BREAKING THE SILENCE ON ISRAELI RACISM

Where are the outcrys against this injustice?

When a government removes its Bedouin citizens from their home in order to settle its own Jewish citizens in their stead, this is racist dealing. Dispossessing people of their land in order to plant a forest on that same land is inhuman. Had these Bedouins been Jewish settlers, the government certainly would not evict them before finding an alternative dwelling for them that would suit their demands.

By its own acts the government of Israel proves that the UN’s outrageous ruling was not erroneous. Citizens of Israel who do not protest this extreme injustice in fact support the government in its racist policy.

Bedouins hold placards during a protest against a plan to uproot Umm Al-Hiran Village

Bedouins hold placards during a protest against a plan to uproot Umm Al-Hiran Village

Racism

By Amos Gvirtz

Anxiety is fierce. Israeli citizens are in their homes, demolition orders hovering that may be acted upon any day now. What will happen to them? Where will they go? Where will they live? No one offers them any alternatives. They are not, after all, settlers who settled lands that are not theirs, violating Israeli and international law. They are citizens of Israel. Their sole “crime” is to have been born Bedouins in the State of the Jews. They were evicted of their land – of which they were dispossessed – in 1949. The Israeli government transferred them twice until it finally settled them, sixty years ago, in Umm Al Hiran and Attir. Now this government claims they are invaders! Invading the localities where the government itself settled them sixty years ago…

Why is it so important for the government to remove them from the localities it had settled them in? Anyone visiting Umm Al Hiran will see a vast, empty area all around. But apparently the government of Israel has decided to create a Jewish settlement, named Hiran, right where it once settled the Bedouin inhabitants of Umm Al Hiran. And plant a forest right where the government of Israel once settled the inhabitants of Attir!

The question is why does the government of Israel do this. Unfortunately, the simple answer is because it can. Because there are not enough citizens who oppose such racist policies.

The UN General Assembly once came out with an outrageous declaration, ruling that Zionism is racism. The insult was severe. How could once accuse the State of the Jewish Peoplel – who had suffered so long from racism – of racism? Indeed, a few years later the UN General Assembly revoked its own outrageous ruling.

In the 1980s the Isrsaeli Knesset (parliament) legislated a law against racism. I fear that this law is actually against racist incitement, not against racist deeds. The law in fact protects all the racist deeds committed by the government. No one may demand to outlaw the Israeli government because of its own racist acts.

When a government removes its Bedouin citizens from their home in order to settle its own Jewish citizens in their stead, this is racist dealing. Dispossessing people of their land in order to plant a forest on that same land is inhuman. Had these Bedouins been Jewish settlers, the government certainly would not evict them before finding an alternative dwelling for them that would suit their demands.

By its own acts the government of Israel proves that the UN’s outrageous ruling was not erroneous. Citizens of Israel who do not protest this extreme injustice in fact support the government in its racist policy.

BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AT HP

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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NYC Black Friday protest draws dozens to protest HP involvement in oppression of Palestinians

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On the busiest shopping day of the year, protesters in New York City – hailing from Manhattan to Gaza – joined in the Black Friday kick-off of the International Week of Action against HP’s complicity with Israeli attacks on Palestinian rights, protesting outside Best Buy in Union Square.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest, which highlighted HP’s role in providing servers and management systems to the Israel Prison Service that imprisons over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Hewlett Packard is also involved in providing imaging equipment for Israeli checkpoints and ID cards, enabling the siege of Gaza, providing services to Israeli settlements, and supporting other occupation infrastructure. The New York City event is one of over 99 protests around the world between 25 November and 3 December demanding a boycott of HP and an end to HP’s involvement in deportations, incarceration and oppression in Palestine, the United States and around the world. These protests were organized in response to a call from the International Boycott HP Coalition and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

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Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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Several Zionist counter-protesters, including one person dressed in an Israeli military uniform, repeatedly heckled the protesters and attempted, yet failed, to provoke confrontations. Throughout the protest, demonstrators chanted loudly against HP and its complicity in the occupation of Palestine, urging shoppers to boycott Hewlett Packard technology products. A wide range of activists, groups and writers concerned with Palestine participated in the demonstration, while a group of youth from a video training class organized by Picture the Struggle interviewed participants. Picture the Struggle works to document justice movements, including the Black movement, in New York City, through video, photography and audio recording.

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Samidoun is planning to join and encourages all to attend the protest on Monday, 28 November in New York City in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor facing persecution in the United States. A major hearing in her case to determine the entry of evidence relating to her PTSD after torture will take place on 29 November in Detroit, which is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Rasmea Defense Committee is organizing protests and buses to Detroit to support Odeh, while protests are taking place in Tampa, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City and elsewhere to demand justice for Rasmea. In New York City, protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at Liberty Street and Broadway at 3:30 pm on Monday.

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Photos 1, 3 by Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Photos 2, 4, 6 by Joe Catron

Photo 5 by Anne Pruden

 

WRITTEN FOR

HOW THE ‘SUPER MOON’ AFFECTED THE SUPER LUNATICS IN ISRAEL

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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 Israel’s #1 Lunatic

Image by Amos Biderman

Image by Amos Biderman

A Pogrom Shakes a Palestinian Village Strangled by Israeli Settlements

A dozen masked settlers wielding knives and clubs and yelling ‘death to Arabs’ attacked five Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives; ‘They came to kill,’ one victim says.

Gideon Levy and Alex Levac

It was a pogrom.

The survivors are five congenial Palestinian farmers who speak broken Hebrew and work in construction in Israel, with valid entry permits. On weekends they cultivate what is left of their lands, most of which were plundered for the benefit of the settlements that choke their village, Janiya, outside Ramallah. They are convinced that they survived last Saturday’s attack only by a miracle.

“Pogrom” really is the only word that describes what they endured. “We will kill you!” the assailants shouted, as they beat the men over the head and on their bodies with clubs and iron pipes, and brandished serrated knives. The only “crime” of the Palestinians, who were in the midst of harvesting their olives when the settlers swooped down on them, was that they were Palestinians who had the temerity to work their land.

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent. No Israeli official condemned the assault, no one got upset. One victim needed 20 stitches in his head, another suffered a broken arm and shoulder, a third is limping, a fourth lost his front teeth. Only one managed to get away from the attackers, but he was also hobbled, when he injured his leg on the rocky terrain as he fled.

The farmers, who days later were still in shock from the experience, were evacuated by fellow villagers; the olives remain scattered on the ground. Now they are afraid to go back to the groves. This weekend, they promised themselves, they will send young people from Janiya to collect what was harvested and to complete the work. They themselves, their bodies and spirits battered, say they are incapable of doing anything.

The assailants, about a dozen masked settlers, are seen in a video taken by a local resident, Ahmed al-Mazlim, as they – apparently flushed with the excitement of their act – made their way back to their huts, which are scattered below the settlement of Neria, also known as North Talmon, between Modi’in and Ramallah. This was their “oneg Shabbat,” their Sabbath joy: descending into the valley and beating up people who were working their land, as innocent as they were helpless – possibly even with intent to kill. A peaceful weekend.

The settlers are seen climbing slowly back up to the huts of their unauthorized outpost, which is planted on the hillside below Neria. They are not in any hurry – after all, no one is going to catch them. Finally they sit down on the porch of one of the huts to quench their thirst with a canteen.

I’ve never before seen criminals leaving the scene of the crime with such indifference. Maybe they were exhausted from their labors – thrashing Arabs – tired but happy. Yotam Berger, the Haaretz reporter who was the first to publish the video, visited the huts the day after the pogrom. It was clear to him that settlers lived there, even though the structures were empty when he arrived. No arrests have been made so far, and past experience suggests that none will be made. The police are investigating.

Janiya, a small village of 1,400 souls in the central West Bank, made a living from its lands until most of them were grabbed by the nearby settlements, beginning in the late 1980s. Few regions are as dense with settlers as this one; few villages have had as much of their land plundered as Janiya. Of the original 50,000-60,000 dunams (12,500-15,000 acres) owned by its residents, only 7,000 remain in their hands. The village is being suffocated.

From a vantage point at its edge, we can view the valley in which the assault was perpetrated, and the nearby settlements. Our guide is Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Beneath us, the homes of Talmon A abut Janiya’s remaining lands, quite close to the villagers’ houses. Just stretch out your hand and touch them; one more expansion project and they’re inside Janiya.

To the right – southeast – is the settlement of Dolev, on behalf of whose residents Israel blocked the main road to Ramallah for years. Perched on the hill opposite is Talmon B; next to it is Talmon C; and there, on the horizon, lies Talmon D. An Israel Defense Forces base stands on the top of the hill, at a distance.

Every hilltop here poses another threat to the quiet village. Neria overlooks the olive grove belonging to the Abu Fuheida family and the terraced slopes leading down to it. The dwellings of the “hilltop youths” are scattered across the whole expanse, beneath the Talmons, dozens of meters apart from each other.

It’s quiet in the valley. Some of Janiya’s olive groves now lie on property owned by the settlements; when they are harvested, it’s done in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces. For example, olives were picked in Palestinian-tended parts of Talmon A last week. But the attack by the settlers was perpetrated in a location where coordination isn’t required, because it’s not on the property of any settlement.

This is the end of the harvesting season, and this is a wadi called Natashath. It’s Saturday morning, a beautiful day, and five members of the Abu Fuheida family – Sa’il, Hassan, Sabar, Sa’ad and Mohammed – descend to their family grove, where they have about 70 olive trees. It’s about 8:30; there are no other farmers around. They carry bags (“No knives,” one of them quickly makes clear) that are spread out on the ground to catch the fallen olives, along with a bottle of Coca-Cola, tomatoes, pita and cold cuts. This is not a good year for olives – the harvest has been meager.

They work until midday, sit down to eat and go back to the ladders. Their plan is to complete the harvest by evening. But then the assailants sweep down out of nowhere; the harvesters, up on ladders, heads amid the branches, don’t see them. Only Sa’il, at 57 the eldest of the group and the only one not on a ladder, is able to get away, only to be injured in the course of his panicky flight.

According to Sa’il and to his wounded brother Hassan, there were 10, perhaps 15 attackers. They looked young and robust. One of the four who assaulted Hassan wore glasses; Hassan saw only his eyes. He was the one who gave him the worst pummeling, adds Hassan. All were holding pipes, clubs, sticks or knives. There was also one who seemed to be a lookout: He stood atop the hill next to Neria, armed with a rifle, apparently observing the goings-on. “Kill the Arabs! Kill the Arabs!” the attackers shouted. “We will kill you, you sluts.”

Sa’il: “They were aggressive, violent, I’ve never seen an attack like it. They came to kill.”

The villagers scampered down from the ladders, straight into the hands of the attackers, who grabbed Sabar first, then Hassan, surrounding them – a few settlers for every Palestinian – and walloping them. Sabar was the first to lose consciousness, Hassan says he also passed out. The pogromists tried to hit them on the head, but Hassan protected his with his hands. His right hand is now bandaged, stitched up and in a sling, four of his teeth were knocked out and his lip was cut, too. He is barely functioning and his speech is slurred.

The attack went on for between five and 10 minutes. One of the cousins, Mohammed, managed to flee at one stage, after being slightly wounded, and he summoned help from the village. When the assailants left, the wounded were taken in ambulances and private cars to the Ramallah Government Hospital. Hassan relates that he regained consciousness in his brother’s house, where he had been taken by villagers before being evacuated to the hospital. He gets dizzy when he stands up. He was certain he was going to die, says Hassan, a construction worker in Rishon Letzion (“with a proper permit”).

Only Hassan and Sa’il were in the village when we visited this week (the other three victims had gone to Binyamin Region headquarters, to give testimony to the police.) Their home was packed with visitors offering words of comfort to the victims. The assailants are insane, their cousin Sahar tells us: “They hate the Arabs, they hate the smell of Arabs, they see an Arab and want to trample him underfoot. They want to kill us. They don’t want Arabs here. And they do whatever they feel like.”

We sat in the shade of the bougainvillea in the yard of the family house. I asked Hassan what he thought about what happened. A faint smile crossed his wounded lips, as he replied, “I don’t know what to think. This happens every year.”

Source and photos AT

70 AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS THAT ARE ACTUALLY INTELLECTUAL

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

70 American Intellectuals Call for Boycott of Israeli Settlements

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

The boycott call, an open letter, was published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, which is dated Oct. 13.

Among the signers are Bernard Avishai, Peter Brooks, Peter Beinhart, Todd Gitlin and Martin Sherwin.

The letter said the signatories “oppose an economic, political, or cultural boycott of Israel itself as defined by its June 4, 1967, borders,” which they refer to as the “so-called Green Line.” This boundary, according to the letter writers, “should be the starting point for negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on future boundaries between two states. To promote such negotiations, we call for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and any investments that promote the Occupation, until such time as a peace settlement is negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter also calls on the U.S. government to remove Internal Revenue Service tax exemptions from West Bank entities and to exclude the settlements from Israeli trade benefits.

SEE HOW PRIVATE DONATIONS TO ISRAEL HELP DESTROY PALESTINE

 U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

T’ruah’s new campaign asks the Jewish National Fund to be fully transparent about where American Jewish donations are being spent, and to stop using these donations on projects in the settlements.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

Jewish National Fund Gives $530K From American Donors to West Bank Settlement

The Jewish National Fund’s American fundraising arm gave $530,000 to a visitor’s center in a West Bank settlement, according to a new disclosure by the JNF, which has been under pressure from the left-wing rabbis’ group T’ruah to list its donations to the West Bank.

The $530,000 grant to a museum and visitor’s center in Kfar Etzion is the only West Bank project listed in the new disclosures. While JNF’s American arm has long acknowledged funding the center, the size of the grant has not before been publicly available.

T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group, has for years campaigned to demand details from the JNF on funds it sends to the West Bank, creating a a series of web videos and a write-in campaign demanding a full accounting of JNF spending.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

JNF has said in the past that it makes grants to the occupied West Bank. But since 2008, American charities have not been required to reveal the recipients of their overseas grants, and in recent years the JNF’s public tax returns have not spelled out how its money is spent in Israel.

The charity behind the iconic blue donation boxes that litter Hebrew schools and synagogues across the United States, the JNF in Israel played a key role in the creation of the Jewish state, and still owns a large share of all Israeli land. The American fundraising arm’s reputation as a centrist Israel development charity, however, has taken a hit in recent years, amid attention to the Israeli organization’s role in the displacement of unrecognized Bedioun villages, and questions about its involvement with the West Bank settlement project.

T’ruah’s campaign has sought to quantify how much of the American fundraising arm’s money has gone to West Bank settlements.

Now, in recently-released tax returns for the fiscal year ending last September, the American group has listed the recipients of nearly all of the $29.7 million in grants that group sent to Israel that year.

Nothing in the new documents appears to directly contradict the JNF’s earlier accounting of its West Bank activities. Aside from the grant to the visitor’s center, called the Gush Etzion Foundation, no other projects listed explicitly and directly benefit West Bank settlements.

In a press statement, T’ruah raised questions about $290,000 attributed in JNF’s the tax documents to “general afforestation,” noting that the group doesn’t say whether those trees were planted in Israel or in the West Bank.

T’ruah also pointed to $250,000 that went to a group called Face of Israel, which doesn’t have a functioning website. And T’ruah noted that JNF reported giving $33,000 to a U.S.-based group called Friends of Ir David, which funds the Israeli organization Elad, which is engaged in settlement activity in East Jerusalem.

A spokesman for JNF did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a JNF spokesman said that the organization “will not be intimidated by those who claim to have a higher moral authority while dismissing and belittling the good work that U.S. Jewry performs for the land and people of Israel.”

ISRAEL FINDS A WAY TO END THE OCCUPATION

Even worse than it was before ….

78% of Israeli Jews favor extending Israeli sovereignty over Maale Adumim. Land of Israel Lobby to propose annexation bill this summer.

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Israel to annex Maale Adumim?

A whopping 78% of Israeli Jews say they support the annexation of Maale Adumim even without a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority, along the same lines as Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

The vast majority of respondents favored annexation even if Israel would be pay a steep political cost for the move, with 70% of Israeli Jews saying sovereignty should be applied to Maale Adumim regardless of the consequences.

The poll also found that 88% of Israeli Jews believe that residents of Maale Adumim deserve the same rights and benefits enjoyed by other citizens of the State of Israel, and therefore Israeli law should be fully applied to the area.

The Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset, which includes 20 MKs from various right-wing and religious parties, has pledged to draw up a bill for the annexation of Maale Adumim during the upcoming summer session.

“The consensus view in the public is that Maale Adumim is an inseparable part of Israel,” a statement by the Land of Israel Lobby said, “and it has even become part of the political consensus from right to left, and it is clear that Maale Adumim will remain under Israeli control in any future status arrangement. The Land of Israel Lobby will work within the new coalition framework to advance legislation extending Israeli sovereignty over Maale Adumim.”

Lobby chairman Yoav Kish (Likud) said there were precedents for the move, citing Israel’s 1967 annexation of eastern Jerusalem and 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

“Just as the State of Israel did in the past in Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights, we must do so also today – the idea of applying sovereignty over Maale Adumim enjoys overwhelming support among the Israeli public that crosses party lines. We will work to realize the public’s will.”

 

From

THURSDAY’S TOON ~~ GOLDMAN SACHS FUNDS HEBRON SETTLERS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a "clear pattern" of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn't criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn’t criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Goldman Sachs is funding Hebron settlers

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins FOR

For years American taxpayers have been bankrolling Jewish-only illegal settlements in the West Bank with hundreds of millions of dollars funneled through tax-exempt non-profit organizations (we’ve covered the issue on Mondoweiss since 2009). One of the organizations which is a frequent recipient of these donations is the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund which supports Hebron’s settler community.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund, including the notorious Jewish zealots in Hebron. 

From the article “Why Is Goldman Sachs Funding the Violent, Racist Jewish Settlers of Hebron?“:

So why did Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund, a foundation connected to the world’s most powerful investment bank and run by Goldman Sachs’ top executives, donate $18,000 to the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund that bankrolls this humanitarian nightmare?

On their IRS tax records, Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund declared the purpose of the gift was “International Humanitarian Program” to needy Hebron families. With revenues of $2,250,000 the Hebron Fund can deliver from hunger quite a few of the 700 Jewish settlers of the city.

Grants to the Hebron Fund are not an isolated occurrence. There is a clear pattern in the Fund’s giving to Israel rightwing groups or their American fronts. In 2012-2013 they gave $708,000 to the American-Israel Education Foundation, AIPAC’s educational arm; $15,000 to the American Jewish International Relations Institute, a right wing organization which “monitors, tracks, and combats anti-Israel voting patterns at the United Nations”; and $6,100 to the American Friends of the Likud Party.

Though the case of granting money to the Jewish community of Hebron is particularly striking, we should see the funding of the Hebron settlement as only one example in the context of hundreds of millions of dollars backing the full range of West Bank settlements.

Of course, Hebron settlers aren’t the only ones experiencing Goldman largesse. Bernie Sanders has made an issue of the $675,000 Clinton received in speaking fees from the investment house just in 2013. And no wonder. Simon Head writes at the New York Review of Books that the connection raises important questions about potential corruption:

These long-running ties with Goldman have paid off for the Clintons. According to a July 2014 analysis in the Wall Street Journal, from 1992 to the present Goldman has been the Clintons’ number one Wall Street contributor, based on speaking fees, charitable donations, and campaign contributions, the three pillars of what I’ve called the Clinton System. As early as 2000, Goldman was the second most generous funder—after Citigroup—of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, with a contribution of $711,000. In the early 2000s, Bill Clinton was also a Goldman beneficiary, receiving $650,000 from Goldman for four speeches delivered between December 2004 and June 2005. (The transcripts of these speeches do not appear to be currently available.)

By the winter of 2006–2007, however, Goldman and its CEO Lloyd Blankfein were becoming deeply involved in the collapsing housing bubble—and engaging in the practices that have since resulted in years of investigations and lawsuits….

As long as Clinton refuses to reveal the content of her Goldman speeches, the suspicion will remain that she has cast a blind eye on Goldman’s dark years and that her campaign pledge to “rein in Wall Street” cannot be taken seriously.

ISRAEL ‘FEELING HEAT’ OVER SETTLEMENT BUSINESSES

The consequences of Israeli occupation and anti-Palestinian discrimination for Israel’s economy are now coming faster than ever.

In this Nov. 22, 2010, photo, Palestinian women collect scrap timber in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Palestinian advocates contend that multinational companies will need to face "clear legal and moral liabilities" for operating in Israeli settlements. (Associated Press)

In this Nov. 22, 2010, photo, Palestinian women collect scrap timber in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Palestinian advocates contend that multinational companies will need to face “clear legal and moral liabilities” for operating in Israeli settlements. (Associated Press)

Israel ‘feeling heat’ over settlement businesses: Sam Bahour and Edward E. Thompson (Opinion)

The consequences of Israeli occupation and anti-Palestinian discrimination for Israel’s economy are now coming faster than ever. Like so many previous military occupations, Israel is starting to feel the heat of the international community. However, this heat is not of the political kind that Israel has become accustomed to deflecting, but rather the economic kind that has a mystical way of invoking action from the political echelon. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope the message is arriving loud and clear: It’s time for Israel to end its nearly 50-year occupation and allow Palestinians to live in freedom in an independent state.

The latest thoughtful criticism of Israel’s actions is a 162-page report titled “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights.” Issued by the reputable, international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), the report documents how settlement businesses facilitate the growth and operations of Israel’s settlement enterprise, an enterprise deemed illegal by every country in the world, except Israel. These settlement businesses depend on and contribute to the Israeli authorities’ unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources.

Human Rights Watch’s director of the Business and Human Rights Division, Arvind Ganesan, noted that “Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources. The only way for businesses to comply with their own human rights responsibilities is to stop working with and in Israeli settlements.”
Speaking of the stone and marble industry, Ganesan said, “Every dollar of stone that settlement businesses extract and sell from the West Bank is a dollar taken from Palestinians. The bottom line is no settlement business should be operating and profiting from land and resources illegally taken from the Palestinian people.”

In light of the clear illegality of doing business with Israeli settlements, multinational companies will need to face clear legal and moral liabilities in continuing to do business as usual. However, for those firms that have been operating in the settlements, there is another option they can pursue to compensate for their past wrongdoings; they can redirect their business investments to the Palestinian economy and become a constructive element in helping Palestinians recover from the real economic damage caused by nearly half a century of military occupation.

Making such investment and business options materialize is exactly why we co-founded Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE) as a tax-deductible organization based in Chicago, Illinois. As two Americans, one a retired Chicagoan and the other a Palestinian American from Youngstown, Ohio now based in Ramallah, we have witnessed firsthand the damage on the ground caused by Israel’s deliberate battering of Palestine’s economy. But we also have visited Palestinians’ firms, those keeping their businesses’ doors open despite all odds, and want to connect them to the U.S. market. After a year of operations, AVPE documented serious interest from Palestinian businesspersons interested in linking to American business partners.

Large-scale projects that global firms can surely relate to are taking shape. The first planned Palestinian city, Rawabi, is now witnessing its first tenants taking up residence and offers international high-tech firms the opportunity to locate their operations in the new Rawabi Tech Hub. From Dead Sea products that compete head on with similar products produced in illegal Israeli settlements to olive oil soap and Bethlehem greeting cards, Palestinians have products and services worthy of note.

This new HRW report is actually the second vital criticism that calls into question business as usual for Israel. The first was issued by the European Council on Foreign Relations and titled EU Differentiation and Israeli settlements (July 22, 2015). In this past report, Israeli banks, among other businesses, were a main target, given most have branches in settlements. The Israeli business community took note. With this new HRW report, they will take note again, and all indications are that the reports and actions against illegal business practices will continue until occupation comes to an end.

The World Bank estimated in 2013 that Israeli restrictions in Area C (the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control) cost the Palestinian economy $3.4 billion annually, approximately equal to 33 percent of Palestine’s GDP. Settlement businesses contribute to and benefit from unlawful and discriminatory policies that leave many Palestinians with no alternative but to work in Israel or settlements. As multinationals divest from illegal settlements, redirected economic activity can be a key component to further advance the Palestinian economy, while putting more Palestinians in jobs and giving them hope for a day when they will live in freedom and occupation-free.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian American businessman originally from Youngstown now living in Ramallah, where he is managing partner at Applied Information Management. He is a policy adviser at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. Edward E. Thompson, a retired consulting psychologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, is the co-founder and president of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy.

 

Originally found AT

WHO PROFITS FROM ISRAEL’S ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS?

 

For the finest in settlement living try Airbnb Judea and Samaria

Image by Katie Miranda

 

 

Airbnb told to cease profiting from Israel’s war crimes

Airbnb, the popular travel website, is the target of a new campaign against its listings of accommodation in the settlements built by Israel in the occupied West Bank.

Five organizations launched a campaign called Stolen Homes on Wednesday calling on Airbnb “to immediately stop listing vacation rentals in Israeli settlements, all of which were built on stolen Palestinian land and deemed illegal under international law.”

A petition notes that “through earning fees from settlement vacation rentals, Airbnb is directly profiting from the continuing occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.”

The petition is supported by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, American Muslims for Palestine,Jewish Voice for Peace, the US Palestinian Community Network and Codepink.

Earlier this month, +972 Magazine reported that not only does Airbnb list accommodation in Israeli settlements, but that without exception the listings do no mention that they are located on occupied land.

Settlement profiteering

The issue has since been covered in the Israeli and international media.

The California-based Airbnb has declined to comment, apart from releasing a short statement which read: “We follow laws and regulations on where we can do business and investigate concerns raised about specific listings.”

The Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) has denounced Airbnb. Omar Barghouti, a founder of the BNC, said recently that “Airbnb can and should immediately exclude all Israeli settlements from its offerings as a significant first step towards complying with its human rights obligations under international law.”

Also this week, Human Rights Watch released a report calling on international businesses to cease all cooperation with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Airbnb earns a 3 percent fee from its hosts and a further fee — usually 6-12 percent — from guests. So the company profits every time someone makes a reservation using its settlement listings.

Human Rights Watch this week argued that companies cannot mitigate their contribution to Israel’s human rights violations so long as they operate in settlements. It stated that companies must cease working with the settlements in order to honor their human rights obligations.

Sensitive to bad publicity?

As it promotes the concept of “community-driven hospitality,” Airbnb may be sensitive to publicity that harms the company’s reputation.

The company depicts itself as environmentally friendly and has claimed to care about people in need bylaunching a “disaster response initiative.”

The wider campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions has persuaded a number of firms to cease their activities in Israel and the occupied West Bank lately.

As Barghouti told Al Jazeera, “much larger corporations — of the caliber of Orange, Veolia and CRH — have been eventually compelled by BDS campaigning to end their complicity in Israel’s human rights violations after losing massive contracts.”

Airbnb is likely to come under a great deal of pressure until it ceases trying to profit from Israel’s illegal activities.

*Ryan Rodrick Beiler is a freelance photojournalist and member of the ActiveStills collective who lives in Oslo, Norway.

The Stolen Homes campaign is calling on Airbnb to stop listing vacation rentals in Israeli settlements. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler /ActiveStills)

The Stolen Homes campaign is calling on Airbnb to stop listing vacation rentals in Israeli settlements. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler /ActiveStills)

TOON FOR THE WEEK’S END ~~ DEFENDING THE OCCUPATION

Image by Carlos Latuff

 Netanyahu responds to Ban Ki-moon’s criticism of the Israeli occupation

Netanyahu responds to Ban Ki-moon’s criticism of the Israeli occupation

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Related FROM

Update: UN’s Ban Rejects Netanyahu’s Criticism: Count on Me to Speak Up

The United Nations says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stands by every word of his criticism of Israeli settlement-building this week and rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comment that the remarks justify terrorism….

Ban spoke out again Wednesday, telling a General Assembly committee that the Palestinians “watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expand and expand.”

The UN chief, who is in the final year of his term, also said that “you can count on me to speak up” to help achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Original:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t like U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech to the Security Council criticizing the Israeli occupation on Tuesday.

From the Times of Israel article “Furious Netanyahu slams Ban Ki-moon for ‘stoking’ Palestinian terrorism“:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused the United Nations chief of “stoking terror” after Ban Ki-moon said, in connection with the wave of Palestinian deadly terror attacks, that it was “human nature to react to occupation.”

“There is no justification for terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “The Palestinian terrorists don’t want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.”

The UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the Secretary-General do nothing to improve its situation,” Netanyahu said in a furious video statement. Ban’s remarks, said Netanyahu, “stoke terror.”

SPOOF OF THE DAY ~~ ISRAEL DESTROYS TO BUILD

Israel destroys homes for Bedouins, builds homes for Jews 

Image by Carlos Latuff

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Israel confirmed on Thursday it was planning to appropriate a large tract of fertile land in the occupied West Bank, close to Jordan, a move likely to exacerbate tensions with Western allies and already drawing international condemnation.

The appropriation, covers 154 hectares (380 acres) in the Jordan Valley close to Jericho, an area where Israel already has many settlement farms built on land Palestinians seek for a state. It is the largest land seizure since August 2014.

“Israel is stealing land specially in the Jordan Valley under the pretext it wants to annex it,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters. “This should be a reason for a real and effective intervention by the international community to end such a flagrant and grave aggression which kills all chances of peace.”

The United States, whose ambassador angered Israel this week with criticism of its West Bank policy, said it was strongly opposed to any moves that accelerate settlement expansion.

“We believe they’re fundamentally incompatible with a two-state solution and call into question, frankly, the Israeli government’s commitment to a two-state solution,” Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

In a development likely to further upset Europe, Israeli forces demolished six structures in the West Bank funded by the EU’s humanitarian arm. The structures were dwellings and latrines for Bedouins living in an area known as E1 – a particularly sensitive zone between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

“This is the third time they demolished my house and every time I rebuilt it, this time also I will rebuild it and I am not leaving here. If we leave they will turn the place into a closed military zone,” said Saleem Jahaleen, whose home was razed.

#SettlersRule ~~ 3 GENERATIONS TO BE EVICTED TODAY IN EAST JERUSALEM

Stay tuned to #StopNora’sEviction for updates

Sign petition to stop eviction HERE

This short video highlights the struggle of Nora Sub Laban and her family to stay in their home in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel plans to evict them as soon as 14 December from the house they’ve lived in since 1953, so it can be taken over by a group of Jewish settlers whose aim is to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

Three generations face imminent expulsion from Jerusalem home

The family has already faced two attempts this year by Israeli occupation forces and settlers to remove them from their home, which is steps from Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque.

“The simple fact is that our house in particular is being targeted because it is the last Palestinian household left in the building and the neighborhood. If we are evicted, Ateret Cohanim will have a huge property [in the Muslim quarter] that is only inhabited by Israeli settlers,” Nora’s son Rafat Sub Laban told The Electronic Intifada in March, referring to one of the settler groups that is spearheading the takeover.

“This case sits within a context where hundreds of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are at risk of forced displacement due to settler activities” in Jerusalem, the United Nations special rapporteurs on the right to housing and the human rights of Palestinians wrote last April.

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s legal system, rigged to favor the settlers, has failed to protect the family’s tenure in the house.

The video was released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) as part of the #StopNorasEviction campaign.

Almost 32,000 people have signed a petition calling on international agencies to pressure Israel to halt the eviction.

That may be the only hope, but time is running out.

“I’ve lived through my life watching my neighbors and family being slowly pushed out of the city,” Nora says in the video.

Now she and two generations of her family, including young children, face expulsion as well.

IMEU is asking people to stay tuned to the hashtag #StopNorasEviction and to its Twitter and Facebook accounts for more on its campaign to draw attention to the imminent eviction of the Sub Laban family.

KERRY’S LATEST EXERCISE IN FUTILITY

During his meeting with Netanyahu in West Jerusalem, Kerry, probably out of naivety, asked the Israeli premier if there was still any possibility Israel could temporarily freeze the unrelenting settlement expansion in the West Bank.
 
Netanyahu’s reply came soon. “No, there will be no settlement freeze.”!!

Kerry’s half-hearted visit, another exercise in futility

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

The latest visit to Israel-occupied Palestine by US Secretary of State John Kerry this week is a clear-cut exercise in futility.

It is also inconceivable that Kerry himself had not realized the futility of his visit, even before it began.

I really feel sorry for the American tax-payers who get robbed by an administration whose policy in the Middle East is based on cheating the American people as well as pandering to a criminal racist state, 10,000 kilometers away, a state that teaches its people that non-Jews are virtual animals, created by God for a sole reason, namely in order to serve the Jews.

While in West Jerusalem, Kerry babbled the few usual platitudes which he and other American officials babble in such circumstances.

He called on both Israel and the Palestinians “the criminal and the victim” to exercise self-restraint. He also reiterated his country’s commitment to Israel’s security.

However, during his meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Kerry made no such commitment, as if only Israel, a nuclear power which also is in tight control of US domestic politics, deserved and needed security.

Kerry renewed his support for the two-state solution, giving the impression that such a solution was still possible or feasible, especially in light of the cancerous growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Needless to say, all meaningful observers now agree that this expansion of Jewish colonies has killed any realistic prospects for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

I don’t know why Kerry is still insisting on regurgitating this stale lie every time he comes to the region. Do his advisors not tell him that the two-state solution is dead?

Or Does he invoke the lie deliberately and knowingly in order to boost the morale of  the likes of Mahmoud Abbas and Sa’eb Ereikat in order  to  keep their futile day- dream alive, even if that dream is no better than chasing the mirage of  the desert?

I don’t know why Palestinian and Arab leaders continue to view Kerry and his boss in Washington as capable of recovering Palestinian rights from Israel’s criminal hands. Are these so-called leaders idiots or imbeciles? Haven’t they learnt from more than 60 years of experience with US policy in the region? Haven’t they internalized Walid Khalid’s iconic remark that “America is the ultimate tormentor of the Palestinian people?”

Indeed, if successive and more powerful administrations from Nixon’s to Bush’s couldn’t convince Israel to keep the purported two-state solution alive, is it logical to expect this impotent administration to do it?

After all, Obama has been standing silent, watching Bashar Assad murder nearly half a million of his own people rather passively, pretending that the slow-motion holocaust was occurring on a distant planet.

Similarly, the Obama administration is the same administration that has been watching Israel decapitate whatever chances there may have been for the establishment of a true Palestinian state.

In fact, the Obama administration, far from punishing Israel for its aggressive anti-peace policies, rewarded the criminal entity by providing it with the latest and most advanced aircraft in the American arsenal.

During his meeting with Netanyahu in West Jerusalem, Kerry, probably out of naivety, asked the Israeli premier if there was still any possibility Israel could temporarily freeze the unrelenting settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s reply came soon. “No, there will be no settlement freeze.”!!

I don’t know if Kerry felt he had to apologize for having had the audacity to ask the question in the first place. He must have felt his utter insignificance vis-à-vis Netanyahu whose behaviors vis-à-vis Washington often gives the impression that the US is actually Israel’s vessel state.

But this is an old story which was explained in meticulous details by the late American Jewish author and intellectual Alfred Lilienthal in his book of the century, the Zionist Connection.

In fact, I invoked this story in order to remind a new generation of Palestinian leaders that things pertaining to the US, Israel and the Palestinian issue have effectively remained unchanged.

Israel remains the proverbial organ grinder and the US remains the proverbial monkey. (The adage goes “why speak to the monkey when you can speak to the organ grinder.”)

And, as we all know, the Palestinians remain the proverbial day-dreamer who cry out for justice, thinking that the two devils will eventually come to their senses and internalize the language of justice.

But they will not.

WHAT IS ISRAEL TRYING TO HIDE?

Is Israel denying that it is an occupying power? Is Israel denying that there are illegal Jewish settlements on lands stolen from Palestinians?

Is the continual cry of anti Semitism their only defense regarding the EU’s labeling of products made in these settlements?

Labeling of these products is NOT an endorsement of the BDS Movement, so what is it that Israel is really trying to hide?

 Jewish American activists unfurl banner in support of BDS at the Western Wall (Photo from Mondoweiss)

Jewish American activists unfurl banner in support of BDS at the Western Wall
(Photo from Mondoweiss)

The EU does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s presence in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. As such, goods from there cannot be labelled “Made in Israel” and should be labelled as coming from settlements, which the EU considers illegal under international law.

EU Commission approves settlement product labeling

Products coming from Israeli factories in the West Bank, East Jerusalem. Gaza, and the Golan Heights will be labeled as ‘settlement products’; Foreign Ministry summons EU ambassador to receive reprimand.

Full report HERE

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This is not the first time in history that products from occupied territories were labeled as such …. how quickly the world forgets …

The "Made in Occupied Japan" mark is seen on a postwar Japanese export.

The “Made in Occupied Japan” mark is seen on a postwar Japanese export.

On February 20, 1947 the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan issued the instruction SCAPIN 1535, stating that all export items must be identified with an engraving “Made in Occupied Japan”. This decree was repealed on December 5, 1949 through SCAPIN 2061. Many camera manufacturers continued to use the “Made in Occupied Japan” markings until 1951, even though they could have substituted it with “Made in Japan”. The latter became standard once the U.S. occupation of Japan formally ended in 1952. FROM

(As will the EU’s labeling of Israeli settlement products)

It’s as simple as that!

OPRAH JUMPS ON THE ANTI BDS BANDWAGON

After a BDS attempt to ban Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu from the Rototom Sunsplash festival, it has become known that media mogul Oprah Winfrey also turned away a BDS request earlier this month.

Executives at the Oprah Winfrey magazine refused to receive activists who wanted her to reject Israeli diamonds.
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The star had worn Leviev diamonds on the cover of O magazine’s May issue, the 15th anniversary edition. But the BDSniks smear Leviev with charges of stealing Palestinian land and committing human-rights abuses in Angola.

The star had worn Leviev diamonds on the cover of O magazine’s May issue, the 15th anniversary edition.

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Denying the Israel-basher — kudos to Oprah and other principled stars

For years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has worked to make Israel an international pariah. Happily, it’s started seeing some serious pushback.

In Spain, Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu did indeed perform Saturday at the Rototom Sunsplash festival. The organizers re-invited him after they’d canceled — a disinvitation pushed by the BDS crew, which had insisted he endorse Palestinian statehood.

An international uproar forced the festival’s hand — after all, organizers (and BDSers) hadn’t insisted on a litmus test for any non-Jewish performers.

No less than Oprah Winfrey stood up to the thugs, too. A BDS “delegation” showed up at her magazine’s New York offices this month, carrying a letter urging Oprah to publicly reject Israeli jeweler Lev Leviev’s products.

The star had worn Leviev diamonds on the cover of O magazine’s May issue, the 15th anniversary edition. But the BDSniks smear Leviev with charges of stealing Palestinian land and committing human-rights abuses in Angola.

Neither Oprah nor her executives would even meet with the agitators. They even refused to accept the letter.

In October, New Jersey’s second-favorite native sons, Bon Jovi, will end their current tour in Tel Aviv — rejecting BDS pressure to cancel the concerts after the dates were announced in the spring.

Support for Israel even popped up in Paris this month. Mayor Anne Hidalgo dedicated an artificial beach to Tel Aviv — despite intense opposition from the BDS movement and its sympathizers in the French media.

Across the globe, too many in media, the arts and politics are happy to go with the flow and pile on Israel. It’s refreshing to see stars — especially American ones — standing up to the bullies by taking truly principled stands.

Bottom line is ….. BOYCOTT OPRAH!

Her Magazine

Her Cable Network

Show her that blood diamonds are NOT a ‘girls best friend!!

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

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Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

HOW RE/MAX PROFITS FROM SELLING PALESTINE’S STOLEN LANDS

First, a look at an older post from the archives ….

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How global real estate giant RE/MAX profits from stolen Palestinian land

Agents working for the US-headquartered real estate giant RE/MAX are promoting themselves as specialists in property built in Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The Colorado-based corporation which says it operates in nearly 100 countries was identified as responsible by a 2013 United Nations’ probe for how its Israeli franchises sell houses and apartments in the occupied West Bank.

Despite that criticism, many RE/MAX representatives are continuing to handle such property.

Shlomo Benzaquen, a RE/MAX agent, states on a website run by the company that his “area of expertise” includes a number of Israeli settlements.

He particularly recommends Kokhav Yaakov, Tel Zion and Adam (also known as Geva Binyamin) as “communities” which “offer tremendous value to young families and investors looking for high returns.”

In fact, all of these “communities” are Israeli settlements inside the West Bank and are illegal under international law. Their construction and growth violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power from transferring its civilian population into a territory that it occupies.

The Electronic Intifada contacted Benzaquen by telephone, asking him why he is selling property built on illegally occupied land in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank.

“I don’t know what illegally occupied is,” he said. “I deal with Jerusalem. I’m not sure what you mean by East Jerusalem.”

Asked if he was familiar with the Fourth Geneva Convention, Benzaquen replied “I’m not getting into politics” before hanging up.

His colleague Hillel Weinschneider, meanwhile, says on a RE/MAX website that his “area of expertise” is Ramat Eshkol and Givat Hamivtar.

Both of those settlements are in occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel claims to have annexed in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

High prices

Scores of properties in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are currently listed as for sale on RE/MAX websites.

Some of them are on the market for high prices. RE/MAX is trying to sell a three-bedroom house in Jerusalem’s Old City for $1.7 million. According to RE/MAX, the house was “built over 600 years ago by the Turks.”

A video for the same property posted to YouTube by Benzaquen, states that the “light train is just nearby.” That is a reference to a tram network which connects Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem to other parts of the city.

The French corporation Veolia has faced years of criticism and activist campaigns for its large-scale involvement in building the Jerusalem light rail, which Palestinians see as a means of tightening Israel’s grip on their city.

RE/MAX’s Colorado headquarters did not reply to requests for comment.

Illegal

The firm has generally kept silent when its activities have been highlighted by Palestine solidarity activists. It did, however, issue a terse statement last year.

The statement tried to distance the firm’s headquarters from its Israeli franchise and noted that RE/MAX had reduced the number of its offices in the West Bank.

It failed to acknowledge that many of the agents handling property in East Jerusalem and the wider West Bank are working from offices in West Jerusalem.

But the company seems to be sensitive to activist criticism that it is involved in selling homes in illegal settlements within the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Searches on the RE/MAX Israel website suggest the company may be engaging in deliberate obfuscation of its West Bank settlement listings.

An interactive map of present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank displays red dots showing where RE/MAX-marketed properties are located. This map conveys the impression that it does little or no business in the West Bank.

150812-remax-map0

However, if one searches for the names of individual West Bank settlements, the true story becomes clear.

For instance, a search for “Ariel” results in a listing of 12 properties in that settlement in the northern occupied West Bank near Nablus. However, switch through to the “map view” of the same search result, and the red dots over Ariel have been removed.

150812-remax-map1

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Similar obfuscation is evident while searching for properties in the settlements of Maaleh Adumim, Gilo and French Hill.

The map is a key online marketing tool for RE/MAX Israel. Those who search for a property handled by RE/MAX Israel are immediately taken to this map.

RE/MAX still has agents based in Maaleh Adumim, one of Israel’s largest settlements in the West Bank.

The anti-war group Codepink has set up a campaign targeting RE/MAX over its property sales in Israeli settlements.

Jodie Evans, a founder of Codepink, argued that it was dishonest for RE/MAX to claim that its Israeli franchise was unconnected to the Colorado headquarters.

Bernard Raskin, director of RE/MAX Israel, attended the parent company’s annual convention in Las Vegasduring March.

Raskin was faced by protesters but he “was not backing down and stood his ground the entire time we were in Vegas,” said Evans.

“We can also say they lied in trying to distance themselves, because he had a huge presence and major influence in Vegas,” Evans added. “He was bossing the hotel security around.”

Additional reporting by David Cronin.

WILL NEW SETTLEMENTS REPLACE THE WALL OF APARTHEID?

wall_must_fall

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

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

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

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

A construction site in Tsur Hadassah. Photo by Eyal Toueg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

83 YEAR OLD PALESTINIAN THROWN TO THE WOLVES IN JERUSALEM

yes-you-can

Let’s see how Bibi explains this to Congress …

Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered 83-year-old Palestinian grandfather Ayyub Shamasnah and his family to voluntarily evacuate their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before next Sunday in compliance with a final supreme court decision.

Israel orders Palestinian family to evacuate Sheikh Jarrah house

(MaanImages)
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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered 83-year-old Palestinian grandfather Ayyub Shamasnah and his family to voluntarily evacuate their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before next Sunday in compliance with a final supreme court decision.

Shamasnah lives with his wife, 75, children and grandchildren in a two-room, 65-square-meter house targeted by Jewish settlers who have already evicted several Palestinian families.

The family moved to Sheikh Jarrah after they were displaced from Qatanna village in northwest Jerusalem during the creation of Israel in 1948. They initially paid rent to Jordanian authorities, who were responsible for East Jerusalem until 1967 when Israel occupied the city.

Since 1968, the family has paid rent to Israeli authorities as protected leaseholders.

In 2011, the Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property started legal proceedings to evict the Shamasnah family, claiming their rental contract expired in 2008. In May 2013, an Israeli court postponed the eviction until further discussions.

The court suggested during a hearing in May that the family could remain in the property until the elderly parents die, but settlers who are targeting the property once the family is evicted refused the proposal, according to the owner’s son Muhammad.

Speaking to Ma’an Sunday, Muhammad said that the Israeli supreme court decided in August 2013 that his family should evacuate the property before Jan. 3, 2015 to be delivered to the Israeli settlers.

“Thus, the family received a letter last Thursday from the settlers’ lawyer demanding that they comply with the court decision, or otherwise they will be evacuated by force.”

According to Muhammad, the Israeli authorities claim that the house was a Jewish property before 1948, and after the Palestinian Nakba all Jewish properties were entrusted to the Jordanian government’s Custodian for Absentee Property.

Then after the annexation of Jerusalem in 1967, the properties were entrusted to Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property.

He added that his father had paid rent to both the Jordanian and Israeli authorities as protected leaseholders.

Then in 2011, he added, the family was surprised with the Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property starting legal proceedings to evict the family claiming their rental contract expired in 2008.

In response, the family submitted court documents which proved they paid rent according to a contract signed in 1977. The family also submitted evidence that they had lived in the house since 1972, but “failed to give evidence they had lived in the house before 1968.”

 

Source

HUCKABEE DANCES WITH THE OCCUPATION

Mike Huckabee is already on the campaign trail for the next US Presidential election. Following is a video captured in a West Bank winery where he obviously was seeking the votes of Americans living in the area … hopefully the rest of you will remember this at the Republican Primary.

Dancing with and for the occupation

Dancing with and for the occupation 

Former Arkansas governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee showed off his Hasidic dancing skills during a trip to Israel.

Huckabee visited the Psagot winery, in the Binyamin Regional Council, on Tuesday and played among other songs the famous “Hava Nagila” song. During the event, he was also recorded dancing with Singer Yonatan Razel to a rousing hassidic tune.

THE TEMPEST WE KNOW AS THE OCCUPATION

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

The following is from the archives. As the cold winds blow in Jerusalem, the report is as valid today as when it was originally posted.
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Freezing cold winds, rain and threats of snow is what Jerusalem is experiencing today. That’s fine for those living in homes or apartments, but what about those living in tents or on the street? Even worse than the storm itself are the ongoing illegal activities of zionism in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, Sheik Jarrah in particular. The evictions from private homes continue due to the implementation of lebensraum; Israel’s ‘final solution’ in motion … a policy that is supposedly opposed to by the West and the EU, but still in motion nevertheless.
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palestinesign1
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For some background on this almost forgotten struggle, I present here a five year old Op-ed from The New York Times; … nothing has changed.
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Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

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

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Who Lives in Sheik Jarrah?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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