TOOSDAY’S TOON ~~ US COPS ON TRAINING MISSION IN ISRAEL

ADL took US cops to Israel prison, occupied Hebron, settler winery in counter-terror event

Image by Carlos Latuff

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ADL took US cops to Israeli prison, occupied Hebron and settler winery during counter-terror seminar

Alex Kane

The cops flew into Tel Aviv on a Sunday afternoon. Four hours later, they met with an Anti-Defamation League official and an Israeli professor, who gave them an “introduction to Israeli politics and society.” A week later, the officers got time for an “optional walk on the Mediterranean Sea,” and in between their Tel Aviv arrival and their idyllic walk, they traveled to occupied Hebron and drank settlement wine in the Golan Heights.

Those are some of the details of a recent U.S. law enforcement trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The itinerary for the 2016 ADL National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, obtained by Mondoweiss from a public records request to the Orlando Police Department, provides a look into what American cops do when they’re flown into Israel to meet with Israeli security officers. (The document is embedded at the end of this article.)

Since 2004, the ADL has taken American law enforcement on annual trips to Israel, where, the ADL says, the cops get “strategies and best practices in fighting terror” from “Israeli experts.” The ADL trips, and similar jaunts sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, are promoted as ways for U.S. law enforcement to learn how Israel deals with terrorism and to forge ties with Israeli security forces. The pro-Israel groups typically pay for the officers’ trips to Israel.

But the trips have come under withering controversy from Palestine solidarity activists and Black Lives Matter protesters. In an age of police militarization and a growing movement to combat police brutality, critics see these trips as potentially fueling harmful police tactics. And they point out that the Israeli army and police are occupying forces that have repeatedly been accused of violating Palestinian rights.

These trainings, Amnesty International’s Edith Garwood recently wrote, put U.S. police “in the hands of military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years”–including extrajudicial executions, torture, surveillance and excessive use of force against protesters.

The ADL and Orlando Police Department did not return requests for comment.

This year’s one-week trip began on July 31, and included members of the New Jersey State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Illinois State police, and the heads of the Orlando and San Bernardino police, two cities recently hit by mass shootings.

The ADL and the police departments do not release details about what specific tactics the U.S. police learned in Israel. John Mina, the head of the Orlando Police Department, told the Orlando Sentinel that the information he received was “law enforcement sensitive,” and that he “learned about how the Israeli Police respond to and investigate terrorism.” He told the paper he liked the random Israeli checkpoints security forces set up, and that while he wouldn’t do that in Orlando,  “it did give me a few ideas about security measures here in Orlando that I won’t share.”

The itinerary Mondoweiss obtained does provide specifics on where the officers traveled and who they spoke to. On August 1, they met with Roni Tidhar, who does security work at Ben Gurion Airport. Security forces at Ben Gurion Airport routinely racially profile Arabs and Muslims, including Americans, and subject them to invasive interrogations.

The next day, after meeting with Palestinian Authority police in Bethlehem, the American officers traveled to occupied Hebron, the most distilled microcosm of the Israeli occupation, where Israeli soldiers and police protect around 800 extremist settlers who routinely abuse Palestinian residents. In Hebron, they spoke with Israeli Police Commander Ron Gertner and received a “security overview” of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a holy site in the city.

On August 4, the delegation traveled to Gilboa Prison, a site criticized by lawyers and Palestinian rights advocates as a place run by authorities who have tortured prisoners and withheld air conditioning units in extremely hot cells. Later that night, they traveled to the Golan Heights, an area taken from Syria in the 1967 war, then occupied and annexed by Israel. An estimated 20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights. The police officers visited the Assaf Winery, a well-known winery, and drank wine and had lunch there.

U.S. law enforcement trips to Israel have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. In July, Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Atlanta called for the end of “the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.” But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pushed back on that demand, saying he believes Israel has “some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world” and that it “benefits our police department.”

Despite the criticism from activists, programs to forge relationships between U.S. law enforcement and Israel continue to expand. As Mondoweiss reported, Birthright recently started a program for Jewish law enforcement officers to travel to Israel.

ADL Itinerary for 2016 Law Enforcement Trip to Israel by alexbkane4538 on Scribd

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#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

US IS FUELING ISRAEL’S CIVIL WAR

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern  city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ  File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

US should withhold military aid until Israel recognises Palestinian sovereignty

US fueling Israel’s civil war

Sam Bahour

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

On one side of this civil war is the elected government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a bunch of the most extremist politicians one can find, several illegal settlers themselves. Aligned with the government are a cohort of settlers in the West Bank, which have surpassed their widely acknowledged role as the largest impediment to peace and have become an electoral consistency that is hard to reckon with.  Supporting this camp in Israel are party faithful that in any other country would be called outright racists. You can find some of them at Israeli soccer games chanting “Death to the Arabs.” A few have actually made that chant a reality.

On the other side is everyone else, albeit unable to see themselves on the same political side. In this camp are many Jewish Israelis who voted for Netanyahu, some more than once, and have watched their candidate move Israel to the most isolated position it has ever witnessed. These Israelis do not feel any safer today than they did when Netanyahu first ran for office. Added to this group are the second, third and fourth class Israeli Jewish citizens who traditionally vote Likud, against their best interests, and they make up the bulk of Israel’s poverty-stricken class; they sometimes are referred to as Mizrachi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and the like. Then there is the 20 percent block of Palestinian citizens of Israel. This Palestinian constituency comprises the third largest elected block in the Knesset, but no other Israeli Jewish party deals with them; thus is the extreme state of racism inherent in the Israeli political system.

These two warring sides are fiercely at each other’s throats to claim the nature of Israeli society. The government has embarked on a tragic course to complete the process started in 1948 when Israel was established, to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants. The other camp, however fragmented, understands that Palestinians are never going to disappear into thin air and seek their government to end the nearly 50-year military occupation so Israel can reenter the community of nations with some sense of normalcy.

We are told to believe, ad infinitum by Israel’s most senior officials and an endless stream of flashy media clips, that Israel is a “light upon nations,” and brought the world high-tech, modern agriculture, and even cherry tomatoes. Israel brags that it is a “start-up nation” and Intel, Microsoft and HP, just to name a few multinationals, have all enthusiastically setup shop in the country. What these exaggerated quips and polished marketing tools do not tell us is that Israel is at a point where it is at war with itself.

The social inequality in Israel has reached epic proportions. As reported in Haaretz in 2015, as of 2013 “Israel remained at the bottom of the OECD rankings for measures of inequality and poverty.” Added to this acute class strata, indigenous Palestinians who make up one-fifth of Israel’s population are dealt out of the Israeli melting pot. Jewish Israelis are divided to the point where physical altercations frequently occur across race divides in the streets of Tel Aviv. Additionally, imported foreign labor, brought to replace the traditional Palestinian labor force from the West Bank and Gaza, are tearing Israel at its already fragile seams.

The “start-up nation” started up because Israel acquired, by the use of brute military force, land and water, the two key ingredients to statehood in the Middle East. Israel thrives because the US has chosen to relieve it from its full financial burden as a nation by granting it over $120 billion since its founding. Furthermore, all of this start-up buzz is a result of research and development spending by the military, without which there would be no start-up sector to speak of. This external budget support frees Israeli funds to do other business.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently negotiating President Obama for a 10-year military aid package to the tune of $40 billion. This new package follows President George W. Bush’s administration’s generous 10-year aid package of $30 billion. Historically, the bulk of these funds have been earmarked for Israel to purchase US weaponry, but the current package under negotiations allows Israel to spend the money in Israel. These monies are Israel’s slush fund. With these funds at its disposal, no wonder Israel can afford to offer multinationals 10 and 20-year tax incentives. In 2014 alone, it was reported that “Intel, the US chip giant, will invest $6bn in the upgrade of its main manufacturing plant in what will be the biggest single investment by a foreign company in the country [Israel]. The company will receive a grant of $300m over five years and will pay a corporate tax rate of only 5% for a 10-year period.” With that kind of financial underwriting, I can make the roof of my house a start-up nation.

Part of that other business that the US indirectly funds allow Israel to pursue its continuation of repressing by military occupation 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US Department of State registers in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – year in and year out how Israel violates human rights. US human rights attorney Alice Lynd, with the assistance of her husband, Atty. Staughton Lynd, documented these report’s human rights violations in a pamphlet for the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW). Yet, US policy remains uninformed by these reports. Israel laughs all the way to the bank as they continue to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territory and entice multinationals to come to Israel to do business.

Don’t do it President Obama. This is an unwise use of US tax dollars. If for some unorthodox political reason, you must agree to this (which I do not buy into), then make sure today’s fundamentalist, right-wing Israeli government finally walks up to the plate and takes the move that is inevitable, recognising the State of Palestine, not to mention ending their occupation. Actually, the world is awaiting the US to make the same recognition. Better yet, take Israel’s hand and head to the UN Security Council and pass the pending resolution which upgrades Palestine’s status at the UN to a full member state. Later, both countries, Israel and the US, can decide when to extend direct recognition.

If Israel refuses to accept recognising the State of Palestine, the ultimate act to save the rapidly vanishing two-state paradigm, then hold the military aid package and take bold political action before you leave office, grant US direct recognition of Palestine. When the incoming president is faced with the wrath of Israel and the pro-Israeli lobby for this US recognition, the new administration will have a $40 billion card to subdue them. Maybe by then, these funds can be leveraged to get Israel to end their military occupation once and for all.

It’s sad that tax dollars are used in such a fashion, but if that is how the US works, then let it work for peace, not to continue fuelling Israel’s civil war, which will ultimately spill over to yet another armed clash with Palestinians under occupation. As a Palestinian-American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I have an obligation to my two daughters and all Palestinian children, as well as all of Israel’s children too, to speak up before we all end up paying the price, again, for US inaction, or worse.

 

Written FOR

OLYMPIC IMAGES ~~ ISRAEL’S PRIVATE GAMES

While is  celebrating closing ceremony Israel continues the murdering games of airstrikes

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A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

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Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand. (Photo: Getty images)

Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson’s hand. (Photo: Getty images)

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the “Jewish people” and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for “poor sportsmanship.”

One day before El-Shehaby’s refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

While the Olympics are without a doubt an athletic competition, they are also, and to an equal degree, about the countries that send these athletes to the games. At the end of the day, and at the end of the games, we have a countdown of medals by country. And even as the Games are said to be about nations coming together, they are really yet another venue for pitting nations against each other. When any athlete competes, their country and their country’s flag is displayed as prominently as their own name. The winner’s national anthem is played during the medal ceremony, and all are expected to show their respect to that country. It is no surprise that the formidable gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been pilloried by her compatriots for her refusal to place her hand on her heart during the US national anthem, (even though she was otherwise very respectful), and one of the most iconic political images in Olympics history remains the raised Black Power fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Of course then, the snubbing by Lebanese, Egyptian, and Saudi athletes of members of the Israeli delegation is a political act. And of course, Israel has complained that these athletes “are bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.”

The actions of these athletes are in keeping with the Palestinian call for global solidarity in the form of BDS, including the sports boycott of Israel. A sports boycott is an individual gesture with the greater immediate negative consequences suffered by the person engaging in it, as they will likely be disqualified from further competition. Yet the Arab athletes who refused to normalize with the Israelis have been criticized as violating “etiquette” and “the Olympic spirit.” Which drives one to wonder, is this yet another venue where Israeli exceptionalism wins, as the violent, racist state is left off the hook, not held accountable for its assault on Palestinian athletes?

Over the recent years, Israel has prevented Olympics-bound Palestinian team chiefs from leaving the country. It had restricted their freedom of movement, making it basically impossible for them to practice in adequate facilities, and it has shot at the ankles of Palestinian soccer players. Where was the criticism when these crimes were committed? Two years ago, an international campaign to ban Israel from FIFA, because of its human rights violations, had failed to pressure the international organization into censoring that country.

When no official organization is willing to hold Israel accountable, individuals can do so. The snubbing by some athletes of the Israeli delegation is a noble gesture in a political arena, and it is incumbent on us to appreciate it for what it is: a refusal to normalize with a country that bombs young boys playing on the beach, prevents young swimmers from reaching a pool, and prohibits Olympic hopefuls in Gaza from training with their compatriots in the West Bank. We then can surely appreciate the exquisite irony of the separate buses at the Olympic village for the delegation from a country that builds separate roads for its Jewish citizens, transporting them to their Jewish settlements in illegally occupied territories.

While the Olympics athletes were competing in Rio, another game was being played halfway around the world with an overt political message as well: we will not be cowered into “civility” towards an apartheid state. In Glasgow, Scotland, fans of Scotland’s Celtic FC had organized an event to “Fly the Flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” during a game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.  The Facebook page of the event is clear about its understanding of the political reality of Israel, as the organizers explain that the display of flags would be to “invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”

The fans had been warned by UEFA that they could face fines or the closing down of part of their stadium if they flew the Palestinian flag. But, as John Wight writes, “Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and against apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.”

Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere. And as the game began, Palestinian flags appeared everywhere in the stands. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Israeli team in defiance of UEFA rules, and at the risk of the Celtic FC being penalized. Yes, flying the flag was without a doubt an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it was also a rejection of the system behind the oppression of the Palestinian people; a rejection of apartheid, colonialism and racism. The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at the Celtic FC game showed an understanding of shared experiences of discrimination, disenfranchisement, dispossession, and a rejection of the Zionist narrative. Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.

Beyond the boycott of consumer products in grocery stores, BDS has so far dealt a major blow to Israel’s image. Artists continue to cancel scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv, academic associations are voting to boycott complicit Israeli institutions, churches are screening their portfolios to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal practices, and the recent events in Scotland and at the 2016 Olympics are the principled athletes’ way of saying: we do not normalize with the representatives of a pariah state. Before these gestures get spun into anti-Semitic incidents by Zionist hasbara, it is incumbent upon BDS activists and organizers to explain the context of the snubbing, the defiance, and the refusal to engage in “good sportsmanship” with a country that violates the most basic human rights of an entire people.

TODAY’S TOON ~~ BIBI’S LOVE FOR PALESTINE

Image by Carlos Latuff

 Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’


Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heightened his row with international charities operating in Gaza in a video Thursday where he announced, “Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.”

“Who cares more about Palestinians.” pressed Netanyahu, “Israel, that facilitates the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, every single day? Or Hamas, that robs Palestinian children of that very same aid?”

In wake of Gaza indictments, Netanyahu says, ‘I care more about Palestinians than their own leaders’

The prime minister continued by repeating accusations that have put international organizations under scrutiny. In the last two weeks two Palestinian aid officials in Gaza have been accused by Israel of misusing resources. 

“A few days ago, the world learned that Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, stole millions of dollars from humanitarian organizations like World Vision and the United Nations,” Netanyahu said.

On August 3, Mohammed el-Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of World Vision, was criminally charged by Israel for allegedly funneling 60 percent of his organization’s projects budget—$7.2 million annually—to support for Hamas.

World Vision has denied the Israeli accounting. ”There is a huge gap in these numbers the Israeli government is telling and what we know,” the group’s German spokesperson Silvia Holten told the AP.

A few days later a second humanitarian worker, Waheed Borsh, a contractor with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was also indicted for supporting Hamas. Borsh confessed to a list of ways that he had “aided Hamas,” according to a statement from Israel’s Security Agency.

“Last year he helped build a military jetty in the northern Gaza Strip – utilizing UNDP resources – to be used by Hamas’ naval forces,” the statement said. “Also in 2015, he acted to persuade UNDP managers to prioritize the rehabilitation of housing in areas populated by Hamas members… Borsh was acting in response to a request by Hamas.”

The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) alleged that Borsh admitted knowing the location of Hamas military facilities, and said when he found weapons stowed in UNDP facilities he allowed Hamas to “confiscate the arms and other materials.”

The actual indictment against the UN worker filed lesser charges than the offenses alleged by Israel’s security agency, a source who has seen the indictment told Mondoweiss. 

The court document indicated Borsh will be prosecuted for “communicating with a foreign agent, providing services to a foreign group, dealing with properties in an attempt to be used against Israel,” the source said, adding that the one-page indictment does not assert Borsh aided any “illegal organization,” Israeli legal-speak for terror organizations and Hamas.

Laith Abu Zeyad, an advocacy officer with the Palestinian legal rights group Addameer said the language of the criminal case is typical for those charged after traveling abroad and meeting with representatives of governments at odds with Israel.

Abu Zeyad said that “spying of having connection with a foreign agent” is a “a very common accusation used by the Israeli government” merely in cases where an individual has traveled to an enemy country such as Lebanon.  

“The accusation are really vague,” he went on, saying that there are difficulties in distinguishing between a resident of Gaza interacting with Hamas as the ruling civil administration, and interacting with its military wing. 

“Even if they provide evidence, even if they provide a pictures of him shaking hands with a Hamas militant, it cannot be used as evidence because it could be his relative or something,” Abu Zeyad continued.

This is the second recorded message from the prime minister in recent weeks in which the subject was the well-being of Arabs and Palestinians. In the first he said he hoped for greater inclusion of Palestinian citizens into Israeli society. The message was timed after his government passed a series of economic-improvement programs.

The medium of goodwill clips is a staple of Israeli public relations for ceremonial greetings and religious holidays. It is far less common when the subject is the Israeli conflict with Palestinian armed groups and their backers.

EIGHT YEARS OF WAITING IN (FOR) PALESTINE

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world).

My 'official welcome back' by the occupation police

My ‘official welcome back’ by the occupation police

EIGHT YEARS

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world). Briefly, under difficult circumstances in 2008-2016, I (with support)

1- Published many scientific research articles including critical ones on environment and genetics

2- Wrote books (one published in 2012 on Popular Resistance in Palestine and two on the way)

3- Founded and directed a clinical cytogenetics laboratory

4- Mentored dozens of graduate and undergraduate students

5- Taught over 8 different courses ranging from molecular biology to anthropology to biodiversity at four colleges and universities

6- Founded and directed the Palestine Museum (PMNH) of Natural History and Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) including its nascent botanical garden. http://www.palestinenature.org

7- Traveled throughout occupied Palestine and collected over 8000 specimens and over 10,000 photos that are a basis of current and future research

8- Traveled and represented Palestine in over 20 countries

9- Wrote over 200 articles on issues ranging from popular resistance to the one state solution to BDS.

10- Spoke to over 5000 visiting internationals about the situation

11- Spoke to thousands of locals on issues ranging from environment to human rights

12- Created jobs and helped some students manage their financial burden with some scholarships and work-study programs

13- Organized dozens of workshops that built human capacity

14- Built working relationships with dozens of local and international groups

15- Performed a number of consultancies to local and international agencies that made a direct impact on course of human development and the environment

16- Read over 500 books and hundreds of articles that helped me change and grow as an individual

17- Built friendships with hundreds (and met thousands)

18- Challenged oppression wherever it was found (via demonstrations, media work, etc) and got arrested a few times and questioned by intelligence services of three countries😉

All of this was done while struggling against not just Israeli occupation with its repression (e.g. inability to import things normally, lack of freedom of movement) but some Palestinian societal backward culture including nepotism, patriarchy, bureaucracy, and corruption. We were learning as we go how to deal with people (including the “mental occupation”). We gave chances to some who abused them and some who benefited from the chances to improve themselves and serve Palestine. But what sustained me/us was good honest people who I met and worked with everywhere. Hundreds of individuals like you on this list who helped us in so many ways by donations, volunteerism, actions, and other kinds of support. Of course what we have done is miniscule compared to what needs to be done. And there are many millions of candles in this darkness. We are humble enough to realize that we can only continue to achieve with collective work towards a peaceful., just, and SUSTAINABLE world.

Staying in the US would have been much less demanding on my physical and psychological health (and with a six figure income would have been financially “logical”). And there was lots of activities we were doing in the US for Palestine, for global peace, and for the environment. Much remains to be done within the US as it continues to be the country that is in the words of Martin Luther King Jr “the biggest purveyor of violence”. It certainly is the most enabling and the major sponsor of apartheid Israel and the endless wars in neighboring countries (conflicts thought to serve Israeli interests). Without the US support “Israel” would fold in two weeks and would have to become a democratic country for all its people and allow the Palestinian refugees to return. However and having said all of that, the decision to return to Palestine was the best decision I made in my life and this feeling grows stronger every day. The most important accomplishment I feel will last generations is my mentoring of young people. I would like to spend more time with young people (this is part of the reason we built PMNH/PIBS) and work harder at helping people help themselves. As I look forward with optimism to the next eight years here (If I live that long), I want to sincerely thank all of you who contributed and continue to contribute your time and energy.

END OF REFLECTION. Now for other good news

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted overwhelmingly in the annual convention to set up a screen and not invest in any company that profits from Israel’s occupation. They also called to end US unconditioonal aid to Israel. The Green party of the US developed a great latform on the question of Palestine (see below) that is based on human rights and justice. Social media are abuzz after the disastrous choice of Clinton and Trump to be nominees of the “democratic” and “republican” parties. Many argue that this continuing deterioration was a predictable outcome of the permission of lobbies (like the Zionist lobby to shape elections) and/or an expected outcome of several elections where people vote for the lesser of two evils rather than vote their conscience.

Following the diminishing water supply to Palestinians in the West Bank and the severe water shortage and pollution in the Gaza Strip, a light installation was held simultaneously in eight locations: Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Boston, New York, Houston, Johannesburg, Melbourne and Perth, Australia. In an illuminating display of lights reflected in water, activists from four continents stood near lakes and beaches creating the message “WATER IS A RIGHT” in various languages.

Green Party Statement on The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.

We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.

We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region. Still, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.

We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.

We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apartheid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.

We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law.

We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.

We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel, especially violations committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) as documented in the 2009 “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”(“The Goldstone Report”) authorized by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

We recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights; and that, despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the OPT, while Israeli crimes continue with impunity. We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form—remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support. We recall that in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society appealed to the international community to support a BDS campaign against Israel, and that in response the Green Party of the US endorsed this BDS campaign in 2005. Therefore, we support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by

-Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
-Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
-Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and “facts on the ground” that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.

We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We also acknowledge the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among people genuinely seeking peace.

As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.

GRAFFITI OF THE DAY

This is Israel: hate speech found in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport “No Muslims No war. LET’S KILL THEM ALL”

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ISRAEL IS IN MOURNING TODAY ~~ AND ONCE AGAIN PALESTINE IS FORGOTTEN

Today is Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) on the Hebrew calendar. The saddest day on those pages …. read about it HERE.

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These brave folks remember the horrors facing Palestinians today, especially those living in the besieged Gaza Strip ….

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‘Solidarity ships’ to sail to the besieged Gaza Strip

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Two “solidarity ships” are set to sail towards the besieged Gaza Strip from Barcelona, Spain, in mid-September.

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Named ‘Amal’ and ‘Zaytouna’ — meaning ‘Hope’ and ‘Olives’ in Arabic, respectively — the ships will be led by an all-female crew of 24, including Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
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According to Issam Yusif, head of the world popular committee for the support of the Gaza Strip, most of the crew members are affiliated with civil society organizations, and will be making the nearly 2,000-mile journey to show solidarity with the Palestinian people against the decade-long “illegal Israeli blockade” on Gaza.
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In a statement on Sunday, Yusif urged the Palestinian and international communities to support the new all-female “solidarity ships” initiative politically, financially and morally.
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Yusif emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying it would help to highlight the Palestinian struggle for freedom and an independent state, as well as the everyday Israeli violations of international law and the Palestinian right to freedom of movement.
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He also expressed hope that the initiative would help to end the increasingly “tragic situation” of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as the needs of the Gazan people continue to multiply despite the little aid they receive.
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The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.
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The 51-day Israeli offensive, termed “Operation Protective Edge” by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of at least 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the UN.
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The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the nearly decade-long Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience the widespread destruction wrought by the Israeli offenses, and the slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 of Palestinians who remain displaced following the last Israeli assault.
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FROM

DIRECT LINE TO JOE McCARTHY IN ISRAEL

Jerusalem-based BDS watchdog call center takes the fight to anti-Israel activities by providing activists’ information reported by civilians to Interior Ministry; group seeks deportation of activsts or barring their entry into Israel.

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Israel’s watchdog center fighting BDS

In a small office situated in the heart of Jerusalem a telephone center has been established which allows people in Israel to call and report Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement (BDS) activities inside the country designed to harm its international standing.

In recent years, the influential watchdog center against the BDS movement, ‘Lev B’Olam’ (Heart of the World), has taken on itself the struggle against the pernicious phenomenon by relying on civilians to bring it to their attention.

When a caller alerts the organization, a representative completes a complaint form and asks a series of questions to gather as much information as possible such as how many BDS activists are involved in a given incident, what they are doing, whether they are using cameras etc. As much pedigree information is compiled about the individuals in question including their names, their places of residence and whether the activists belong to any specific organization.

The accumulated information is then added to a special file and transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security.

The initiative, which has already been around for some three years, was intensified following the Israeli deportation of Rita Faye, a BDS activists known to the IDF for her activities at checkpoints and harassment of Israeli soldiers.

Faye, from Switzerland, had visited Israel several times in pursuit of her efforts to document alleged Israeli wrongdoing. However, she was deported in accordance with a deportation order from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) at the end of July after being taken in for questioning upon arrival in Ben Gurion Airport.

In addition to Faye’s deportation, Deri and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan established a team dedicated to deporting, or preventing the entry of, activists bent on promoting boycotts against the State of Israel.

According to Nati Rom, the general manager of ‘Lev B’Olam’, “The watchdog is the answer to the calls by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This is a civilian initiative whose aim is to locate the activists arriving in Israel under the guise of a tourist and trying to sabotage the Zionist enterprise in Israel. We are here in order to receive as much information about them as possible.”

‘Lev B’Olam’ has already been operating for three years and has been undertaking efforts to combat BDS activities designed to delegitimize Israel. As part of its efforts, the organization engages in PR activities by sending its representatives to European capitals and to BDS hotspots.

The center operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9am and 4pm and has both Hebrew and English speakers. Callers are also able to send relevant footage, photographs and documents via email.

Source and photos @

THE LATEST ISRAELI BEX ALERT ON VIDEO

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Direct from Netanyahu’s FaceBook Page

I’m going to say something now that some of you will not believe. But I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true.

Does he really think that we are all stupider than he is??

 

I’m going to say something now that some of you will not believe. But I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true.

I, the Prime Minister of Israel, care more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.
Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.

That sounds incredible, right?

But consider the following:
A few days ago, the world learned that Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, stole millions of dollars from humanitarian organizations like World Vision and the United Nations.

Innocent and impoverished Palestinians were denied vital aid supplied from nations around the world.
Hamas used this stolen money to build a war machine to murder Jews.

I want you to think about that. Let that sink in.

Hamas stole critical support for Palestinian children so that they could kill our children.

So I ask you—who cares more about Palestinians?

Israel, that facilitates the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, every single day?
Or Hamas, that robs Palestinian children of that very same aid?

Israel, that treats wounded Palestinians from Gaza in its hospitals?
Or Hamas that prevents injured Palestinians from getting help?

Imagine, just imagine, where we might all be if Palestinian leaders cared as much about helping their own people as they did about hurting our people. The Palestinian people deserve better.

And today, I express my deepest sympathy with innocent Palestinians and those well-meaning nations who generously donated money to help them.

The cynicism and cruelty of Hamas is hurting all of us.
It’s hurting peace.

IN TOONS ~~ #InternationalFriendshipDay IN TURKEY TODAY

Turkey’s best friend @ #InternationalFriendshipDay

Images by Carlos Latuff

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At the expense of …CoodFfNXYAA0z05

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WHY IS THIS RACIST THEY ASK …

Can anyone answer this?

‘I don’t want to see Arabs in our swimming pools’

Galilee council head stirs controversy defending limitations on pool use in Jewish towns. ‘Why is it racist?’

How quickly they forget

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Lower Galilee Regional Council head Motti Dotan stirred up controversy on Thursday after he defended the practice of barring access to local swimming pools to non-residents, which some claim is used to prevent Arabs from using facilities in Jewish communities.

The former Labor member turned Likudnik said he “didn’t want to see them in our pools”, rejecting suggestions the desire for separation was rooted in racism.

Speaking to Kol Rega on Thursday, Dotan insisted he bears no malice towards Israel’s Arab population, but recognizes there are different cultural norms.

“I don’t hate Arabs,” said Dotan, “but I don’t want to see them in our pools.”

“I don’t go to their pools,” he added, saying that there is a clear difference between the two cultures. “Why is that racist?”

“If they would behave according to our norms, then I’d have no problem. But that doesn’t happen, so I generalize. When Jewish men and women will feel comfortable in an Arab town, then I will be happy to have them over. But until that happens, I don’t want them.”

 

FROM

BOTH CONVENTIONS LEAVE PALESTINE OFF THEIR AGENDAS ~~ NOW WHAT?

“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier,” the platform’s language on Israel, introduced by GOP delegate Alan Clemmons, reads. “Support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.”

The Democrats did not do much better. CNN reported on July 10 that “Hillary Clinton supporters rejected an effort Saturday to add an amendment to the Democratic platform which would call for ‘an end to occupations and illegal settlements’ in Palestinian territories.” The rejection of that amendment dealt a blow to any hope that the platform would reflect and address the reality on the ground, a reality of occupation approaching its 50-year anniversary.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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Both Republicans and Democrats Went Backward on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Now What?

For Americans, Israelis and Palestinians who still seek a two-state resolution to the long and exhaustive conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the platforms of the major American political parties are profoundly disappointing. Neither platform addresses the issue seriously. The failure to do so serves no one’s interests, especially not those of the United States. The disservice done to both Israel and the Palestinians is more than unfortunate; it’s laying the foundation for yet another collapse on the ground.

Only President Obama can help us now — and only if he acts fast.

The Jewish Insider reported on July 12 that “the Republican Party’s Platform Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved proposed language that drops any reference to the party’s longstanding support for the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the 2016 platform.” This, no doubt, reflected anything but forward movement.

“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier,” the platform’s language on Israel, introduced by GOP delegate Alan Clemmons, reads. “Support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.”

The Democrats did not do much better. CNN reported on July 10 that “Hillary Clinton supporters rejected an effort Saturday to add an amendment to the Democratic platform which would call for ‘an end to occupations and illegal settlements’ in Palestinian territories.” The rejection of that amendment dealt a blow to any hope that the platform would reflect and address the reality on the ground, a reality of occupation approaching its 50-year anniversary.

Not only are these positions out of line with international law and dozens of United Nations resolutions, they are also totally out of sync with U.S. foreign policy and well-established parameters that call the reality on the ground what it is: Israeli military occupation.

Given the inability of either party platform to provide a glimpse of what it would take to bring peace to that embattled region, we can only hope that other forces weigh in.

In particular, President Obama still has time to set the record straight. Given that the United States recognized Israel 11 minutes after it declared independence back in 1948, he can finally recognize the second of the two-states, Palestine, before he leaves office. This would place a policy marker that brings the two-state solution into full focus no matter who our next president will be.

As we, along with our Israeli colleague Nomika Zion, a resident of Sderot, Israel, have noted in the past:

The failure of the two American political parties to recognize the reality on the ground in the region and to provide a platform for progress on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is shameful. It leaves no hope for forward progress and will not serve the interests of the United States, Israel or Palestine. It will exacerbate tensions in the region and thus deprive Israel, the Palestinians and the world of the leadership needed to end the occupation and enable both parties to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We hope that President Obama appreciates the productive role he can play in this regard, a role made all the more critical in light of the disappointing platforms of the major political parties.

Written FOR

ISRAELI BEX ALERT ON VIDEO

This one takes the cake …..

bullshit

Netanyahu urges Arabs to ‘take part in our society’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologizes for controversial election statements about Arab voters – then ‘goes one step further.’

And the reactions to the above …

“When I saw you chose to contact us in English,” he continued, turning directly to Netanyahu, “I understood exactly where this message is intended and for what purpose. So I say to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Arab public that we are not buying his show of hypocrisy.”

Arab MKs blast Netanyahu video to Israeli Arabs

Arab Knesset members unimpressed with Prime Minister’s appeal to Israeli Arabs to take full part in Israeli society, call it a “spin”.

Arab Knesset members on Monday night blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after he released a video urging Israeli Arabs to take full part in Israeli society.

Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh responded to the video and said, “I watched the video tonight and I asked myself whether this is the same person who tried desperately to prevent the economic plan for Arabs, who tried to add more conditions to the program so that it would not be implemented? Is this the same Prime Minister who incited against us in the elections and since then has only worsened his inciting statements?”

“When I saw you chose to contact us in English,” he continued, turning directly to Netanyahu, “I understood exactly where this message is intended and for what purpose. So I say to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Arab public that we are not buying his show of hypocrisy.”

MK Ahmed Tibi blasted the video as well, saying, “Mr. Netanyahu’s passionate appeal to the residents of Rahat and Taybeh in English brings upon a smile and raises questions about the background of this spin. If you saw some shaking in the video it’s because the video guy couldn’t stop laughing. Netanyahu did not even apologize for his past racist remarks, and only ‘apologizes if his words were misunderstood.’ Again the Arabs (and Jews) did not understand his thoughts.”

“I wonder whether the motive is criticism by the OECD or another international body. He and his government are personally responsible for the huge disparities between Arab and Jewish communities and he is the one who boasts about destruction of homes rather than real integration. This spin will not hold water either,” said Tibi.

From

Let’s see Netanyahu explain this to the ‘Arabs’

Image by Carlos Latuff

Mother Palestine and the Israeli settlements

Mother Palestine and the Israeli settlements

IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINIAN LIVES MATTER

New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday in front of the Israeli Consulate to demand Freedom for Bilal Kayed and all other (7,000) Palestinians held in illegal administrative  detention.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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OBAMA’S LAST GASP ON PALESTINE-ISRAEL

Palestinians should take seriously the possibility that Obama may act because of his disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu, and because of the support such a move would have from Samantha Power and John Kerry. Any initiative would likely occur after the US presidential elections; thus the window would be from November 2016 through January 2017.

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009.  The man sitting between them is an interpreter. (  This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. ( This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama’s Last Gasp on Palestine-Israel

Overview

The Obama administration is in its final few months, and talk of a narrowing “window of opportunity” in which it can act on Palestine-Israel has gathered pace. Speculation on whether President Barack Obama will take any measures has been combined with skepticism that any measure could have a positive impact on the ground.

Policymakers have put forward a number of possible options, including a strongly-worded statement to define the Obama/John Kerry parameters for a solution to the conflict and an abstention on vetoing a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that reiterates the illegality of settlements. The administration also must factor in the international peace conference that France hosted in early June and that is set to resume between the parties themselves in September.

Al-Shabaka Policy Analysts Sam Bahour, Zaha Hassan, Fadi Quran, Sherene Seikaly, and Omar Shaban offer a range of views about what, if any, step the Obama administration could take, what Palestinian responses and pitfalls could be, and what action Palestinians should consider. Their views are synthesized below, while in the final section each analyst offers their thoughts on what Palestinians should do. Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow Tareq Baconi served as the roundtable’s facilitator.

Is the Obama Administration Really Planning a New Initiative?

There appears to be high-level interest by the American government in taking action on Palestine before the end of Obama’s presidency. The first development that signaled this interest was when Obama sent feelers to political and security officials asking them what his administration should do if it were to act.

Some said he should take a step that would make it difficult for the next president – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – to make more concessions to Israelis. Others advised him not to get involved, saying it was not worth it. Still others said the international community is waiting for someone to take leadership on the French initiative as well as on providing cover for those Arab governments seeking to normalize relations with Israel. For Obama, the challenge lies in the concern that any measure taken might lead to the deterioration of the P5+1 Iran agreement, an outcome that would be welcomed by the Republicans and Gulf states. Obama is said to seek a legacy around Palestine-Israel, while at the same time fearing that any initiative could tarnish such a legacy.

Palestinians should take seriously the possibility that Obama may act because of his disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu, and because of the support such a move would have from Samantha Power and John Kerry. Any initiative would likely occur after the US presidential elections; thus the window would be from November 2016 through January 2017.

However, the situation in which Palestinians find themselves is not encouraging. The Palestinian Authority is very weak, and Palestinians are divided, with no prospect for reconciliation nor a desire to hold new national elections. This suggests both a lack of pressure on and an absence of reason for the Obama administration to take action, particularly as the wider Arab world is also not applying pressure on the administration. Rather, they are putting pressure on the Palestinians. Further, US support of the French initiative is lukewarm at best.

What are the Options on the Table?

The most ambitious option would be Obama recognizing the State of Palestine, as 138 members of the UN have already done. The US could accomplish this by either unilaterally recognizing the state or signing on to a UNSC resolution recommending the admission of Palestine to the UN, with the possible inclusion of parameters for a negotiated resolution to the conflict. The former is unlikely, but the latter is possible, especially since the US continues to express fear of losing the chance for a two-state solution. The administration could frame such a move as merely implementing past US policy statements – starting from the George W. Bush administration and the Roadmap for Peace all the way to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. By building on these statements an Obama initiative would appear to implement what the Republicans had started. This more cautious approach may be Obama’s only option.

Obama could also enshrine new parameters through a speech or an American framework. However, a speech could be easily dismissed by incoming presidencies, and issuing a standalone framework outlining US policy might be more difficult domestically.

A localized track is another possibility. The increased presence in Palestine recently of State Department officials as well as delegations from the House Foreign Affairs Committee indicates a rising interest among high-level US officials to talk about the occupation-related obstacles to Palestinian state building and economic development. This reflects an interest in supporting Palestinians economically and determining how to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state.

The US could follow the Vatican’s example and sign a bilateral agreement with Palestine that would effectively recognize Palestine as a state. The agreement could be in the form of a free trade agreement. Alternatively, the US could take measures to enhance reality on the ground for Palestinians by putting together an economic package that supports Palestinian sovereignty and state-building priorities.

What are Potential Palestinian Responses and Pitfalls?

The Palestinian leadership is in such dire straits that it may be willing to accept any move that could seem successful, regardless of pitfalls. Indeed, Palestinian leaders may want to enshrine a new set of parameters before Mahmoud Abbas exits. In addition, by enshrining US parameters, Obama could signal to settlers that continued settlement expansion will not be accepted.

Yet setting parameters could be dangerous for Palestinians in that it could cement their weak position. New US parameters would include reference to the 1967 borders but would also include land swaps and the legitimization of settlements, as well as special arrangements for Jerusalem, which would mean less than a capital for Palestinians. The parameters could also potentially enshrine the idea of a Jewish state with very harmful consequences for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In addition, they could be dangerous for a UNSC resolution on settlements. A resolution already exists that addresses settlements’ illegality; a new resolution could risk legitimizing them rather than reaffirming their illegality.  For instance, a document that refers to prohibiting “continued settlement construction” could suggest that what is already on the ground is permissible.

A bilateral trade agreement between the US and Palestine, on the other hand, would effectively recognize Palestine as a state and delegitimize settlements. Yet while a trade agreement may implicitly include state recognition, it would also move the Obama administration away from politics and onto an economic track. The fear here is that any movement away from the political track will legitimize Obama’s desire to shift away from political issues – a move that may be embraced by the struggling Palestinian private sector.

What Should the Palestinians Do?

Sam Bahour: In the immediate future, the Palestinian leadership must remain strictly political. While this may not immediately help domestically or upgrade daily life, it will prevent watering down the issues and potential responses from the Obama administration. The most pointed political demand is to focus on direct US recognition of Palestine in the coming six-month period. In the short term, this would embarrass the stakeholders who call for two states but are unable to accept recognition. The more we can put the key players in a corner with a call for statehood, the more we can reveal that none of them are serious about statehood. We can then move on to other political framings, if the need arises.

Zaha Hassan: The likelihood that newly adopted US parameters would cause more harm than good is very high. Any explicit US recognition of the State of Palestine would certainly include qualifications that would negatively impact the Palestinian national cause. For example, there would likely be a reference that the territorial unit in which Palestinians may exercise their right to self-determination is the State of Palestine. This would have ramifications for Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Including such qualified parameters in a UNSC resolution would elevate their status to law and be difficult to undo later. To avoid the pitfalls inherent in these options, it may be safer to encourage the US to sign a bilateral trade agreement with Palestine. Signing such an agreement would have the effect of recognizing Palestine as a state as well as delegitimizing Israeli settlements and settlement products.

Fadi Quran: Key actors within Palestinian civil society that focus on BDS and the increasing economic costs of occupation should not be asked to lend their resources to possible Obama efforts. This is long-term work that needs to remain in place. We also need advocacy from civil society that focuses on international law and presents a joint document to the Democratic National Committee or to the Obama administration that clearly states what we believe our rights are and that any parameters that do not include these rights will be unacceptable. Lastly, we need to bring back voices of people that have been missing from the conversation for years into policy decisions. This means reconnecting with Palestinian voices outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For example, if Obama receives a strong call from Palestinians in Israel that establishes red lines with regard to rights, it could affect his administration’s parameters.

Sherene Seikaly: The challenge with which people like Cornel West are confronting the  Democratic Party is one indication of the tremendous gains that student activists and BDS supporters have made on campuses throughout the United States. We can take this momentum and build on intersectional, cross-sectional solidarities. These can put forward a simple call to end the siege of Gaza. Although this moment feels quite dark vis-à-vis the US political landscape – if Hillary Clinton wins, one of her first domestic targets will be activists and BDS, for example – it nevertheless has a lot of radical potential to put forth demands. The Palestinian Authority has essentially been anemic to aspirational demands; we could work to challenge them on this anemia and push them to engage the intersectional momentum we are now witnessing.

Omar Shaban: The strengthening of civil society in Gaza and the West Bank is highly needed. Funds in the West Bank have influenced the way civil society has been weakened, preventing it from pressuring the Palestinian Authority. We need to work on making civil society more independent and capable of defending Palestinian rights rather than being bought. We also need to work to get Hamas to understand what happened in Tunisia in terms of the moderation of political Islam – in essence, we need to create knowledge in Gaza about such options for Hamas.

sam_bahour_17-10-2008
Sam Bahour

Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Sam Bahour does business consulting as Applied Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development with a niche focus on the information technology sector and start-ups. He is also the Chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He helped establish PALTEL and the PLAZA Shopping Center. Until recently, he served on the board of trustees of Birzeit University and was the University’s treasurer.  He is also a Director at the Arab Islamic Bank and the community foundation Dalia Association.  Bahour is co-editor of HOMELAND: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (Olive Branch Press). He writes frequently on Palestinian affairs and his work is posted at www.epalestine.com.

 

NO MATTER WHO WINS, PALESTINE LOSES

Once again, Palestinian Freedom has been put on the ‘back burner’ as far as the US Presidential contenders are concerned ….

 

Bernie Sanders Backers Fail To Insert Criticism of Israel in Democratic Platform

In its last round of debates, the Democratic Party once again refused to insert language seen as pro-Palestinian into its platform.

The party’s platform committee, convened in Orlando for two days of voting on proposed amendments to the platform, maintained the language agreed upon in the earlier round of debate and defeated amendments aimed at criticizing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, demanding “an end to illegal settlements” and supporting the re-building of the Gaza Strip.

Read more HERE 

Republicans Prepare to Drop Mention of ‘Palestine’ From Platform

Taking yet another shift to the right on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, the Republican Party is poised to drop reference to Palestinians from its platform and to reinforced the call for keeping Jerusalem “undivided” under Israeli rule.

According to a CNN report based on a leaked first draft of the platform presented to party’s platform committee, the 2016 platform will not include any direct mention of Palestine or the Palestinians when discussing ways of bringing peace to the Middle East.

Support for a two-state solution has been a mainstay of all Republican administrations and although little progress has been made to realize this solution, it has always been the cornerstone of both Republican and Democratic parties’ approach to the conflict.

More HERE

And on the other side of the pond, Britain’s new Prime Minister had the following to say in this video. Mrs May delivered a speech to the Bnei Akiva, Britain’s largest Zionist youth movement, to celebrate the creation of Israel, the colonial settler-state founded on the bones and in the houses and farms that had been stolen from the Palestinian people.

 

HELP US BRING A MESSAGE TO ISRAELIS

Five years ago I posted a book review about NO MORE ENEMIES. The time has come to bring this masterpiece to the Israeli public …. it can only be done with your help.

Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestinians, and of Israelis, of all our children and grandchildren, in the Middle East and everywhere else, has an interest in making No More Enemies available to Israeli Jewish readers in Hebrew. This crowdfunding campaign was launched to pay the fee for the guy who is translating the book into Hebrew. I urge all advocates of a sane shared future in Palestine/Israel and globally to help today. Donate! Spread the word!

(See below for details)

Moving beyond despair — the Hebrew version…

By Deb Reich

Since publishing No More Enemies in English in 2011, I have been approached often by Israelis who have read the English original. Seeing its importance for Israelis (and Palestinians), whose country serves as the case study around which the book is written, these readers have implored me to get the book translated into Hebrew so that every Israeli can read it… urgently.

The idea is to move beyond fear and hopelessness to open a new doorway into an alternative shared future in Israel, Palestine, and beyond…

Because I write only in English, the object of this crowdfunding project is to pay the cost of a professional Hebrew translation and its wide distribution in a digital edition, and (next phase, once the translation is paid for) a print edition in Hebrew, translation into Arabic, and more.

Please join with me in moving us all forward another step on the path to a better shared future for our children and grandchildren.

What readers are saying about No More Enemies:

–Drop everything and read this book! The world will be a better place. – Melinda Thompson, Chair, Middle East Committee, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, USA

–I love No More Enemies. It’s an inspiring, splendid book.  – James Adler, Cambridge, Mass, USA

–I’ll be spreading the word about No More Enemies — especially among those most fearful  of giving up the conflict (isn’t that a paradox!). – Gale Courey Toensing, journalist, Connecticut, USA

–A must read. –Patrick M., International aid worker, South Asia

–In No More Enemies, Deb Reich states it clearly: ‘It’s not the people . . . it’s the paradigm.’  
Civil rights activist Minnijean Brown-Trickey of the Little Rock Nine,
writing as a scholar in residence, Clinton School Center on Community
Philanthropy, “Confronting Racism, Past and Present, to Heal Ourselves
and Heal the World.”

–If you want to move beyond war, then I recommend No More Enemies by Deb Reich. –Lora Lucero, nomad blogger at Why Gaza?, former adjunct professor of law at UNM-Albuquerque, USA

–Inspiring and powerful… a priceless book, showing the way to reparation without retribution.  
L. Janelle Dance, Assoc. Prof., Sociology and Ethnic Studies, Univ. of
Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and Senior Researcher, Center for Middle Eastern
Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

 Here’s how you can back this project …. 

http://www.nomoreenemies.net

TO CRY AND LAUGH, SIMULTANEOUSLY ~~ BOOK REVIEW

“Remember, whatever you do in life, for them you will always, but always, be an Arab. Do you understand?”

If you are Palestinian or Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, or simply human, you will enjoy these short stories tremendously. If you are none of the above, then just buy the book and place it on your bookshelf for all to note in awe the powerful one word title, Native, which says it all!

To Cry And Laugh, Simultaneously

By Sam Bahour

2016-06-29-1467244652-7016276-Native217x327-thumb (1)

Palestinian-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua should be commended for writing this book, as should be the publishers who took on the task of bringing it to the English reading community. Where diplomacy has failed, politics has stumbled, and common sense remains a rare commodity, one hopes that Kashua’s shrewd satire and political barbs can break open closed minds and pave the way for a breakthrough for Palestinians and Israelis. If not, Kashua is fully content in just making the reader laugh, then freeze, knowing the words are reality, then cry, as he pokes fun at everyone, mostly himself.

Kashua’s poor wife! She seems like such a wonderful person, loving and caring, but she is the target of his relentless attacks and haphazard lifestyle. I’m actually considering starting a humanitarian drive to support her, a sort of Brexit, maybe we’ll call it Kaexit. You’ll understand after you read the book.

This book of short stories is organized into four parts based around specific timeframes, as is each story. The parts are: Warning Signs (2006-2007), Foreign Passports (2008-2010), Antihero (2010-2012), The Stories That I Don’t Dare Tell (2012-2014). For anyone living in Israel/Palestine, or even having an inkling of knowledge about the places, the ability to relate to the story lines is immediate. Kashua dives much deeper than the superficial political issues; he enters his home, family, culture and so much more. The most volatile chapters are when he enters his own mind; read with caution, always remembering that satire comes from reality.

Given I read this book while on a vacation with my family in the US, it took on even more of a meaningful read. Kashua writes, “There are Israelis who say that only after leaving the country did they realize how illogical life is there, how stressed they were, and how all of a sudden there are different concerns now. Concerns related to work, to everyday life, to the weather, and mainly to the family.” He could have easily replaced “Israeli” with “Palestinians,” as he frequently does, and all would have remained true. Kashua comically amplifies the convoluted reality in both Palestine and Israel, which is causing the younger generations to voluntarily walk out and relocate to saner corners of the world—I would add, only to find those new corners are called Brussels, Paris, London and Orlando, all with their own share of convolution.

As Kashua walks the reader through his family’s decision to leave Israel and emigrate to Chicago, he writes, “I must help my children understand that Israel is not the end of the world—that if, God forbid, they don’t succeed there and they feel ostracized, different, or suspect, or when reality blows up in their faces, they’ll know that there are other options. It’s true that they’ll be different, but in a different way. They’ll be immigrants, and maybe they’ll have an accent, and they’ll feel a little strange. But they’ll be strangers in a strange land, and not in their homeland.” That last line says it all! Palestinians, be they citizens of Israel or residents living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, awaiting their long-delayed state, are all being made to feel like strangers in our own land. The result will be tragic.

Kashua repeats a phrase that his father repeatedly told him, “only the beginnings are hard.” Let’s believe that and hope that new beginnings don’t have to include one reaching a point where they can no longer live in their own homeland, but rather restart their lives right at home.

Reviewing this book evoked a serious contradiction in my mind. On the one hand, the book deserves to be read and commented on in its own right, having been written in Hebrew and translated into English. It’s a book aimed at our funny bone, but the underlying truths are too close to home. A hopeful takeaway from this heartfelt effort is that more Palestinian citizens of Israel are making their voice heard, in other than Arabic, which holds the hope that as more people, especially Jews around the world, get a peek into what Israel has become, change will be forthcoming.

The Saqi Books website states, “Sarah Cleave, publishing manager of Saqi Books, who acquired rights from Abner Stein in association with the Deborah Harris Agency, said ‘Native is a wickedly sardonic, moving and hugely entertaining collection that offers real insight into the lived experiences of Palestinians in Israel.’” This is so true.

If you are Palestinian or Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, or simply human, you will enjoy these short stories tremendously. If you are none of the above, then just buy the book and place it on your bookshelf for all to note in awe the powerful one word title, Native, which says it all!

Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life
By Sayed Kashua
Saqi Books (acquired UK and Commonwealth rights)
April 2016

Review written for Huffington Post

NEW TOON ~~ TURKEY, THE VIEW FROM GAZA

Image by Carlos Latuff

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

Related FROM

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

Haidar Eid

Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties six years after an Israeli naval attack that killed 10 Turkish activists and 9 years after the imposition of a deadly siege that has left Gaza unlivable.

What do we, Palestinians of Gaza, feel about it?

To put it mildly, we are dismayed and angered as must be the families of the 10 victims of the Mavi Marmara incident. This deal leaves us under a hermetic, medieval siege that amounts to what the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls “incremental genocide.” Needless to say that the deal also violates the boycott guidelines which Palestinians civil society issued in 2005. In fact, it is not unlike normalizing diplomatic and economic ties with South African apartheid.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the Turkish branch of Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) who ruled Egypt for a year and failed to open the Rafah crossing and lift the siege. Hamas, the Palestinian branch, has also added misery to the lives of the besieged of Gaza through its strict rule and absence of any political vision. Now, the Ikhwan of Turkey strike a deal with apartheid Israel at the expense of Palestinian basic rights!

To add insult to injury, Hamas has issued a statement “expressing its gratitude for Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to help the residents of Gaza, which are in line with Turkey’s principled support of the Palestinian cause”! And Hamas leader Ahmed Yousuf made it clear that “Turkey has done all it could to lift the siege and help the Palestinians of Gaza. The regional changes have made it change its policy and accept the easing of the siege instead! We can’t expect more than this from Turkey.” (my translation)

Defenders of the Turkish government, namely Islamists, are up in arms to justify the unjustifiable. The Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal has nothing to do with Gaza, and everything to do with Israel’s, and to some extent Turkey’s, interests.

In fact, the Ikhwan never fail to let u down. They don’t want to acknowledge that the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal is a slap in the face of ethical and moral decency for the mere fact that Turkey has ended up asking for Israel’s help to lift the siege on Gaza.

So what does “lifting the siege” mean?

It basically means opening the six crossings to Gaza, the keys of  which are in Israel’s hands, and allowing the flow of all kinds of goods, especially essentials, to and from Gaza; and providing Gaza with electricity and clean water; and guaranteeing the freedom of movement of the 2 million Palestinians of Gaza.  This also means opening the Rafah crossing 24/7.  This is the responsibility of the occupying power, namely Israel. But even this does not meet the minimum basic rights of the Palestinian people: freedom, equality, and justice. No normal relations with apartheid Israel should be resumed without the latter complying with International law that guarantees Palestinian basic rights.

A quick reading of the deal proves that it is a stab in the back of Gaza. Improving the conditions of oppression, or rather slowing down the genocide, is a form of complicity because Gaza for the Turkish government is just a humanitarian case. In a nutshell, the Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful!

The “incremental genocide” continues.

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