to say this is simply to say that it is an authentic case of nationalism. For what is nationalism anywhere if not collective self-love? What underlies apartheid is at bottom an attitude not toward the black man, but toward the forefathers-and the future-of the Afrikaner people.

Manning continued:

Deplore the white man’s collective self-concern, and you may equally well damn every other example of nationalism, white or black. It is absurd to assume that nationalism is nice, or nasty, according to its color.

Manning bemoaned that, as a result of misunderstanding the necessity and, yes, benevolence of apartheid, even South Africa’s best friends were beginning to abandon it. “Israel finds it necessary to ignore the analogy between South Africa’s predicament and her own,” he lamented.

Still, Israel maintained diplomatic relations with South Africa into 1987 and was one of the last countries to join the international boycott campaign.

‘National suicide’

In 2012, Israel’s High Court upheld the state’s explicitly discriminatory “Citizenship and Entry” law, which, as Ben White has explained, “places severe restrictions on the ability of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live with spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as from so-called ‘enemy states’ (defined as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq).” The ruling stated that “Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat.”

Writing in Al Jazeera, following the decision, White elaborated:

In the majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis wrote that “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, a term often invoked by those worrying about what realising Palestinian rights would mean for Israel’s Jewish majority. This same phrase was invoked by the Interior Minister Eli Yishai, while coalition chair and Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin applauded the High Court judges for understanding, as he put it, that “human rights cannot jeopardize the State”.

A particularly instructive reaction came from Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who said that the decision “articulates the rationale of separation between the (two) peoples and the need to maintain a Jewish majority and the (Jewish) character of the state”.

The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of “human rights” and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state – “national suicide” – perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement.

And, as has already been noted here and elsewhere, is yet one more example of how Israel’s apologists employ precisely the same logic, arguments and excuses – often literally the same words, verbatim – as the staunch defenders of the apartheid system in South Africa.

In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malanwarned that outside forces – including “the United Nations, Communist Russia… as well as a hostile press” – were “trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.”

Malan added, “I consider the approaching election South Africa’s last chance to remain a white man’s country.”

Just months after Malan and his National Party won the election and consolidated power, South Africa’s London-based High Commissioner A.L. Geyer delivered a speech on August 19, 1953 entitled, “The Case for Apartheid,” before the city’s Rotary Club. He argued against the indigenous claims of the native black population (“South Africa is no more the original home of its black Africans, the Bantu, than it is of its white Africans”); that the apartheid state is the only “homeland” known to white South Africans (“the only independent white nation in all Africa… a nation which has created a highly developed modern state”); and that “South Africa is the only independent country in the world in which white people are outnumbered by black people.”

These claims echo common hasbara tropes: that Palestinians are an “invented people” and that the Arab majority in Palestine was due to immigration into Palestine rather than an ancient indigenous population with roots in that land for centuries, if not millennia; that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East,” a bright bastion of technology and Western modernism amidst a sea of darker-skinned barbarians.

In his speech, Geyer – who was national chairman of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs, known, ironically, by the acronym “SABRA” – turns to the question of what the future South Africa will look like and sees “two possible lines of development: Apartheidor Partnership.” He explains:

Partnership means Cooperation of the individual citizens within a single community, irrespective of race… [It] demands that there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in trade and industry, in the professions and the Public Service. Therefore, whether a man is black or a white African, must according to this policy be as irrelevant as whether in London a man is a Scotsman or an Englishman. I take it: that Partnership must also aim at the eventual disappearance of all social segregation based on race.

Geyer, speaking on behalf of those intent on maintaining a stratified and discriminatory society, was obviously not a fan of this prospective outcome. Just as those who still push for an illusorytwo-state solution” insist that a Jewish majority must be artificially engineered to exclude as many non-Jews as possible within the area controlled by Israel for a “Jewish and democratic” state to continue existing, Geyer too bristled at the idea of true self-determination wherein the result wasn’t already predetermined through gerrymandered demographics.

If the black population were to be given full voting rights, for instance, whites would no longer hold a monopoly on political power in the country. The inevitable result, Geyer warned, would be “black domination, in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority.”

This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha’aretz. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories),” he said “then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”

Here’s how Geyer, in 1953, articulated his argument against such a horrifying future of democracy, equality, and justice:

Need I say more to show that this policy of Partnership could, in South Africa, only mean the eventual disappearance of the white South African nation? And will you be greatly surprised if I tell you that this white nation is not prepared to commit national suicide, not even by slow poisoning? The only alternative is a policy ofapartheid, the policy of separate development.

Indeed, as Israeli Justice Grunis reminded us, “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide.” Geyer couldn’t have agreed more. Denying basic and fundamental rights, while promoting and implementing a policy of demographic segregation and geographic separation, was a matter of survival, Geyer argued – just like his Zionist successors do now.

“Apartheid is a policy of self-preservation,” Geyer said. “We make no apology for possessing that very natural urge. But it is more than that. It is an attempt at self­-preservation in a manner that will enable the Bantu to develop fully as a separate people.” As the native black Africa population in South Africa was, Geyer noted, “still very immature,” efforts must be made “to develop the Bantu areas both agriculturally and industrially, with the object of making these areas in every sense the national home of the Bantu.”

Thirty years later, very little had actually changed.

In his infamous “Rubicon” speech, delivered in Durban on August 15, 1985, South African president P.W. Botha declared that “most leaders in their own right in South Africa and reasonable South Africans will not accept the principle of one-man-one-vote in a unitary system. That would lead to domination of one over the other and it would lead to chaos. Consequently, I reject it as a solution.”

Botha added, “I am not prepared to lead White South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide. Destroy White South Africa and our influence, and this country will drift into faction strife, chaos and poverty.”

In response, ANC president Oliver Tambo condemned Botha’s disingenuous statements about his apartheid regime’s commitment to “the protection of minorities” and “the just and equal treatment of all parts of South Africa.” Botha, he said, had instead committed to the continued “oppression of the overwhelming majority of our people” and “promised our people more brutal repression.”

Calling for increased resistance, through both armed struggle and the imposition of international sanctions, Tambo declared that all victims of apartheid were “ready to make any and all sacrifices to achieve justice and democracy based on the principle of one man, one vote in a unitary South Africa.”

That very same year, Raphael Israeli, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem andfuture client of the neoconservative PR firm Benador Associates, published an essay promoting increased Zionist colonization of the West Bank and Gaza and then subsequent partition of what he called “Greater Palestine” (which includes Jordan) as part of a potential solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli argued that “the seemingly reasonable claim that the ‘state belongs to all its inhabitants'” anticipates the “nightmare of a bi-national state” in which “Israel is no longer a state of the Jews or a Jewish state.”

The essay, entitled “One Palestinian People and One Palestine,” was eventually included in a collection edited by Israeli himself entitled, “Dangers of a Palestinian State.”

In laying out his vision for a bizarre tripartite entity within “Greater Palestine,” with redefined parameters of sovereignty and self-determination in which a “Palestinian government” is established in Amman, Jordan, alongside the Hashemite monarchy, and Israeli military control over the West Bank continues until a final settlement on borders is agreed upon.

Israeli stresses that Jewish citizens of the Zionist state reject the implementation of a “one person, one vote” system throughout Israel and the territories it occupies because they would be “faced with an intractable dilemma: either a democratic and egalitarian Israel with rights for all, with the corollaries of a bi-national state immediately and an Arab-majority state in the future; or Jewish Israel where the Jews would maintain rights and rule and the Arabs would be devoid of both.”

“No Israeli government,” the renowned academic wrote, “could face that dilemma and resolve it in any acceptable way.”

For Zionism, as it was for apartheid, equality and human rights are non-starters. The fear that a “one person, one vote” system and of a “state for all its citizens” instills in Zionists is no different from that expressed by defenders of South African apartheid.

Defended by de Klerk

Following John Kerry’s “apartheid” comment earlier this year, F.W. de Klerk, the former South Africa prime minister who presided over the dismantling of the apartheid regime, came to Israel’s defense. “I think it’s unfair to call Israel an apartheid state,” he said.

This is the same de Klerk, however, who two years earlier reflected that, while “[i]n as much as it trampled human rights, [apartheid] was and remains morally indefensible,” he still defended what he said was the system’s “original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states.”

De Klerk explained that the Bantustanization of South Africa was conceived as a way to “bring justice for black South Africans in a way which would not – that’s what I believed then – destroy the justice to which my people were entitled.”  He added that it was “not repugnant” to believe that “ethnic entities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in [their] own state,” separate from one another.
After his comments sparked negative reactions, de Klerk’s spokesman walked back his comments. When “an artificial creation” like apartheid fell, the spokesman said, “you can go two ways – either by going your separate ways like in the Soviet Union or in what is being suggested for Israel and Palestine, or by trying to build a multicultural society.”When “the first option” failed in South Africa, apartheid leaders “changed course,” he said, continuing, “It is not immoral for the Afrikaners to want to rule themselves any more than it is for the Israelis or the Scots to wish for the same things.”

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

APARTHEID AT ISRAEL’S AIRPORT

To make this clear, the next time I go to Ben-Gurion Airport, I’ll have a yellow patch with me, to show the truth about the Jewish-democratic glitch to all the citizens of the world passing through its gates.

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Israeli apartheid exposed at the airport

Despite new x-ray machines, the brutal treatment of Arab citizens at Ben-Gurion Airport continues in keeping with Zionist ideology.

By Salman Masalha (FOR)
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Israeli Arabs say they are getting better treatment during security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Israeli Arabs at Ben-Gurion Airport. Photo by David Bachar
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WASHINGTON — Many would agree with the principle that a state, whatever its name is, that practices racial segregation has no right to exist in the world with pretenses of being moral.

Israel is this kind of state. Since I could think for myself, I’ve experienced this evil personally. I would never have imagined this, but time and again I find that my very existence is a ticking bomb that undermines the security of the regional power called Israel.

There have been many reports of the brutal treatment — both physical and mental — of Arab citizens at Ben-Gurion Airport. Recently, in an attempt to bypass the public criticism of the airport security services’ conduct, the Zionist head scratched itself and came up with new tricks.

They told us that new x-ray machines were installed and that the painful situation has improved somewhat. But all the stories about so-called improvements at Ben-Gurion Airport are fairy tales. Don’t believe their yarns. Not only is the racial segregation still alive — it’s kicking as brutally as ever.

The following story isn’t a figment of my feverish brain. The young man who received me at Ben-Gurion Airport apparently forgot for a moment his superiors’ secret orders and acted like a human being. He looked at my Israeli passport, the only one I have, asked the usual dumb-ass questions — Where do you live? Did you pack for yourself? Did anyone give you anything? etc. I too gave for the umpteenth time the usual answers.

He tied a sticker to my suitcase and said, “Pleasant flight.” I thought, Something has indeed shifted in the rotten in the state of Israel. But that thought didn’t last long.

Ten minutes later, while I stood at the airline’s check-in line, a man and woman approached me with another question: “Is the home address you gave on French Hill?” “No,” I said, explaining to them that it’s another Jerusalem neighborhood. They nodded their little heads and disappeared. Soon, they reappeared, this time with the reinforcement of a muscular man who carried himself like a senior security figure.

The muscle, named Ophir, must have thought that the leader of some terror organization had fallen into his hands and that maybe he’d get to expose him and rise in the ranks of nagging and hassling, the sacred “Jewish-democratic” work from the school of Zionism’s racists.

How long have you been living in Jerusalem? Where did you live before that? and Where are you from originally?” he asked, along with other questions.

Ophir was a young, darkish security man, perhaps a descendant of converts from the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps from the Atlas Mountains. But one thing was clear, his black color looked very shabby, tattered and stained with evil.

I don’t know what the average reader thinks. It’s time to say things unequivocally. Anyone who wants to roll his eyes may do so. Anyone who wants to raise an eyebrow, let him raise both. Anyone who wants to argue that I’m overreacting is requested to bring his arguments to history’s court.

Things must be said clearly: A state that sees any citizen as a permanent suspect due to his very existence in it and his ethnic affiliation has no right to exist. A state that tries to hide its apartheid regime behind technological devices has no right to exist. Technology cannot conceal the Zionist evil forever. Because evil based on ideology will ultimately overflow, burst out and smash the mask covering the racists’ faces.

To make this clear, the next time I go to Ben-Gurion Airport, I’ll have a yellow patch with me, to show the truth about the Jewish-democratic glitch to all the citizens of the world passing through its gates.

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO OF THE POPE AT THE WALL OF APARTHEID

In an effort to resist the Bethlehem Municipality’s efforts to beautify a section of the Apartheid Wall where Pope Francis was scheduled to pass, Local activists from Aida Refugee Camp gathered to paint slogans both against Israeli occupation and welcoming His Holiness, on the eve of his arrival, on May 24th 2014.  

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Palestinian Refugees Welcome The Pope: The story behind the iconic photo at the Separation Wall

PHOTOS OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ‘GREETING’ THE POPE

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What would Jesus say about apartheid?

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Source and more photos AT

POPE VISITS THE WARSAW GHETTO DURING TRIP TO PALESTINE

Latuff’s spoof of the Pope at the Warsaw Bethlehem Ghetto Wall …

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Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, adds the following from Bethlehem …

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The Pope at the Wall

The children of Al-Rowwad from Aida Refugee Camp delivered a message to the Pope when he stopped to pray at the apartheid and annexation wall. They emphasized prisoners plight and the right to return home. This impromptu stop was in my opinion the most memorable part of the Pontiff’s visit to Bethlehem. The Pope recognized “The State of Palestine” (Google just did it too!) and also met with refugee children at Dheisheh and shared food with some family members who each had a story to tell him about horrific suffering under Israel’s colonial occupation. Christians and Muslims here were all genuinely touched by the visit of this more humble Pope and his gestures of understanding and solidarity. But most said they wished he would use his influence more to pressure the Zionist regime. The Western Zionist dominated media tried to hide things including the Pope’s gestures of solidarity with us but social media was prominent and the story could not be ignored. See pictures here
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The Pope later went on to Tel Aviv to be was sandwiched between two Zionist Polish liars who continue to build walls of hate and destruction: Persky (aka Peres) and Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu). The Pope had to listen as both atheists said that God gave this land to the Jews and that Israel was “the land of the Jewish people” and is a “democracy that guarantees freedom of religion”! Unfortunately, the Pope is also forced to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodore Herzl (in addition to the obligatory stops at “Yad Vashem” and Herod’s retaining wall). Herzl is another atheist who is “credited” with organizing a world-wide Zionist movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (not counting those crimes committed by its subservient armies like the US army killing Iraqis etc). It is a movement that has created millions of refugees and continues to commit crimes against humanity as it consolidates an apartheid system here while money laundering billions of illicit financial gains money. Israel continues to demolish homes and lands.  Just to welcome the Pope: Israel murdered Palestinian youth, imprisoned many, destroyed over 1500 trees in the Land of the Nassar family (called Tent of Nations) and more. Israeli Jewish “activists” even distributed flyers calling for destruction of Churches (claiming Christians worship idols according to Jewish law), and some sprayed graffiti on Churches that “Mary is a Cow” and “Jesus: a son of a Whore”!
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Who are these Zionist leaders that brilliantly brainwashed Jews to support racist Zionism and pressured some Gentiles to do the same?
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Shimon Peres was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came to Palestine in 1934 (under British rule). He joined the underground terrorist group the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s and participated in the ethnic cleansing of 1948-1949. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program. Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development.  In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of “ambiguity.”  The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He is known as a slick politician able to lie with ease claiming wanting peace but rejecting any responsibility for his ethnic cleansing of Palestine and rejecting the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. He was awarded (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their disastrous Oslo accords. Many Nobel committee members later signed a letter regretting their awarding Perski the Nobel Peace Prize (based on his actions as member of the Sharon government during its war crimes spree).
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Benyamin Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu) was born to Benzion Mileikowsky (later changed names to Netanyahu), a polish immigrant. His Americanized father became secretary to terrorist leader Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky (aka Zeev Jabotinsky) founder of “revisionist” Zionism and supported groups like Irgun terrorist organization during the mandate in Palestine. His son continues to idolize these early Jewish terrorists. Both Benjamin and his brother served in units of the Israeli forces responsible for assassinations on foreign lands (in violations of international law) and committed war crimes. Benjamin Miliekowsky (Netanyahu) is known both among Israelis and globally as a consummate liar who refused to accept the Oslo accords (even though they were partial to Israel) and has gotten rich off of his political activities. Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s.

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see also this
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This is after all the same terrorist who gave a speech to dozens of
Likud Party members in Eilat in which he admitted this is his strategy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (15 July 2001): “…giving his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said):’Always, irrespective of whether you’re right or not, you must always present your side as right.’ In 2011, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, described Netanyahu as a liar in a private exchange with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit (it was inadvertently broadcast to journalists). “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama. The US president Obama responded by saying: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”
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Other Zionist leaders have even more interesting backgrounds. See
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But in very good news, and inspite of sending in legions of professional
propaganda men to DePaul University, the students there voted to support Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions.
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The BDS campaign must grow. Other forms of resistance must grow. Injustice must end. Join the struggle.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ POPE PRAYS AT WEST BANK’S ‘WESTERN WALL’

In an image likely to become one of the most emblematic of his trip to the holy land, Francis rested his forehead against the concrete structure that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and prayed silently as a child holding a Palestinian flag looked on.
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Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.

GETTY IMAGES Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.
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Pope Francis Endorses ‘Palestine’ on Surprise Visit to Israeli West Bank Wall

Pontiff Speaks of Peace Below Anti-Israel Graffiti

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(Reuters) — Pope Francis made a surprise stop on Sunday at the wall Palestinians abhor as a symbol of Israeli oppression, and later invited presidents from both sides of the divide to the Vatican to pray for peace.

In an image likely to become one of the most emblematic of his trip to the holy land, Francis rested his forehead against the concrete structure that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and prayed silently as a child holding a Palestinian flag looked on.

He stood at a spot where someone had sprayed in red paint “Free Palestine”. Above his head was graffiti in broken English reading: “Bethlehem look like Warsaw Ghetto”, comparing the Palestinians’ plight with that of the Jews under the Nazis.

Such imagery seemed likely to cause unease among Israel’s leaders, who say the barrier, erected 10 years ago during a spate of Palestinian suicide bombings, is needed to secure its security. Palestinians see it as a bid by Israel to partition off territory and grab land they want for their future state.

On the second leg of a three-day trip to the Middle East, Francis delighted his Palestinian hosts by referring to the “state of Palestine”, giving support for their bid for full statehood recognition in the face of a paralyzed peace process.

But, speaking at the birthplace of Jesus in the Palestinian-run city of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, he made clear that a negotiated accord was needed, calling on leaders from both sides to overcome their myriad divisions.

Francis invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to come to the Vatican to pray for an end to the enduring conflict, just a month after the collapse of U.S.-backed peace talks.

“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace,” the Pope said at an open-air Mass in Bethlehem.

Peres and Abbas both accepted the invitation, their respective staff said. Palestinian official Hana Amira said the encounter would take place on June 6, just under two months before the veteran Israeli leader leaves office.

But it seemed unlikely that Peres would receive any mandate from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with Abbas on renewing direct talks.

Netanyahu has said Israel would not consider resuming the negotiations unless Abbas reneged on a unity pact with Hamas, one of its most bitter enemies which rules in Gaza. Abbas has said a new government envisaged by the accord would be committed to peace.

 

Source

 

 

ENFORCING APARTHEID VIA THE ISRAELI ID CARD SYSTEM

The type of ID one has determines how much of historic Palestine one is allowed to access. Israeli Jewish citizens are free to move and live in virtually the whole country, while at the bottom end Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are restricted to tiny enclaves.

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Infographic: How the Israeli ID card system enforces apartheid

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