TIME ONCE AGAIN TO CLEANSE THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzie a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday.
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Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
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Following this report dealing with the realities of Apartheid you will find a post from the archives that I reblog every Passover eve…
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Just  one of many attempts to cleanse the land of Arabs ….
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Here is how Palestinians ‘celebrate’ the holiday … it’s Bibi’s Two State Solution, with one behind locked gates.
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West Bank closure goes into effect for Passover 

These 'enemies' must be locked out!

These ‘enemies’ must be locked out!

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CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
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Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
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I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
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I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
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In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
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Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
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Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.

WHAT NETANYAHU’S ‘APLOLOGY’ MEANS TO THE CHILDREN OF PALESTINE ~~ IN VIDEOS

Netanyahu ‘apologised’ to the ‘Arabs’ in Israel for the racist remarks he made on Election Day.

He was worried that the ‘Arabs were voting in droves’ to unseat him. The following two videos might explain why they wanted him unseated … 

Where is the apology to these children?

This video was shot during a night raid on ten homes in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. B’Tselem does not say who shot the video, but typically the videos it releases are made by Palestinians.

Children terrorized

Masked soldiers enter Palestinian homes in Hebron in dead of night, order residents to wake their children, and photograph the children.

Late at night on 23 Feb. 2015 Israeli troops entered 10 neighbouring apartments in Hebron. They demanded that the children be awakened, asked their names and photographed them. B’Tselem volunteers who live there filmed the incident. The military cannot treat civilians–and certainly not children–as potential criminals. Not only is this policy of entering Palestinian homes by night unjust and terrifying. It illustrates how casually and arbitrarily the lives of Palestinians under occupation are disrupted and their rights violated. B’Tselem calls on the military to discontinue this policy without delay.

 

Read Ali Abunimah’s full report HERE

NETANYAHU’S TWO STATE SOLUTION ~~ ONE WITHOUT PEOPLE

zions mantra in establishing the State of Israel was “A land without a people for a people without a land”.

The mantra of today in reference to a State of Palestine is simply “A land without people”.

The Nakba of 1948 is an ongoing process

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Latuff ~~ The ongoing Nakba

Latuff ~~ The ongoing Nakba

Click on the following links to read what has been happening since Israel’s election …

The illegal settlers and the IDF are working hand in hand

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And President Obama remains silent

"Not my problem"

“Not my problem”

His silence speaks volumes

ISIS // ZIONISM ~~ CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

             THREE POSTS IN ONE ...

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken his campaign of violent incitement against Palestinians to new extremes with a call for those disloyal to Israel to have their heads chopped off.

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Israeli foreign minister calls for beheading Palestinians

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken his campaign of violent incitement against Palestinians to new extremes with a call for those disloyal to Israel to have their heads chopped off.

He also repeated his long-standing demands for expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“Anyone who’s with us should be given everything – up to half the kingdom. Anyone who’s against us, there’s nothing to do – we should raise an axe and cut off his head; otherwise we won’t survive here,” Lieberman said at an election event Sunday, in reference to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

According to Israel’s Mako news website, Lieberman made his comments in an interview with journalist Udi Segal during the “Electing Democracy in 2015” conference at IDC Herzliya, an Israeli college.

There are about 1.5 million Palestinians, survivors and descendants of those who escaped expulsion from present-day Israel in 1948, who are nominally citizens of Israel. Palestinians commemorate this ethnic cleansing, which they call the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) every year on 15 May.

While they have a vote in Israel’s upcoming election, Palestinian citizens of Israel face relentless legal and social discrimination and violent incitement and calls for expulsion.

Lieberman wants ethnic cleansing

“There’s no reason for Umm al-Fahm to be part of the State of Israel,” Lieberman said in reference to a large town in the north of present-day Israel with a predominantly Palestinian population. “Citizens in the State of Israel who fly a black flag on Nakba Day – as far as I’m concerned they should go away, and I’ll donate them to Abu Mazen with great joy.”

Lieberman’s reference to “donating” Palestinian citizens of Israel to “Abu Mazen” – the Palestinian Authority’s leader Mahmoud Abbas – amounts to a renewed call for ethnic cleansing.

The Israeli foreign minister, who heads the extreme anti-Palestinian Yisrael Beiteinu party, has a long history of violent incitement. In a recent Facebook posting, Lieberman called for the execution of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

According to polls, Lieberman’s party is set to lose seats at the upcoming 17 March parliamentary election. His comments may be an effort to galvanize Israel’s anti-Arab vote, which has been drifting to other openly genocidal parties such as Naftali Bennett’s partyHabayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).

It is not only Israel’s right-wing politicians who appeal to voters with incitement to violence against Palestinians; Israel’s ostensible left does it as well. In a recent election ad, Yitzhak Herzog, head of Israel’s allegedly dovish Labor Party, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not hitting Gaza hard enough.

In a 51-day assault last summer, Israel committed numerous war crimes, devastating Gaza and leaving more than 2,200 people dead.

Lieberman’s latest violent incitement will feed comparisons frequently made between Israel – the self-declared “Jewish state” – with ISIS (or ISIL), the self-declared “Islamic State” notorious for its brutal beheadings of hostages in the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.

 

If the Moldavian bouncer gets his way ...

If the Moldavian bouncer gets his way … MK Zoabi is surely on his list.

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 Response …

Tibi: Liberman is a ‘Jewish ISIS’

Arab MK fires back at Foreign Minister who advocated “cutting of the heads” of Arabs who were not loyal to Israel.
MK Ahmed Tibi  Flash 90

MK Ahmed Tibi Flash 90

Balad MK Ahmad Tibi said that Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s statements calling to decapitate “disloyal Israeli Arabs” are severe and require a police investigation.

Tibi, who made the statements while addressing some 1,000 Israeli Arabs studying in Jenin University, called Lieberman a “Jewish ISIS,” and said that if an Arab MK would have made a similar statement, police and the attorney general would have opened proceedings against him immediately.

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Meanwhile, zion’s entity in the West bank ….

Once again, the PA is ganging up on its own citizens in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the likes of Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennet.

PA is arresting Palestinians to please Israel

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
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Once again, the PA is ganging up on its own citizens in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the likes of Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennet.According to the latest news from the West Bank, PA security agencies, including the Preventive Security and General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) have been raiding homes and businesses of supporters of the Islamic liberation group, Hamas.Reliable sources in the West Bank reported that as many as a hundred activists have been rounded up in the still-ongoing sweep, including college students, university professors, and former detainees just released from Israeli jails.No specific charges have been leveled against the detainees, widely believed to be innocent of any wrongdoings.The PA didn’t spell out the exact motives behind the latest campaign, which targeted families said was carried out with “vengeance and vindictiveness.”

A PA spokesman in Ramallah said Monday the arrests were a reprisal for the arrest by Hamas’s security apparatus in Gaza of a local Fatah leader, reportedly accused of “indulgence in improper behavior.”

However, the large scope of the arrest campaign in the West Bank seems to suggest that the PA is hell-bent on persecuting its own people on Israel’s behalf.

A few days ago, the PLO Central Council, decided to terminate all security coordination with Israel. However, a huge question mark is drawn over the willingness of the PA leadership, e.g. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, to halt security collaboration with Israel.

Abbas has been quoted repeatedly as saying that security collaboration with Israel is “a sacred commitment”, and an “ultimate red line.” Hence, most Palestinians and observers are skeptical about Abbas’s willingness to carry out the decision.

From the Israeli view point, the PA would lose its very raison d’être should it halt full security collaboration with the Jewish state.

Hence, stopping the one-sided security collaboration between the PA and Israel could possibly spell the end of the very existence of the PA.

However, the elimination of the PA goes against the wishes of the US, Israel’s guardian ally, EU, as well as regional states such as Jordan and Sissi’s Egypt.

Israel, too, views the continued survival of the PA regime as a paramount Israel interest. Israel views the PA very much as a sub-contractor for managing the occupation, on Israel’s behalf. The disappearance of the PA would create a huge security and financial burden for Israel as the Jewish state would be forced to cater for the livelihood and welfare of more than four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel would also be forced to redeploy tens of thousands of its troops throughout Palestinian towns.

Needless to say, the PA has been doing the job rather faithfully on behalf of Israel ever since the conclusion of the hapless Oslo Agreement in 1993. And this was done with minimal Israeli obligations toward the Palestinians.

More to the point, under the umbrella of this ignominious arrangement, which was supposed to expire by 2000, Israel continued to confiscate Palestinian land, build and expand Jewish settlements and use every conceivable method to persecute, repress and torment Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Real irony

The continuing arrest of dozens of innocent Palestinian activists comes at a time when the PA is being thoroughly humiliated and blackmailed by the occupying power, Israel. The Zionist entity has been withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of Palestinian tax and customs revenue, levied by Israel on behalf the PA pursuant to the Paris protocol of 1994.

The freezing of these funds has caused a virtual financial collapse of the PA, which has not been able to pay the salaries of its estimated 140,000 civil servants and security personnel in full.

The PA has appealed to western countries, especially the US, to pressure Israel to release the funds. However, it is unlikely that Israel will unfreeze the funds anytime soon, especially before the Israeli elections, slated to take place on 17 March.

The Israeli government is worried that unfreezing the Palestinian funds now would be a sign of weakness to the Israeli Jewish public, which has a clear propensity to support right-wing and extreme-right wing parties, such as Netanyahu’s Likud.

In addition to withholding Palestinian funds, Israel has been waging a murderous campaign against ordinary Palestinians.

On 7 March, the Israeli occupation army murdered a Palestinian fisherman. Tawfik Abu Rayala, 34, was killed when an Israeli navy patrol strafed Palestinian fishermen in northern Gaza with machinegun bullets, killing the young fisherman and injuring a number of other fishermen.

Several other Palestinians have also been killed in various parts of the West Bank as the Israeli occupation army adopted a shoot-to-kill policy in dealing with Palestinian protesters.

A few months ago, Israeli troops near Ramallah, murdered Ziyad Abu Ein, prompting widespread indignation.

Israel, whose navy routinely opens fire on impoverished Gaza fishermen, had murdered more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly innocent civilians during its last summer blitz against Gaza. The victims include some 300 children.

In fact, the Israeli killing machine never stopped murdering and maiming Palestinians as the Zionist entity continued to narrow Palestinian horizons politically and economically.

Awarding Israel for its crimes

In light of all this, many ordinary Palestinians are openly accusing the PA of being at Israel’s beck and call and even awarding Israel for murdering and persecuting Palestinians.

Ahmed Suleiman, a Palestinian professor at Hebron University, described the PA behavior of arresting pro-Hamas activists in the West Bank as “a treasonous act par excellence.”

“We all know that Israel considers Hamas its archenemy. So by cracking down on Hamas in the West Bank, the PA is effectively telling Israel that ‘ your enemy is also our enemy.'”

REMEMBERING WHAT ISRAEL WANTS US TO FORGET

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Today, synagogues throughout the world commemorated Shabbat Zachor (Sabbath of Remembrance). On this day the first known enemy of the Hebrews, Amalek, is remembered. On this day as well the combined Hate Lists of the ADL and the Wiesenthal Centre are dug out to confirm that Amalek still lives today.
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Yes, Amalek still lives. There is no doubt in my mind about that, BUT NOT ON THOSE LISTS. Amalek lives right here in Israel. He is remembered every day of the year by Palestinians, but especially this week, the 21st anniversary of the massacre in Hebron by a crazed American zionist.
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The week a mosque was torched in the Occupied West Bank and a Christian Seminary torched right here in Jerusalem. Both incidents the work of crazed settlers.
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He is remembered every day that a Palestinian child is lowered into the grave, yet another victim of Israeli terrorism.
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He is remembered when a family in Gaza visits the graves of loved ones killed by Israeli soldiers.
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gaza graves

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How quickly zionism forgets the war crimes committed daily against the Palestinians. How quickly the Western World forgets them as well, mostly due to media blackouts in the zionist controlled press in those countries.
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The fate of those who resist the above atrocities is also remembered …
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Yes, we remember those crimes every day of the year. And yes, we will never forget them or forgive those that committed them.
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TWO MUST SEE VIDEOS ~~ THE ISRAEL YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT

BookMark this post and watch later if you must …. But DO watch them! 

Viewer discretion advised

Israelis torturing non-Jewish children documentary film full length. The still picture shows Palestinian girl Nesreen Hash’hash after being shot in the face by an Israeli soldier.

Israelis torturing non-Jewish children. 2014 Australian documentary film. Viewer discretion.

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And who do you think made that all possible?

Talk by Alison Weir, Executive Director of If Americans Knew, President of the Council for the National Interest, and author of the book “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel” recorded July 30, 2014 at the Common Good Cafe at University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle, WA.

TalkingStickTV – Alison Weir – The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

PALESTINE ~~ STAGE OF A MODERN DAY GREEK TRAGEDY

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.

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Greek Tragedies

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.  This week we lost several friends and neighbors (Advocate Judeh Shahwan, Professor Naseer Aruri,  Human Rights activist Kayla Mueller, Ihab Rishmawi) and we mourned atrocities committed in the US, Syria and Iraq .  The racist Zionist Debbie Schlussel wrote that she has no sympathy for our friend Kayla for being “anti-American” (actually anti-Zionist control of American Foreign policy) and called  Kayla other names so obscene to be mentioned here.  A brief on Naseer Aruri just to show you the quality of the many we mourn (all of them are candles in the darkness and remain so even after death; truly inspirational)

We were not surprised that the highest court in the apartheid regime rejected the well-documented evidence of the murder of Rachel Corrie and accepted the fascist soldier’s version that it was an “accident.” Western media ignored this travesty of justice. Time for the international criminal court.  In other news in the last few days, a hate-filled criminal terrorist killed three young Muslim students in North Carolina.  That is where I lived and worked for six years and knew intimately the Muslim and Arab community and I recognized many of the faces of the mourners at the funeral videos.  After significant protest, Mr. Obama made a brief statement but it was not even close to his statement about the Paris killings.  The media was even more hypocritical either ignoring the story or calling the executions as a parking altercation! (yes I know it is unbelievable).  See these videos about this incidence

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We find the mainstream media so distorted, so biased; they are either run by Zionist racists or afraid of backlash from Zionist racists if they tell the truth.  Otherwise how does one explain the discrepancy of extensive almost round-the-clock coverage by American media of the hate crimes committed in Paris but little or no coverage of the crime in North Carolina.  What little coverage they did was distorted claiming the guy killed those three innocent young Muslims because of a “parking space” issue!  How else can we see that a story like the French police catching a Jewish Zionist who was spray painting cars of Jews as a false flag operation to increase emigration of French Jews to Palestine (transformed to the Jewish state of Israel). Why coverage mentioning this is in some obscure website not on mainstream media?  Here is a report mentioning this.

But here is the Times of Israel interested in getting Jews to migrate out of France telling us the police arrested the guy but not saying he is Jewish and that Israel expects 10,000 Jewish French to come join the land thieves.

Such hypocrisy, such lies and countless false flag operations (billions spent on psy-ops to brainwash common people), and such evil forces are all around us.  But then again I think of goodness.  I think of those who organized vigils in Bethlehem and other towns for victims like the Jordanian pilot.

I think of 14-year-old Malak (english Angel) Alkhatib.  She is a true angel who was incarcerated in Israeli gulags (fascist prisons).  She was finally released and the video of her reunion with family and supporters is touching.

THE TEMPEST WE KNOW AS THE OCCUPATION

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

The following is from the archives. As the cold winds blow in Jerusalem, the report is as valid today as when it was originally posted.
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Freezing cold winds, rain and threats of snow is what Jerusalem is experiencing today. That’s fine for those living in homes or apartments, but what about those living in tents or on the street? Even worse than the storm itself are the ongoing illegal activities of zionism in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, Sheik Jarrah in particular. The evictions from private homes continue due to the implementation of lebensraum; Israel’s ‘final solution’ in motion … a policy that is supposedly opposed to by the West and the EU, but still in motion nevertheless.
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For some background on this almost forgotten struggle, I present here a five year old Op-ed from The New York Times; … nothing has changed.
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Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

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

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Who Lives in Sheik Jarrah?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOOK THROUGH THE EYES OF A PALESTINIAN TEEN

Israeli filmmaker explores life through the eyes of Palestinian teen

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By Alex Shams
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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The short documentary “Khelil Helwa (Hebron is Beautiful)” follows a young boy from Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood as he goes about his daily life, uncovering the matrix of Israeli military control that defines every aspect of life in the occupied West Bank.For Palestinians, the footage may at first appear somewhat unremarkable, and the scenes of soldiers barking orders and even arresting the film’s 15-year-old star, Awni Abu Shamsiya, are heart-breakingly familiar.But for Israeli-American filmmaker Yuval Orr, it was the hope of showing the footage to Israeli audiences that motivated production.”I want Israelis to see more films that challenge what they think they know, or challenge the moral stance that is very easy to take at a distance,” he told Ma’an during an interview in West Jerusalem.”How many Jewish Israelis really go to Hebron if they’re not soldiers or settlers?”

‘Quiet before the storm’
The film, which was produced as part of the ActiveVision film collective, spans a mere nine-and-a-half minutes but manages to offer a complex and insightful look at daily life in central Hebron through the eyes of one of the city’s own children.”Khelil Helwa” is surprisingly unburdened by statistics, maps, or figures, allowing the potential viewer — particularly if Israeli — to sympathize with Awni’s perspective regardless of their political perspective.And while Orr concedes that this approach risks depoliticizing the inherently political nature of the struggle facing young Palestinians like Awni, he argues that it also opens up other opportunities for outreach.”All of the words that we use to describe the ‘conflict,’ the ‘occupation,’ or the ‘situation’ are extraordinarily flawed, and as hard as you try to remain objective with language, its very difficult,” he told Ma’an.

He said he did not want to “color viewers’ perspectives and allow them to shut down, or be primed for a film they are going to identify with.”

Instead, by allowing the viewer to experience Awni’s life directly and without introduction, he said the the film forces them to confront the humanity they share with the teen.

These concerns also motivated Orr’s decisions on which scenes to include in the film. He told Ma’an that he hesitated at times about whether to depict moments of violence that occurred on camera or to instead focus on the many daily struggles and humiliations that characterize the life of young people in central Hebron.

“It was important for me to have those moments of relative calm where you see the soldiers twirling their whistles at the checkpoint or yawning, because so much of life in Hebron is that. It’s these moments of intense quiet before the storm, and then shit gets crazy.”

“In moments of violence it’s very easy to draw the lines, but it’s more difficult in moments of quiet, where you feel the weight of what it’s like to live there. It becomes very difficult to deny the humanity of this kid,” he told Ma’an. “It’s a struggle to walk that line.”

Hebron is ‘extraordinarily uncomfortable’
Although Orr grew up in the United States, he studied Arabic for years in Egypt and Morocco and speaks Hebrew as well. Part of his family traces their roots in Jerusalem back more than 400 years, and he told Ma’an that he comes from a line of rabbis originally from Morocco and Spain.He admitted that the family’s roots in Palestine are so deep that his grandmother even occasionally admits to considering herself Palestinian, if he “catches her on the right day,” he said, laughing.For Orr, working on the film was part of his own journey back to Israel to confront his relationship to the occupation and the realities of Zionism.He told Ma’an that he was drawn to Hebron because of the uniquely difficult situation there.

The process of making the film itself was also full of difficulties and strange experiences, he said, as filming was frequently blocked by Israeli soldiers who forced him to turn off the camera or demanded to know what he was doing.

Once while following Awni’s journey to school, meanwhile, a Palestinian police officer stopped the filming, concerned about a man following a child with a video camera in an area where Jewish settlers frequently stalk and harass locals.

“There’s something about being in Hebron that’s extraordinarily uncomfortable,” he told Ma’an. “I wanted to personally to face that down, and to force other people to face that down as well.”

“Hebron is the worst of the worst, and the kids who grow up in that environment are the most underprivileged, the most oppressed by the system, the ones who feel the occupation on a daily basis the hardest,” he added.

‘A little spark of hope’
Indeed, Hebron is distinguished from other areas in the West Bank by the existence of Jewish settlements inside the city itself. Israeli authorities have shut down hundreds of Palestinian shops in the last few decades and paved the way for the flight of thousands in order to ensure the security of the few hundred Israeli settlers who have taken over parts of the Old City.One scene in the film tackles one of the most pressing issues facing the area, the system of mass incarceration deployed against local teens by soldiers as punishment for even the most minor offenses.Awni is seen standing on a street in the neighborhood when stopped by soldiers, who accuse him of having harassed a group of male settlers in their 20s who were walking by. The soldiers then grab him and forcibly take him away, in what was the third such arrest in his life.Orr told Ma’an that since he finished filming, Awni has been arrested yet again.

Unlike previous times, when he was put away for a few days and then released after his family paid a large fine, this time, Orr said, he is being charged with throwing stones at a checkpoint. Under a new Israeli law, for Palestinians the charge of throwing stones can mean years of hard jail time.

“It’s a terrible situation and a terrible reality,” Orr told Ma’an. “The film shows exactly how harsh it is to live under occupation, but not even, because there are so many things that will happen to him in a day, in a week, in a month, or in a year that are not in the film. He’ll tell me about a 2 am house raid (by Israeli soldiers), but I’m not capturing that on film.”

“I walk away from the film in amazement that Awni and his entire family are able to hold on to their dignity and to their humanity, in a situation that I think most people born into those circumstances would not be able to. For a 15-year-old kid, he’s incredibly wise, incredibly humane, incredibly brave, and those are also things I take away from the film and hope that others will take away as well.”

With Awni potentially facing years in an Israeli military prison, however, it’s unclear whether the qualities that have helped him persevere and which have made him so strong until now, will manage to survive much longer.

“There’s that little spark of hope that’s there,” Orr told Ma’an. “But then you break it.”

ETHNIC CLEANSING: ISRAEL’S ULTIMATE STRATEGY TOWARD THE PALESTINIANS

The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in the West Banks has simply made the establishment of a Palestinian state, one that is worthy of the name, quite impossible.

Ethnic cleansing: Israel’s ultimate strategy toward the Palestinians

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

In a farewell speech, outgoing UN Special Coordinator for the so-called “Middle East peace process” Robert Serry has warned the apartheid state of Israel that continued settlement building in the West Bank was killing any remaining chances for the two-state solution.

Serry said the killing of the two-state solution strategy would transform Israel into a bi-national state.

Israeli leaders, with the exception of some isolated voices, scoffed at Serry’s remarks, with some spokespersons calling these remarks “stale and stupid.”

It is widely believed that Israel has already killed any remaining chances for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, especially one with Jerusalem as its capital.

The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in the West Banks has simply made the establishment of a Palestinian state, one that is worthy of the name, quite impossible.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has met virtually all Israeli demands, including putting tens of thousands of Palestinian security personnel in the service of Israeli security whims.

Moreover, Abbas’s Gendarme has killed, tormented and repressed Palestinian citizens on Israel’s behalf. Moreover, PA security agencies seriously violated Palestinians’ human rights and civil liberties in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel and her guardian-ally, the United States.

In fact, on numerous occasions, Abbas humiliated himself and his people by pandering to Israeli insolence and arrogance, in the hope that this would make Israel relent and come to terms with legitimate Palestinian rights.

However, every time Abbas made a concession to Israel, without any Israeli reciprocation, of course, the Israelis would humiliate him even further.

For example, for many weeks now, Israel has adamantly refused to transfer to the PA coffers hundreds of millions of dollars of Palestinian customs’ revenues levied by Israel pursuant to the hapless Paris Protocol of 1994, which effectively enabled Israel to hold the Palestinian economy hostage to Israeli whims and blackmail.

As a result, more than a hundred thousand Palestinians have not received their meager salaries for the third consecutive months, causing a virtual widespread suffering to tens of thousands of Palestinian households.

The Israeli message to Abbas and his people is amply clear: Either you do what we order you to do or else you will suffer, you will starve.

For their part, the Americans know the facts very well. But they feel too week to even rebuke Israel, thanks to the overwhelming domination of the Jewish lobby over the American government, especially Congress.

One Israeli commentator told this writer recently that Binyamin Netanyahu had more clout in Washington D.C. than did Barack Obama.

Ethnic cleansing

A few days ago during an acrimonious Tel Aviv debate involving Israeli intellectuals on the various platforms presented by Israeli political parties contesting the upcoming elections, slated to take place on 17 March, a leftist college professor tried to challenge the mostly right-wing audience on the issue of bi-national statehood. One right-wing leader from a settlement near Hebron in the West Bank responded to the leftist’s remarks. And without patting an eyelash, he said Israel would eventually expel the Arabs.

“We will expel them when the time for that comes. We will never allow the perceived Arab demographic advantage to destroy Zionism. Call this apartheid or even Nazism, I don’t care.”

“Do you think the world would allow you to get away with this,” retorted the leftist.

“The world would be furious initially, but eventually it would come to terms with reality. The world is hypocritical. Eventually, the world would side with the strong, and we are the stronger side in this conflict.”

I believe I wouldn’t exaggerate much if I claimed that the settler leader’s remarks more or less encapsulate the ideology and political program of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Yes, Netanyahu doesn’t spell out his views publicly. But all his actions and behaviors, including the seizure of huge areas of West Bank territory, vindicate the view that Netanyahu and peace are an eternal oxymoron.

As a Palestinian who has been observing Israeli conduct since 1967, I am inclined to believe the above-mentioned settler leader rather than the leftist intellectual.

Yes, the world probably wouldn’t move to rein in Israeli Nazism. Yes, it might issue strong-worded condemnations, but it wouldn’t go any further.

As to the US, the most it would probably do is to call on the two sides to show self-restraint.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE STOLEN DREAMS ON MLK DAY

There were several marches – the one we went on had about 2,000 people.  Then we went to Grand Central Station where about 200 of us held up the names of unarmed Black citizens, mostly young men, who were killed by the police.  People read about them, who they were, how they died.  After each story people said their name, all together, and raised their fist in the air.  People passing through stopped to listen.  Some family members of those killed were there.  After 3 hours someone read King’s last speech and we repeated it, one line at a time (Occupy style) and then everyone sang We Shall Overcome and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On.  Actually, we did the same thing for 24 hours last week.  It is a very powerful experience.

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We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

Marching through the streets …

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At Grand Central …

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FOR PALESTINIANS, GETTING TO WORK IN ISRAEL IS A JOB IN ITSELF

Just another day. Palestinians on their way to work go through an army checkpoint near Jenin. Photo by AP

Just another day. Palestinians on their way to work go through an army checkpoint near Jenin. Photo by AP

The next time an Israeli with a conscience refrains from buying sneakers or a cellphone made in Asian sweatshops, he or she should remember: The most brutal sweatshop is next to their homes. Just look once at the sad face of the worker building your home; try to imagine what he went through and put yourself in his shoes. He too is a human being.

The plight of the Palestinian laborer

Poverty and unemployment in the West Bank – a direct result of the occupation – drive Palestinian laborers to endure the pain and humiliation of working in Israel.
By Gideon Levy

Israelis see them and they don’t see them. They are on the scaffold of the building going up next to ours. We see them and we don’t see them. We have no idea what they endure and we don’t care. The people who build our homes and pave our roads left their own homes at around 2 A.M. last night. They will return in the evening, after a long, exhausting day of work, nearly 24 hours of hard labor, hard traveling and humiliation. Tonight they will again leave their homes for jobs in Israel. While some Israelis come to work bleary-eyed because their baby woke them up two or three times during the night, these people know no day or night.

They are divided into the lucky and the unlucky. A few tens of thousands have work permits for Israel — 47,350 as of March — and a few tens of thousands sneak in without permits. Those with permits travel this Via Dolorosa each night; those who sneak in will stay at the construction site for two or three weeks, passing long, cold nights in fear of getting caught. They are the illegals. If caught they will be treated like hunted animals. After a few hours of questioning they will be dumped on the other side of the checkpoint, like garbage. Sometimes they will be arrested or fined. They will return. They have no choice. Some pay with their lives for this journey in search of work.

They come to Israel on account of the poverty and unemployment of the West Bank, which are the direct result of the closure and the occupation imposed by Israel. Their working and living conditions are worse even than those of sweatshop workers in the Far East. There once can at least fall asleep at one’s machine, the (miserable) quarters are next to the factory and there are no “illegals.” It is doubtful that Chinese workers are humiliated the way their Palestinian counterparts are, even if the Palestinians are paid much more.

Israel needs them and knows how to exploit their weakness. They pay thousands of shekels to makhers who arrange work permits for them every few months and they are willing to suffer any hardship because they have no choice. Last week they stood tall for a moment: Around 5,000 Palestinians who work in Israel went “on strike” to protest the intolerable conditions at the Irtah (Sha’ar Ephraim) checkpoint, west of Tul Karm, which is being renovated. The next day conditions improved and they returned to work and to humiliation.

But Irtah is not alone. Every crossing has the same terrible overcrowding in narrow, barred passageways that resemble cattle chutes more than they do crossings for people: with shoving, hitting and fainting, the only human contact in the form of the voices, of those who see and are unseen, on the public address system. I saw this with my own eyes at Bethlehem’s Checkpoint 300, and again last week in a disturbing Channel 1 television report last week by Yoram Cohen. “Nobody knows the system like we do,” said Machsom Watch – Women for Human Rights volunteers Rachel, Riki and Amira in their report on the Irtah checkpoint. “The system is to oppress, humiliate and make things worse so that the subjects will be more afraid.”

To reiterate: These are people with work permits, who have passed all the security checks, most of them relatively old.

That’s the way it is night after night, and the ritual of security excusing everything. It is difficult to understand how all this does not explode. How the hatred that accumulates at night does not burst into terrible violence. How they agree, night after night, to endure this — and keep quiet. And how most Israelis do not care.

The next time an Israeli with a conscience refrains from buying sneakers or a cellphone made in Asian sweatshops, he or she should remember: The most brutal sweatshop is next to their homes. Just look once at the sad face of the worker building your home; try to imagine what he went through and put yourself in his shoes. He too is a human being.

LIFE BEFORE DEATH IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK

Don't just remember .... Help stop the madness!

Don’t just remember …. Help stop the madness!

“Here lies my brother”: Short video recalls life of murdered Palestinian teen

The night before he died, Muhammad and his father went up on the roof of their house. The teen pointed toward nearby Birzeit University and told his father that he wanted to study journalism there.

“Through media and journalism,” his father recalls Muhammad saying, “I can send a message to the world that there’s a people here that is carrying out legitimate resistance to the occupation and I can ask the world to help us end the occupation.”

Click HERE to see what you can do to stop the murders

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Click HERE to read Ali Abunimah’s full report on the situation

REMEMBERING THOSE THAT ISRAEL WANTS YOU TO FORGET ABOUT

Take action for Palestinian children killed by Israel

nmfl-2

Defence for Children International–Palestine (DCI-Palestine) has put together a stunning online resource to tell their stories and to encourage people to take action to help call for justice.

Click HERE to see the presentation ….. it’s a must watch.

Less accountability than ever

On 23 November, Israeli prosecutors brought manslaughter charges against the Border Police officer allegedly responsible for shooting Nadim Nuwara.

“The defendant used the blanks magazine so that his live fire, as opposed to rubber-bullet fire, would not be observed,” DCI-Palestine quotes the indictment as saying.

Some Israelis have rallied around the suspect, who has not been officially named, hailing him as a hero and inciting more killings of Palestinians.

No arrests have been made in the killing of Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, however.

And the fact that anyone was charged in Nuwara’s death – albeit for a reduced charge of manslaughter instead of murder – is rare enough.

Since 2000, Israeli forces have killed more than 8,896 Palestinians, DCI-Palestine states. At least 1,895 have been children.

In 2014, Israeli occupation forces killed ten children with live ammunition in the West Bank, including Nuwara and al-Thahir.

Between 2000 and 2013, just 5.2 percent of all investigations resulted in indictments.

And over the past three years, the chances of indictments have become slimmer – down to just 1.4 percent.

Take action

When you reach the end of the timeline on the No More Forgotten Lives website, DCI-Palestine asks you to take part in its Thunderclap – a social media campaign that is easy to join using Twitter or Facebook to draw attention to the killings.

This is a beautifully assembled resource to tell a story no one should ever have to tell.

The goal is to bring a measure of accountability and justice for these two boys, and for all the children whose lives have been stolen by the brutality of Israel’s occupation.

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The above was prepared by Ali Abunima 

IN PALESTINE FREEDOM’S JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE

THE SETTLEMENTS ARE STRANGLING PALESTINIAN TOURISM

Palestinian officials say the growth of Israeli settlements – there are now 22 around Bethlehem – is steadily strangling access, prompting tourists to stay away.

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The Occupation would even keep Mary and Joseph from entering Bethlehem today

The Occupation would even keep Mary and Joseph from entering Bethlehem today

Israeli settlements squeezing Palestinian tourism, officials say

Palestinian tourism expert says $1.4 billion lost every year, as roads for settlers, border controls and administrative issues seriously hinder local industry.

Reuters

Standing on the monumental hillside south of Bethlehem where King Herod the Great was buried more than 2,000 years ago, Fadi Kattan stretches out his arm to point out the nearby Israeli settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim.

“That’s part of the problem,” says Kattan, a Palestinian tourism expert, explaining the obstacles hindering the growth of the local industry in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Because of the roads Israel builds mainly for Jewish settlers, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in Nokdim, Palestinian areas are frequently cut off, making them less accessible to tourists, he says.

Then there is Herodium, a major attraction administered by Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority. The income flows to Israel, not the Palestinians. The same goes for Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, which is also in the West Bank.

Christmas festivities in Bethlehem (Archive photo: Reuters)
Christmas festivities in Bethlehem (Archive photo: Reuters)

Perhaps most challenging, Palestinian tour operators cannot easily tap into the 300 million Arabs living in nearby countries since very few of them can readily visit the West Bank, whose borders are controlled by Israel.

“When you add it all up, the movement and access problems and everything else, we are losing $1.4 billion a year,” says Kattan, estimating that current revenue of $460 million a year would be nearer $1.8 billion if locals had full control.

It is an issue that comes to the fore every year in the run-up to Christmas, when tens of thousands of religious tourists make their way to Bethlehem, other parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate the birth, life and death of Jesus.

To highlight the increasing strain Bethlehem and surrounding towns are under, Palestinian officials took a group of foreign journalists on a guided tour of the area this week.

The ruins at Herodium (archive photo)
The ruins at Herodium (archive photo)

Underscoring how sensitive the topic is, the Israeli tourism ministry is taking journalists on its own tour of Nazareth and other Christian towns in Israel on Sunday, and the Israel Project, a pro-Israel lobby, has organised another media tour two days later covering Christian churches.

When it comes to Bethlehem, a city of 25,000 just five miles south of Jerusalem, the critical issue is getting foreign tourists past Israel’s separation wall and checkpoints and convincing them to stay the night.

Many now choose to stay in Jerusalem and make a day trip. Palestinian officials say the growth of Israeli settlements – there are now 22 around Bethlehem – is steadily strangling access, prompting tourists to stay away.

“We can’t have real development in this sector until the occupation ends,” said Rula Ma’aya, the Palestinian minister of tourism, decrying the pressure on overnight stays.

Figures show overnight stays are up 9% this year from last year, but officials say the number remains far below what it should be and the overall revenue is down.

While visitors from Russia, Poland and Italy – the top three – tend to stay the night, Americans, who spend more, are more likely to stay in Jerusalem, with the revenue going to Israel.

“In history, Bethlehem and Jerusalem were always twin cities,” said Ma’aya. “Now, Bethlehem is being isolated.”

#BlackLivesMatter ~~ IN PHOTOS

MORE BIG DOINGS IN THE BIG APPLE

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“Hands up.  Don’t shoot!”

“I can’t breathe!”

“How do we spell murder?  NYPD!” 

These were the sounds heard in the Times Sq. area last night as over 100 people gathered to protest the killings of unarmed Black people that have been going on for much too long in this country.  A multi-racial, multi-ethnic group of people stood in the cold for 2 hours holding signs, reading the names of victims, and telling their stories to all who would listen.  To further decry the long history of American racism, the names of people lynched, like Emmett Till, were included in the signs and recitation. 

Every night since the New York Grand Jury refused to indict the officer who choked unarmed Staten Island citizen Eric Garner to death there have been marches, die-ins, and occupations in parts of the city by thousands of angry and pained people.  The groups have included everyone from youthful students to seniors, some veterans of the civil rights movement of the 60’s.  But this is not like the civil rights movement – the demonstrators are not asking for laws to be changed.  They are demanding that the government, the police departments, and their fellow citizens conduct themselves in a way to show that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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TURMOIL IN JERUSALEM DUE TO THEIR STUPIDITY ( THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT’S)

Nothing more, nothing less!

Nothing more, nothing less!

Almost every conversation in East Jerusalem over the past few weeks has ended with the statement: “They are stupid” – meaning the Israeli government is stupid to behave in such-and-such a way toward Palestinian Jerusalem.

How easy it is to prevent escalation in Jerusalem

Palestinians are generous when they attribute Israel’s policies to the stupidity of its leaders.

Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli border police in East Jerusalem, November 5, 2014. Photo by AP

Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli border police in East Jerusalem, November 5, 2014. Photo by AP

Almost every conversation in East Jerusalem over the past few weeks has ended with the statement: “They are stupid” – meaning the Israeli government is stupid to behave in such-and-such a way toward Palestinian Jerusalem. If they would just make it easier to obtain construction permits, they say, if they would add just a few percentage points to the budget, if they would not beat demonstrators so savagely, if they did not trump up traffic violations, for example, then the clashes would not spread like wildfire.

This is the consecutive third week with no age restriction on people attending Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and everything went quietly. Got that? No humiliations and restrictions, no rioting.

The definition of the government’s actions as stupid is a fairly common act of generosity on the part of Palestinians, the generosity of the native-born. It is the generosity of those who are well planted in the villages and neighborhoods that have turned into slums, sealed ghettos; neighborhoods that are a mixture of wide roads for the Jews, open areas where Palestinian construction is prohibited, kitschy villas and ordinary apartments that cost 400,000 dollars, because the housing shortage is so severe. If you are Palestinian, that is.

Stupidity is beyond the control of the stupid person. The poor fellow was born that way. Stupid people can be replaced and their stupid actions set right. Those who say “this is stupidity” do not say it is malice; those who diagnose stupidity do not say it is a premeditated crime. It is a demonstration of generosity when the words used to describe Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem have run out. How many times can we say apartheid, discrimination, silent transfer, expulsion, racism, exclusion, dispossession, assault, impoverishment, weakening?

Stupidity? Here are a few fundamentals of Israel’s policy in Jabal Mukkaber:

In 1967, the village of A-Sawahra was divided into two parts. One portion remained inside the West Bank, while its western portion (including Jabal Mukkaber) was included within Jerusalem’s borders and annexed to Israel. But the inhabitants continued to be members of the same tribe, marry within the tribe and bury their dead in the same cemetery on the western side.

The settlement of Nof Tzion, on the outskirts of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem. Photo by Eyal Toueg

The settlement of Nof Tzion, on the outskirts of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem. Photo by Eyal Toueg

In 1993, traffic restrictions and checkpoints began to divide the eastern portion of the village from its western part. Since 2000 and after the construction of the separation fence, the barrier between members of the tribe and members of the same families has become hermetic.

As the BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights nonprofit organization wrote in its survey of East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, Jabal Mukkaber is under the most extreme construction restrictions of all the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Most of the area is off-limits for construction, and in the few places where it is allowed, no building permits are issued. The amount of open areas (not slated for development) set by the plans that apply to the neighborhood is exceptional, even compared to other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. The planned system of roads is so meager that it leaves most of the neighborhood utterly inaccessible.

In the western Sawahra neighborhood, which is close to the separation barrier, only one-quarter of the area is zoned for residential purposes. The housing shortage is so severe that young people are postponing their wedding dates or remaining in their parents’ homes. The areas slated for expropriation from Sawahra for the purpose of paving the eastern ring road, most of whose users will not be from the neighborhood (read: Jews), are larger than the total area of the neighborhood’s roads.

On top of the expropriations carried out in the 1970s for constructing the East Talpiot neighborhood, Nof Tzion, a well-planned, well-kept settlement for Jews only, was built a decade ago in the heart of the neglected half-village of Jabal Mukkaber. The planning goes back to the 1980s. Fifty dunams (some 12 acres) were originally under Jewish ownership. Sixty-five dunams (16 acres) of land were expropriated from Jabal Mukkaber for the large neighborhood, which would be suitable for the waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union. The buildings are six stories high – about 130 percent of construction – while the Palestinians on the other side are allowed only 25 percent, or two floors.

There is no stupidity here. This is a crime of discrimination being committed deliberately, with malice aforethought. It is no invention of Benjamin Netanyahu or Nir Barkat or Naftali Bennett. The intellectual property rights belong to the governments of Labor and the “moderate” Likud.

To say that the Israeli governments are stupid after 50 years – or almost 70 years – of living under their rule is an act of psychological repression, with a bit of hope for redress. The last thing that can be said of the country’s leaders and high officials is that they are stupid. To say that we, the Jews, are stupid is to throw us a last rope of rescue from ourselves and our policies.

Expired tear gas

Residents of Isawiyah and Jabal Mukkaber noticed that the canisters of tear gas that the Israel Police generously have been firing at them to subdue their demonstrations were stamped with the date 2005. Text on the canisters also read that they were suitable for use five years from the date of manufacture. So they fear that the tear gas is even more harmful than usual and will damage their health and that of their children, sick people, elderly people and pregnant women, particularly when it is fired among the residential buildings.

But the Israel Police, in its response to Haaretz, wanted to reassure the worried targets of the tear gas: “The expiration date written on the gas canisters does not refer to the gas that is used, but instead to other parts of the canister.” The police say further that the gas does no harm, but merely causes irritation of the mucous membranes.

DEMONIZATION OF ARABS CONDEMNED BY AMERICAN RABBINICAL COUNCIL

 

Image 'Copyleft' by Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Latuff

“We cannot countenance a response to terror that resorts to wholesale demonization, advocates for the collective punishment of Israeli Arabs, or calls for the destruction or dismantling of Muslim holy places. Such rhetoric is anathema to the Jewish religious tradition and has no place in civil society. Such rhetoric is wrong and must be repudiated, whether it is voiced by lay leaders, community leaders or rabbis.”

Orthodox Leaders Condemn Rabbi Steven Pruzansky for ‘Demonization’ of Arabs

O.U. Issues Statement After Incendiary Blog Post

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky speaks to women at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, N.J.

CONGREGATION BNAI YESHURUN
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky speaks to women at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, N.J.

By JTA

A growing chorus of Orthodox leaders are speaking out against anti-Arab rhetoric following racially inflammtory statements by Steven Pruzansky, a prominent Teaneck, New Jersey rabbi.

After last week’s terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue, Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, wrote a blog post titled “Dealing with Savages” that said Arabs in the Land of Israel are the enemy and advocated their emigration or deportation. He also suggested moving the mosque atop the Temple Mount to Saudi Arabia.

“There is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished,” Pruzansky wrote. The Nov. 21 post, which was subsequently deleted, was first reported by JTA on November 23.

On November 26, the Orthodox Union, of which Pruzansky’s synagogue is a member, issued a press release that that did not name him but said, “We cannot countenance a response to terror that resorts to wholesale demonization, advocates for the collective punishment of Israeli Arabs, or calls for the destruction or dismantling of Muslim holy places. Such rhetoric is anathema to the Jewish religious tradition and has no place in civil society. Such rhetoric is wrong and must be repudiated, whether it is voiced by lay leaders, community leaders or rabbis.”

The O.U. declined to elaborate further on the statement when asked by the Forward if it applied specifically to Pruzansky. But speaking on background, a senior O.U. official told the Forward, “By implication the statement applies to Rabbi Pruzansky’s statement.”

The Orthodox Union had invited Pruzansky to speak at the group’s annual convention next month and placed advertisements in Jewish newspapers heralding his appearance, but Pruzansky recently told organizers he’d be unable to make it.

Pruzansky, whose synagogue has 800 member families and is the largest in Teaneck, also has held prominent positions at the Rabbinical Council of America, where is an executive committee member and a former vice president. Until last month, he also led the RCA’s conversion beit din (rabbinical court) in Bergen County, N.J. The RCA’s executive vice president, Mark Dratch, told JTA that the RCA supports the OU’s statement on Pruzansky.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the RCA’s most recent past president and the leader of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, N.J., was one of several rabbis in the Teaneck area who distanced themselves from Pruzansky’s remarks, NorthJersey.com reported.

“Rabbi Pruzansky’s statements reflect the frustration that he feels and that many of us feel as we view the unfolding events in the Middle East,” Goldin was quoted as saying. “However, his conclusions and recommendations certainly do not represent my view nor the view of many others in the Orthodox Jewish community.”

Mohamed El Filali, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was also cited in the report calling on mainstream Jewish leaders to speak out strongly against Jewish extremists.

And T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group, launched a petition for rabbis and cantors to sign to pledge “using our religious voices to build the world with more love, not to destroy it with more hate.”

Pruzansky long has used his blog and synagogue pulpit not just to criticize Arab violence, but to denounce Israeli leaders he perceives as too timid or misdirected. In 1995, weeks before the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Pruzansky called Rabin a Judenrat — the term used to describe the Jewish councils that did the Nazis’ bidding during the Holocaust.

Earlier this month, he likened the New York Jewish Week to the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer, prompting a rebuke from the RCA and a condemnatory editorial in the Jewish Week.

In a clarification on his blog after the Nov. 21 post, Pruzansky defended his remarks, saying his views were not outside the mainstream and noting that he had written that Arabs who are nonviolent and accept Israel as a Jewish state are welcome to stay in Israel (so long as they are not related to a terrorist or live in a village from which two or more terrorists have emanated, according to his view).

In an interview Tuesday with the Voice of Israel, Pruzansky said the Temple Mount should be closed to Arabs so they can feel the consequences of “someone in their midst [who] dared to raise a hand against a Jew.”

WOULD YOU SUPPORT A LAW DECLARING AMERICA TO BE THE LAND OF THE PROTESTANT PEOPLE?

Is this what you want for America?

Is this what you want for America?

If you would oppose such a law had it been proposed in your own country, how can you support it when proposed in another country? If you would have objected to such a law because it would discriminate against you as a member of a religious or ethnic minority, how can you possibly support such a law when it is being put forward in your name, with you as the would-be member of Israel’s Jewish majority?

If America Had Laws Like Israel

By Avital Burg 

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A new proposed bill, supported by senators on both sides of the aisle, will finally define and determine the United States of America as the land of the Protestant People, the largest religious constituency in the U.S. and the group out of which America’s founding fathers and ruling leadership emerged.

The new law aims to anchor Protestant values in the laws of the land, inspired by the spirit of the American Constitution. Furthermore, the bill proceeds to state that the U.S. will continue to uphold a fundamentally democratic character. According to the new law, the United States will be fully committed to the foundations of Freedom, Justice, and Peace, in light of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the same time, the bill suggests, the right to implement a national self-definition will be exclusively reserved for the Protestant People. According to the new bill, Protestant values will serve as inspiration to lawmakers and judges at the different levels of the United States’ legislative and judicial branches. In cases where a court of justice encounters difficulties in ruling over issues that have no readily available answers in the Law, in the Christian Canon, or in logical reasoning, it will then rule according to the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace stemming from the Protestant heritage.

In addition, the national emblems of the United States, such as its flag and national anthem, will be drawn directly from the tradition of the Protestant Church, and the official calendar of the U.S. will follow the Protestant liturgical year. Finally, the United States will further act to preserve and entrench the Protestant historical and cultural tradition and to cultivate it in the U.S. and abroad.

Any reader who has gotten this far would probably note that such a law could not be passed or even seriously proposed by the United States legislature. In Israel, however, it could become a fundamental law, on a level equivalent to a constitutional amendment in the United States.

The different clauses listed above are not a free interpretation of the bill or wild projections of what this bill could imply; they are the clauses of the original Hebrew bill, translated into the U.S. political context. I have simply replaced the phrase “the Jewish People” and its associated traits with the “Protestant People” and its associated traits, such as “Protestant values” and “the Christian Canon.”

There are currently close to 8 million people living in Israel, more than 20% of which are Palestinian citizens. After years of de facto discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in various aspects of daily life, this new law, if passed, will make such discrimination official: Palestinians will become formally, legally, second-class citizens. And this is without even mentioning the Palestinians who still live under the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

If you would oppose such a law had it been proposed in your own country, how can you support it when proposed in another country? If you would have objected to such a law because it would discriminate against you as a member of a religious or ethnic minority, how can you possibly support such a law when it is being put forward in your name, with you as the would-be member of Israel’s Jewish majority?

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