PALESTINIAN CHILDREN CAUGHT IN ISRAEL’S ‘CAT AND MOUSE’ GAME

It is  commonly said that the all worst nightmares move silently in the dark and wear military uniforms and escaping with light steps along the asphalt street. This night in the village not even the engine sound of the armoured vehicle distracts. The vehicle remains there, without moving, in the night, and next to it there is a street light with a faint light. The man is watching, and with each movement he seems to be counting  steps, three forward, one to the side, and again three paces backwards, without taking his eyes off the houses, with his rifle under his arm, and the barrel kept at eye level, ready to interrupt the silence. It is totally silent, and the silence seems almost begging to be interrupted by a roar, a scream, or a lament, while from behind a curtain a child, one of the numerous children, records the scene with his cell phone.

Palestine, the cat and the mouse, and the trapped children

By Antonietta Chiodo, Translated by Milena Rampoldi and edited by John Catalinotto, Tlaxcala.

He is careful to cause not the least noise, to keep his hand steady, hoping that nobody will see him. This child is afraid, it is afraid of what it will document unconsciously. The soldier lowers his mitre and approaches the gate by opening it easily without causing the least noise.

From the dark of a street disappearing behind the corner of a big, white house another two soldiers appear suddenly, walking speedily. Under their arms they hold a handcuffed boy who is trying to keep up with them. They push him into a vehicle, lowering his head with the palm of the hand, and a couple of seconds later the car’s tailgate closes violently.

Like cats in the night they move lightly, with the gesture of an arm. One of them makes a gesture to a second patrol next there, that everything is OK. The silence is interrupted by the roar of the engines, and the cars disappear along the asphalted streets and then vanish, taking with them another fragment of freedom, a splinter of life who has just become 13 years old.

In the West Bank, what seems to be the plot of an action movie is every day realityd. Here children are the first ones being arrested by Israeli soldiers without any official trail and without any logical reasoning.

Tonight it was his turn, tomorrow it could be mine, everyone thinks here. The project “Pace dei Bimbi” (Peace for Children) has chosen to care about a village between Bethlehem and Hebron, where the incursions and abductions of children are part of their all day lives.

For two months we have written stories invented by us by considering the initial limitations of these children who do not feel free and are afraid of being put on trial. In the context, the mediation offered by their teacher Omar revealed itself to be fundamental. Being in front of a journalist was difficult for them at the beginning, because on one hand they wanted to trust me, and on the other hand they did not think this trust was possible. The days passed by, and their smiles started to take shape, and so did the smile of the small and thin Raiyed, arrested a couple of days ago without charges, dragged from his home, and wrenched away from the arms of his family.

Like many other children, Rayied spent 24 hours in jail, only because his family name is connected to a tradition of resistance against Israeli occupation. I remember that during my encounters the child who is only 13 years old talked about stars. For me, his smile is unforgettable, while he imagined a fabulous story talking about an azure light taking him to another planet. A planet full of peace and magic animals.

Raiyed knows very well that this will not be his only trip to jail, and many other visits like this will follow during his life. However, we perfectly know that psychologically destroying a child by obligating him to live in fear is much more lethal than any bullet. During my stay the moments were not rare where the teacher Omar and I were forced to use makeshift roads because of the blocks around the village because stones had been thrown from under the shadow of the olive trees surrounding the houses. Here people live like trapped mice, while deceitful cats, protected from their own violations of human rights, play dice with these lives and the fear of their victims fuels their thirst for power and injustice.

Shraeh, a Palestinian man, tells us that during the last three days three children between 11 and 13 years were arrested at their homes and also about his brother. He has been in Israeli jail for 16 years now, without authorisation for family visits. And being visited in jail is an undeniable right. It is just the right to look at his eyes, the right to smile at him, and to check his health situation, as we usually do in a so-called “democratic” country.

There are places in this world more oppressed than others, but sometimes here young boys are labelled inattentive. They are said to play with their lives. However, here it is completely normal to imagine a soldier shooting into the chest of a young boy because he threw a stone and to hear words of support for the soldiers. And all this is a sign of the tragic end of human rights. Our world has chosen globalisation, thus replacing the real value of life and innocence with money.

IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ THE FACES OF TERRORISM

Need a reminder about fascist politicians in Israel?


And some from the past …


And here is what the future holds ….

Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu’s son: Yair Netanyahu says leftists are more dangerous than neo-Nazis

Echoing Trump, PM’s son claims ‘thugs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are getting stronger’ while Nazis are a thing of the past

SOME QUESTIONS FOR U.S. CITIZENS

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA.

Questions to US citizens

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA. I will briefly say that the politicians who criticize Trump (both republicans and democrats) are hypocritical. These same politicians who criticize Trump and his racist minions never challenged hate directed at Muslims and Arabs in general. The white nationalists and supremacists who are calling for ethnic cleansing and for hate are no different than the Zionists that they adore and fund and who do far more violence and atrocities. The hypocrisy in the US is more blatant and sickening than the thugs that caused the mayhem in Charlottesville. But what worries us more is that the distractions can allow us to slide more into a nuclear world war (please watch news related to Iran and North Korea).

There are also credible reports of Zionist thugs infiltrating both camps (‘left’ and ‘right’) to entice violence. I remember how Zionists tried to infiltrate one of our demonstrations in Connecticut posing as neo-Nazis to incite violence and mayhem. And we all know now how FBI agents infiltrated civil rights groups doing the same things in the 1960s. If US citizens do not wake-up to where the real danger comes from (the elites profiting from all of this), the society will be torn apart by petty hatreds that only serve the policies of ‘divide and conquer’ that are being implemented in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Arabs in those countries are waking up to that but after much destruction. I hope fellow US citizens wake up to this early on.

The daughter of US ‘Ambassador’ to Israel (the “Jewish State”) has moved here to Palestine as a new colonial settler. Like any Jew in the world she and her father were considered nationals of the state even though born in the US with no connection to this land other than religious [mythologies]. They can become citizens upon demand. Colonial Zionists call those new colonists ‘olim’ referring to ‘those rising up’ as if being a Jew in Poland or America is being in the gutters. For committed Zionists moving here it this is just a formality because their betrayal of their own countries and allegiance to a foreign power is their trademark. Just observe the rhetoric of those in the US who support the billions of tax-payer money going to support the largest terrorist organization in the world called the Israeli army. Watch their rhetoric on Iran!

Friedman and his daughter supported and will continue to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and endless wars. The question for Jews around the world: until when will you allow Zionists to tar your community and your religion? When is the price of racism/‘Jewish nationalism’ considered too high? (today 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people thanks to Zionists like Friedman and his daughter). The questions for all US citizens: how will you challenge ALL racism and bigotry? What will you do to work for justice, human rights, and equality? How would you justify working against ‘white nationalism’ or ‘pan-Islamic nationalism’ (ISIS) but not against ‘Jewish nationalism’?

ARMED TO KILL WITH ‘NON-LETHAL’ WEAPONS

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Palestinians try to avoid tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes which erupted after the funeral of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. Tamimi, 28, was hurling rocks at an Israeli military vehicle on Friday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh when a soldier inside opened the rear door and fired a tear gas canister at him from just a few yards away, witnesses said. He was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he died of his injuries on Saturday. Photo by Issam Rimawi

Sponge rounds, rubber bullets, and tear gas — how Israel’s non-lethal munitions can kill

It was the middle of a cold October night in 2015 when an Israeli army jeep came driving through Aida refugee camp blaring a message through its loudspeaker.

“People of Aida refugee camp, we are the occupation forces,” the message began in Arabic. “If you throw stones, we will hit you with gas until you all die. The children, the youth, the old people – you will all die. We won’t leave any of you alive … Go home or we will gas you until you die. Your families, your children, everyone – we will kill you.”

The Israeli government condemned the message as the act of a single soldier, but Palestinians in Aida, knowing the lethal potential of tear gas, took the threat seriously.

The next day an eight-month-old baby was killed by tear gas inhalation during clashes in a neighboring village.

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Mondoweiss spoke with Doctor Nasser al-Jaberi, the Director of the Emergency Room Department at the West Bank’s Arab Society Hospital, to get a better idea of what these weapons are capable of.

“[They] can absolutely kill,” al-Jaberi said. “Rocks are no real threat against an armed military. When you ask if a rock could injure or kill a soldier wearing a helmet, a bullet proof vest, and army-grade clothing, it is hard to imagine, but a protester dying of tear gas inhalation is very common.”

al-Jaberi told Mondoweiss that in certain circumstances nearly every non-lethal weapon used by Israel can, and at some point has, killed.

We asked al-Jaberi to break it down for us, munition-by-munition.

Sponge rounds

Sponge rounds, also called sponge grenades or sponge-tipped bullets, are used often by Israeli forces when clashes are happening near Israeli Jewish communities, or when the wind is too strong for tear gas to work well.

At clashes it is easy to tell when Israeli forces are using the rounds.

Youth in the streets are more careful about coming out in the open. They hide behind concrete blocks on the side of the road. In the middle of street wooden boards and other barriers are perched up on light poles and metal dumpsters are pushed out into the road, with youth popping up from behind them just long enough to pop off a rock from their slingshots.

The barriers just get in the way if there is a lot of tear gas being fired and are not sufficient to stop live bullets.

Sponge rounds are designed to be shot over a long distance (the required distance changes depending on the precise version of the ammunition), and only at the lower extremities. When used from a proper distance the harmless-looking rounds cause massive black and blue bruises — when shot at a close distance they can easily stop a heart or crack a skull.

Two types of sponge rounds are used by Israeli forces. The blue-tipped rounds are made up of an aluminum base, plastic base and dense sponge. They can cause serious damage on their own, but in 2015 a new black-tipped sponge round was introduced. The black-tipped rounds are heavier, with more dangerous tips created from synthetic rubber.

“If shot at a very close distance, either sponge round can cause fractures to the skull, which could lead to death,” al-Jaberi said. “They can also be deadly if shot at the chest, eye or neck in some cases. They are certainly less deadly than rubber-coated bullets or tear gas, but that does not mean they cannot cause death or serious injury.”

Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abdelmajid Sunukrut was shot in the head from around 30 feet away with a sponge round in August 2014. After struggling for a week in the hospital Sunukrut succumbed to his wounds. In July 2016, 10-year-old Muhyee al-Din Tabakhi was hit in the chest with a sponge round, causing internal bleeding that led to the child’s death.

Still, the rounds are considered non-lethal.

Rubber-coated steel bullets

Rubber-coated steel bullets are another form of what is, according to al-Jaberi, wrongly considered a non-lethal method of crowd control used by Israeli forces during clashes.

In Arabic sponge rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets go by the same name: “matahta.” While the word and the defense against them (makeshift barriers in the streets) are the same, youth take rubber-coated steel bullets much more seriously when being used in the field by Israeli forces.

“A rubber-coated bullet is actually just a metallic bullet covered in a small layer of plastic or rubber, so it is still a bullet,” al-Jaberi said. “We have seen many skull fractures here at the ER from these so-called rubber bullets, and a skull fracture can cause internal bleeding, as well as contusions to the brain. If it is from a close distance in the head, eye, neck or chest these ammunitions have every likelihood of being deadly.”

Al-Jaberi explained that while a real bullet is more likely to make a clean entry and exit, the nature of a rubber-bullet means the entry point is much more likely to be torn open jaggedly, and if shot at a close distance, the bullet more likely to embed itself into the body.

These days Mohammed al-Azza, an award-winning Palestinian photojournalist from the occupied West Bank, never ventures to cover clashes without a bulletproof vest and helmet. In 2013 doctors told the young journalist he could have died if the rubber-coated steel bullet shot at his face while covering clashes had hit him just a centimeter closer to his eye.

He was shot from the second floor balcony, by soldiers positioned on the street just in front of him — much too close to be within protocol of any use of the munition.

The bullet fractured his upper cheek bone. It had to be surgically removed and the journalist has had to undergo multiple other surgeries to reconstruct his face and eye socket. Today there is only a small scar left on his upper cheekbone, but a quarter of his facial skeleton is made up of metal and plastic.

A myriad of other cases documented by rights groups illustrate just how dangerous the ammunition can be, including the 2016 incident in which 12-year-old Mohiyeh al-Tabakhi was shot and killed by Israeli forces after a rubber-coated steel bullet hit the child in the chest, causing him to go into cardiac arrest and die.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has documented dozens of other Palestinians killed by rubber-coated steel bullets. According to B’Tselem, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office has stated these deaths are “unavoidable mistakes.”

Countless others, like 10-year-old Yahiya al-Amudi, have been shot in the eyes by the ammunition, leaving them partially blinded.

.22 Caliber Bullets

There is no question that a .22 caliber bullet, also known as a tu-tu bullet, is considered live fire — it is — but Israeli forces still consider the ammunition a “non-lethal” crowd control method.

The small bullets are less powerful than larger cartridges, but they carry a deadly punch, just like any other bullet, particularly when the .22 calibers are hollow-tip bullets, also known as expanding, dum-dum, exploding or fragmented bullets.

According to al-Jaberi, the majority of the bullet wounds he treats are from these types of expanding bullets — the use of which is considered a war crime under international law.

“Most of the bullet wounds we treat here contain fragmented bullets. When they enter the skin they explode into many fragments. If this reaches the bones we call it comminuted fractures,” he said, explaining that these kind of fractures mean the bone was hit at high velocity and fractured into more than two pieces. “We have had some of these cases where the bullet fragments sliced arteries and that is a very serious injury that could definitely kill in certain circumstances.”

In 1981 John Hinckley Jr. shot then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan with a .22 caliber loaded with expanding bullets. While Reagan spent two weeks in the hospital recovering, the former president’s White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and suffered permanent brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Israeli authorities deny the use of expanding bullets in their arsenal.

After the first year of the Second Palestinian Intifada, the head of the security department in the Operations Directorate of the Israeli military announced that the .22 bullet was too deadly to use as a form of crowd control and discontinued its use between the years of 2001 and 2008, according to B’Tselem.

The .22’s were eventually brought back into use, and by 2015 B’Tselem found that there was “a steady erosion in the restrictions on firing… leading to ever greater use of this weapon,” which it said was “misleadingly portrayed as a non-lethal measure.”

“The indisputable facts are that we are dealing with a lethal weapon, which the Israeli authorities falsely present as a reasonable tool to employ in dealing with demonstrations,” the report added.

In the first ten months of 2015, four Palestinians were shot and killed by .22 calibers, including 13-year-old Abdelrahman Obeidallah, who was shot with a .22 caliber bullet straight to the heart right after school let out.

Israeli forces said the shooter had not breached protocol in using the .22 as a non-lethal munition at the time of the 13-year-old’s death. According to Israeli officials, the soldier was shooting for the legs of another youth, when the bullet ricocheted up and hit Abdelrahman, showing that even when used according to Israel’s protocol, the bullets can be deadly.

Tear gas

More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured during the two weeks of daily clashes that followed the al-Aqsa mosque crisis last month, according to the Red Crescent. Most of those injuries were caused by severe tear gas inhalation.

Tear gas is actually not a gas at all, it is a powder mixed with a liquid substance that when released as an arsenal, resembles gaseous clouds. It also affects much more than just the eyes and tear ducts. Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. Touching your face, eyes, or trying to use water to wash it off only intensifies the symptoms.

The fact that it is a solid means the “gas” eventually settles on surfaces around the area it was administered. In the occupied West Bank, some areas are tear gassed nearly daily, meaning surfaces like balconies and window ledges, for instance can become caked in the substance. If someone unknowingly touches a railing, then wipes their face or other sensitive areas of the skin, the concentrated powder causes chemical burns.

“I have had many patients come in with serious respiratory distress from tear gas,” al-Jaberi said. “In particular circumstances tear gas can easily kill someone — for example if someone has a pre-existing condition, or if the patient is a small child, a very old person, and even in some cases, healthy people.”

Earlier this year 18-month-old Abdelrahman Barghouti died from asphyxiation after tear gas was shot by Israeli forces into the child’s family home.

Al-Jaberi’s most recent serious patient suffering from tear gas exposure had to be hospitalized for a week before being released because of respiratory damage triggered by the gas.

Even among healthy individuals, concentrated exposure to tear gas causes sharp pain in the chest and the sensation of suffocation.

Palestinian doctors, medics and nurses, as well as the general populace, know very well how to deal with the immediate effects of tear gas exposure, but al-Jaberi is concerned with the unknown effects it could trigger over time.

“I can’t give any specific evidence on the long term effects of the gas until there are serious research studies done about it,” he said. “Unfortunately there have not been many studies on the case, but we should be monitoring the people who are exposed to this gas on a daily basis, like those who live in the refugee camps, because I think it is logical to say that these people would have a much higher likelihood of having serious respiratory problems when compared to people not frequently exposed to the gas. We can feel certain there are side effects, but without studies it is hard to say for sure.”

Tear gas canisters

In addition to the gas itself, the canisters used to administer tear gas are shot at high velocity and can do serious damage if the canister hits vulnerable parts of the body.

“I’ve had many patients injured from the canisters. One of my patients was hit in the head with a gas canister at short range and it caused a fracture to the skull and damage to the bone around the eye,” al-Jaberi said.

The cases of tear gas killing, both from the gas itself and direct contact from the canisters, is well documented.

While Israeli military regulations prohibit firing tear gas directly at people, B’Tselem has extensively documented cases of the practice.

In March 2009 U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson was shot in the head with a tear gas canister and to this day suffers from severe brain damage. A month later, Bassem Abu-Rahmah, from the village of Bil’in, was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister and killed. Bassem’s death was made famous after his killing was featured in the Oscar-nominated film Five Broken Cameras.

The death of Bassem, a beloved and well-known Palestinian activist, was covered by media internationally, but it did not help to mitigate Israel’s use of tear gas against Palestinian protesters.

Two years after Bassem was killed, his sister died due to respiratory failure caused by tear gas inhalation. Eleven months after that Mustafa Tamimi was killed after being hit with a tear gas canister during clashes in Nabi Saleh.

Israeli forces closed both Abu-Rahmah’s and Tamimi’s case files without indictment. B’Tselem condemned the decision, stating that it gave “Israeli soldiers and officers the unequivocal message that, should they kill unarmed civilians, they will not be held accountable.”

“Given this state of affairs, it is hardly surprising that soldiers and Border Police officers continue to shoot tear-gas canisters directly at Palestinians, endangering their lives. Under such circumstances, it is only a matter of time before yet another unarmed Palestinian civilian is killed in this way,” the group said in a 2013 report.

Four years later, injuries and deaths caused by direct contact with tear gas canisters are still common occurrences.

More photos at the SOURCE

CHALLENGING THE BLACKLIST ~~ BDS FIGHTBACK

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

How is Israel compiling its BDS blacklists?

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

Lawyer Eitay Mack and several other Israeli activists last week filed a freedom of information petition with the Jerusalem district court demanding that two government departments disclose how they create the blacklists.

The lists are used to prevent overseas BDS activists from entering territories controlled by Israel, including the occupied West Bank.

The court action comes after a freedom of information request, filed by Mack last month, was rebuffed by the ministries.

Astonishingly, they justified the refusal based on the “privacy” of the BDS activists. In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack called this “a new world record in cynicism and hypocrisy.”

He explained that unless Israeli authorities admit to “illegally compiling personal non-public data on international activists and groups, while using, for example, invasive monitoring and spying software” then disclosure would lead to no privacy violation.

The freedom of information request was sent to the interior ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority last month, after press reports that five members of a US interfaith delegation had been banned from entering Israel because of their support for BDS.

Rabbi Alissa Wise told The Electronic Intifada that Lufthansa airline staff had read out a blacklist of people on their delegation who would not be allowed to fly to Tel Aviv.

Hacking emails

An airline employee told Wise and four others that the Israeli government had insisted they not be allowed onboard.

Israel has previously banned individuals it accuses of supporting BDS from entering.

But in March, it formalized the policy with a new law, which it soon began to implement.

Wise, deputy director of pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace, also told The Electronic Intifada that the blacklist Lufthansa read to them included two individuals who had canceled their participation in the delegation months prior, and who had never bought tickets for the flight.

Wise thinks the only way Israel could have got hold of those two names was through illicit means, such as hacking or intercepting the group’s emails.

In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack said his freedom of information request asks the Israeli ministries to disclose “the criteria and procedures” they use to add people to these blacklists, as well as how they transfer these lists to authorities outside Israel.

You can read the full request in Hebrew here, and the full court petition here.

Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported the day after the ban on Wise and her colleagues that the interior ministry and the strategic affairs ministry issued a statement confirming they had been behind the ban.

“These were prominent activists who continuously advocate for a boycott,” the ministries said.

Strategic affairs is the ministry charged with leading Israel’s “war” against BDS.

“Battlefront”

In September 2016, Mack and his colleagues filed a similar freedom of information request asking the strategic affairs ministry and the foreign ministry to reveal which overseas groups and individuals they were supporting in the effort to thwart the BDS movement.

But in June they replied claiming that they had no working relations with such foreign entities – an assertion Mack considers not to be credible and which appears to be contradicted by other statements.

In July, the Israeli parliament passed the first reading of a new law drafted by the strategic affairs ministry, which will exempt it from freedom of information laws, on the basis that BDS is a “battlefront like any other.”

The banning of Wise and her colleagues marks the first known occasion an Israeli blacklist has been passed onto another country based on the new anti-BDS law. It also marks the first known occasion a Jewish person has been banned from entering under the new law.

The delegation had been planning to fly to Tel Aviv, after a layover in Germany. But the Lufthansa staff at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, had been given the blacklist by Israel in advance.

According to Mack, although this case involved US citizens and a German company, “there is a risk that the state of Israel has also delivered ‘blacklists’ to non-democratic states that persecute human rights and opposition activists.”

Mack cites Israel’s past support for oppressive regimes in Latin America and Africa as precedents.

Rivalries

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was founded in 2006, and was initially focused on Iran, leading Israel’s sometimes-covert campaign against that country’s nuclear energy program.

In October 2015, now led by Gilad Erdan, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, the ministry’s focus was shifted to fighting BDS.

This reallocation of authority and funds has led to tensions with other government departments, who are reportedly jealous of being sidelined by Netanyahu. Erdan is a long-standing ally of Netanyahu, having served him as an advisor in the prime minister’s office in the 1990s.

According to Haaretz investigative journalist Uri Blau, Israel’s “security cabinet” gave the strategic affairs ministry responsibility to “guide, coordinate and integrate” activities of ministers, government and “civil entities in Israel and abroad” as part of “the struggle against attempts to delegitimize Israel and the boycott movement.”

In May 2016, an Israeli governmental report criticized Netanyahu’s transfer of anti-BDS powers and funding away from the foreign ministry.

Strategic affairs “lacks the foreign ministry’s inherent advantages, including … [its] unmediated access to the battlefield and to collaboration with sympathetic groups and organizations abroad,” the report said.

Exposure could “harm the battle”

In September 2016, a leak to Haaretz exposed the depths of the feud between the two ministries.

A cable from the Israeli embassy in London to the foreign ministry reportedly complained about Erdan’s ministry.

It accused them of “operating” British Jewish organizations behind the embassy’s back in a way that could put them in violation of UK law.

Justifying the new law exempting his ministry from freedom of information, Erdan last month made reference to “bodies around the world” fighting BDS who “do not want to expose their connection with the state.”

He explained that “most of the ministry’s actions are not of the ministry” directly, but via such front groups. “We must protect the information whose exposure could harm the battle,” he insisted.

Israel is known to operate around the world via front organizations which claim to be grassroots “civil rights” or political groups.

Examples include the Mossad-linked “lawfare” organization Shurat HaDin, which attacks Palestine solidarity groups with egregious litigation. In the UK, the Israeli embassy maintains close ties to Labour Friends of Israeland the Jewish Labour Movement. The Union of Jewish Students has also received funding from the embassy, according to Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation of the Israel lobby earlier this year.

According to Blau, “the ministry spends tens of millions of shekels on cooperative efforts with the Histadrut labor federation, the Jewish Agency and various nongovernmental organizations in training representatives of the ‘true pluralistic face’ of Israel in various forums.”

This strategy of using apparently liberal or progressive organizations as a way to improve Israel’s image is in line with a secret report which was obtained by The Electronic Intifada in April.

Front groups

The report, by leading Israeli think tank the Reut Institute and the Israel lobby group the Anti-Defamation League, called for a “broad tent” approach in which “liberal and progressive pro-Israel groups” are deployed to engage with “soft critics of Israel.”

It argued that “the pro-Israel community must be united in this fight” and “benefits from its diversity.”

The report carried an endorsement from the director general of Erdan’s anti-BDS ministry.

In August 2015 Israel’s military intelligence agency Aman revealed to Haaretz that it had established a “delegitimization department” to spy on BDS activists overseas.

Was it this agency which furnished the information leading to Rabbi Wise and her friends being barred from Palestine by Israeli occupation authorities?

According to Mack, compilation of the blacklists of international activists could “be used for the covert compilation of ‘blacklists’ of Israeli human rights activists who are in touch” with them.

When Aman revealed to Haaretz it was “monitoring” BDS activists around the world, it emphasized “that it does not collect information on Israeli citizens. That is the job of the Shin Bet” – Israel’s secret police.

In March, it was revealed that Erdan wanted to start compiling a “database” of Israeli citizens who support BDS. But the attorney general and other Israeli officials accused his ministry of overstepping its legal authority.

If Erdan’s ministry is using these blacklists to covertly “monitor” Israeli activists too, it seems he may be in violation even of Israeli law.

ECHOS OF McCARTHYISM IN THE ANTI BDS CAMP

Image by Carlos Latuff

“All human beings deserve human and civil rights, including the Palestinians,” Waters said. “And we’re winning it. This is why they want to silence me, this is why they call me an anti-Semite and this why they don’t want me on Charlie Rose or Stephen Colbert, speaking.” (FROM)

Also see the following post by Michael Rivero (Click on link)

THE NEW McCARTHYISM

 

SPOTLIGHT ON SAM BAHOUR IN THE JERUSALEM POST

Sam Bahour is eager to open up the discussion concerning the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But is there anyone to engage in the conversation?

Sam Bahour. (photo credit:TOMER ZMORA)

LISTENING
CLOSELY
Sam Bahour is eager to open up the
discussion concerning the IsraeliPalestinian
conflict. But is there anyone to
engage in the conversation? And why do
some members of the younger Palestinian
generation prefer talking of civil rights
rather than statehood?

NATAN ODENHEIMER  .. From Jerusalem Post Magazine

‘Why do you think Israelis want to hear you speak?”
I ask American-born Palestinian businessman
Sam Bahour in a Ramallah cafe.
“I’m a public figure, so when people come
to hear me, they know what’s on the menu,”
he replies. “There are all kinds of audiences. Some want to hear me
firsthand, others to challenge me, which many do, or to reinforce how
they argue against me outside, so they could say ‘I tried. I heard the
other side but I cannot change my opinion.’”
MANY SEE Bahour as a controversial figure. Perhaps this is because
alongside his business commitments he spends much time and energy
in “narrating,” as he puts it, to Israelis and American Jews the Palestinian
angle of the history and present of the conflict.
Bahour was born to a “very nationalistic family” in Youngstown, Ohio.
His parents, both originally from El-Bireh, raised him to know the
names and histories of their neighbors in Palestine better than that of
those living next door. During his college years, he became involved
with the Palestinian student movement, which was the PLO’s student
organ, and became a leader in the movement. After the Oslo Accords
were signed, he followed his wife back to Ramallah to work in business
development, hoping that the agreement would open the door for new
opportunities.
In the past 24 years Bahour co-founded Paltel, a telecommunication
company and the largest private-sector employer in the West Bank, served
on the board and as the treasure of Bir Zeit university, was a director of The
Arab Islamic Bank, and published opinion pieces in the Washington Post,
the Guardian and +972. Currently, he runs his own company, Applied
Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development
and focusing on information technology and start-ups.
In 2013, J Street U chapter at Brandeis University invited him to speak,
which some students found offensive since Bahour is a supporter of the
BDS movement and criticizes Israeli policy harshly.
Following the Brandeis event, a Committee for Accuracy in Middle
East Reporting in America (CAMERA) contributor, Ariella Charny,
published a blogpost titled “The Failures of Sam Bahour,” discrediting
him as an anti-peace activist.
But despite the many online descriptions of Bahour as a peace opposer
and Israel smearer, he didn’t blink before agreeing to an interview with
The Jerusalem Post, something that isn’t trivial in the current political
atmosphere. He believes that these sort of conversations – the kind that
is difficult to engage in – are key for moving forward.
“We as Palestinians,” he said, “failed in history in addressing Israelis
directly. We always thought that as long as we have an open door to the
US, an open door to Russia or the European Union, we can resolve the
conflict through a third party. I think it’s important but it’s impossible to
[resolve the conflict] without addressing the Israelis directly. I encourage
my people to do that in Hebrew as often as possible. Ultimately, this
dispute is no longer about Israel-Palestine. It’s about Israel itself.”
TWO EVENTS shaped Bahour’s political consciousness and fixated him
on what he sees as the Palestinian cause. The first was learning about the
Sabra and Shatilla massacre committed by Lebanese Christian militias
following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. When the photos started
coming out, Bahour, who was a college student at the time, organized a
demonstration against Israel on campus.
“I’m aware of the fact that more than one party was responsible.
However, without Israel’s invasion of Lebanon it probably would not
have happened. I blame Israel and all else who were involved.
“I asked myself then,” he says, “how could that take place? That was
before Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria – these were supposed to be tragic events
that stop the world from spinning, but they didn’t.”
The second event was the eruption of the First Intifada. “I was about
to exit university in the year 1987-8 and already politically engaged. I
couldn’t just sit still at home. I visited Palestine many times before, but
my main activity on those visits mainly involved sitting on my aunt’s
balcony stuffing myself with food. That year was the first time I came
on a political tour. Understanding where the United States sits in this
reality, a superpower supporting Israel, made this conflict doubly
personal as an American and a Palestinian.”
Bahour returned to Youngstown to work in software development,
but made room in his schedule for leading group visits to Palestine.
Slowly, the intifada was fading, and around this time Bahour married
Abeer Barghouty from Deir Ghassana, who followed him to Ohio. “In 1993,” Bahour recalls, “the Oslo Accords were signed – no one expected
it. I read the agreement, and I became furious. I was against it.
“What kindled my anger was that the Palestinian side started the
process by recognizing Israel, and in return Israel recognized the
Palestinian Liberation Organization. This lopsidedness didn’t make
sense. It’s like the US would recognize the People’s Republic of China
and in response the PRC would recognize the Republican Party. It was a
bad agreement, but at least it was dated. That was the good thing about
it. We thought, ‘We have already been under occupation for 30-35 years,
what’s five more years?’
“I advocated – spoke and wrote – against the agreement. Then, one
time, I came back home and my wife told me, ‘What’s wrong with you?
The whole world is applauding this agreement through history. You are
the only person disliking it.’ She convinced me to reread the agreement
with a business eye, not a political one. She had a hidden agenda, of
course. She wanted to go back home. We just had our first child and this
Ohio thing didn’t work for her.”
Bahour gave the agreement another chance.
“There was an annex about every part of life, land, Areas A, B and C,
water, patrols, police – you name it, it was there. I came across Annex
No. 36, the Telecommunication annex, and the first paragraph was
great. I couldn’t have written it better myself. It said that Palestinians
have the right to build, operate and maintain separate and independent
networks. Long story short – this brought me back to Palestine. My
wife came back home, I relocated and got hired by a group of investors
that were negotiating with the Palestinian Authority to create the first
telecommunication company, Paltel.”
Life back home
However, when Bahour started working on Paltel, he read the rest
of the annex, and discovered clauses that limited the operation of the
telecommunication company taking its baby steps. “The annex said
that if we want frequencies and wavelengths allocated to us, we should
come back to the Israeli side and they alone will decide if it’s allowed.
Or, for instance, when we wanted to connect two Area As together, we
need to cross Area C, which is 62% of the West Bank, and every time we
wanted to do that we needed to get Israeli approval.
“You want to import equipment? You must jump through three Israeli
hoops, a hoop of customs, a hoop of standards and a hoop of security.
This slowed down our development process a great deal. So ultimately
the conclusion I reached over that year or so is that the political
lopsidedness of the agreement was translated into all of the sectors
setting them up for failure. It’s similar to me telling you you are welcome
to leave this cafe any time you want but I don’t tell you I sealed all the
doors and windows, and that there is no actual way,” he explains.
“Having said that, we did the best we could do within these limitations.
We built the largest private-sector company in Palestine, providing a
fixed-line network, a mobile network, and a telecommunication network.
It’s not separate and independent in the full sense of the word, but it’s
the best we could do. It also became very successful financially. Even too
successful financially, and that’s why I left. I felt like they [the directors
of Paltel] were making too much profit from an occupied people. Then
again, when I think back, I’m not sure the private sector, anywhere,
should be expected to [do] more than what it’s expected to do, which is
to hire people, create value and profit. I came with an illusion that the
private sector is part and parcel of the National Liberation Movement. It
was a mistake on my part.”
BAHOUR LEFT and opened his own consulting firm. The next year, he
was hired to put up the first shopping center in the Palestinian territories
(in Ramallah) called the Plaza Shopping Center.
During the Second Intifada, a lot of the clashes were very close to
the construction site and building the shopping center didn’t take 18
months as planned, but turned into a five-year challenge. Despite the
hardships, today the shopping center chain already has nine branches.
Bahour argues that the pace of the Palestinian economy’s growth is
limited by Israel and that if Israel eased restrictions on the economy,
even without solving the political crisis, the economy could grow
much more. “When my Israeli friends, especially those who are in the
supermarket business, visit, they are surprised by what we did here. I tell
them yes, it’s a ‘wow,’ but if it wasn’t for the boot of occupation on our
neck, we would have had branch number 50 by now.”
What do you mean?
“For instance, we aren’t able to have the frequencies we want, to be
able to put 3G on your smartphones. So every Palestinian smartphone is a dumb phone. It’s 2017 and Israel still refuses to
release the 3G frequencies. I’m almost embarrassed to
talk about it. I was in Denmark the other month and
they have signs there for 5G ‘coming soon,’ and we are
still begging for 3G.
“Israel, in my opinion, has full responsibility, not
over everything, but over the strategic economic
resources: water, frequencies, air spaces and borders.
For example, the Oslo Accords said we can make
bilateral agreements with any country as long as the
country has trade relations with Israel. Yet, we also
need to bring it to the Israeli side, not for approval,
but for acknowledging it, because they control the
border. We made nine agreements, and not one of
these agreements was recognized by Israel. Another
example is that Israel allows private companies to dig
marble on Palestinian land, which could have been a
resource used for stimulating Palestinian economy.”
You say that you spend almost 20% of your
time in speaking and engaging with American
Jews and Israelis. What’s the most important
thing for you to tell American Jews?
“Many of those I speak with are rabbinical students
that are here for studies or work in mainstream
organizations, and I show them what I know and
allow them to make the calculations of what that
means. Our people have a tendency to exaggerate the
reality to make their point. So if there are six soldiers
outside my house I put on that there are 600 to make
an impression, but at that point I lose my confidence
with my audience, so for me it’s important to lay out
the reality as we experience it,” he explains frankly.
“I do that comfortably because I know enough
about Judaism to understand that social justice is
a pillar of the religion and I think that this pillar
can be invoked if people would be better educated.
What I have seen in the last 15 years is that people
open their eyes and minds as I’m speaking to them.
It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen at
once, but I can see a process taking place, and given
the number of people who come after the talks or the
engagements asking how to get involved, I know it’s
ringing somewhere.”
These discussions mostly take place in the West
Bank; among them are independent groups visiting,
some are organized thorough J Street, Encounter
Programs, Extend and other organizations.
Asked about the reactions he’s been getting in his
discussion, he replies: “At first, many American Jews
think that what I tell them accounts only for my
experiences or my opinion and that it doesn’t reflect
a broader community. So they try to limit my added value as a personal opinion, not of a community at
large. The second reaction is becoming pissed off at
their own establishment. These are grown people,
leaders in their community, and they are shocked.
They ask themselves, ‘How come I do not know the
entire story taking place on the other side of the
wall?’ Then comes the hard process of observing what
they learned without becoming ostracized in their
community. I think it’s a tiptoe act and I don’t envy
them for having to do it, because I know how hard it
is when you know something and want to act, but you
also don’t want to lose your roots and ability to work
within your community, and I think this gives people
a lot of pain.”
When did you find yourself in such a situation?
“There is a romanticism about Palestine that the
Palestinians over time created which has little to do
with the reality here. Let’s take, for example, the PLO
and PLO leadership. It was revered and upheld over the
years. But when you sit face to face with PLO operatives
and PA representatives and ministers and so forth you
start to see them for what they are. Some good, some
bad, like every government. Some competent, some
not. But definitely not an institutional body ready to
engage in the big struggle facing us. That was a wakeup
call for me. I encourage people not to romanticize
it, but also not to lose hope, to understand the reality,
each in its own way.”
What is your take on your Israeli audience?
“They are always the hardest ones. They come with
a very predefined notion of right and wrong. They
come with a possibly inherent racism or superiority
over Palestinians. They come rattling off very expired
thoughts, talking points that are 15 and 20 years old.”
Like what?
“They ask, ‘Who are you as a Palestinian?’ I thought
we were past that. That people understood we exist.
They go back to ‘God gave me this land’ so they put me
in a corner. What am I supposed to do? Defend God?…
The terrorism blocks them from seeing anything. To
evaluate anything. Two Israelis die, and suddenly the
entire 50 years of struggle becomes unthinkable.”
What is it that Palestinians want and Israelis
don’t understand?
“We desire the exact same things that every single
Israeli citizen desires when he wakes up: work, safety,
marriage, love, having a house, a car, a mobile phone,
tech, education for his children – Palestinians are no
better and no less than other people.“ What I don’t get is how the Israeli Knesset can both
tell its people that Gaza has nothing to do with Israel,
that it is not occupied, and at the same time maintain
the population registry; they register every newborn
child and issue them ID numbers.”
You think that Israelis are stuck in Oslo?
“I think the Israelis are stuck in Zionism. Zionism
was meant to create a state. That state was created,
and it turned out to be a very strong state. What they
should have done is put this ideology in the museum
and cherish it. Instead they took Zionism and rolled it
into all the institutions of the state.
“Fast forward to 2017, when Israel looks in the mirror
it doesn’t see Israel. They see a reflection of Zionism
and it’s very difficult for them to decide now – Are they
a state for their citizens? Are they a state among the
member states of the world (which means that there
are rules of how to act; having an occupation is not
one of those)? Or do they want to remain true to their
ideology which is exclusive by definition, and they
have to face that fall-out if they do.
“The current government doesn’t recognize this as
occupation. So I ask every Israeli I come across, if it’s
not occupation, then what is it? If it’s occupation,
it must end. Fifty years is far too long for temporary
occupation. If it’s not occupation, then I’m a subject,
in Ramallah, of the Israeli jurisdiction between the
Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River… I think
that they need to be wary: the next generation of
Palestinians may not beat their head against the wall
of statehood. My daughter may say, ‘You know what,
Israel? Congratulations. You win. You get it all. You get
the West Bank, west Jerusalem, east Jerusalem, you get
the water, we will throw in Gaza for free, and you know
what else you get? Us. And you know what more? We
heard there is free health care in Israel. Where do we
pick up our medical cards?’ If the next generation
drops the bid for statehood, what they will convert it
into is a bid for civil rights.”
This approach is becoming popular?
“There is a whole generation that speaks in this
language. I would encourage them not to do that.
Not because I don’t want civil rights, but because this
will force us into a one-state reality, but it’s not going
to be like Ohio and Pennsylvania, but like white and
black South Africa. We have 138 countries that said
yes to Palestine, nine that said no, of them, the only
two important ones are Israel and the US. We are
close to statehood. If we fail, we will not disappear or
vanish. We will convert our struggle into a civil rights
movement. If we do that, the game is over.”

RABBIS IN SUPPORT OF LIFTING BDS TRAVEL BAN

“Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Illustrative image of demonstrators outside the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo protesting his executive order calling for New York companies to divest from organizations that support the BDS movement, June 9, 2016. (Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)

After Jewish Voice of Peace activist barred from boarding flight to Ben Gurion, liberal clergy decry ‘anti-democratic’ law

More than 200 liberal US rabbis want Israel to lift travel ban on BDS leaders

JTA

More than 200 rabbis from the liberal movements of American Judaism signed a letter opposing Israel’s travel ban on leaders of the boycott movement against Israel.

The rabbis signing Wednesday’s letter were responding to an incident last month in which Rabbi Alissa Wise of Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was prevented from boarding an Israel-bound airplane leaving Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

Four other people traveling to Israel as part of an interfaith delegation, including two other Jews, a Christian and a Muslim, were also prevented from boarding the flight at the request of the Israeli government.

“We hold diverse opinions on BDS. Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives,” read the letter, which had been signed by 212 rabbis as of late Wednesday morning.

“Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the letter said.

The signers included Rabbi Sharon Brous, of the independent IKAR congregation in  Los Angeles; Rabbi Amy Eilberg of Los Altos, California, the first women ordained by the Conservative movement; and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

In March, the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, amended the Law of Entry to prevent leaders of the BDS movement from being allowed into Israel. The amendment applies to organizations, as well as the leadership and senior activists of those groups, that take consistent and significant action against Israel through BDS and threaten it with material harm.

JVP said at the time of the incident that it was the first time the amendment had been enforced before passengers boarded their flights to Israel and the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their support of BDS.

An anti-BDS bill making its way through Congress would expand existing law that bans boycotts imposed by foreign governments to include those imposed by international organizations like the European Union and the United Nations.

TUESDAY’S TOON ~~ NETANYAHU’S WRONGFUL INDICTMENT

Netanyahu may be indicted, but getting him for dirty money is like getting Al Capone for tax evasion!

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Hague still awaits this war criminal

SILENCE IS AS DEADLY AS GUNS

The Palestinian cry for freedom and justice must not remain unheard, because silence is an accomplice!

Source Graphic / Copyright: urfingus / 123RF Lizenzfreie Bilder reworked by anonym

Silence is an accomplice

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

While the judaization of Palestine continues untroubled, the illegal occupation of Palestine is maintained, and the Haram al-Sharif and al-Aqsa mosque are deprived of all rights because of the Netanyahu regime, and politicians of the extreme right, from Lieberman to Bennett, already talk about the “transfer” of Palestinian citizens, by mentally sending more and more Israeli citizens to the illegally occupied West Bank, the Federal Republic of Germany is silent on all Jewish crimes.

After Chancellor Merkel’s visit to the Wagner Opera in Bayreuth, where this year a Jewish producer explicitly exposed Wagner as an Anti-Semite in a tasteless and more than questionable orchestration, the whole federal government disappeared on a silent vacation.

It is apparent that Merkel never names the “barbaric crimes” committed by the Jewish occupiers, when there are Palestinian victims, but it silences on these crimes, and what is even worse, she assures her solidarity to the occupiers‘ regime by support its alleged “self-defence”! The successors of the “Christian Fascists” became “Christian Zionist” and silence on the Zionist state terrorism. The wonderful poem by Erich Fried entitled “The Successors” and quoted at the end of this article perfectly fits in this picture.

It is utterly unbelievable that German politicians always declare solidarity with the Jewish occupiers while the legitimate struggle for freedom of the Palestinians is gelidly ignored. Is there another people than the Palestinian we should feel more empathy for as Germans? I do not think there is. In fact, after the Holocaust we abandoned this unspeakable suffering people. Again and again, Germany feels closely connected with the destiny of the “Jewish State”. However, this link should be interrupted in case of human rights and international law violations. And these violations began with the foundation of the State in 1948 and even before. How often do we have to repeat this to be heard? Apparently not often and loudly enough, because nothing changes, and if something changes, it is only to the detriment of Palestine and its illegally occupied population.

While politics is silent in alliance with the “Jewish State” and its “safety needs”, the responsibility for the Palestinian people is declined with payments to the Palestinian Authority cooperating with Israel. And this is an incredible defeat. Since all German payments should be made by the “Jewish State” of occupiers instead.

While the Netanyahu regime oppresses the illegally occupied West Bank supported by the Abbas Authority, and takes its freedom, dignity, and interrupts water and electricity, Germany and Europe continue to finance the illegal occupation. We submissively accept Palestinian property, paid by European tax payers, being deliberately destroyed by the occupiers, who are assured that things will go on this way, like a perpetuum mobile!

It is precisely Germany which on July 20 celebrated the resistance of a couple of questionable aristocratic officers and always stresses on the importance of moral courage and resistance against terror and occupiers’ regimes.

And this happens while Jewish occupiers immediately oppress any Palestinian – legitimate – resistance with irritant gas, stinking gas, rubber bullets and snipers, as it actually happens at the Haram al-Sharif. The planned detectors and cameras were disassembled, and for this purpose Netanyahu deployed masses of occupation police and soldiers who insulted Muslim religious freedom, and only Palestinian men over 50 and women were allowed to pray on the site, according to the occupiers’ will, and then the worm turned. When the Abbas Authority and the Fatah Party proclaimed the “Day of Rage”, it was as mendacious as the whole authority is. Abbas and Fatah fear the outbreak of a new Intifada, exactly like the Jewish occupiers-friends do. Even if this rage causes many victims on the Palestinian side, because of the unequal power of the Jewish potentates, it is an absolutely understandable rage against this hopeless life, and cannot be contained. What do these young Palestinians have to fear in this bleak life under Israeli and even under Palestinian reprisals? At least with the sacrifice of their lives they want to do something against their lack of freedom of decades of occupation, and they want to struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

Even Haram al-Sharif which is the most important Muslim sanctuary after Makkah and Medina is instrumentalised once again by Jewish occupiers by wrongly representing it as Jewish symbol. For sure there was a second Jewish temple on the “Temple Month” (Haram-al-Sharif), but it is completely improbably that there was a first one. And if right-wing politicians like Bennett and Glick plan the construction of a third temple, this surpasses provocation and conscious misleading of the global public.

Also the “Jewish Wailing Wall” in the illegally occupied Jerusalem is just a former delimitation wall, instrumentalised in the 19th century as Jewish symbol. Between 1928 and 1929 a rancorous struggle for the interpretational jurisdiction broke out; and this struggle caused heavy struggles with more than 250 victims. The Palestinian, Muslim local population always feared the judaization of its holy sites – and it was right! At that time, there was the British mandate which clearly defined the status quo as it had to be: the whole area, including the “Wailing Wall” belonged to the Muslims and was attributed to them. Also the decision of the UNESCO in 2016 defined the Haram al-Sharif as Muslim and recognised only the reality of history, and 2017, in its Jerusalem Resolution, the UNESCO finally defined the city as what it is: an occupied city. In fact, there is only one problem in Palestine, and in particular at Haram al-Sharif, and this problem is the illegal Jewish occupation; and almost nobody talks about it so that this main problem falls into oblivion.

The truth cannot be concealed for ever by lies of extremist rabbis and “Israeli Arabists” like  Mordechai Kedar who repeatedly assert that the Muslim claim for Haram-al-Sharif is a “falsification of history”. Since it is absolutely clear who falsifies history here. In this context I would like to recommend to read the book by Israel Finkelstein and Neil A. Silberman entitled “The Bible Unearthed”! (1)

This book objectively and knowledgeably dispels Jewish myths. Another book which is absolutely worth reading is Nell A. Silberman’s “David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition”! (2)

We must put an end to the instrumentalization of Judaism by the Jewish occupiers and their Sayanim abroad to guarantee their eternal claim for whole Palestine. First the displacement, then the ethnic cleansing, and in the end the occupation. What will complete the final solution of Judaization? The final displacement and “transfer”?

Netanyahu claims for the death penalty for Palestinian resistance fighters while the Jewish “Defence” Army undisturbedly executes extrajudicial death sentences, and for Jewish murderer-soldiers and terrorists unbelievably “light” sentences are passed. Let us remember the murderer-soldier Azaria who shot death a Palestinian defencelessly lying on the ground. For this guy Netanyahu and colleagues asked for “grace”, while innocent Palestinians are often imprisoned for their whole life in the illegal Jewish administrative detention without charge. If this is the reality, there is something absolutely wrong in the “Jewish State”, the so called “only” democracy in the Middle East, which cannot be called democratic because it does not even try to cover up its crimes. Why should they do it? They are pumped up with weapons, financial support of billions, and from everywhere people declare their solidarity with their crimes.

If the new Israeli heroes like Gideon Levy say that they are murderers who only know and want one thing which is “killing Arabs”, and if more than 85% of the citizens in the “Jewish State” support these criminal and murderous expansion politics, then decades of Jewish-Zionist brain washing have reached their goal. (3)

The “Jewish State” is a closed and arrogant society with no relation to law and democracy. This is a particularly negative status quo, which was made possible thanks to the hypocritical community of states because of an eternal victim status after the Holocaust. This is the actual problem: When Anti-Semites become Philosemites and when Israel criticism or BDS supporters are denigrated as haters of Jews and Anti-Semites, then this is a crime against humanity because again Jewish citizens are marginalised and delegitimised. And this is something we cannot longer tolerate. Since not our defamers are right, but the ones who actively work for law, justice, and freedom in Palestine.

If the Western alliance struggles against terrorism (even if the majority of this terrorism is caused by this alliance which is responsible for it), but is blind when it is about the Jewish occupiers’ state terrorism, then something goes really wrong.

This alliance and the “Jewish State” are very fast when it is about boycotting and denigrating other states, like it is the case of present-day Iran. However, when it is about such an important boycott like the one against the “Jewish State”, the eternal boycotter of the Palestinian people (without freedom and land) draws the card of Anti-Semitism. Is the Jewish occupiers’ regime not the only one and the last one depriving a people of its rights under the benevolent protection of the international community, and whose aggressions cannot be surpassed?

The Netanyahu regime of occupiers rightly fears the BDS campaign and declares its war against its international supporters. BDS supporters like the “Jewish Voice for Peace”, “American Muslims for Palestine”, and several Christian and Jewish groups, supporters, and activists are denied entry to the “Jewish State”. If we look at the example of South Africa, we will understand how important civil society pressure is, when politicians completely fail.

The Palestinian cry for freedom and justice must not remain unheard, because silence is an accomplice!

Die Nachfolger

Weil christliche Faschisten
zu Hitlers Zeit in Europa
Juden getötet haben
bewaffnen im Libanon heute
Zionisten die Falangisten
die so christlich sind
und so faschistisch
wie damals die Judenmörder

Weil faschistische Mörder
Juden vertrieben haben
sollen jetzt faschistische Mörder
die Palästinenser
die unschuldig waren
am Tod der Juden Europas
so ermorden wie damals
die Juden ermordet wurden

Weil es Juden und Linke gibt
die das Wahnsinn nennen
und den Mördern nicht helfen wollen
bezeichnen die Zionisten
diese Linken als Nazis
und die antifaschistischen Juden
als „jüdische Antisemiten“
und „Verräter am eigenen Blut“

Erich Fried

MORE ‘TRUMPAFITTI’ IN BETHLEHEM

On the concrete barricades erected by Israel for security purposes around parts of Bethlehem giant spray-painted images of Trump have given Palestinians some comic relief.

“I’m going to build you a brother,” the US leader tells the wall in one mural. In another, he hugs an Israeli army watch-tower, with heart-shaped emojis added alongside paint splashes and soot stains left by Palestinian demonstrations.

Trump graffitied on Israeli security barrier (Photo: Reuters)

 

Bethlehem graffiti lampoons Trump embrace of Israeli wall
*
Artist sprays on Israel’s security barrier a caricature of US President Donald Trump, mocking his planned construction of a wall along the Mexican border to stem tide of immigration.
*
US President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the Mexican border may be a tall order, but at least he has left his mark on the Israeli security barrier that he has promoted as a model.
On the concrete barricades erected by Israel for security purposes around parts of Bethlehem giant spray-painted images of Trump have given Palestinians some comic relief.

“I’m going to build you a brother,” the US leader tells the wall in one mural. In another, he hugs an Israeli army watch-tower, with heart-shaped emojis added alongside paint splashes and soot stains left by Palestinian demonstrations.

The artist, who goes by the alias @LushSux and who Australian media have said comes from Melbourne, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published a transcript of a conversation in which Trump pressured Mexico not to publicly oppose his plan to have it pay for a border wall that he says is needed to stop illegal immigration to the United States.

“You know, you look at Israel—Israel has a wall and everyone said do not build a wall, walls do not work—99.9 percent of people trying to come across that wall cannot get across and more,” Trump told Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, according to the transcript of the phone call in January.

“Bibi Netanyahu told me the wall works,” he added, using Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname.

Related post HERE

“I’m going to build you a brother”

CORPORATE MEDIA BLACKOUT NEWS ~~CAUGHT ON VIDEO ~~ SHOOTING TO KILL IN PALESTINE

This video shows an Israeli soldier firing at Palestinian youths who are running away across a field. One of them, a 17-year-old boy, is hit and falls down. The Israeli soldier then strikes the boy on the head with the barrel of a gun as he lies on the ground, causing serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.

 Israeli soldier shoots, beats fleeing teen

The youth, identified only as D.T. by the human rights group B’Tselem, suffered a fractured skull, bleeding inside his skull, a fractured rib and a bruised left lung. He required surgery and a prolonged stay in hospital where he was unconscious for five days.

B’Tselem said that the conduct of Israeli occupation forces in this incident “is particularly grave.”

The shooting took place on 10 March, in the occupied West Bank village of Silwad, where youths had earlier been responding to the incursions of Israeli occupation forces by throwing stones.

Shot while running away

Video of the incident, captured by the security cameras of a local gas station, was published this week by B’Tselem.

“A Border Police officer fired a sponge bullet at D.T., who was running away from him and posed no danger to anyone,” wrote B’Tselem. “Then, with D.T. lying on the ground, wounded and helpless, the officer hit him with the barrel of his gun, fracturing his skull and knocking him unconscious.”

Along with live rounds designed to kill, Israel employs a number of supposedly “less lethal” weapons to suppress protest against its military occupation, including, 22-caliber rifles, rubber-coated metal bullets and foam-tipped or sponge bullets, which are composed of an aluminum base and a dense foam nose.

But these weapons have nonetheless continued to claim children’s eyes and lives and to cause permanent disabilities.

Parents barred from visiting

B’Tselem said that it took another 15 minutes for the occupation forces to evacuate the boy to hospital “where he underwent head surgery” and was “treated as a dangerous prisoner, guarded round-the-clock by security personnel who prevented his parents from going near him.”

Israeli occupation authorities only gave his parents permits to go and see him for the first few days of his hospital stay and then cited “security” to ban his father altogether. During this traumatic period, the boy’s parents were not allowed to enter his room and could only look at him through a window.

Through all of this, according to B’Tselem, “D.T., a 17-year-old boy, remained in hospital completely alone, away from his home and family and restrained to the bed for part of the time.”

Routine violence and impunity

B’Tselem added: “While this account may be shocking, it is not all that uncommon: Firing unlawfully at a fleeing Palestinian youth, who posed no danger to anyone, and hitting him hard on the head – actions that could have resulted in disability or death; followed by disgraceful conduct during hospitalization in Israel, including placing restraints on an injured teenager and denying family visits are not a rare occurrence.”

In January this year, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Qusay al-Amour, 17, in Tuqu, a village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Video from the scene shows Israeli soldiers violently dragging away the boy after he was shot.

In December 2016, Israeli occupation forces were filmed shooting and killing 17-year-old Ahmed Zeidani as he ran away, during a night raid on the West Bank village of Beit Rima.

And in April 2016, the Israeli army closed an investigation into Yisrael Shomer, a commander of its Binyamin Brigade, who in 2015 shot to death 17-year-old Muhammad al-Kasbeh while the Palestinian teenager was fleeing. The Israeli army decided that Shomer’s videotaped slaying of al-Kasbeh had been nothing more than “a professional mistake.”

B’Tselem described the closure of the case as “an integral part of the whitewash mechanism which is Israel’s military investigative system.”

The following month, B’Tselem announced it had stopped cooperating with the Israeli army unit that is supposed to investigate such abuses. The group said it no longer wanted to be a “fig leaf” for a system that guarantees impunity for perpetrators.

In the rare cases where an Israeli perpetrator is brought to trial, the penalty is normally a slap on the wrist.

B’Tselem reaffirmed in the case of D.T. that typically no one is held accountable, “guaranteeing that incidents of this sort will continue so long as the occupation does.”

PALESTINE IS NOT A PIZZA PIE! ~~ TOON FOR THE DAY

My beloved Palestinians, please don’t be fooled, Israel removed metal detectors from al-Aqsa but land grabbing in East Jerusalem continues!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel won’t stop stealing land until it swallows

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ TRUMP ON THE WALL

It was bound to happen. A guerrilla graffiti artist painted an image of Donald Trump on Israel’s separation wall inside of the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the early morning hours Monday, mocking the president’s repeated statements on his intention to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I’m going to build you a brother”

The Trump mural is based on widely circulated photographs of the president visiting Jerusalem’s Western Wall last May during his first trip abroad. Trump’s stop at the Jewish religious site stoked controversy and a number of memes. The wall is located inside of East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to pray at the wall.

“Who paid for you?” he whispered. But the old wall keeps her secrets.

Read full report by clicking on link ….

Trump portrait appears on separation wall, credited to Australian street artist

NEWS NOT FIT TO PRINT

The New York Times is not alone in misleading the public.

Palestinians seek safety from Israeli occupation forces firing tear gas and other weapons at worshippers in the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, 27 July. (ActiveStills)

New York Times ignores Israeli calls for ethnic cleansing

New York Times headline on 24 July is representative of why there is continued American ignorance regarding Palestinian efforts to secure their freedom.

“Mosque crisis and Jordan attack raise fears of escalating violence in Israel,” it declares.

Written by Isabel Kershner, the text places the violence “in and around East Jerusalem.” Yet the headline tells a false story, since, as the UN Security Council recently affirmed, East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank territory Israel occupied in 1967 – and therefore not part of an expanded Israel.

New York Times news quiz takes a similar approach, referring in its headline to “Israel violence” – rather than “West Bank violence.” The quiz itself poses this question: “Deadly violence erupted in and around Jerusalem and in the West Bank on Friday when Israel placed metal detectors at entrances to what sacred site?”

The newspaper’s headline writers would be hard pressed to present matters in a more misleading manner.

The seven Palestinians and three Israelis killed since last Friday – after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque compound – were all slain in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Just as misleading, Kershner referred Wednesday to “Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem” with no mention of the fact that this is occupied territory or that the UN Security Council and all governments in the world reject Israel’s unilateral claim to have annexed the city.

(She did, however, note the world’s rejection of the annexation in an article published today.)

Basic geography remains an ongoing issue for the editors of a newspaper that presents itself as a powerful check on fake news.

Laundering Israeli land theft

In another recent article – effectively a PR piece for the Israeli army – the newspaper also apparently awards part of Syria to Israel: “This week, the Israeli military revealed the scope of the humanitarian aid project, which it calls Operation Good Neighbor and which began in June 2016 along the Israeli-Syrian boundary on the Golan Heights.”

This suggests that this is a border between Israel and Syria. It isn’t. It is a ceasefire line entirely within the occupied Golan Heights, which is Syrian territory. Again, Israel’s 1981 annexation of the territory, which it also occupied in 1967, was declared by the UN Security Council to be “null and void.”

Yet a caption accompanying the article refers to the “Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.”

At one point Kershner does mention that “Israel captured” the Golan Heights “from Syria in the 1967 war.”

The article also states: “The humanitarian effort is likely to burnish the reputation of the Israeli military, which is usually viewed as an occupying force and formidable war machine.”

This is the only mention of occupation and it presents it not as a fact, but merely as a perspective held by people who don’t like Israel and whose view ought presumably to be viewed with suspicion.

Kershner refers elsewhere to the “Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.”

All of this suggests that instead of reporting the facts about the international status of the territory, The New York Times seeks to launder and support Israel’s claims with deceptive language that explicitly omits references to occupation.

This puts into perspective Kershner’s use of the term “Israeli-annexed” to describe occupied East Jerusalem. Similarly misleading language about the West Bank can be anticipated. In fact, it’s already occurring.

“Brazen”

Most outlets have reduced their analysis of recent events to the past two weeks – starting with the killing on 14 July of two occupation police officers by three Palestinian citizens of Israel outside al-Aqsa mosque. All three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.

Lost or downplayed is 50 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank involving massive violence and discrimination against Palestinians. Media have largely ignored the constant threats and promises made by Israeli leaders and government-backed groups to take over the al-Aqsa mosque compound and replace the Muslim holy sites with a Jewish temple.

Kershner referred repeatedly in her articles to the “brazen” Palestinian attack outside al-Aqsa mosque.

She did not refer to the “brazen” Israeli theft of Palestinian land over decades, not only since 1967, but since the Nakba of 1948 when most Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homeland.

Violence in the eyes of too many journalists begins when Palestinians initiate it, and everything Israel does is presented as a “response.”

Whitewashing Israeli violence

Closely following the Israeli official line that Palestinian “incitement” – rather than the pervasive brutality of Israel’s occupation – is to blame for violence, Kershner stressed in the aftermath of the 14 July shootings, that the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had “whipped up emotions.”

She all but ignores the nonviolent character of the mass Palestinian resistance in East Jerusalem – though she did recognize it grudgingly on 27 July.

“Moreover, the Palestinian civil disobedience campaign was coupled with bloodshed – three Israelis were stabbed to death and four Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces – and the decision to remove the remaining metal railings and scaffolding occurred under the threat of further violence,” according to Kershner.

She was referring to Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors and other installations it placed at entrances to al-Aqsa that Palestinians see as another step in Israel’s plan to eventually seize total control over the compound.

Kershner managed to emphasize violence by Palestinians while whitewashing Israel’s. Occupation forces are described as providing “security.” And as journalists habitually do, she attributed the Palestinian deaths to vague “clashes,” rather than to the fact that Israel routinely chooses to attack civilians in an occupied territory with live fire and other weapons that in the last two weeks have injured more than 1,000 people.

And she has ignored very real incitement from senior Israeli leaders.

Ignoring calls for ethnic cleansing

Not mentioned by The New York Times was the threat by Tzachi Hanegbi, a senior minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of a “third Nakba” against Palestinians – a reference to Israel’s previous bouts of mass ethnic cleansing in 1948 and 1967.

“You’ve been warned,” Hanegbi told Palestinians in a post on Facebook last week.

Similarly, readers of the newspaper of record would find no reference to the open calls for collective punishment and atrocities by Oren Hazan, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“It’s time to expel the families of terrorists,” Hazan said.

Hazan said he did not want to sound “too extreme,” adding, “if it was up to me, I’d enter the terrorist’s home last night, take him and his family with him and execute them all … A quick and simple execution.”

“The land of Israel is for the people of Israel and not for Ishmael,” he concluded.

Hazan has previously promised that if he becomes prime minister he will replace the al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish temple.

It is perhaps his prime ministerial ambitions that are driving the current incumbent Netanyahu to echo Hazan’s demands for deadly revenge. This, of course, is not the first time the prime minister has voiced such violent sentiments.

Yet those who get their news from The New York Times will be misled into thinking that it is just Palestinian leaders who have “whipped up emotions.”

CNN and AP

The New York Times is not alone in misleading the public.

CNN’s Abeer Salman and Oren Liebermann wrote about a Christian man, Nidal Aboud, who joined Muslims praying outside al-Aqsa mosque: “He is urging all Christians to unite with Muslims against what he says is blatant unfairness, and even urged Jews to stand against Israeli occupation.”

The “even” leaps out here. Why should it be a surprise to anyone that Palestinians urge Jews to stand against the Israeli occupation? It’s as if CNN is surprised that Jews would stand for equal rights and an end to the oppression endured by Palestinians.

Meanwhile, in an article about five interfaith activists prohibited by Israel from traveling from Dulles Airport to Tel Aviv this week, Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press gives more credence to biased descriptions of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement than to what the movement itself says it seeks to achieve.

“Supporters of BDS … say they are using nonviolent means to promote the Palestinian independence efforts,” Zoll states. She provides a brief reference to ending the occupation, but says nothing about equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, two of the fundamental goals of the BDS movement.

But she gives prominence to Israel’s claims that BDS “masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.”

Faithfully reproducing Israeli government talking points, Zoll asserts that “Some critics accuse the BDS movement of anti-Semitism because it singles out Israel for boycott while overlooking the Palestinian part in the conflict and ignoring countries with poor human rights records.”

Claims of singling out Israel in a Palestinian-led movement are as absurd as claims of South African anti-apartheid activists – and their allies – singling out the apartheid South African government.

Nor does Zoll balance the criticism of unnamed critics by pointing out that the Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement explicitly oppose all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism.

By giving more space to the anti-BDS position of those who oppose equal rights for Palestinians, the AP – like The New York Times – launders Israel’s political positions as neutral and uncontroversial descriptions.

Activists moving on Palestinian rights

I first met Rick Ufford-Chase, one of the interfaith activists denied permission to board the Dulles flight, in 1990. He is now with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and was moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We met in Arizona when he was focused on labor and human rights violations against Mexicans and Central Americans.

Israel is presumably concerned that its violations of Palestinian rights are now attracting the attention of American activists who, like Ufford-Chase, have in the course of their lives addressed human rights violations in Central America, Mexico, the US and South Africa – many of them participating in boycotts along the way.

Activists who started with the Nestlé boycottCalifornia table grape boycott and South Africa apartheid boycott are now holding Israel to the same standard as other major rights abusers.

Israel and its surrogates are deploying false accusations of anti-Semitism and other smears in an effort to silence those raising the alarm about Israel’s racist “two-tier system” for Palestinians and Israelis.

Israel is also being helped in its effort to stave off justice by journalists who continue to present a grotesquely false picture where Israel – which has imposed a system of apartheid on millions of Palestinians – is the victim and Palestinians are to blame for the ongoing strife.

 

WONDERFUL TOON TO START THE WEEK ~~ ISRAEL’S BITTER DEFEAT

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinian victory on the Temple Mount

zions initial response …..

Israel bars men under 50 from Jerusalem Old City prayers

Israeli police said they were barring men under 50 from entering Jerusalem’s Old City for Friday Muslim prayers as tensions rose over new security measures at a supersensitive holy site.

“Entry to the Old City and Temple Mount will be limited to men aged 50 and over. Women of all ages will be permitted,” a police statement said.

Tensions have risen after Israeli police installed metal detectors at entrances to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack nearby that killed two policemen.

The move angered Palestinian and other Muslims who saw it as Israel asserting further control over the site.

Palestinians have been refusing to enter the compound since then, and hundreds have been holding prayers outside, with clashes occasionally breaking out with Israeli police.

The main weekly prayers on Fridays draw the largest number of worshippers, and speculation had been mounting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might order the metal detectors removed before this week’s prayers.

But after consultations with security chiefs and members of the security cabinet, Netanyahu decided not to remove them.

An Israeli official said the security cabinet “has given police the au thority to make any decision to ensure free access to holy sites while maintaining security and public order.”

Source

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More Toons from the Arab Press …

Cartoon published in Saudi Arabia’s Al Watan newspaper, July 28, 2017. (Screenshot)

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Cartoon published in London’s Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, July 28, 2017. (Screenshot)

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Cartoon published in Jordan’s Al-Rad newspaper, July 28, 2017. (Screenshot)

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Cartoon published in Arab language social media, July 28, 2017. (Screenshot)

 

A PALESTINIAN VOICE FROM THE PAST

Peace has two parents: Freedom and Justice. And occupation is the natural begetter of violence.

My friends and colleagues, thank you for your noble act of solidarity. Thank you for your brave initiative to break the psychological siege inflicted upon us. Thank you for resisting the invitation to dance on our graves. Know that we are still here; that we still live.

Mahmoud Darwish APA images

Welcome: A letter from Mahmoud Darwish

The renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was the first writer that the Palestine Festival of Literature approached with a request to be a Founding Patron. He accepted. He was due to speak at PalFest’s inaugural event in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in May 2008 but medical reasons prevented him from attending. He sent a letter instead. Darwish passed away three months later in August.

The English translation of his 2008 letter features as the opening piece of  This Is Not a Bordera newly published collection of essays, diaries and poems marking a decade of PalFest. Darwish’s letter appears online here for the first time.

Dear Friends,

I regret that I cannot be here today, to receive you personally.

Welcome to this sorrowing land, whose literary image is so much more beautiful than its present reality. Your courageous visit of solidarity is more than just a passing greeting to a people deprived of freedom and of a normal life; it is an expression of what Palestine has come to mean to the living human conscience that you represent. It is an expression of the writer’s awareness of his role: a role directly engaged with issues of justice and freedom. The search for truth, which is one of a writer’s duties, takes on – in this land – the form of a confrontation with the lies and the usurpation that besiege Palestine’s contemporary history; with the attempts to erase our people from the memory of history and from the map of this place.

We are now in the 60th year of the Nakba. There are now those who are dancing on the graves of our dead, and who consider our Nakba their festival. But the Nakba is not a memory; it is an ongoing uprooting, filling Palestinians with dread for their very existence. The Nakba continues because the occupation continues. And the continued occupation means a continued war. This war that Israel wages against us is not a war to defend its existence, but a war to obliterate ours.

The conflict is not between two “existences,” as the Israeli discourse claims. The Arabs have unanimously offered Israel a collective peace proposal in return for Israel’s recognition of the Palestinians’ right to an independent state. But Israel refuses.

Dear friends, in your visit here you will see the naked truth. Yesterday, we celebrated the end of apartheid in South Africa. Today, you see apartheid blossoming here most efficiently. Yesterday, we celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, you see the wall rising again, coiling itself like a giant snake around our necks. A wall – not to separate Palestinians from Israelis, but to separate Palestinians from themselves, and from any view of the horizon. Not to separate history from myth, but to weld together history and myth with a racist ingenuity.

Life here, as you see, is not a given, it’s a daily miracle. Military barriers separate everything from everything. And everything – even the landscape – is temporary and vulnerable. Life here is less than life, it is an approaching death. And how ironic that the stepping up of oppression, of closures, of settlement expansion, of daily killings that have become routine – that all this takes place in the context of what is called the “peace process;” a process revolving in an empty circle, threatening to kill the very idea of peace in our suffering hearts.

Peace has two parents: Freedom and Justice. And occupation is the natural begetter of violence. Here, on this slice of historic Palestine, two generations of Palestinians have been born and raised under occupation. They have never known another – normal – life. Their memories are filled with images of hell. They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope.

In this difficult condition of history, Palestinian writers live. Nothing distinguishes them from their countrymen – nothing except one thing: that writers try to gather the fragments of this life and of this place in a literary text; a text they try to make whole.

I have spoken before of how difficult it is to be Palestinian, and how difficult it is for a Palestinian to be a writer or a poet. On the one hand you have to be true to your reality, and on the other you have to be faithful to your literary profession. In this zone of tension between the long “State of Emergency” and between his literary imagination, the language of the poet moves. He has to use the word to resist the military occupation. And he has to resist – on behalf of the word – the danger of the banal and the repetitive. How can he achieve literary freedom in such slavish conditions? And how can he preserve the literariness of literature in such brutal times?

The questions are difficult. But each poet or writer has their own way of writing themselves and their reality. The one historic condition does not produce the one text – or even similar texts, for the writing selves are many and different. Palestinian literature does not fit into ready-made molds.

Being Palestinian is not a slogan, it is not a profession. The Palestinian is a human being, a tormented human being who has daily questions, national and existential, who has a love story, who contemplates a flower and a window open to the unknown. Who has a metaphysical fear, and an inner world utterly resistant to occupation.

A literature born of a defined reality is able to create a reality that transcends reality – an alternative, imagined reality. Not a search for a myth of happiness to flee from a brutal history, but an attempt to make history less mythological, to place the myth in its proper, metaphorical place, and to transform us from victims of history, into partners in humanizing history.

My friends and colleagues, thank you for your noble act of solidarity. Thank you for your brave initiative to break the psychological siege inflicted upon us. Thank you for resisting the invitation to dance on our graves. Know that we are still here; that we still live.

8 May 2008

TOON OF THE DAY ~~ 3 EASY WAYS TO ESCALATE TENSION IN JERUSALEM

Image by Carlos Latuff

Want to know what Netanyahu is thinking?

‘The metal detectors are just the first step’: Palestinians say Israeli takeover of Al Aqsa is red line that can’t be crossed

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East Jerusalem, occupied West Bank — “You have four minutes to leave,” the Israeli police officer yelled aggressively through the megaphone.

The peaceful atmosphere drastically shifted into one of panic within seconds. Girls who were standing on the ledge scrambled to get down to leave, some tripping and falling down over others.

Last Sunday hundreds of Palestinians had lined up in rows inside the Old City’s walls by Lion’s Gate waiting for the late evening prayer. In the hour prior to the beginning of prayer, they occasionally chanted in support of Al Aqsa and the Sheikh delivered his sermon. It was a calm atmosphere where even the officers themselves were standing with relaxed postures, perhaps bored.

However, about ten minutes before the start of the late evening prayer, the mood dramatically changed when the group of officers suddenly straightened their positions and all lowered their visors at the same time.

Once the officer started shouting through the megaphone, panicked voices were heard in the crowd. Some Palestinians started to make their way towards the exit.

Suddenly explosions were heard, causing a stampede towards the exit, but the passageway was too narrow for such a large crowd. A sense of panic and fear ensued as people ran for cover, screaming.

Only a minute had passed from the four-minute deadline, but the officers had already thrown stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd who had been sitting on the ground, waiting to pray. Those who couldn’t make it towards the exit, sought protection behind stone pillars.

This was a typical scene from the Palestinians’ non-violent prayer protests against the Israeli military takeover of Al Aqsa that has so far resulted in the deaths of four Palestinians and over 900 injured within a week.

Palestinians remain alarmed over Israel’s latest unilateral decision to install metal detectors, security cameras, and turnstiles at all the gates leading to the Al Aqsa compound; they see it as an attempt by Israel to change the status quo and eventually gain complete control over Al Aqsa.

Located in occupied East Jerusalem, the Al Aqsa compound, also known as Haram Al Sharif for Muslims and Temple Mount for Jews, is administered by the Jordanian Islamic Waqf. Under a 150-year agreement, only Muslims can pray at the site, while non-Muslims can visit. According to leading rabbis, it is forbidden for any Jew to enter any part of Al Aqsa.

Up until now, Palestinian guards have controlled the entrances to Al Aqsa and who may enter without any metal detectors and security cameras in place.

Palestinians say they’ll continue praying outside of Al Aqsa’s gates in protest until the security measures are removed. Installing them unilaterally without consulting the Islamic Waqf is seen as a way for the Israeli authorities to assert their dominance and control over the site.

Israeli security set up the metal detectors and security cameras after three Palestinians and two Israeli officers were killed in a gun battle at the Al Aqsa Compound on July 14.

“This is just the first step. If we accept these metal detectors it will get even worse. The next step will be to stop people who want to pray from even reaching the Al Aqsa mosque,” Khatija Khiews said, who has been praying outside of Al Aqsa everyday in protest.

“The issue is the occupation itself. The solution is to remove the occupation. It’s the only answer to all of our problems.

“These metal detectors were installed at every gate and we don’t accept to be searched in order to go pray at Al Aqsa. Even if we do go through the metal detectors, we won’t accept to get searched by the police. They shouldn’t even be there,” Khiews said.

Speaking to Mondoweiss from Friday’s prayer at Lion’s Gate, Sheikh Mustafa Tawil fears the latest measure will lead to partitioning the Al Aqsa mosque just like with Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994.

“Muslims aren’t allowed to pray at the Ibrahimi mosque on Israeli weekends and holidays. The occupiers want to do the same thing to Al Aqsa mosque,” Tawil said.

“We refuse these gates because they were set up by the occupiers to force their control over the mosque. We refuse the Israelis’ sovereignty over the mosque at all. The metal detectors are just the first step in dividing Al Aqsa mosque.”

Jerusalem’s Old City has already started to resemble Hebron’s military ghost town. Many stores remain closed while groups of fully armed officers are positioned at every corner and open space and have barricaded many alleys.

Unraveling of negotiations by Israel

The negotiations reached in 2014 between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan in order to maintain peace at the holy site have been unraveling in the past year, especially in the last month, largely due to a “change of policy on the Israeli side,” according to Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

Among the points agreed upon was to bar all Knesset members from entering the site, to limit entrance for religious Jewish groups and to ban provocative Temple activists and to refrain from imposing age-based restrictions for Palestinian Muslims.

However Israel hasn’t adhered to its commitments.

The prayer ban has been relatively lax following the nomination of the new head of the police’s Jerusalem district Yoram Halevy in January 2016. Since then he has changed the police’s conduct towards Temple activists who seek to change the status quo, Zalzberg explained.

On June 29 when Halevy joined Temple activists visiting the site “he received the priestly benediction from an activist in the group.”

Halevy, a senior official in charge of preserving the ban on non-Muslim worship, “in accordance with a more than 150-year old arrangement” participated in the worship, Zalzberg wrote.

In the last month, police have also imposed age restrictions for Muslims twice in order to protect large groups of Temple activists visiting on those days.

Since the attack, MKs called for closing the Al Aqsa compound for Muslims, threatenedwith creating a third “nakba” and to build a synagogue on Al Aqsa compound. Likud, Israel’s ruling party launched a petition to raise the Israeli flag over the Al Aqsa compound.

The rise of Temple movements

Once a radical fringe group in politics and religion, since 2000 Temple movements have gained a respectable position within the mainstream right and benefit from close ties with the State of Israel.

The ultimate goal for Temple activists is to eventually destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock to build the Jewish “Third Temple.” The Temple Institute has a blueprintfor its construction ready.

According to a 2013 report by Israeli research organization Ir Amim, “The movements’ growing momentum and dangerous provocations to change the status quo are not receiving adequate attention, nor is the disturbing connection between these movements and official Israeli institutions.”

The State of Israel directly funds various Temple movement activities. Along with funding Temple organizations, the Ministry of Education disseminates their ideas through the educational system.

“There is a correlation between the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and around it since 2000 and a parallel increase in the activity of Temple organizations,” the report noted.

The current tension could further spike as the ban preventing members of the Knesset from accessing the Al Aqsa compound were lifted on July 23 for a five day trial period in order to test the reaction.

The ban has been in place since October 2015, with the assumption that visits by MKs might spark violence. In 2000, when Likud leader Ariel Sharon visited the holy site accompanied by a 1000 police officers, it helped trigger the second intifada.

Likud MK Yehudah Glick, a leading figure in the Temple movement overturned the ban after petitioning to the High Court. Earlier this month he called for all MKs to ascend to the Temple Mount.

The rise in Temple movements’ prominence has been accompanied with an increase in violent Israeli incursions at Al Aqsa, including detaining and attacking the Al Aqsa guards.

Al Aqsa Compound director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani stated to media that over 700 settlers, “an unprecedented amount” raided the compound for Jerusalem Day last May.

Every year Israel’s far-right settlers parade through Palestinian neighbourhoods, celebrating Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967. The settlers call out for the Al Aqsa compound to be destroyed and shout “Mohammad is dead,” “Death to the Arabs” and other statements calling for genocide of Palestinians.

This past April, Jews from the far-right also held a ceremony near Temple Mount for the first time, where they slaughtered a lamb just a few hundred metres away from the mount.

Shimshon Elboi, active in the Temple Mount movement, was quoted in Haaretz saying, “We were privileged to get near the Temple Mount, the proper place. The authorities today are more open and the public is more open.

“Ultimately the government wants to serve the people, and the people want the Temple; the people want to offer sacrifices. At this rate the day isn’t far off – just a few more years – when we’ll be privileged to do sacrifices on the Temple Mount itself,” Elboi said.

Having historic Palestine reduced to the Gaza Strip and bantustans in the West Bank, Palestinians see the military takeover of Al Aqsa as a red line that can’t be crossed.

“This is our mosque and the occupation has to retreat so we can pray five times again in the mosque,” Sheikh Tawil said.

“We are going to keep praying by the gates of the masjid, until they remove the humiliating electronic gates.

“The world should pressure the occupation politically and economically and besiege the occupation until it listens to the UN resolutions and withdraws to the 1967 borders. The world shouldn’t abandon the Palestinians while watching them get killed, arrested, beaten, humiliated for 50 years until now.”

AM I WORSE THAN A NAZI? ~~ ONE ‘RABBI’ THINKS SO

Boteach says that the lesson of the Holocaust is that we have to be on guard at the first signs of genocide. But he doesn’t mention taking action against current genocidal emergencies in Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Syria, Myanmar, and Yemen. In nearly all of those places Muslims are the targets.

Shmuley Boteach at Auschwitz Birkenau, from his twitter feed

Boteach likens Jews pushing for Palestinian state to Jews who helped Nazis

The headline and deck of this article by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at Tablet are incredible.

Hitler’s Secret Weapon Was Coercing Jews to Destroy Themselves

Will we do it again?

When Hannah Arendt wrote about Jewish leaders who collaborated with the Nazis in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), she was pilloried by establishment Jews for blaming the Jews for their own destruction. Or as Arendt said, an “organized campaign… by certain interest groups” to say that “I allegedly had claimed that the Jews had murdered themselves.”

But this is unlikely to happen to Rabbi Shmuley, even though he goes well beyond Arendt’s criticism of the “leadership” toward a general description of Jews’ roles as accomplices.

The Nazis, I have come to understand, would eradicate the Jewish nation by always holding out the possibility that, against most of the evidence, some might still live. The Jews were led to believe that if they just cooperated, their children would survive…

At almost every step of the way, the Jews were forced into cooperating with the very plans drawn up to exterminate them. The Jews, the Germans thought, could provide the manpower the Nazis lacked only if they could be persuaded that if they went along with the program they would be put to productive work.

The Nazis forced the Jews to create their own self-administering councils, Judenrats, in the ghettos. When visiting the Lodz Ghetto, I stood at the exact spot where Chaim Rumkowski gave his notorious “Give Me Your Children” speech in September of 1942. As chairman of the Lodz Judenrat, Rumkowski had decided to turn the ghetto into a factory, believing that only by being useful to the Nazis could its inhabitants be spared…

In the camps themselves, the Jews were forced into Sonderkommando units, where Jewish inmates were put to work disposing of the millions of bodies left lifeless in the gas chambers. They too were threatened with constant death, yet were twinned with a chance at life so long as they complied with the Nazi program.

Boteach has an axe to grind: Jews are now collaborating in the destruction of Israel. Even Jews who support a Palestinian state!

With Iran calling for a second Holocaust in the state of Israel—threatening constantly as they do to raze Israeli cities to the ground and wipe Israel off the map—Israel must react to its threats before they can be realized. Genocidal rhetoric in our time must be something that is resisted completely. In Rwanda too, the Hutus called the Tutsis “cockroaches” well before launching their genocide campaign.

So too with regard to Hamas and even the Palestinian Authority. We cannot cede land for a Palestinian State in the hope of demographic survival when in doing so we might find ourselves in a three-front war from Gaza, Judea, and Samaria in the West Bank, and Lebanon aimed at Israel’s annihilation. Israel simply cannot afford even the slightest risk of being deceived into walking toward its own demise, all in the promise of peace by those who speak openly of a new genocide of the Jews.

Boteach says that the lesson of the Holocaust is that we have to be on guard at the first signs of genocide. But he doesn’t mention taking action against current genocidal emergencies in Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Syria, Myanmar, and Yemen. In nearly all of those places Muslims are the targets.

In addition, it is funny that Boteach thinks he has singlehandedly discovered how the Germans got away with genocide– “I believe this journey has given me a clue. The Nazis, I have come to understand…”– when his insight about Jewish collaboration is one that many historians have documented before.

BDS MOM OF THE YEAR

The pro-Palestinian provocateur is under attack after a newspaper alleged that she ‘tricked’ her way into Israel last month. She says she will be ‘heartbroken’ if the authorities ban her from ever returning

Ariel Gold, center, protesting against Airbnb.Madrone Jack of Oakland, CA.

Jewish Mother and BDS Activist: Code Pink’s Ariel Gold vs. Israel’s Travel Ban
Allison Kaplan Sommer
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Ariel Gold is a one-woman example of the contradictions of the Israeli government’s travel ban law, which forbids foreign nationals who call for boycotts of Israel from entering the country.

Outspoken, provocative, pro-Palestinian and an advocate of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, Gold is a professional campaign director for Code Pink, the far-left peace and social justice NGO that works to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations.

She has demonstrated against Israeli policies, disrupted public events and been arrested – in both Israel and the United States – for her protests. She was banned from visiting the Western Wall last year after authorities found her carrying political signs and pamphlets while entering the plaza.

She is currently in Hebron, monitoring the military trial of Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro and publicizing his cause online. At the same time, the 42-year-old mother of two is an active member of her Ithaca, NY Reform synagogue, sends her kids to Jewish summer camp, and her teenage son is on a summer-long Israel program with the Reform movement.

She has Israeli cousins and proudly boasts that her family can trace its lineage back to 16th-century Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of the “Shulchan Aruch” (the codification of Jewish religious law), who is buried in Safed.

In a telephone interview from the West Bank city, Gold says she has been “under attack” since last Thursday when Israel Hayom – a widely circulated, pro-Netanyahu newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson – ran an article charging that her admission into Israel was a “failure,” and that she had “tricked” Israeli authorities by deleting every post from her Facebook page since 2012, “all of which call for a boycott.”

The article was critical of the Israeli government for allowing Gold to slip through the net, and quotes a Public Security Ministry official as promising that Gold will be barred from entering the country in the future.

Gold vehemently denies the newspaper’s charges of deception, saying she “didn’t take down a single post” from her Facebook page, noting that she had merely changed the status of posts from “Public” to “Friends” only.
She says it was “absurd” to believe she had done anything to deliberately deceive the Israeli authorities.

“It’s not hard to see things I’ve done and written about online. You just Google my name. I mean, I publicly disrupted Ashton Kutcher last fall, asking him to use his position on Airbnb to stop it from operating in the settlements – it wasn’t just in Haaretz and the Times of Israel, but it was in People Magazine!”

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Videos of the Kutcher incident are easily found on YouTube, as is the video of a campaign appearance by Chelsea Clinton that Gold disrupted last year, and articles she has written on the Mondoweiss website harshly criticizing Israel and its policies.

“If I was to try to erase my political opinions on Israel and Palestine on the internet, it would take me years,” she joked.

When she was questioned at Ben-Gurion airport in late June, Gold says she was open about what she did and where she worked, noting that the email she gave officials had a Code Pink address.

The security personnel questioning her “didn’t ask me about BDS at all,” she says. “They asked if I supported violent resistance against Israel. And I said I absolutely did not. They asked me where my feelings were, and I told them that I believe in justice and I believe in peace and I believe in nonviolence.”

Had they asked her about boycotting Israel, she says she would have told them she believes “that BDS is a nonviolent approach to bring Israel into accordance with international law and international standards for human rights.”

What she teaches her kids

She has worked at Code Pink for two years, previously volunteering with them as an activist.  Her political activism on the Palestinian issue began during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008, when she joined Jewish Voice For Peace and became its chapter coordinator, she says.

Gold was raised secular and says she felt she had missed out when she attended her cousins’ Bar and Bat Mitzvot. She connected with her Judaism as a young adult, joining a synagogue and becoming part of a Jewish community, and made a point of sending her own children to Hebrew school and Jewish camp.

“But I also taught my children to think critically, and [to] think critically about the actions of the State of Israel, and that Palestinians [are] deserving of equality and freedom and justice – and I have taken them to protests alongside me since they are toddlers,” she adds, including a 2015 action against AIPAC where she was arrested.

“I felt a lot of love for Israel when I began to explore Judaism. But from the time I heard about the occupation, it was horrible and wrong,” she says, calling her emotions in coming to terms with Israel’s actions toward Palestinians “a grief process.”

Gold says she doesn’t know why Israel Hayom singled her out but speculates she could be under scrutiny because of her work over the past year spearheading Amro’s cause, and advocating for him with the U.S. government.

Amro was indicted by the Israeli army last September for a range of offences, including spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them, and entering closed military zones. His lawyers have argued that his prosecution constitutes political persecution and is intended to stop his activism.

Gold says proudly she was “instrumental” in the lobbying efforts by a coalition of advocacy groups that resulted in a June 28 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signed by 32 members of Congress, asking him to use his influence with Israel to encourage its government to “reconsider the charges against Mr. Amro, internationally recognized as a principled, nonviolent human rights advocate.”

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Issa Amro.

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The number of signatures is the highest-ever on a document advocating for a Palestinian cause, Gold adds. She believes it is this political work (which Code Pink has done in coordination with other groups) that is why the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has sent two representatives to monitor Amro’s trial.
But Gold’s social media activity and provocative actions could just as equally have been the reason – she has been posting numerous photographs and videos criticizing Israeli policies during her stay, including an interview with Amro, and the photograph published in the newspaper where she stands in front of a checkpoint holding a sign declaring “This is Apartheid #codepink”

During her time in Hebron, Gold says she has instigated several “lively Jewish debates” with Israel Defense Forces soldiers standing guard. At various points, she notes, she has been told she was restricted to either the areas exclusively for Jews or confined to the areas for Palestinians, depending on whether she was perceived as a Jew or a pro-Palestinian activist.

She says she isn’t angry or hostile with the soldiers. “These are all very young soldiers and I think they are in difficult situations, and I think they are overwhelmed by what they are doing.” She has harsher words for Hebron’s settlers, whom she alleges have followed and harassed her, insulted her and said “I came here to have sex with Arabs.”

The Israel Hayom article reported ominously that the Public Security Ministry was “investigating what should be done about Gold,” adding that she will be prevented from entering the country in the future, in accordance with the travel ban.

Gold says the prospect of being barred from Israel and the territories – and the entire concept of the travel ban – “appalls” her, and she has considered approaching the authorities and asking them not to stop her from entering the country despite her politics.

“It is incredible here,” she says. “I love my friends here and I love the land here. I will be heartbroken if I can’t return.”

Just in case, she adds, she is going to make a point of visiting her relatives and the grave of Rabbi Caro in Safad, since “it may be the last time I see it.”
Approached by Haaretz, a spokesman for Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says Gold’s case is “being investigated.” He said no decision has been made as to whether she can remain or return to Israel.

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Source and more photos and videos HERE

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