“We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring.”
So true, but at the hands of the IDF and settlers… that was omitted from the sentence.

Sandy Hook and Netanyahu’s Victimization Philosophy

  Netanyahu identifies Israel with the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Netanyahu identifies Israel with the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

By Matt Moir*


It was intended to be thoughtful and compassionate, but it came across as something far different.


In his letter of condolences to President Barack Obama over the tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu deliberately referenced Palestinian attacks in Israel.  He didn’t actually write ‘terrorism’ or ‘Hamas’ or something else incendiary because he didn’t have to; the implication was clear.


The letter reads:


Dear President Obama,


I was shocked and horrified by today’s savage massacre of innocent children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.


We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring.


I want to express my profound grief, and that of all the people in Israel, to the families that lost their loved ones.


May you and the American people find the strength to overcome this unspeakable tragedy.


With my deepest condolences,

(Signed) Benjamin Netanyahu,
Prime Minister of Israel


It would be deeply cynical to suggest that Netanyahu consciously saw a massacre of innocent children as an opportunity to make a political point about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. In fact, there is no doubt that the Prime Minister’s sympathies are genuine.


But that’s just the point. The line about Israel having ‘experienced such cruel acts of slaughter’ gives us a telling commentary on the way Netanyahu sees the world, and, more specifically, the way he sees Israel’s relationship with Palestinians.


Prime Minister Netanyahu identifies Israel with the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza with the gunman. According to Netanyahu’s worldview, any violent interaction between Israelis and Palestinians will, without fail, be an example of evil Palestinian terrorists preying upon Israeli innocence.  To wit, even after the formidable Israeli army pounded Gaza City last month, Netanyahu, displaying a stunning nerve, declared that Israel would not be bullied by the Palestinians.


It’s this perverse victimization philosophy that drives Israeli foreign policy, and, according to Israel’s hawkish officials, it is what should form the framework of the United States’ national conversation about the Israel-Palestine conflict. According to Netanyahu, however, that framework has begun to crack under the Obama Presidency.


Though Obama has repeatedly reaffirmed the ‘special relationship’ the US has with its Middle Eastern partner, the President’s administration has had the temerity to chastise Israel for some of its particularly extreme policy decisions, such as the approval of the construction of thousands of apartment buildings the day after the United Nations voted to upgrade Palestine’s diplomatic status.


Netanyahu has found it intolerable that Obama is either unable or unwilling to entirely accept (to the Prime Minister’s standard) the Israeli narrative on Israel-Palestine relations, and has struggled for a way to help the President understand what the Palestinians truly represent.


The shooting in Connecticut was his chance, and he took it. In Netanyahu’s mind, comparing the state of Israel to the victims of the Sandy Hook slayings wasn’t a crude and awkward attempt to portray the Palestinian struggle for statehood and dignity as a cold-blooded attack on school children. It was an opportunity to show Obama just how evil the Palestinians really are.

He just couldn’t help himself.


-*Matt Moir is a Journalism graduate student and former history teacher in Toronto, Canada. He contributed this article to


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The Audience …

Russell Tribunal conclusion: U.S. facilitates Israeli immunity and impunity

by Alex Kane

After two long days of expert testimony, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine wrapped up Sunday night (see Ethan Heitner’s reports and sketches of the days here andhere). Then yesterday, the tribunal’s jury presented its findings to a United Nations committee–findings that Israel “has achieved a status of immunity and impunity by [its] complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law facilitated by the US.”

The executive summary of these findings has now been published.

The conclusion was essentially preordained, but its importance lies in the fact that the findings were presented by a jury full of luminaries like Angela Davis and Alice Walker to a United Nations body.

Among the other findings, the Russell Tribunal found that “various well-documented acts committed by Israel constitute violations of several basic rules of international law.” These violations include the right of self-determination and violation of various Security Council resolutions. Other Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights noted by the tribunal include: “the establishment of Israeli settlements”; “the expulsions of Palestinians from their territory”; and “military attacks against civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Gaza and Palestinian refugees camps.”

The United Nations was also singled out for opprobrium. The UN “cannot simply denounce and condemn Israel’s violations of international law. Since these oft-repeated condemnations have not resulted in the cessation of Israel’s internationally wrongful acts, it follows that the UN must do more,” the Russell Tribunal notes. The executive summary continues:

In conclusion, the UN’s failure to take action proportionate to the duration and severity of Israel’s violations of international law (war crimes, crimes against humanity, crime of Apartheid, genocide), and by not exhausting all peaceful means of pressure available to it, the UN does not comply with the obligations that States have conferred on the UN

The focus on the U.S. enabling of Israel concluded with equally harsh findings. “The Tribunal finds that Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism would not be possible without the US’s economic, military, and diplomatic support,” the executive summary states.

This echoes what many of the speakers at the tribunal said. Most notably, Diana Buttu, former adviser to Palestinian negotiators, gave a presentation on the U.S.’s record of shielding Israel from any accountability for its violations of international law. Buttu, as usual, was lucid and concise. 

What the US has attempted to do in Palestine is “make what is unjust, just, and what is illegal, legal,” said Buttu. As an example, Buttu pointed to the 83 vetoes the U.S. has exercised as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Of those, half of them were for the benefit of Israel. The most recent example was the Obama administration’s February 2011 veto of a UN resolution that labeled Israeli settlements as “illegal.” 

The conclusions of the executive summary include a call for the “mobilization of international public opinion, especially in the US and Israel, towards a just society based on equality before the law.” The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was included as a “manifestation of civic society” toward the end of a just society.

Meanwhile, the Russell Tribunal has garnered some media coverage. Watch Al Jazeera English’s The Stream on the tribunal here:



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Photos © by Bud Korotzer


The Jurors













Pierre Galand


Alice Walker


Ronald Kasrils



Special people who were there


The Corries (Dear Rachel’s parents)



Harry Belefonte


Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York: On US, UN Complicity



Ilan Pappé on BDS: ‘I think it is far more impressive, far more effective, when it is directed toward Israel, not the American society.’


By Christopher Federici


On a clear autumn morning in lower Manhattan the 4th Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine began amid a surprisingly calm atmosphere, despite lengthy lines weaving across the square in front of Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

The timing of this session is critical, as international attention has been focused on Iran’s nuclear program for months. If nothing else, this Tribunal serves as a reminder to an American audience of the harsh realities of the Palestinian condition.

Draped in a judicial veneer, successive Tribunals on Palestine have focused on the role of the international community regarding Israel’s persistent occupation of Palestinian territories. The New York session’s articulation of the complicity of the United States government and the United Nations in ongoing violations of international law adds to the existing findings of Tribunals in Barcelona, London and Cape Town regarding European Union and corporate complicity, as well as the crime of apartheid.

Before a sold-out auditorium, Tribunal coordinator Pierre Galand reaffirmed the formality of the non-binding proceedings with his introductory remarks admonishing the audience to refrain from outbursts or applause. Galand stressed the importance of preventing the “crime of silence” and he noted the “very effectively independent” status of the Russell Tribunal, which relies on a variety of financial donors, including municipalities, individuals and NGOs.

Galand revealed that Leila Shahid, the EU Ambassador from Palestine, had been denied visa entry by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. I later confirmed that Raji Sourani, founder of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was also denied a visa by the US authorities in Cairo, adding to the marginalization of Palestinian voices at the Tribunal. Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, cancelled due to illness.

However, with the judicial flare of a courtroom environment established, the long anticipated Tribunal was finally in session.

Impassioned Geneva Mayor Remy Pagani applauded members of the jury who have “risked their lives” in opposing fascism, racial inequalities and oppression.

We heard Stéphane Hessel, an energetic survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and author of Indignez-Vouz!, speak eloquently of the privilege of living in a world supposedly governed by liberty and international law. His proclamation that Palestinian society has been “abused, abused and over-abused” for 60 years without representation was a testament to the vital need for sustained citizen mobilization.

The Tribunal’s first witness was Professor Ilan Pappé. With the disclaimer that it is “difficult to condense an historical analysis into evidence,” Professor Pappé proceeded to present five concise points essential to any discussion of the conflict between Israel and its Palestinian subjects.

The first of these premises suggests that Zionism’s exclusive focus on Palestine, a land already inhabited with an “Arab, Islamic and Middle Eastern” identity, constituted a form of late colonialism.

Pappé went on to note that the attitudes of early European Zionists toward Palestinians remain present today among many Israelis, chiefly that indigenous Arabs in Palestine were “foreigners” in a land awaiting Jewish liberation. “The idea of an alien native,” according to Pappé, “is exclusive to Zionism.”

His testimony noted that a Jewish democracy required a Jewish majority in Palestine, yet by 1948 only one-third of Palestine’s inhabitants were Jewish, and only 7% of the land had been purchased by Jews. These failures to establish the demographic and geographic foundations for Jewish democracy precipitated policies of ethnic cleansing, “a crime against humanity second only to genocide” according to Pappé, who noted that expulsions of Arabs had been prevalent since the 1930s, well before the rejection of partition by Palestinian leadership, an important point that disabuses the contemporary “immoral judgment” that Palestinians somehow brought the Nakba upon themselves by rejecting partition of their homeland.

Pappé’s concluding points related to the treatment of Palestinians within Israel between 1948 and 1966 and the conditions of occupation since 1967. Pappé suggested that the “same military regime” that oppressed one-fifth of Israel’s population between 1948 and 1966 was transferred to the West Bank in 1967. The Israeli army, thus, was “an already made mechanism” for systematic violations of human rights by the time of occupation.

In his closing remarks, Pappé included one of the most crucial comments of the entire Tribunal, the notion that the idea of two states is a Zionist idea, a flawed paradigm for peace that can never be accepted by Palestinians. He implored members of the Tribunal not to accept this reductive concept of a partitioned Palestine.

The subsequent testimony of the day hinged largely on establishing a narrative consistent with the Tribunal’s international law framework. Peter Hansen, former Commissioner-General of UNRWA, for example, discussed the UN’s role, criticizing its failings while stressing the importance of its monitoring activities in Palestine in keeping the analysis on the stage of the international community.

Later, Vera Gowlland-Debbas, former Rapporteur for the UNCHR, spoke at length on the failures of the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions, as well as the political inconsistencies of UN involvement, while Professor Susan Akram, a legal scholar on immigration and refugees, testified on the rights of Palestinian refugees under international law and the manner in which successive definitions -first established by UN Resolution 194, later by the UNRWA and finally under the 1951 Refugee Convention- have been misapplied in a manner that marginalizes Palestinian efforts to seek traditional refugee recourse, including right of return, restoration of property and compensation.

The sobering inference from this testimony is that the existing international legal framework is insufficient in addressing the Israeli occupation, as the establishment dominated by American and European elite is clearly disinclined to act upon its own mandate. Mired in cynicism, the entire mission of the Tribunal appeared futile with its strict emphasis on discussing a power structure that most speakers acknowledged provides little recourse for Palestinians.

Disillusioned by the apparent contradictions and inadequacies of the Tribunal, I searched for Ilan Pappé to discuss a critical insight he had offered in response to a question by Stéphane Hessel earlier in the day. He had mentioned a prevalent mindset within Israel that is unmoved by legal, moral or ethical critiques of Israeli policies. I asked him about this, and what more could be done. His answer was “the very structural skeleton of the narrative is not the problem apparently. We thought that Israelis, when they would know and would agree that this is what happened, that would inform their ethical and moral view. But this has not occurred.”

He went on to predict that as more western communities begin to offer “ethical evaluations” of Israel’s policies, the more Israeli society can be moved. The Tribunal constitutes a part of that progression, in his estimation.

The second day of testimony was less jurisprudential, with Diana Butto memorably providing the Tribunal’s first Palestinian narrative. The panel of jurists appeared more divided, with a tense sequence on the influence of AIPAC in US defense of Israel, projections on the future and finally David Wildman and Phyllis Bennis introducing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a tool of empowerment. The afternoon was also marred by a debate on the use of the term sociocide and the systematic destruction of a society’s culture, culminating in jurist Michael Mansfield antagonizing speaker Saleh Abd al-Jawad over the sensibility of introducing a new term when there is already such stagnancy over existing terms, such as apartheid and genocide.

Ultimately, the Tribunal appeared conflicted by stark contrasts between the desire to project a sense of procedural legality and the inescapable underpinnings of activism that drove the very desire to organize. This conflict, it could be argued, sullied the effectiveness of either initiative.

Returning to my discussion with Ilan Pappé, he expressed something that was conspicuously absent from most of the Tribunal testimony, the idea that the reformation of Israeli society will not come from legal or international institutions, but from the expression of western public opinion against Israeli policies.

Referring to successes of the BDS “tactic” in forcing a conversation within Israel, Pappé offered a sense of optimism painfully lacking throughout the Tribunal when he remarked, “I think that in conjunction with a Palestinian agency of solving the problems of representation, in conjunction with the solidarity movement activity on other issues and in conjunction with our role as Israeli Jews inside Israel to reeducate our compatriots, [BDS is] an important link in this matrix opportunity.”

– Christopher Federici is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He visited Israel and the Palestinian West Bank in the summer of 2006 during the Second Lebanon War and is currently pursuing his Masters in Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York. He has previously published articles on the failure of Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations and the Goldstone Report. He contributed this article to



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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff



The deeply disturbing Israel court ruling on Rachel Corrie

The wrongful death lawsuit for Rachel Corrie was not a solution, but rather a symptom of a broken system of accountability within Israel and the U.S. government, writes guest columnist Cindy Corrie.

By Cindy Corrie* 

LAST month, in a deeply disturbing ruling, an Israeli court dismissed the civil lawsuit brought by my family against the state of Israel for the wrongful death of my daughter Rachel Corrie.

Born and raised in Olympia, Rachel was a human-rights defender and peace activist killed in 2003 by an armored Israeli military bulldozer as she stood for hours, visibly and nonviolently protesting the Israeli government’s policy of civilian home demolitions in Rafah, Gaza.

The home Rachel and her friends from the International Solidarity Movement defended was eventually demolished with hundreds more in mass-clearing operations to create a buffer along Gaza’s southern border.

Our lawsuit was not a solution, but rather a symptom of a broken system of accountability within Israel and our own U.S. government. Despite a promise from Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for a “thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation and repeated calls from the highest levels of our government for such an investigation to occur, there was no diplomatic resolution. According to the U.S. State Department, its calls “have gone unanswered or ignored.”

Court testimony also confirmed a credible investigation did not occur. Investigators failed to question key military witnesses, including those recording communications; failed to secure the military video, allowing it to be taken for nearly a week by senior commanders with only segments submitted to court; failed to address conflicting soldiers’ testimonies; and ignored damning statements in the military log confirming a “shoot to kill” order and command mentality to continue work in order not to create a precedent with activists.

I had no illusions about the uphill battle we faced in Israeli court, but as I sat with my family in a packed courtroom awaiting the verdict, I held hope that, like so many observing the trial, the judge would see that evidence warranted some criticism of the military’s actions.

The room was filled with human-rights observers, U.S. Embassy officials, family supporters and a throng of media. Judge Oded Gershon surveyed the scene before reading his decision. From the halting tone of my translator and friend, and audible groans around us, I knew it was bad.

He ruled that Rachel was killed as an act of war, which, according to Israeli law, absolves the military of responsibility. He added that she alone was to blame for her own killing and then went on to commend the military police for their professionalism in carrying out such a credible investigation. The courtroom heard the judge parrot the state prosecuting attorneys’ original claims in the case, nearly verbatim.

Condemnation of the verdict was swift and decisive, ranging from President Jimmy Carter to the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others, all pointing out the climate of impunity enjoyed by the Israeli military, as well as the court thumbing its nose at the Geneva Conventions.

The verdict sends a dangerous message for future protections of civilians and human-rights observers.

The outcry was humbling, but the verdict represents a very personal challenge. With 45 days to determine whether to appeal, I weigh heavily the toll this ongoing effort takes. Our nearly decadelong search for information and a modicum of justice has turned into a war of attrition — a state versus a family.

As problematic as the process has been, our family has had access to a legal system, a basic tenet of justice most Palestinians are denied. They struggle, far harder than we, for their day in court.

Their stories are shadowed by the unjust silence that too often accompanies the word “Palestinian.”

We have sought truth, but also changes in policies Rachel came to Gaza to oppose — brutal Israeli military actions often targeting civilian populations resulting in unlawful killings and destruction of property with impunity.

An Israeli colonel testified there are no civilians in war. Rachel was in Gaza because there are civilians there with rights to be protected. No army is above the law when it comes to protection of civilians under occupation or during armed conflict.

Rachel taught us that when governments fail to act, people must step forward. When atrocities are committed in our name, we must shine a spotlight on them.

Our family will determine the next critical steps with Rachel’s spirit surrounding us. Our journey continues, alongside those who, despite the odds, pursue equal rights and nonviolence, human rights, peace and justice for all in the region and world beyond.

*Cindy Corrie is the mother of Rachel Corrie and the president of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice based in Olympia.

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 Anyone that advocates a ‘One State Solution’ for Israel/Palestine should ask themselves one  question …. why should Palestinians have to live within the same borders as these beasts?

Dozens of Jewish youths attack 3 Palestinians in suspected Jerusalem lynch

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care; eyewitness: Today I saw a lynch with my own eyes.

By Nir Hasson
Jerusalem's Zion Square.
Jerusalem’s Zion Square. Photo by Emil Salman


Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Acting Jerusalem police chief, General Menachem Yitzhaki, gas set up a special team to investigate the incident and detain the suspects.

The three were allegedly attacked by youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” at them, as well as other racial slurs. One of them fell on the floor, and his attackers continued to beat him until he lost consciousness. They subsequently fled from the scene.

Within a short period of time rescue volunteers and Magen David Adom rescue services arrived on the scene, and found the victim with no pulse and not breathing. After a lengthy resuscitation attempt, he was transferred to hospital.

Writing on her Facebook page, one eye witness decribed the attack as a lynch: “Its late at night, and I can’t sleep. My eyes are full of tears for a good few hours now and my stomach is turning inside out with the question of the loss of humanity, the image of God in mankind, a loss that I am not willing to accept.”

“But today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of the city of Jerusalem ….. and shouts of ‘A Jew is a soul and Arab is a son of a –,’ were shouted loudly and dozens (!!) of youths ran and gathered and started to really beat to death three Arab youths who were walking quietly in the Ben Yehuda street,” the witness wrote.



Yasser Arafat may be dead, but for all intents and purposes he lives on and continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Earlier this month a Swiss doctor announced that high levels of toxic polonium-210 were found on some of Arafat’s belongings. Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance, one that would require a nuclear reactor and expertise to produce and handle. Israel, being a nuclear power and having publicly expressed a motive for Arafat’s “elimination,” fits the description.

It may seem a futile task to focus on a single person’s death when the region is engulfed in wholesale killing, until, that is, you realize that the killing of Arafat was meant to be an accelerator in the process of bringing about the wholesale demise of an entire indigenous people.


How the Israeli Quintet Indicted Itself

The Murder of Arafat


“We have to get rid of Arafat”

~Israeli defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to Prime Minister Sharon caught on an open mic

Source: Haaretz (Hebrew)

“We operated against Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi [two Palestinian leaders extrajudicially assassinated by Israel] when we thought the time was suitable. On the matter of Arafat we’ll operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time. One needs to find the time and to do what has to be done.”

~ Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to Ma’ariv newspaper

Source: The Guardian

Yasser Arafat may be dead, but for all intents and purposes he lives on and continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Earlier this month a Swiss doctor announced that high levels of toxic polonium-210 were found on some of Arafat’s belongings. Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance, one that would require a nuclear reactor and expertise to produce and handle. Israel, being a nuclear power and having publicly expressed a motive for Arafat’s “elimination,” fits the description.

Swiss doctor Francois Bochud, director of the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, was quoted in the report on a nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera that “We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body.”

If exhumation and examination of Arafat’s body (currently reposing in its tomb, located a  half a kilometer from my home) seven years after his death reveals the presence of polonium-210, the question demanding an answer will be: who killed him and why?

It may seem a futile task to focus on a single person’s death when the region is engulfed in wholesale killing, until, that is, you realize that the killing of Arafat was meant to be an accelerator in the process of bringing about the wholesale demise of an entire indigenous people.

A Palestinian attorney in the Galilee has pointed the finger at those he believes are most likely responsible for the murder of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. The accused are named and their histories cited; their own words indict them, and their acts of sustained violence speak volumes.

The charge sheet incriminates five of Israel’s top brass:

1-    Ariel Sharon, in his capacity as Prime Minister of the Government of Israel, 2001-2006 (currently reported as being clinically dead);

2-    Avi Dichter, as head of the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security), 2000-2005 (Member of Knesset for Kadima Party);

3-    Shaul Mofaz, in his capacity as Israeli Minister of Defense, 2003-2006 (now leader of the Kadima Party);

4-    Moshe Ya’alon, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, 2003-2005 (now a Deputy Prime Minister of Israel);

5-    Meir Dagan, as Director of the Mossad from 2002 to 2011 (currently a leader of a movement called “Yesh Sikkui”).

The person who has made these accusations is Palestinian-Arab Israeli writer and lawyer, Sabri Jiryis, a graduate of the Hebrew University law faculty and a prominent Palestinian activist with Arafat’s political party, Fatah. For a long time, Mr. Jiryis served as Arafat’s adviser on Israeli affairs as well as serving as the director of the Palestine Research Centre in Lebanon and later in Cyprus. He was one of Arafat’s confidants for decades, until Arafat’s death.

Mr. Jiryis has just posted on his website a revealing analysis of the historic context leading up to Arafat’s assassination, entitled: Arafat’s Murder – The Crime and its Ramifications. The essay was posted in Arabic which may limit the non-Arabic-speaking world’s benefit from this insider’s exposé.

Bottom line: Mr. Jiryis meticulously assembles and presents hard evidence demonstrating why these five Israeli leaders, in particular, should be brought before a court of justice. His analysis offers no words of rage or revenge but rather a cold, clinical review of a systematic series of actions and statements by each of these Israeli leaders which would logically bring any objective observer to the conclusion that, if justice is to be served, these five persons should be charged with Arafat’s murder and put on trial.

Following the Al-Jazeera airing of their documentary concluding that Arafat may have been poisoned by radioactive polonium, Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor, ordered an investigation into Arafat’s death. In reply, in Cairo, on July 17, 2012, the Arab League set up an independent committee to probe the death of the iconic former Palestinian leader.

As the independent investigation committee embarks on its mandate, Mr. Jiryis’ analysis can make an important contribution by putting Arafat’s murder into historical context. Israeli leaders have employed murder, assassination and mass slaughter ever since Israel’s founding, and before. The reins of power in Israel remain in the hands of those who seek to murder the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence. Meantime, when Arafat’s turn finally came, the trail of evidence left behind was so glaring that it would be an insult to humanity if those responsible are not brought to justice.

Whatever happens with this renewed effort to determine how Arafat died and who was behind his death, the Palestinian struggle for emancipation from 65 years of dispossession and 45 years of military occupation will not end. The idea that Palestinians are going to wake up one morning and decide to enjoy life under Israeli military occupation or as refugees is simply hallucinatory, as any thoughtful reading of world history would indicate.

Historic twists of fate are unpredictable, with many ironic overtones. Maybe, just maybe, the analysis by an Israeli-trained Palestinian attorney together with the clues to be found in Arafat’s dead body will usher in a long-overdue era of Israeli accountability for crimes against the Palestinian people.


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Norwegians to protest Breivik, singing song he hates

Thousands of Norwegians will take to the streets of Oslo on Thursday to sing a children’s song calling for peace and fraternity, in a protest against mass killer Anders Behring Breivik who has called it Marxist brainwashing.

They plan to sing arm-in-arm a few blocks from the courthouse where Breivik is on trial for the killings of 77 people in a gun and bomb rampage last year.

“I grew up with this song and have sung it to my child,” said Lill Hjoennevaag, one of the organizers of the demonstration.

“Everybody I know feels strongly about this song and we need to take it back,” she told public broadcaster NRK.

Lillebjoern Nilsen’s “Children of the Rainbow”, a Norwegian rendition of American folk singer Pete Seeger’s 1971 “My Rainbow Race”, is a popular song in Norway.

“Breivik has used it as an example of brainwashing, but it is rather an example of the opposite,” said Christine Bar, another organizer, who launched the event on Facebook.

“We think it represents diversity, and it stands for the community we have chosen to live in, and which Breivik and similar people want to tear down,” she added.

Breivik set off a car bomb, killing eight people, then gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a youth summer camp organized by the ruling Labour Party on July 22.

In court on Friday he attacked Norway’s schools and in particular Nilsen.

“He is a good example of a Marxist who infiltrated the cultural sector; he writes music that is used to brainwash children,” Breivik said.

He admits the killings and has described his attacks in shocking detail, but pleads not guilty, claiming the right to protect Norway from multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.

He said the Labour Party was his chief target because it had promoted mass immigration, and that its youth camp was political indoctrination with the aim of brainwashing young activists.

He expressed regrets he was unable to complete his plan of beheading former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, known as the “mother of the country”, and said he had hoped to kill many more.

On Wednesday he railed at psychiatrists who diagnosed him as psychotic, saying their report contained “evil, fictional inventions”.

Selected lyrics, as translated by Reuters, follow:

A sky full of stars

Blue ocean far as you see

An earth where flowers grow.

Can you wish for more?

Together we shall live

Every sister, every brother

Small children of the rainbow

And a fertile soil


But tell all the children

Tell your father, tell your mother

This is our last chance

To share one hope, one world

Source    Hat tip to Andre with thanks



Israelis can definitely take pride in the way some of their foreign travelers conduct themselves abroad (sic).
I have written many times about the scores of youngsters working illegally in just about every major mall in he United States and Canada. Today there is a report dealing with an even worse situation, the arrest of the daughter of Israel’s former Minister of Defence, on drug related charges…
The arrogance displayed by the Israeli government is definitely reflected by the individual arrogance and disregard for the laws of the land they visit. They come by it honestly, one can say it is the norm.

Israeli diplo’s daughter busted at JFK on outstanding drug warrant

Police last night arrested the 39-year-old daughter of the former Israeli defense minister on outstanding drug charges as she tried to fly from Kennedy Airport to Tel Aviv, The Post has learned.*

Talya Ben-Eliezer was taken into custody about 8:40 p.m. as she tried to go through security at Terminal 4, and was hauled off to central booking in Queens, Port Authority police confirmed. She was heading toward Delta Flight 268.*

It didn’t take long before officials with the Israeli consulate in Manhattan began “calling everyone on this,” one source told The Post.*

Israeli consulate spokesman Shahar Azani said, “We are not at liberty to discuss individual cases.”*

Ben-Eliezer is one of five children of Labor Party Knesset Member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a retired senior commander in the Israeli army who served as defense minister in 2001 and 2002. He has also been the military governor in the occupied West Bank and a deputy prime minister.*

The elder Ben-Eliezer did not respond to messages from The Post.*

Talya Ben-Eliezer was detained on an outstanding “no-bail warrant” issued by the sheriff in Tampa, Fla., for a “dangerous drug” offense. She was booked as a “fugitive from justice.”*

The Florida sheriff’s office did not have an immediate comment on the arrest. Customs officials did not have a comment.*

A source familiar with the situation told The Post that Ben-Eliezer had been in Florida about a year undergoing medical treatment for a seizure condition. The arrest warrant was issued after, the source said, the woman allegedly obtained oxycontin without the proper paperwork.*

Ben-Eliezer was not traveling on a diplomatic passport. Instead, she was flying as an American citizen; she holds both US and Israeli citizenship. She is expected to be extradited to Florida to face a charge of “obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.” The warrant for her arrest was issued on July 27, according to sheriff’s records.*

A source said soon after Ben-Eliezer was detained at the airport “she stated … to Customs officials” that she is the daughter of a senior member of the Israeli government. 

Reported AT


Palestinians attend the funeral of Abir Aramin after she was killed by Israeli soldiers in Anata refugee camp near Jerusalem, 19 January 2007. (MaanImages/Moamar Awad)
In the life of a child it is a normal practice to celebrate their date of birth every year…
In the life of a Palesinian child this is not always the case, instead of a celebration we often wind up mourning that child on the anniversary of their murder by Israeli authorities.
Such is the case of our beautiful Abir Aramin, slaughtered by Israeli Border Guards on her way to school one morning, five years ago this week. Below is a report written this past September with some background information…
Lest We Forget

Abir Aramin, age 10, killed and ‘bought’ by the State of Israel


In early January 2007, ten-year-old Abir Aramin held her sister’s hand and began her routine walk to school before a rubber bullet penetrated the back of her skull. She died in a nearby hospital shortly thereafter. Three and a half years later, in mid-2010, the Israeli-run Jerusalem District Court ruled that the State of Israel was indeed responsible for her death. On September 25, 2011, almost five years after the murder of an innocent young Palestinian girl, the Jerusalem District Court determined that Israel must pay NIS 1.6 million, or $430,000 USD, as compensation to the Aramin family. The two Israeli Border Guard officers involved in the shooting were never tried in court, but so goes the justice system from the seat of a Palestinian.

This entire situation — the murder, the investigation, the trial, and the subsequent rulings — exemplifies the hypocrisy and the exceptionalism so heavily defended in the court of law. Immediately after Abir’s death, her family hired a physician to perform an autopsy. According to the report, Abir had indeed been killed by a rubber bullet that caused both immediate and severe brain damage. Meanwhile, Israel’s police force dismissed the conclusion and argued that Abir was hit by a stray rock by a Palestinian rioter. With the help of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Aramin family published the autopsy report to dispel any doubt that she was killed by the bullet of an Israeli Border Guard officer.

The publication of this autopsy report made it virtually impossible for Israel to set aside and ignore the investigation into Abir’s death. Four officers were questioned although each claimed absolutely no shots were fired. The officers also defended the theory that Abir’s death was a result of a stone thrown by Palestinian rioters. According to the police’s self-investigation, the Border Guard officers on duty at the time were dispersing “severe riots“. Eyewitness accounts contradicted these alibis, all of which saying that the officers were in fact following Abir as she approached her school. B’Tselem conducted its own investigation of the scene of the murder and concluded that no riots took place on that day.

After much deliberation and even more waiting, the court confirmed in 2010 that Abir’s death was due to negligence in the form of a bullet fired in violation of orders. A compensation was yet to determined and the involved officers received nothing more than informal reprimands.

Thirteen months later, the court decided on an adequate compensation determined by “the customary sum of compensation awarded in similar cases”, according to Ynet. Two of the four investigated officers were fined NIS 10,000, or almost $2,688 USD — the price of a used 1995 Toyota Camry.

What is most disturbing about the court’s ruling is not the fact that Israel’s apology comes only in the form of a check but rather, the unenthusiastic, lackadaisical, and irresponsible way the Israeli justice system handled the case. The court’s decision took over four and a half years to make although the evidence and testimonies was collected and verified only days after Abir’s death. The Border Guard officers lied under oath, telling investigators that they never fired a single bullet even though the evidence collected in the back of Abir’s head said otherwise. They were never charged with perjury.

And as a matter of fact, they were never charged with anything really. A petition made its way to Israel’s High Court demanding two Border Guard officers be tried in court for their involvement in the shooting of the ten-year-old child. The petition was rejected in July.

There have been many Abir Aramins in the past, and this entire case is only proof that any future cases like this one will be dealt with in the most inexcusable and carefree way possible. Clearly, doing justice for murdered Palestinians, even young schoolchildren barely as tall as their school desks, is not as urgent as one would expect.

The life of a child cannot be bought. It cannot be brought back either, but the check meant to appease the Aramin family is nothing more than dirty money. It comes from an establishment that refuses to practice complete responsibility of its actions. A child was left for dead while the individuals responsible for putting her in that condition skated away with measly fines that had more to do with their poor cooperation in the investigation than with their actual actions. Had the scenario been reversed, had an Israeli child been killed under jurisdiction of a Palestinian court, Israel would not have rested until justice was served complete with fines, jail time, and an assortment of other maximum punishments.

Tragically, Abir Aramin was Palestinian, and so the rule of justice grounded on equality never included her.


Written For


*Sam Kishawi is a Palestinian-American student and citizen journalist at the University of Chicago. He is an active member of various local and national grassroots movements dedicated to preserving the rights of the Palestinian people. He is currently pursuing a career in the health sciences and hopes to one day find the intersect between medicine and politics in Gaza City, his family’s hometown. His writing and photography has been featured on Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, KABOBfest, Islamic Horizons, and a small collection of related outlets. This blog serves to promote the Palestinian identity and to trace his own political understanding and development. In 2011, American Friends Service Committee awarded him with the organization’s annual Inspiration for Hope Award.


Two Reports…

A nightmare that lasted three weeks; memories of Gaza massacre

Rafat Abushaban 
Emergency workers run alongside burning debris

Israeli leaders threatened to wipe Gaza off of the map during the first hours of bombing. (Hatem Omar / MaanImages )


Here comes that difficult time of year again: the anniversary of an event that changed the taste of life for Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip and throughout the world. It is three years since the Gaza massacre, or what Israel called Operation Cast Lead.

I still vividly recall the first hours of this 22-day nightmare, when I was with my classmates at university, sitting a final exam paper. We were almost done with the paper when we heard the first explosion. It is somehow common to hear explosions in Gaza, so we kept still until two louder explosions occurred. It was then that we dropped our pens and looked throughout the clouds of smoke that were getting closer. Supervisors immediately called on us to evacuate the campus through safe routes.

Once we got to the street, it was a different world. There was smoke and ash everywhere and Israeli F16s and drones were filling the horizon. Ambulances and fire trucks were speeding up along the opposite road, civilian cars were going in all directions and people were running as if they had all just entered into a bad dream. No matter how hard you tried to look, there were neither policemen nor officials to help the terrified people running here and there. Up to that moment, we had no idea of what was going on. We just knew that something really bad had happened, and that we were not safe walking on the streets with the lack of of safety procedures and shelters.

However, I will never forget how some young people had the courage to act voluntarily in that crucial time on diverting the traffic and helping other people out, risking their own lives. Two hours later, it was all over the news channels. Approximately forty persons were killed in the first air strikes and Israeli officials were threatening to wipe Gaza off of the map.


The bombs kept on falling and the death toll was increasing rapidly. My relatives had gathered at our house, believing that it was in a more secure area than theirs. We were continuously watching the news and had limited our movement outside the house to the extreme. Two days after that, a bomb fell on a main electricity line in our neighborhood, causing a blackout. The blackout remained until after the massacre was over.

By the third or fourth day there was a de facto curfew. Israeli jets were dropping loads of announcements for the people of Gaza to stay at their homes and to call the military about anybody shooting rockets on Israeli towns. The water supply was cut off and we and thousands of other households were isolated from the world. I will never forget how neighbors were so helpful in sharing their water supply with others.

The Saraya, a large security complex near our house, was a military base built during the British mandate of Palestine (1920-1948). This base was targeted during the massacre with heavy missiles until it was totally destroyed. As each missile fell, a window was broken or a door was jammed. We were alerted 24/7 and could barely sleep during the night that was always glowing due to the daily dose of white phosphorus.

Never safe

After the first two weeks, it was apparent that the Israelis had run out of targets as governmental, military and even international aid bases were completely or partially destroyed. Absurdly, the air strikes started targeting open land and already destroyed buildings, presumably just to terrify people. The rubble at the Saraya base was bombed for a third and fourth time.

Some of the blasts were so powerful that rocks and bricks flew for hundreds of meters, hitting all the houses close by. It was a shocking experience witnessing the huge explosions, while seeing and hearing the metal, bricks and wooden parts of your house falling apart all around you. Here I believe is the very basic rule of life in Gaza: the place that was thought to be safer than others is dangerous after all. You are never safe.

During the following days, a two-hour break in the curfew was announced. People rushed to secure their families’ basic needs. I could not forget the long rows of people awaiting their turn to collect some bread or to fill one small gasoline tank (which was the limit per person), but people were sharing their everyday needs with each other It is said that hardship brings people together. The need for unity and helping others was the prevailing feeling inside homes, between families and among neighbors in these harsh days.

After more than 22 days of continuous fear and terror, the operation was over. We lost 1,400 martyrs; thousands of people were wounded with white phosphorus and other state-of-the-art Israeli weapons. Electricity and sewage infrastructure, transportation systems and roads were severely damaged.

International solidarity

In the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the international empathy for the Palestinian cause rose and pro-Palestine movements across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa became stronger than ever. Demands for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel grew louder.

Until today, a number of families that were left homeless by the massacre have not yet managed to find permanent housing. The infrastructure is still damaged and the reconstruction process is moving inefficiently and very slowly due to the banning of construction materials. In the meantime, the Israeli siege remains in place. As I wrote these lines at night, at least two Israeli strikes took place, killing at least one and injuring a dozen, some with serious wounds.

United we can overcome the hurdles and defeat the occupation.

Rafat Abushaban, 23, is a Palestinian activist living in Gaza. His blog





Three years ago: A “normal morning” turns to horror in Gaza

Mohammed Suliman 
Boy plays with balloon amongst rubble of destroyed building

The memory of Israel’s 22 days of bombing in Gaza evokes sadness, anger, pain and inexplicable pride. (Ashraf Amra / APA images )


It was a few minutes past eleven. I woke up “early” to start preparing for my school exams that were due to start in a couple of weeks. It was a lovely morning, warm and sunny. The December sunlight filtered through the curtained windows and so beautifully decorated the carpeted floor.

Everything was completely normal, except that the sky seemed clearer than usual with the absence of the Israeli unmanned drones that would fly and buzz in the sky above. No abnormal signs, no reason to worry, and not a single harbinger of an impending war.

My mom was away for the weekly shopping. My sisters, who had been halfway through their day, were back home from school and were already seated before the television, watching cartoons. I made myself a cup of tea and, as is my habit, started to count the pages I had to finish studying that day. Very soon, I was immersed in my book.

A little while later, and all of a sudden, all hell broke loose. I can’t even remember how it all started. It just happened. There was no beginning, and there was no end.

The bombs rained down from every direction. I felt the floor beneath my feet shake so terribly. The entire building shook back and forth with every falling bomb. It seemed as if all the bombs had been dropped in my neighborhood, just next to where I lived.

The bombing was so horrendously ear-piercing. My heart skipped many a beat. Wide-eyed and petrified, my sisters stood transfixed next to me, tightly clutching my arms. I wanted to calm them down, but not until I calmed down myself first. Not until I could get myself to think clearly, and not until I could understand what was happening in the first place.

This is probably how it began. But this is one simple and detached account of one who was sipping his tea and enjoying the sunlight at his home when this all happened. For many others it was the end.

When I later watched the videos of the first locations to be targeted with the first bombs, I saw numerous bodies lay lifelessly on the ground, many repulsively disfigured — defaced, limbs chopped, torn apart, yet many, thankfully, were in complete shape — but still they were bereft of life.

Horror and agony in the streets

While I was on the rooftop disinterestedly trying to film a few scenes of the aftermath of each of the bombings that would not cease for twenty-two days, mothers, not far from where I stood, were grievously bewailing the deaths of their sons; daughters were sobbing in agony over the loss of their fathers; little children were scared stiff and crying out in horror. Some were running scared for their lives in the streets, and others were lying beneath the rubble, powerless and surrounded by the dead bodies of their siblings.

Typical of all wars, electricity was soon cut off and water was no longer in abundance. Cooking gas and bread became scarce. Basic needs became like priceless luxuries. Dreams, ambitions and hopes were shattered and lost, only to be replaced by survival which becomes everyone’s ultimate goal in war times.

The thought of dying alone

I joined crowds of people queuing up at six in the morning to buy a bag of bread. I saw others in front of oil shops fighting and pushing one another to buy a small amount of kerosene heating oil.

I stayed amongst crowds of people for hours on end in the gas station, hopelessly trying to get our cylinder half-filled with gas — filling a gas cylinder entirely at that time was an unthinkable wish. I developed a daily ritual of testing the amount of water inside our water tank by knocking its sides while leaning my ears against them. I spontaneously joined in the joyous celebrations when the electricity came back on.

I had grown an arcane love for the dark and an unusual appreciation of time. I cherished company and abhorred being alone like never before, for nothing scared me back then as much as the thought of dying alone.

Personal stories behind shocking statistics of death

Nothing yet had made me more dejected than how I became engrossed with following ever-changing statistics. The humanness of the victims was unthinkingly reduced in my mind to mere numbers which were drastically, and always more shockingly, on the rise.

The memory of the first statistics of more than eighty persons killed in the first wave of bombings has been engraved in my mind forever. As I look back on it now, I believe it was an extremely helpful, though selfish, tactic unconsciously devised to help me through the day in my right mind by getting around the insufferable pain of knowing the personal stories behind every one of these numbers.

Nonetheless, every now and then, a few stories would jump out from behind the numbers, and everyone would inevitably listen to them, many against their will, and perhaps soon, they would start to narrate them in a casual manner.

Only this explains the comment by the uncle of a Kashimiri friend in London on the way I spoke of bombings when he asked me about life in Gaza.

He wondered at how casually I talked of bombings as though they were a common thing that didn’t worry me. I told him a common story about little children in Gaza who would be playing in the streets when some bombing hit the nearby area. Their reaction would be to either totally ignore the bombing and carry on playing, or they would stop their game, cheer loudly and clap their hands, as if bombing were reason for one to be happy.

After three years, the 22 days are still engraved

Now it has been three years, and I’m still capable of evoking every minute detail of the twenty-two days which have become an experience I recall with feelings of sadness, anger, pain and a little bit of confusing pride, the reason for which I cannot understand.

The thunderous bombings, the creepy gunfire, the hovering Apache helicopters always sending a chill down the spine. The glass shattering, our neighbor’s wailing, mourners chanting “La Ilaha Illa Allah” (there is no God but God). The smell of kerosene heating oil stuck in my nose, the unnerving hums of our kerosene stove. The large, intricate clouds from the white phosphorus bombs, spreading through the sky like spider webs. My spite toward our neighbors’ generators, the fragile short periods of silence, the gloomy faces filling the green or blue condolence tents. The endless statements of the Ministry of Health’s spokesman.

These and a whole host of other memories form a rare experience. Perhaps it is that we survived that lies behind that odd sense of pride.

Mohammed Rabah Suliman is a 22 year old Palestinian student and blogger from Gaza. Mohammed currently undertakes graduate studies at the London School of Economics. He blogs at Gaza Diaries of Peace and War as well as at The Electronic Intifada, and can be followed on Twitter @imPalestine.



I have written extensively about illegal Israeli visitors working in malls throughout the United States. These crimes continue….. but perhaps what’s happening in Canada will be a wake-up call for Americans as well…. The video presented below demonstrates that they are very aware of the situation….
Shalom, your skin looks terrible …
Posts from the archives can be seen HERE, and HERE

Canada: Israelis arrested for illegal work

Canadian border authority detain Israeli nationals working without permit in mall carts; punishment includes $1,000 fine, deportation

*Border Authorities and detectives at the Halifax District Police in Canada arrested Israeli citizens who illegally worked in mall carts around the country, Canadian network CBC reported on Saturday.

According to a report published on the internet site of Shalom Toronto, dozens of Israelis were arrested during raids in apartments and three malls in the country, and they are scheduled for deportation. They might also be barred from entering the United States in the future.

A Canadian Border Authority spokesperson stated that the arrests were carried out as part of an extensive campaign tracking immigrants and refugees who illegally seek employment in Canada. According to the spokesperson, 10 people were arrested during the latest raid, on suspicion of violating immigration laws.

Two men and two women have already been brought in front of a judge and were accused of working without permit. One of the men demanded to have a translator present during the hearing, while the other man reportedly demanded to meet with another lawyer.

The two women pleaded guilty and were fined $1,000 each. One of the women, who arrived to Canada in August, presented the court with a work permit; however the local police claimed the document were forged.

The police said six other people will be brought in front of a judge, but did not disclose their nationalities. During the hearing, the presiding judge suggested that Jewish organizations and the Israeli Consulate should assist the detainees.

The Shalom Toronto website reported that Canada and the United States approved in the beginning of December a plan to increase security cooperation at border crossings. According to the agreement, the two states will share information on foreign nationals whose visas were denied or were denied entry into one of the countries. As part of the agreement, the countries will notify each other of any Israelis and other foreign nationals who were deported due to illegal employment or other reasons.



Courtesy of NYPD MISSING FOREVER: Body parts of missing Brooklyn boy Leiby Kletzky were found Wednesday after a massive search in his Borough Park neighborhood.
The murder of ANY child is a crime unforgiveable. Palestinian mothers live in constant fear that their child might be abducted or murdered on the way home from school or on the way to the grocery store. It is a fear that is a reality as these horrors occur almost daily in the occupied territories.
Mothers in America now see that no child is safe anywhere. There was a terrible crime in Brooklyn, the whole city is shaken.  A little boy, barely 9, in Borough Park, in the  Jewish orthodox community, was murdered and dismembered by a member of that community.  There is a collective grief and horror all over.  The funeral was last night and thousands came out, and not just members of that community.  Loads of Black & Latina women showed up, understanding that it could have been their child. Perhaps this tragedy will open the hearts of the Jewish community in New York to the plight of Palestinian mothers.
DesertPeace and Associates offers its condolences to the family of Leiby Kletzky. May they never again know of such horrors. No family should…
A report from the Forward describes the situation….

Jewish Neighborhood in Shock After Grisly Murder of Brooklyn Boy

Leiby Kletzky Was Abducted as He Walked Home From Camp

Getty Images IN SHOCK: Cops guard the home of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky after the missing boy’s body parts were found in Brooklyn.

Hours after the mutilated remains of an 8-year old Orthodox Jewish boy were found in Brooklyn Wednesday, his close-knit religious neighborhood of Borough Park seemed transfixed by the horrifying story.

Outside a funeral home on 38th Street, people wondered how little Leiby Kletzky’s mother could cope with the trauma. At a table near the window of The Side Dish, a dairy restaurant on 14th Avenue, young women read a newspaper account of the missing boy, who was snatched as he walked home from camp for the first time.

Near the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station, a woman in a black wig repeated the suspect’s name into her cell phone twice.

Throughout the neighborhood, Orthodox Jews — both those who know the murdered child and his family, others who don’t — struggled with the knowledge that Kletzky was snatched from the heart of their insular neighborhood in broad daylight.

Even worse, suspect Levi Aron appeared to be one of their own.

“We would expect it to be an act of terrorism [or] an act of anti-Semitism,” said Ezra Friedlander, a public relations consultant specializing in the Orthodox community, who lives down the block from the summer camp where Leiby Kletzky was last seen alive. “In fact, it’s a member of your own community.”

Kletzky was reported missing Monday afternoon, after leaving the Boyan Day Camp he attended on 44th Street and 12th Avenue. The boy had pleaded with his parents to allow him to walk home and they agreed to meet him halfway at 13th Avenue and 50th Street.

Police said that Aron, who worked in a nearby building supply warehouse, did not know Kletzky and snatched the boy at random. Surveillance footage showed the boy following a man later identified as Aron toward a gold car.

Orthodox safety patrols and the New York Police Department conducted a massive search on Monday night and Tuesday. Residents described an intensive, community-wide effort to locate the missing boy. Shlomo Fishman, an electrician who was parked near the Kletzkys’ home, said that he had taken part in the search.

“There were thousands of people going block by block, every group had a certain street — all the alleys, all the hidden places a kid could be hiding,” Fishman said on Wednesday.

The search ended before dawn Wednesday, when police determined Aron’s identity. At his apartment, they located parts of Kletzky’s body in the freezer, police said.

Aron made statements implicating himself, said NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne, and led police officials to a dumpster in nearby Park Slope where additional remains were found stuffed in a red suitcase.

Aron is an Orthodox Jew, though his home is just outside the bounds of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Borough Park. He recently returned from living in Tennessee, where he married a woman but later got divorced.

Meanwhile, Borough Park seemed shaken to its core on Wednesday. “If you’re not safe in Borough Park, you’re not safe anywhere,” Friedlander said.

At Kletzky’s camp, elementary school-aged boys looked out the windows at reporters standing outside in the light rain. One boy pushed a plush stuffed animal up to the window.

An Orthodox woman walking past the intersection where the boy’s parents had waited for him said her children had known the boy, and that she had instructed her children the night before not to talk to strangers.

A young Hasidic couple at the same intersection said that they hadn’t let their children go to school alone that morning. “It’s like you can’t trust anybody,” said the woman, who gave her name as Dvora.

Kletzky lived in a red brick apartment building on 15th Avenue and 56th Street with his four sisters and his parents. His family prayed at a synagogue led by Rabbi Binyonim Eisenberger in the basement of a yeshiva a few blocks away. Community members said that the boy’s father worked as a van driver. A neighbor said that Eisenberger was with the family on Wednesday.

While police cleared streets near the home and the synagogue in preparation for Kletzky’s funeral Wednesday night, Borough Park residents seemed at pains to paint the suspect in the murder as outside of their community.

A member of the Satmar Hasidic community named Meilich Green, 21, said that, judging from pictures of the suspect posted online, he didn’t see him as an insider.

“He doesn’t look like us,” said Green, who was dressed in a black hat and black coat. “He doesn’t look like he lives the way we live.”

Aron’s co-worker at Empire State Supply, a building and janitorial supplies firm, said that Aron had worked as a laborer in the warehouse for 12 years, though he had left in the middle of that period to live in Tennessee. He is “quiet, very very quiet,” the co-worker said.

Aron had been to work on Tuesday, the day after the boy disappeared. It is unclear if the boy was already dead by then.

“He looked like a little ill, maybe. Quiet,” the co-worker said. “But he’s always quiet.”


Israeli police will not face trial over death of Palestinian girl

By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem

Israeli policemen suspected of shooting dead a 10-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl in 2007 will escape prosecution after a court said that too much time had elapsed to allow a re-examination of the case.

The decision will come as a blow for the girl’s parents, who have campaigned for justice for their daughter, Abir Aramin, who died after being struck in the head during a school break.

In a highly critical ruling, Israel’s High Court described the police investigation into the girl’s death as a “sordid affair” that had been both “sloppy” and “negligent” and ordered the state to pay the family’s legal costs.

But it backed an earlier decision not to charge two border policemen allegedly involved in her death, in part because of the difficulty of conducting an investigation so long after the incident in the absence of fresh evidence.

Human rights organisation Yesh Din, which had petitioned the court to indict the policemen, expressed its dismay. “An innocent girl was shot and somebody has to take responsibility,” said Haim Erlich, the NGO’s director. “No justice was done.”

Abir was fatally wounded in January 2007 after buying snacks with her sister and two friends during a school break in the West Bank town of Anata.

Eyewitnesses claimed that border guards, who had clashed with stone-throwing Palestinian rioters nearby, fired at the girl from a passing jeep. The police opened an investigation but closed it a short while later, arguing it was possible she had been killed by a rock and that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Residents said there were no clashes in that particular street, and a parallel investigation and autopsy carried out by Israeli NGOs concluded that she had been killed by a rubber bullet fired by police in the jeep.

An Israeli civil court last year agreed with the girl’s family, saying there was “no debate” that Abir was shot by border guards.




I have written extensively about the various scams taking place in American malls involving illegal Israeli aliens. My most recent report can be read HERE, be sure to click on the links within…
The US Consulate in Tel Aviv is engaged in a campaign to discourage this from continuing as can be seen in THIS report, followed by the video mentioned …
Will this be the next sight for their sore eyes?

U.S. Takes On Illegal Israeli Workers

United States authorities have decided to take a stand against the popular phenomenon of foreigners, mostly Israelis, working illegally in kiosks and stands located in American shopping malls.

The US Consulate in Tel Aviv published a YouTube video to discourage young Israelis fresh out of their army service from coming to work illegally across American by telling the tales of those captured by US authorities, questioned and deported from country.

In the video, Israeli citizens describe how they arrived in US without a proper visa only to return back home after being blacklisted. They depict how they were refused entry and give an account of their arrest, the tremendous financial costs and of their great feeling of embarrassment. 

US diplomats attemped to refute the reassuring myths regarding the danger of getting caught, explaining that most of the people arrested for immigration felonies are sent to a regular jail, “with killers and rapists in the next cell.”

However many feel these deportation threats and a simple YouTube video are not enough to prevent young Israelis from fulfilling their dream of fast cash in the US.



Israelis are now aware of this situation … perhaps this will help Americans wake up to the problem as well.


New FBI Files Alleging AIPAC Theft of Government Property and Israeli Espionage Released

WASHINGTON,  — Declassified files detailing an FBI investigation targeting the American Israel Public Affairs Committee are now available on the Internet.  AIPAC was investigated after it acquired and circulated classified government information provided in strict confidence by US industry and worker groups opposed to AIPAC sponsored economic legislation.

The 50 pages now available as portable document files (PDF) include:

FBI reports of Israelis circulating classified documents in the US Congress, “compromising” the authority of the U.S. President.

US Trade Representative concerns that AIPAC was tactically “divulging” classified information supplied by US industries opposed to AIPAC lobbying initiatives.

Reports from the International Trade Commission that AIPAC and Israeli operatives “usurped” US government authority and that an Israeli intelligence service operative was working undercover on AIPAC’s staff:

Internal Department of Justice prosecutorial opinions that “theft of government property” had occurred:

An FBI director order that the Washington Field office give the AIPAC investigation top priority after Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was caught on video surveillance stealing classified US national defense information:

FBI special agent interviews of Israeli minister of economics Dan Halpern who claimed diplomatic immunity.  Halpern admitted passing classified US documents to AIPAC but refused to name his source:

FBI special agent interviews of AIPAC’s former director of legislative affairs detailing how he made copies of the classified documents for AIPAC’s lobbying use after being ordered to return them to the US government.

FBI interviews of key AIPAC employees involved in handling the classified US government information (full document listing):

According to research director Grant F. Smith, the newly released files present startling new insights into AIPAC’s activities in the United States.  “These files, available on the Internet for the first time, reveal activities that undermined rule of law and governance.  They have wrought massive economic harm to American businesses and workers.  We urge all concerned Americans to carefully review and ponder the implications of these FBI files and other documents now available from the Israel Lobby Archive.”

The Israel Lobby Archive, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington. The Archive digitizes declassified documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act filings with law enforcement, economic, diplomatic and intelligence agencies. IRmep is a Washington-based nonprofit that studies U.S. Middle East policy formulation.

Source via


But the sex scandal that political observers say will probably end Strauss-Kahn’s political career is not likely to have a negative impact on the French-Jewish community. “But it will certainly give succor to those in the community who believe it is better to stay away from politics because Jews inevitably end up paying the price,” Klugman said. “And that’s just sad.”

Strauss-Kahn’s Journey From Acceptance to Sex Scandal

Anti-Semitism Now the Least Of Ex-IMF Chief’s Problems

Jailed: Dominique Strauss-Kahn in custody.
Getty Images  Jailed: Dominique Strauss-Kahn in custody.

Update: On May 18, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned his position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. On May 19, he was released on bail.

PARIS — Just weeks ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn worried aloud that his Jewish identity would be exploited during France’s upcoming presidential campaign.

In what were to have been off-the-record meetings with writers and editors of the French newspaper Libération and the newsmagazine Marianne, Strauss-Kahn in late April cited money, women — he had admitted to a 2008 extramarital affair with a subordinate at the International Monetary Fund — and his Jewish identity as the issues his political opponents were most likely to seize on as the election season got under way.

During those meetings, he wondered if an old statement he made to a French Jewish newspaper would come back to haunt him. In 2003, he told Tribune Juive that he wakes up every morning wondering how he could be useful to Israel — a remark he now calls a “stupidity.”

As it turns out, though, Judaism is the least of Strauss-Kahn’s problems.

The 62-year-old IMF chief who seemed poised to become France’s first Jewish president next year is now facing the possibility of decades behind bars instead of a five-year presidential term.

His fortunes changed on May 14, when the former French finance minister was taken into custody in New York, just before his plane was to depart for Paris. The following day, he was charged with the sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment of a chambermaid in the posh New York hotel suite where he was staying. He was denied bail and, at press time, was being held at New York’s Rikers Island jail complex.

Up until his arrest, Strauss-Kahn’s emergence as a leading presidential candidate in a nation with a long history of anti-Semitism was widely viewed as a sign of Jewish acceptance in France. Even the far-right National Front Party has largely abandoned its anti-Jewish rhetoric, while continuing to make charged statements about Muslims.

Although France has had Jewish prime ministers before — Léon Blum in the 1930s, and Pierre Mendès-France in the 1950s — it has never had a French president, who has much broader governing powers than even the president of the United States. Like all politicians in this staunchly secular country, Strauss-Kahn, who is widely known as DSK, rarely spoke of his religious beliefs. But unlike a number of his Jewish colleagues, he has always been open about his faith and his support for Israel.

“Unlike Blum or Mendès-France, who exercised a kind of self-censorship on their Judaism, we had, for the first time in French modern history, a conscious, declared and self-assumed Jew…… in a position to win the presidency,” said Patrick Klugman, a member of Strauss-Kahn’s Socialist Party and a former head of France’s Jewish student association. “While some quarters of the Jewish community feared that this could have negative repercussions on Jews if he was to fail or to do wrong, the polls [prior to his arrest] were crystal-clear: There was no Jewish problem with DSK.”

Strauss-Kahn’s own concerns about anti-Semitism may have stemmed from a controversy in February over comments made by Christian Jacob, of the center-right U.M.P. Party. Jacob said in a radio interview that Strauss-Kahn did not embody “the image of France, the image of rural France… to which I am attached.” One Socialist Party lawmaker, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, said that such remarks were a way of “implying that he is a foreigner, a stateless member of the ‘party from abroad’ or alas something else” — a transparent reference to his Jewishness.

But Jacob’s statement did nothing to dent Strauss-Kahn’s popularity. In recent weeks, polls showed that Strauss-Kahn was favored to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy, of U.M.P., in the general election.

The only child of an Alsatian father and a Tunisian mother, Strauss-Kahn was raised in a secular, progressive environment in France and in Morocco. Although he celebrated his bar mitzvah, he ultimately seemed to distance himself from Judaism; his first and second wives were not Jewish. However, he has said that the Six Day War in 1967 helped revive his Jewish identity. And following two divorces, he married American-born Jewish journalist Anne Sinclair, who, according to a recently published biography, “made him more Jewish.” An Orthodox rabbi officiated at their 1991 union in Sarcelles, a middle-class Paris suburb that is home to many Jews of North African descent, as well as to many Arab-Muslim residents. It was in Sarcelles that Strauss-Kahn established his political base in the late 1980s, serving as a lawmaker before going on to become a government minister.

With the help of Sarkozy, Strauss-Kahn was named managing director of the IMF in 2007. This was initially seen as a savvy move by Sarkozy to eliminate a potential rival by sending him to a dormant institution in Washington. But in the wake of the global financial meltdown, Strauss-Kahn’s profile has risen as he earned kudos for pushing the organization to adopt more progressive policies and to forgo the stringent austerity packages it imposed in many countries.

It wasn’t Strauss-Kahn’s Judaism, but the other two issues he articulated concerns about during the Libération and Marianne conversations that would ultimately turn out to be much bigger problems for him.

In late April, Strauss-Kahn and his wife were photographed getting into a Porsche. Days later, reports surfaced about the IMF chief’s penchant for suits by a high-end Washington-based tailor. His media advisers quickly countered that he was merely getting into a friend’s car, and they threatened to sue the media outlets that published articles about his tailored suits.

Though Sarkozy has been criticized for his ostentatious ways — earning the nickname “bling-bling president” — in a meeting with fellow party lawmakers last year, he reportedly boasted that in comparison with Strauss-Kahn, he behaves like a “Methodist pastor.” And since Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, the president told members of his party that he had warned Strauss-Kahn when he was appointed IMF chief to watch his personal behavior.

Indeed, some supporters of the IMF chief hold out the possibility that the New York scandal could be a setup by Sarkozy supporters. During his recent meeting at Libération, Strauss-Kahn offered up a startling example of the types of tactics to which his political rivals might resort.

“Imagine that a woman would be paid 500,000 or a million euros to claim that I had raped her in a parking lot,” Libération quoted him as saying. (Libération and Marianne opened up about the content of their late April conversations with Strauss-Kahn, following the politician’s arrest.)

But the sex scandal that political observers say will probably end Strauss-Kahn’s political career is not likely to have a negative impact on the French-Jewish community. “But it will certainly give succor to those in the community who believe it is better to stay away from politics because Jews inevitably end up paying the price,” Klugman said. “And that’s just sad.”



Two non-profit groups linked to pop star Madonna are also under investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported. Madonna helped put the center on the map when she became an adherent of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism.

LA Kabbalah Centre probed by IRS

LOS ANGELES, — The Kabbalah Centre of Los Angeles acknowledged Friday it is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Two non-profit groups linked to pop star Madonna are also under investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported. Madonna helped put the center on the map when she became an adherent of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism.

The center was founded several decades ago by Philip Berg and his wife, Karen, and they still run it with their sons. Sources told the Times the IRS is investigating whether the Berg family is profiting from tax-exempt donations.

Kabbalah has also attracted Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow, and the center’s assets may now be more than $260 million, the Times said.

The center said it and a related group, Spirituality for Kids, have received subpoenas.

“The Centre and SFK intend to work closely with the IRS and the government, and are in the process of providing responsive information to the subpoenas,” a statement said.


Also see THIS AP Report


Teaching children in the Theater he founded…..

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Humanity mourns.  We are shocked.  Juliano Mer-Khamis, a friend and fellow peace activist, was murdered in Jenin.  The masked killer/s whoever they were were cowards whose madness will not deter those of us who continue to work for justice and peace for all. If they thought they could kill coexistence and love in the holy land by killing a symbol and a great activist, they are mistaken.   Juliano symbolizes what many of us have worked for: a  transformation of our homeland into a pluralistic democratic state where every human being regardless of his religion (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) would be treated with dignity and respect.  Fundamentalist notions of superiority were at odds with this message. His killers will not get their way and justice will prevail.  But Juliano’s loss is a shock to all of us. 

Juliano was a superb human being who embodied the best qualities of activism and dedicated leadership for human rights, justice and peace.  He was my age and I first met him a few years ago when we brought him for the Connecticut screening of the film Arna’s children, the story of his mother and the Children of Jenin Refugee camp.   On numerous occasions over the past few years I visited Jenin Freedom Theater that Juliano cofounded and that injected so much beauty and hope into the lives of the people at Jenin Refugee Camp. See


Juliano took the characters of compassion and caring of his Israeli Jewish mother (she herself worked to challenge Zionist supremacy and fundamentalist idiocies for decades) and gentile love of land and people and pacifist characters of his Palestinian father.  He exemplified everything that I and millions of others aspired to: coexistence, tolerance, nonviolence, peace, love, passion for life, richness in diversity and so much more.  He had a two year old child and his wife as I knew was pregnant or may have just delivered their second child.  His absence will be felt but I for one will work to ensure that his work continues and accelerates.  The best answer to violence is to intensify our work and build on the vision thus never allowing these forces of hate to destroy the future.  As to who killed Juliano: all humans are guilty.. our inability to rise as a species beyond violence is largely due to our apathy and indifference to the suffering of fellow human beings.  It is telling that many political leaders (from Hamas, Fatah, Israeli leaders) remain silent on the murder of Juliano when they so readily spoke at other convenient political junctures.  Those who are apathetic are just as guilty as those fundamentalist racists who ordered this killing or pulled the trigger to shoot fellow human beings.  I for one will have a lot of pain in my heart for Juliano, for Bassem, for Jawaher, for Rachel and all the other friends we lost along the way.  We must make sure that their murders do not go in vain and the best thing we can do is increase our efforts to continue the path and bring others to this path.  Killers must know that 10 will rise in place for every peace activist they kill.  Those of us active in the same cause of coexistence and peace must intensify our work. 


Gideon Levy remembers Juliano Mer-Khamis: An Arab, a Jew, a human being

Juliano Mer-Khamis was one of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them.

By Gideon Levy

A little over a month ago, Juliano Mer-Khamis stood on the stage of his Freedom Theater at the edge of the Jenin refugee camp.

Directing his remarks at the young, noisy group of children making its first-ever visit to a theater, he said: “This is a dangerous show, with subversive messages. Whoever talks will be thrown out of the hall.”

A hush came over the audience. For the next 75 minutes, I watched one of the loveliest, most stylish, political plays I had ever seen.

None of the children interrupted the show, with the exception of one infant who burst into tears at the sight of the servant hanging on a rope.

The Freedom Theater presents “Alice in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll. Directed by Juliano Mer-Khamis, with Udi Aloni as playwright.

I first saw Mer-Khamis in another time and another place. It was in the late 1980s, when he stood for a number of days in the front yard of the Israel Fringe Theater festival in Acre, his naked body dipped with oil as part of a one-man show that knew no end. Years later I caught “Arna’s Children,” a brilliant film which he co-directed with his dying mother, Arna Mer, the founder of the theatre in Jenin and the daughter of the doctor who cured malaria in Rosh Pina. It is arguably the most moving film ever created about the Israeli occupation.

Since then, I have met him on numerous occasions, always in the camp. This tall, strapping, handsome man who oozed charisma, a Jew and an Arab on account of his parents – perhaps a Jew in the eyes of the Arabs and an Arab in the eyes of the Jews – decided to devote his life to Jenin, where he lived as an Israeli and as a human being. One of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them.

The seven bullets extinguished the light of courage that he radiated. “Jule was murdered,” a trembling voice belonging to a refugee camp resident on the other end of the phone told me. My voice also trembled.


The Jenin Freedom Theater Today…..

“Arna’s Children,” a brilliant film which he co-directed with his dying mother, Arna Mer, the founder of the theatre in Jenin and the daughter of the doctor who cured malaria in Rosh Pina. It is arguably the most moving film ever created about the Israeli occupation.



When the ‘Let My People Go’ campaign started the idea was to put pressure on the Soviet government to let the Jews migrate to Israel. It was the dream of the Israeli ultra right to build a base for themselves composed of ardent right wing, anti Communist zionists that could be moulded into the racist element that eventually elected an Avigdor Lieberman. Truly a zionist success story…..


It was realised by a good part of these newcomers that Israel wasn’t the place they wanted to be.


We saw the birth of the ‘Let My People Leave’ campaign. Leave for where? That was the question….. but the answer was obvious; The United States. Where else could a racist, criminal element feel at home? It was a perfect plan…..


It just wasn’t that easy getting the proper visa allowing them to take up permanent residency in America legally……


Illegal ways had to be found to make this dream a reality. By hook or by crook, these folks were going to find a way out of the new Gulag they were living in. Obtaining a visitors permit is not impossible for a short stay in America …. getting an illegal job selling ‘beauty products’ in malls or being a part of a locksmith scam is not impossible either…. but for how long? Much of this is done with the assistance of the Russian Mafia, a network set up to aid and abet these potential criminals, at least until a way is figured out to get a Green Card. Best way for that is to marry some unsuspecting American girl, quite often arranged for a fee.  The plan is to stay married for a prescribed period of time and then one can be free again, legally free.

Quite often, these Green Card schemes originate in Israel itself. The Russians often frequent social places where American students hang out; bars and university cafes.
The intention is to meet and ‘befriend’ some unsuspecting foreign student. Quick ‘romances’ develope and before you know it, there’s an engagement announcement. Now that the fall term is about over, many of these students are returning home …. quite often with their perspective ‘mates’. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when these middle class spoiled brats return to their family arm in arm with some drug crazed or drunken Cossak…. should be an interesting scene. ‘But I love him’….

So prepare yourself America, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!!

Truly a case of Israel’s GAIN is America’s LOSS!!


If it’s OK to crush to death a protester with a bulldozer, why shouldn’t it be OK to shoot out the eye of another protester? According to the Israeli ‘Justice’ System, it IS OK as can be seen in the following…..

Emily Henochowicz being rushed away for treatment after she was hit in the eye with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in May.

Photo by: Daniel Bar-On

Police exonerate Israeli officer who shot canister that hit U.S. activist’s eye

Art student Emily Henochowicz was seriously injured during a protest against the IDF’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in late May.

The Judea and Samaria district police found no criminal wrongdoing in the actions of the Border Police soldiers who left an American art student without an eye after getting hit in the face with a tear gas canister at a protest in Qalandiyah six months ago.

The incident took place on May 31, when Emily Henochowicz, a student at Cooper Union College in New York, took part in a small protest against the Israel Defense Forces raid on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza that morning.

Video footage of the incident shows Henochowicz, who carried a Turkish flag, injured from a tear gas grenade. She lost one of her eyes, and suffered several other fractures. Henochowicz has since returned to the United States to complete her studies.

Following the incident, Henochowicz’s family filed a complaint to the Judea and Samaria district police which is responsible for investigating the operational activity of the Border Police in the West Bank. The family argued the policeman shot the canister directly at the student, against regulations.

Henochowicz submitted her testimony, as did the Border Police batallion commander, company commander and the officer who fired the canister. The Border Police officers claimed the gas canister only hit Henochowicz after it ricocheted off a barricade. The police investigators claimed this version of events is backed by video footage of the incident. The police case has been transferred to the central district attorney to decide whether charges will be filed.

Attorney Michael Sfard, representing the Henochowicz family, slammed the police investigation, dubbing the Judea and Samaria police “a sewage treatment plant for the Border Police.” He said the investigation was negligent, pointing out that investigators did not bother to speak to Haaretz reporter Avi Issacharoff and photographer Daniel Bar-On, who were present at the scene and captured the incident in print and photos.

“Every investigation of killing or injuries ends up emitting this stench of blamelessness,” Sfard said. “This particular case shows that the negligence borders whitewash. Anyone who finds no need to question objective witnesses, who have stated the Border Police officer took direct aim, is obstructing the investigation and is as good as confessing to having no interest in finding the truth.”

When reached for comment, police would only say the case was now with the district attorney’s office.




The final few acres were dug up just before the beginning of Ramadan, in the middle of the night so that Israel can build the Museum of Tolerance in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States.

The Destruction of the Mamilla Cemetery: Desecration of a Sacred Site

Sylvia Schwarz*


The Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) Cemetery was the oldest Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem with graves dating back to the seventh century, comprised of 33 acres and tens of thousands of graves. After 1948 the Israeli ministry that maintained the site reassured world leaders that this important religious site would be cared for in perpetuity.

Less than fifteen years later, in the 1960s a park was built in part of the cemetery and a parking lot covered another part. These were followed by a school, football field, underground parking garage, and road. Electrical wires were laid in other sections.

The final few acres were dug up just before the beginning of Ramadan, in the middle of the night (as can be seen on the CNN video) so that Israel can build the Museum of Tolerance in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States.

An enormous amount of knowledge was lost with the destruction of the Mamilla Cemetery, according to St. Paul based archaeologist, John E. Landgraf, Ph.D., because the era since the end of the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Islamic conquest (around 638 CE) up to the present day is the least known period of history in the Middle East generally. There is much to be learned by examining skeletal remains, headstones, and tombs. However, the Israeli Department of Antiquities, which has recently been taken over by the Orthodox Rabbinate, does not allow any human skeletal remains to be examined; Jewish remains must be re-interred as quickly as possible out of respect, whereas non-Jewish remains at the Mamilla Cemetery were disposed of along with tombstones and other debris in construction dumpsters.

Dr. Landgraf, who participated in a number of archaeological digs in Israel and the West Bank between 1965 and 1980, said that the Israeli Department of Antiquities was seldom interested in the preservation of remains or artifacts from the Islamic period. In the late 1960s the discovery of Muslim graves at Tell Gezer did not interest the American head archaeologist at the time, and so bulldozers were used to push remains, artifacts, and debris back into the graves.

Archaeological excavations are a way of learning about the past in an orderly fashion. One exposes history a layer at a time, and by careful examination knowledge can be gained of the various eras and cultures. When Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 Israeli archaeologists used bulldozers to excavate the Western (Wailing) Wall area down to the late Roman period, destroying the homes of Palestinians living there at the time, and along with them the 1500-year history of the people who had lived there since the Byzantine period. “Thus there is a loss of continuity in our understanding of the past,” said Dr. Landgraf.

It is ironic that in the midst of mass hysteria over an Islamic center to be built in lower Manhattan, because some people feel that this would be disrespectful to the dead, that a genuine desecration of a sacred place occurs, unreported in most mainstream media. “The unfortunate reality is that Indigenous populations live in a world in which we are never safe from colonizer assaults even when we are dead,” says Wazayatawin, Ph.D., Indigenous Peoples Research Chair and Associate Professor, Indigenous Governance Program, University of Victoria, someone who has worked on behalf of Indigenous peoples in this hemisphere for many years, and sees many parallels with the experience of Palestinians. “The ongoing desecration of Indigenous burial sites, including the Mamilla Cemetery in West Jerusalem, reflects a deeply embedded colonizer mentality that views subjugated peoples as fundamentally inferior and unworthy of even the most basic dignities afforded other human beings,” she says.

Dr. Wazayatawin continues, “The act of erasing a people’s memory from the landscape is a necessary element in the colonization process. In order for the colonizers to legitimize their occupation of another’s land, they must eradicate all memories of the colonized, including even the human remains that demonstrate a deep and powerful connection to the land itself.”

Everywhere in Israel are the eradicated memories of the dispossessed Indigenous people. Old mosques are transformed into bars and nightclubs, so that patrons drink alcohol where Muslims used to pray. The history museum in Jaffa (more of a tourist site than an educational institution) is inexplicably silent about the existence of people in the city between the Roman times and Napoleon’s invasion. Street names are changed from their ancient Arabic names to new Hebrew ones. Golda Meir’s famous comment “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” reflected her desire, not a reality, but it has been repeated so often that many Israelis believe it. The destruction of a cemetery shows starkly how little regard Israel holds for the humanity of the Palestinians. As Dr. Wazayatawin says, “There is something terribly wrong with a culture that digs up the dead of others. The societal justification for such a crime reveals its own sickness.”

* I am an American Jew who began to question Zionism in 1982 after the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon. After reading everything I could on the Israel and Palestine I realized I could no longer remain passive on this issue while Palestinians suffered from Israeli human rights abuses and international law violations. I am actively involved in the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), in a state-wide campaign to get our state to divest from State of Israel bonds, and in other Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. As I write this in June 2010 there are reasons for optimism as well as pessimism. Pessimism because the repression experienced by Palestinians increases daily. Optimism because the increasing repression is a result of the work that we are doing. I believe we will end Israeli Apartheid in my life time. This issue is all-consuming for me, and so I suppose it’s not horrible that I was laid off from my wastewater design engineering job in February 2009 and have been unemployed since.


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