BANKSY GIVES A NEW MEANING TO CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM

Banksy has replaced the nativity star with a bullet hole.

THE HYPOCRITIC OATH OF ZIONISM

Occupied Bethlehem is “a big prison” with a “hotel with the ugliest view in the world”, surrounded by the apartheid wall, and the picture with “the scar” warns at Christmas: don’t forget us 

The “Scar of Bethlehem” depicting the creche is the latest art work by Banksy, and was unveiled at his hotel in the walled city on Dec. 22, 2019. From twitter.

Jewish Christian Hypocrisy 

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski

The redeeming news came shortly before Christmas. The occupying powers of the Zionist terror regime allowed 55 out of 1,000 Christian Palestinians, 600 of whom had applied to leave the country, to visit their families in Jerusalem or the occupied West Bank. Previously, the Orthodox Church in Gaza criticized the fact that fewer than a hundred Christians older than 40 were only allowed to travel to Jordan, but not to annexed Jerusalem and occupied Bethlehem. Whether the remaining inquiries are also approved is stated in the “David Stars.

Already at the past Easter celebrations, the Christian community in the Gaza Strip criticized that the “Jewish State” only allowed about 200 Palestinian Christians from the age of 50 to travel to Jordan. Shortly before Easter, hundreds of Christians were given permission to travel to East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Among the approximately two million Palestinians in the Gaza concentration camp are thousands of Christians, all of whom have been forced to vegetate under inhumane conditions for twelve years under the tightened blockade occupation by the Zionist regime, supported by the Egyptian al-Sisi “putsch pharaoh” regime.

Following the suggestion of the Green Leader Habeck that Germany should take in “refugee children from the overcrowded Greek camps”, the EKD chairman and Bavarian Evangelical Bishop Bedford-Strohm jumped to his side and called for “humanitarian signs”.

Habeck sees “smart” settlements in Hebron

Both Habeck, who was visiting the “Jewish occupying state” and admired the “sniff” settlements in occupied Hebron that violated international law (even in unfortunate times the German Michel was very happy that the Fiihrer built a city for the Jews), as well as Bedford- Strohm, who emphasized that “Jesus himself came from a refugee family”, ignored the suffering of Palestinian refugees, like all German politicians and church leaders, in their Christian and pre-Christmas lying mercy. (1)

Jesus was the first freedom fighter against the Jewish authorities!

These are refugees who have been displaced by the Zionists for more than 70 years, either in occupied Palestine or in camps such as in Lebanon. Jesus was also a refugee, but also a freedom fighter against the Jewish authorities. Possibly the first Palestinian to pioneer Palestinian freedom. Today he would perhaps work in the BDS movement for their goals.

“Alliances of Humanity”

As Cardinal Marx, as chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, said on Sunday: “The dead in the Mediterranean are Christ”. Finally, “identify yourself with everyone who becomes a victim”. With such sayings, Marx and the leaders of the major churches in Germany expressed their solidarity with private sea rescuers who save migrants from the Mediterranean. Where was the solidarity when the Gaza fleet needed it when it was forced to turn back by Jewish “defense soldiers”? Bedford-Strohm also thinks it is right to form “alliances of humanity”, also with “non-Christians”.

“Alliances of the willing warriors”

I ask myself, does he mean the alliance with the mainly Muslims who are fleeing or with the Jewish occupiers in the “Holy Land” or the “Alliance of willing warriors” of the so-called “Western community of values”, which gradually moves the countries of the Middle East into bomb the stone age? There is also silence in the country, especially when it comes to the illegal occupation of Palestine by the regime of the “Jewish State”. Why not consider excommunicating politicians who are so shamelessly openly threatening peace?

The Olive Greens and the “Russian Threat”

No startling protest can be heard from those who always have peace in their mouths, but who openly include war in their morbid considerations. The olive-greens in particular have excelled in reviving the “Russian threat”, with which populism is being built, which the majority of Germans see through, which is why they are in favor of a good partnership with this country.

Climate of fear

In vain there was no protest against the refusal of Christians to leave Gaza. How alone must the Palestinians, whether they be Christians or Muslims, feel in the occupied Palestine-Gaza-Jerusalem? Where are the “humanitarian signs” from the German church representatives? Yes, the bishops and other representatives have also learned that if you dare to criticize the “Jewish state” or to address the real situation, you will be cold-tempered as an anti-Semite. Do you still have to wonder about the many exits from Kirchgen? In order to “protect” the occupying regime, the freedom of expression that is guaranteed in the Basic Law is slowly but surely getting under the wheel. In this climate of fear and philosemitism, the AfD and extreme right

The Hasbara propaganda machinery, which is currently in full swing and which uses anti-Semitism so brutally to distract from the Zionist crimes in the “Jewish state”, is unprecedented.

Fighting paper for the Israel lobby

The “IHRA” anti-Semitism definition is intended to put Europe on the “right” Zionist path. This definition is so vague and unspecific, and is only useful as a combat paper for the Israel lobby. The essence is not to act against alleged anti-Semitism, but only to mark criticism of Israel against the state of Israel as anti-Semitism. With the double standard of recognizing existence as the “Jewish State of Israel” one tries in the world to legalize a state, the discrimination in the form of laws based only on the Zionist ideology, and in this “State of the Jews” Palestinian Excludes citizens and refugees, but includes Jews in the state and worldwide.

How many Jews in the diaspora feel represented by this state? The Hasbara claim that the State of Israel must be viewed as a “Jewish community” reflects precisely the disregard for international law and racial discrimination that Israel has represented since its inception. In fact, like any other state, Israel is committed to protecting the human rights of all of its people, as well as the fundamental right to return and the property of Palestinian refugees and citizens.

Right to self-determination for Palestinians

Every German politician or media supporter of the “Jewish State” who is constantly insisting on the recognition of the right to exist for the “Jewish State” and who demands German rationale for the security of the “Jewish State” should be reminded that these demands are against every right violated. On the contrary, there is no international legal basis for the right of a “Jewish people” (which, as we know, does not exist!) At the expense of the basic rights of the Palestinians or the UN recognized right to self-determination, including that Palestinian people. The occupying power of Israel has no right to implement a population transfer policy to colonize and annex occupied Palestinian territories. Through this perfidious reversal of the law, any criticism of the “Jewish state” is presented as anti-Semitism, although it only demands the universal rights of the people and human rights. This opens the door to brand the supporters of the non-violent BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) as anti-Semitic, and anyone who criticizes Israeli politics or self-definition of Israel as the “state of the Jewish people”, including Jewish ones Citizens of Germany and Holocaust survivors can thus be denounced, criminalized and targeted as anti-Semitic. This infamous strategy of attempting to equate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism has since spread across Europe, led by France (Lex Finkielkraut), Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark and lacks any democratic claim. (2)

We have to expose this “working definition” of the Zionist lobby groups of the propaganda Israeli and US think tanks, to prevent criticism of the politics of the “Jewish state” and to silence us, and to expose them for what they are: as infiltrated with Millions of euros in “experts on anti-Semitism” who are trying to incorporate this working definition into European institutions and organizations.

Chutzpah from the “Jewish Nakba”

Again and again lies with Hasbara are spreading about the Jewish refugees from Arab countries in order to distract from the legal right of return of the Palestinians and to point out, as always, the Jews’ own suffering. The chutzpah from the “Jewish Nakba” is as tasteless as it is false. Refugees in the Middle East are to be set off against each other on the argument that Jews were forced to give up material assets and leave Arab countries, similar to the Palestinians who fled or were displaced from their homes. Ergo that would be an exchange of population in the region. So if Palestinian refugees are to be compensated, then “Jewish refugees” who have been “expelled” from the Arab countries would also have to be compensated. The fact is, that most of the Jews left the Arab countries because they fell for Israeli propaganda and wanted to go to Israel, not because their home lives were in danger. In Iraq, for example, “terrorist attacks” have “helped”. (3)

The Jewish Agency tried with all means and actions to create the myth of how they “saved” Jews from the contempt and anti-Semitism of the Arabs against Jews. So they tried and managed to infect Jews and Arabs with the enemy image from the start. Everything lacks the truth, most of the Jews had just lived in peace and prosperity in the Arab countries. How many Jews save their lives in Turkey from the National Socialists. This fact cannot be mentioned often enough in times of Turkey agitation and Islam hatred. There was no hatred in Europe for Jews with the waves of persecution in Arab countries.

It was only when the state was founded, with the aftermath of the wars and the Nakba, that Arab states passed a series of anti-Zionist laws. So you shouldn’t confuse the cause with the effect if you keep trying to drive a wedge between Jews and Arab-Palestinians. Just as there is no special anti-Semitic hatred of Jews, but only a more than understandable anger at the policies of the “Jewish State” and its supporters that violate international law and violate human rights. (4)

Holocaust survivors are exploited

With the anti-Semitism hunt against critics of Israel, one tries to deliberately defame all of us, whether Jews, Muslims or Christians, as anti-Semites. With the power of the lobby, politicians, journalists (with sponsored trips to Israel), officials and organizations are committed to this propaganda. Led by the inflationary number of “anti-Semitism officers”, an atmosphere of restriction of freedom of expression and assembly is created that must be broken. Holocaust survivors are exploited and referred to their poverty. But who is responsible for this poverty? The “Claims Conference”, which has had many scandals and is today a “benefactor” or the “Jewish State”, which forgot the Holocaust survivors early on. One wonders why do so many of the last survivors prefer to live in Germany now? “Chabad sects rabbis” have taken over the Jewish sovereignty of religion. The Central Council of Jews, as well as representatives of the “Jewish State”, have meanwhile managed to get the government on the course of “love for Israel”.

Racist founding ideology

So we must never forget the bitter reality in occupied Palestine. The behavior of the “Jewish State” is driven by an anachronistic, irrational and racist ideology, which does not represent all Jews. The memory of the Holocaust is important, but must not be exploited so shamefully by the “Jewish State” and its willing helpers and at the expense of the Palestinian people under occupation. Today’s crimes against humanity cannot be justified with anything. Zionism no longer has any justification in the 21st century and has long been on the garbage heap of history. A state of privileged Jews against all other residents who are discriminated against and oppressed and who lives out Zionism by deliberately dehumanizing the Palestinians stands in the way of a humanitarian vision of equality and freedom for all people. Zionism has followed a policy of separation, massacre, destruction for generations. So anti-Zionism is a fundamental right and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism that you should never lump together. All the anti-Semitism club writers know this all too well, but do it anyway because it seems so simple and successful. An end to the Christian-Jewish mendacity that these Zionist crimes against humanity make possible. The occupied Bethlehem is “a big prison” with a “hotel with the ugliest view in the world”, surrounded by the apartheid wall, and the picture with “the scar” warns at Christmas: don’t forget us (5) (6)

I wish all readers a peaceful Christmas and a thoughtful Hanukkah Festival of Lights in dark times.

A Jew to the Zionists 
from Erich Fried

First of all, rejoice that your dead are so dead, 
otherwise they could tell you what they think of you, 
sons who have become murderers of the victims of our murderers, 
who you allied with murderers against your murder victim children

And rejoice that the murderers of our parents 
have so used the hearts of the world to murder 
that the gentlemen of half the world can watch your murders and lies 
benevolently and hardly protest to appearances

And rejoice that your own Martin Buber is already dead, 
because he said just before his death 
that you were not the disciples of old Jewish wisdom, 
no, you were only the pupils of Hitler

And also be happy that there is no more Bert Brecht 
than what he would have sung to your injustice 
that would sound 
to the world and to you for a long time, longer than your injustice lasts

But rejoice quickly, because your joy will be short-lived 
like the joys of other tyrants and murderers 
and then Palestinians and Jews will live together in peace 
and thank God that there is no longer Zionism

A Jew to 
Erich Fried’s Zionist fighters
 

What do you want? 
Do you really want to surpass 
those who have trodden you down in your own blood and in your own feces 
before an age ? Do you want to pass on the old tortures to the others with all the bloody dirty details and all the brutal enjoyment of the torturers like our fathers suffered at the time ? Do you really want to be the new Gestapo, the new Wehrmacht, the new SA and SS and make the Palestinians the new Jews? But then I also want because I was fifty years ago.

Even as a child of Jews was 
tormented 
by your tormentors, be 
a new Jew 
with these new Jews 
whom you make the Palestinians 
And I want to help bring them back 
as free people 
to their own country Palestine 
from which you have driven them out

You swastika apprentices, 
you fools and changelings 
of world history 
or by tormenting 
them those of the Star of David 
on your flags 
are changing faster and faster 
into the cursed sign 
with the four feet that 
you do not want to see now 
but whose path you are going today!

footnotes:

(1) http://www.nrhz.de/flyer/beitrag.php?id=26461

(2) https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/frankreich-erkennt-antizionismus-als-antisemitismus-an-16549341.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2

(3) https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/the-nazi-fueled-pogrom-that-triggered-iraqi-jews-flight-1.5730671

(4) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191223-israel-starts-to-implement-racist-jewish-nation-state-law/

(5 https://www.ard-telaviv.de/ein-grosses-gefaengnis/

(6) https://www.br.de/nachrichten/kultur/die-heilige-familie-von-banksy-mit-kriegsspuren-in-bethlehem,RlO7cme

 

Originally posted AT

THE NAKBA CONTINUES … A MUST WATCH VIDEO

After 24 years of back and forth in an Israeli court, this Palestinian family was forced out of their home in occupied East Jerusalem.

OCCUPATIONAL FUN IN PALESTINE CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Watch Israeli soldiers laugh and cheer after one of them shoots a Palestinian protester in the village of Madama

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ ANNEXATION OR ANNIHILATION?

Israel annexation of occupied Palestine territories: will Netanyahu decide to act on his threat?

Image by Carlos Latuff

IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ IN PALESTINE WE ARE ALL BANKSY

When passerbys were asked who painted the murals on the wall the answer was the same from all …. “I did it! I am Banksy.” 

‘In Palestine we are all Banksy’

In Bethlehem yesterday …..


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THE REAL ‘OPERATION PROTECTIVE SHIELD’

Palestinians in Hebron are taking new steps for their community’s safety under constant settler attacks.

APARTHEID CAUGHT ON VIDEO

A trip down Israel’s new Apartheid Road

Last month, Israel opened what has been dubbed by locals and activists as the ‘Apartheid Road’. The four-lane highway features two separate roads divided by a concrete wall – one for Israeli settlers and the other for Palestinians.While the Israeli lane allows settlers quick and easy access to the center of Jerusalem, the Palestinian lane is designed to separate Palestinians off through an underpass, diverging to different areas of the West Bank. Despite Israeli claims that the road “eases traffic congestion” for both Palestinians and Israelis, locals maintain that it is just another step by authorities to further divide the occupied Palestinian territory.

Video by: Yumna Patel

Saleh Zghari

Ahmad al-Bazz

 

Source

APARTHEID BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL APARTHEID

Israel opened a new road in the central occupied West Bank on Thursday with an eight-meter wall separating Palestinian and Israeli traffic, leading many to deem the route “Apartheid Road.”

Image by Latuff

Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road’ separates Palestinian and Israeli drivers with 8-meter wall

 Yumna Patel

Israel opened a new road in the central occupied West Bank on Thursday with an eight-meter wall separating Palestinian and Israeli traffic, leading many to deem the route “Apartheid Road.”

The road connects the illegal Geva Binyamin Settlement, southeast of Ramallah, to Route 1, a major highway that runs through the West Bank and into Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

The new 5-kilometer Route 4370, also known as the “Easter Ring Route” is a four lane route: two lanes for Israeli settlers travelling from the West Bank into Jerusalem, and two lanes circumventing around the borders of Jerusalem for Palestinians with West Bank IDs.

The Israeli-accessible portion of the road is currently only operating between 5am and noon, but will be fully opened as of January 10th, Israeli media reported.

While Israeli media have reported that Palestinians with Jerusalem IDs or Israeli citizenship would be allowed to use the Israeli-side of the road to travel from Jerusalem to the West Bank, heightened security and a new checkpoint along the road have led to speculation that Palestinians, no matter what ID they carry, will be subject to discrimination by Israeli border police who man the checkpoint.

There are dozens of segregated and settler-only roads across the occupied Palestinian territory, but Route 4370 is the first of its kind to have a wall — half concrete, half fence — separating Palestinians from Israelis.

Israeli authorities have said the road is meant to ease traffic congestion at the Hizma checkpoint north of Jerusalem, and have even claimed the road offers “a solution for all populations, Israeli and Palestinian.”

Israel’s Public Security Minister called he road “an example of the ability to create a shared life between Israelis and Palestinians, while dealing with the existing security challenges.”

Palestinian officials and activists on the other hand have condemned the road as an example of Israeli apartheid and racism against Palestinians.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry slammed the new road as “emphasizing Israel’s approach aiming to undermine prospects for geographical and demographic contiguity of the West Bank.”

The Times of Israel quoted PA Transportation Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Hamdan as saying that “all roads in the State of Palestine should be accessible to Palestinians. This new road is absolutely unacceptable and embodies barefaced discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

Years in the making

The ‘Apartheid Road’ has been years in the making, and according to rights groups, and is about much more than just easing traffic for settlers traveling to Jerusalem.

The road is a key infrastructural part of implementing Israel’s ‘Greater Jerusalem’ or ‘E1’ plan, which seeks the de facto annexation of the three settlement blocs adjacent to Jerusalem city – Gush Etzion to the South, Ma’ale Adumim/E-1 to the east and Givat Ze’ev to the north.

If implemented, the southern West Bank would be completely cut off from the north, making a future contiguous Palestinian state nearly impossible. It would essentially see the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem extend to the boundaries of Jericho.

Palestinian cartographer Khalil al-Tafakji warned Palestinian media outlets that opening the new road serves as a “prelude to displacing Palestinians from the area and starting settlement construction in the so-called E1 corridor”.

Israeli NGO Ir Amim said in a press release that the road was the “brainchild” of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and was designed to “solve the dilemma of E-1 splitting the West Bank into northern and southern enclaves by using road infrastructure to preserve a semblance of contiguity between Ramallah and Bethlehem.”

By allowing Palestinians to still navigate between Ramallah and Bethlehem — in a very indirect manner —  while diverting them from both the E-1 area and Jerusalem, the road eliminates a significant Palestinian presence.

Ir Amim says the opening of the road should be cause for “heightened vigilance,” and that while routing Palestinian traffic away from Jerusalem and E-1, the new road also “affords two key benefits for Israelis: 1) expediting traffic flow to Jerusalem for settlers from the Ramallah area and 2) enabling expansion of the settlement bloc around Ramallah.”

“While legislative initiatives like the Greater Jerusalem Bill and other plans designed to redraw the boundaries of the city may be stalled, infrastructure projects have already proven an effective tool for increasing connectivity between the blocs and the city, not only by solidifying physical linkages but also by eroding the boundaries of the city in the Israeli public consciousness,” the group said.

PALESTINE CRUMBLES AS THE PA WHISTLES DIXIE

People feel like there is nobody to defend them — no one to protect their families, their land, or their dignity. Many Palestinians have lost faith in their leaders, and President Abbas is increasingly unpopular.

Image by Carlos Latuff

What an Israeli army closure on Ramallah looks like

As the Israeli army invades Ramallah, fear and anxiety deepen among many Palestinians — but so does solidarity.

By Zena Tahhan

 

The past few days in the occupied West Bank have been particularly difficult. Violence, killings, and military raids are common here, but Palestinian cities are now facing even deeper uncertainty and instability.

The Israeli army imposed a military closure on the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, and closed major checkpoints between cities.

The closure, raids, and restrictions on movement followed two drive-by shootings carried out by Palestinians this week near illegal settlements. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in one of the shootings, and in the other, several Israeli settlers were wounded, including a pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely and later died.

As events began to unfold on Wednesday, the Israeli army raided Ramallah and stationed soldiers at Al-Irsal Street, a main street in the city. Within minutes, Israeli soldiers invaded the area, parading their presence very close to the Palestinian Authority’s Presidential Compound and President Mahmoud Abbas’ residence.

Soldiers killed four Palestinians in separate operations across the West Bank, and over the past several days, dozens of Palestinians have been rounded up in widespread arrest raids. Palestinian youths have been confronting Israeli soldiers at checkpoints and near settlements. Soldiers have been responding with tear gas and bullets, killing at least one teen.

This is the ‘de facto’ capital of Palestine? some Palestinians quipped. A video of an Israeli soldier trying, but failing, to climb a short wall turned into a meme of Abbas offering the soldier a ladder.

“The scene removed the veil from the eyes of many Palestinians — particularly [those] living in the Ramallah bubble — that we are living under the false pretense that there is a state and we have independence,” said Fadi Quran, a Ramallah-based activist. “Israel reminded the Palestinians that this is an illusion, and humiliated the Palestinian Authority,” he added.

Palestinians are used to electricity cuts, night raids, arrests, restrictions on movement and killings, but beneath the veneer of normalcy and jokes reigns an atmosphere of anxiety.

Since the closure was announced, events have been canceled, Palestinians in the West Bank are staying put, checking the news, wondering what the Israeli army is going to do, and whether it will turn into a full military invasion like the days of the first and second intifadas.

For many, the escalation is a reminder that Palestinians’ fates are mostly in the hands of a foreign occupying army.

“I wasn’t able to visit my sick uncle who is currently hospitalized in Nablus,” said Fareed Taamallah, a Ramallah resident and activist. “Many of our family members were stuck in the cities where they work, or at home.”

Those who live and work in different cities across the West Bank or in Jerusalem were held up for long periods, as armed Israeli soldiers painstakingly searched every Palestinian car and checked every identity card.

Amid the uncertainty, however, a strong sense of solidarity has emerged. The people of the West Bank are resisting occupation, land theft, as well as settler and state violence, and people realize that they need to stand together.

Across the West Bank, Palestinians opened their doors to strangers who were stuck on their commutes home. Restaurants offered free meals until checkpoints were reopened on Friday. The hashtag #OurHomesAreOpenforEveryone emerged in Arabic on Facebook and Twitter.

As Israeli soldiers marched through the streets of Ramallah, demanding that businesses hand over CCTV footage, activists sent out a call for business and individuals with security cameras to delete any tapes and break their cameras, in order to protect the identities of Palestinian fighters.

“The biggest impact of the past few days has been the deepening of solidarity and cohesion between the people,” said Quran.

“The people remembered that they are all targets of the occupation. The occupation always tries to divide Palestinians, but suddenly, amid the military closures and crackdowns, the people became stronger as one,” he continued.

People feel like there is nobody to defend them — no one to protect their families, their land, or their dignity. Many Palestinians have lost faith in their leaders, and President Abbas is increasingly unpopular.

“I try to explain to my children that we are a people under occupation, and that the occupation tries to disrupt our lives,” said Taamallah, adding that the uncertainty of the future of his family and of life under military occupation is difficult to manage.

“It is very important that they understand what is happening, but at the same time, not to make them afraid. It’s a very thin line, he continued. “You also have to create a sense of solidarity for resistance within them. Not that they must go to the front lines or throw rocks, but that our presence and resilience are important.”

“Those who carried out the attacks are not people who simply enjoy violence. They did so because they have lost all hope. The occupation does not spare us,” said Taamallah.

“The presence of the occupation is violence in and of itself,” he concluded.

FROM JAIL CELL TO VIP SUITE

Ahed Tamimi is out of prison and on tour in Europe and the Middle East speaking out against Israeli occupation and Israeli officials are unhappy about it.

[Ahed] highlights to the world both how unjust the occupation is and how absurd their legal system is,” said Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority. “Israel instead wants subservient Palestinians who simply stay quiet in the face of the denial of freedom. Ahed shows that won’t happen — including not with this generation.”

Tamimi gained international attention last year when she confronted an Israeli soldier in front of her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. She kicked and slapped him, and then took a swing at a second soldier in a videotaped incident that spread quickly on social media.

On Wall Street … Photo: Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Palestinian protest icon goes from jail cell to VIP suite

When Israel locked up Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier last year, it hoped to finally silence the teenage Palestinian activist. Instead, it created an international celebrity.

Less than three months after walking out of prison, Tamimi is on a victory tour, crisscrossing Europe and the Middle East as a superstar of the campaign against Israeli occupation. She has spoken to throngs of adoring fans, met world leaders and was even welcomed by the Real Madrid soccer club.

The VIP reception has dismayed Israeli officials and is prompting some to ask if Israel mishandled the case.

“We could have been smarter,” said Yoaz Hendel, a media commentator and former spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tamimi gained international attention last year when she confronted an Israeli soldier in front of her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. She kicked and slapped him, and then took a swing at a second soldier in a videotaped incident that spread quickly on social media.

Tamimi’s extended family has long been on Israel’s radar screen. Nabi Saleh is home to some 600 people, most of them members of the clan. For years, they have held weekly protests against the expansion of a nearby Israeli settlement, gatherings that sometimes turn to stone-throwing, prompting Israeli troops to respond with tear gas, rubber bullets or live fire.

For Israelis, the Tamimis are a group of provocateurs intent on manipulating the media to hurt the country’s image. One cousin, Ahlam Tamimi, was an accomplice to a suicide bombing. Among Palestinians, they are seen as brave heroes standing up to Israel.

But neither side anticipated the fallout from last December’s standoff, which occurred during one of the weekly protests.

The military said it moved in after villagers began throwing stones at troops. In the video, Tamimi and her cousin, Nour, walk toward the two soldiers. Tamimi tells the soldiers to leave, pushes and kicks them and slaps one of them.

As the cousin films the scene on her mobile phone, Tamimi’s mother, Nariman, arrives. At one point, she steps between Ahed and the soldiers, but then also tries to push back the soldiers, who do not respond. Ahed Tamimi later said that she was upset because a cousin had been shot in the face by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli troops.

As the video spread, Palestinians celebrated Ahed as a hero. Cartoons, posters and murals portrayed her as a Joan of Arc-like character, confronting the Israeli military with her mane of long, dirty-blond curls flowing in the breeze.

In Israel, the incident set off its own uproar. While the army praised the soldiers for showing restraint, politicians felt the army had been humiliated and called for tough action against the young firebrand. Days later, in an overnight raid, troops entered Tamimi’s house and took her and her mother away. Both were given eight-month prison sentences.

Israel has traditionally been obsessive about defending its image — making the term “hasbara,” which roughly translates as public relations, part of its national lexicon. But as the country has moved toward the right under the decade-long rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, charm has been replaced increasingly with confrontation.

Netanyahu, an admirer of President Donald Trump, rarely speaks to the media anymore and often lashes out at reporters for what he believes is unfair coverage. Under his watch, Israel has tried to weaken liberal advocacy groups critical of his policies, detained Jewish American critics at the airport for questioning and banned people who boycott the Jewish state from entering. It attempted to expel an American woman who will be studying at an Israeli university, accusing her of being a boycott activist. She was held in detention for two weeks until Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the expulsion order.

While widely supported at home, these policies risk backfiring on the international stage.

Weeks after her release from prison, Tamimi began a tour that has taken her to France, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Jordan. At nearly every stop, she has been welcomed by cheering crowds.

“I don’t like living as a celebrity. It’s not an easy life to live. I’m exhausted,” she said in a telephone interview from the Jordanian capital, Amman. “But what I like more is delivering the message of my people. That makes me feel proud.”

She kicked off her tour on Sept. 14 in Paris, where she participated in the Communist Party’s “Humanity” rally. The popular weekend festival attracts rockers, rappers and other entertainers and celebrities. On the festival’s last day, she spoke to thousands of cheering supporters. She traveled to other cities around France at the invitation of the France Palestine Solidarity Association.

In Greece, she was a headliner for the 100th-anniversary celebration of the country’s Communist party, KKE. Addressing a crowd of thousands, she was interrupted by several long ovations and chants of “Freedom for Palestine.”

“Your support means a lot to me. It gives me a big push to return to my homeland and continue my struggle vigorously against the occupation,” she told the crowd. “Free people unite to face capitalism, imperialism and colonization … We are not victims. We are freedom fighters.”

Her family was invited as official guests of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Israeli bombing of what was then the Palestine Liberation Organization’s headquarters. At the ceremony, Essebsi gave her a statue of a silver dove with an olive branch.

Meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are in the works, said her father, Bassem Tamimi, who has been accompanying her.

“On the Champs-Elysees in Paris, we were surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to talk to Ahed and take pictures with her,” her father said. “The same thing happened in every other city we visited.”

In a sign of her mainstream appeal, Tamimi recently wrote a first-person account of her time in prison for Vogue Arabia, a Middle Eastern edition of the popular fashion magazine.

“I want to be a regular 17-year-old. I like clothes, I like makeup. I get up in the morning, check my Instagram, have breakfast and walk in the hills around the village,” she wrote. “But I am not a normal teenager.”

Israeli officials have remained silent throughout her tour — with one exception. Tamimi’s reception at Real Madrid, where she met the legendary striker Emilio Butragueno and received a team jersey with her name on it, was too much to bear.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the team’s embrace of Tamimi “shameful” in a Twitter post. “It would be morally wrong to stay silent while a person inciting to hatred and violence goes on a victory tour as if she is some kind of rock star,” he said.

Israel faces a dilemma — wanting to respond but fearing criticism will attract even more attention.

Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to the United States, learned a bitter lesson when he acknowledged earlier this year leading a secret investigation into whether the Tamimis were “real” Palestinians.

He said their light features, Western clothes and long history of run-ins with Israeli forces suggested that they were actually paid provocateurs out to hurt the country’s image. The investigation concluded that the family was indeed real — prompting mockery and racism accusations from the Tamimis.

Tamimi is reflective of changing Palestinian sentiment. Where an older generation of political leaders sought either armed struggle or a two-state solution with Israel, many younger Palestinians have given up on the long-stalled peace process and instead favor a single state in which Jews and Arabs live equally. Israel objects to a binational state, saying it is merely an attempt to destroy the country through a nonviolent disguise.

“Israel is unhappy because she highlights to the world both how unjust the occupation is and how absurd their legal system is,” said Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority. “Israel instead wants subservient Palestinians who simply stay quiet in the face of the denial of freedom. Ahed shows that won’t happen — including not with this generation.”

Hendel, the former Israeli government spokesman, said he initially supported Israel’s tough response to the slapping incident but now thinks it was an error. He said issuing a fine or punishing her parents for their daughter’s actions might have generated less attention.

He acknowledged there is a broader problem for which Israel does not seem to have a good answer.

“She’s powerful, part of a sophisticated machine that tries to delegitimize Israel by using photos and creating scenarios that portray Israel as Goliath and the other side as David,” he said. “It is much easier to fight terrorism than to fight civilians motivated by terrorist leaders. I think Tamimi in this story is a kind of a front line for a much bigger organization, or even a process.”

Tamimi could continue to frustrate the Israelis for many years to come. She completed her high school studies in prison and now hopes to study international law in Britain. She dreams of one day representing the Palestinians in institutions like the International Criminal Court.

“International law is a strong tool to defend my people,” she said. “We are under occupation and we have to rely on international law to get the world behind us.”

THE PALESTINIAN HEROINE THAT WENT VIRAL

Ahed Tamimi: A symbol of Palestinian resistance

HELL NO, WE WON’T GO!

Reminiscent of the ‘Vietnam War Era’

In letter to PM, IDF chief, 63 teenagers urge all Israeli youth to refuse to serve in the military until occupation ends, due to ‘racist government policy’ in West Bank

In the 1960s and early 1970s the U.S. government sentenced 3,200 draft resisters – those who publicly refused to register or to go when drafted — to prison for up to five years.

 

Dozens of 12th-graders to defy draft over ‘oppression’ of Palestinians

Dozens of 12th-grade students said they are refusing to be drafted into the IDF in protest over what they say is “the army’s implementation of a racist government policy that violates human rights.”

A letter publicized Thursday, signed by 63 high school students from across the country, was sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

It calls on all Israeli high-schoolers to join them in refusing to be drafted until the occupation in the West Bank is ended.

“The army implements a racist government policy that violates basic human rights and carries out one law for Israelis and another law for Palestinians in the same territory,” the letter charges.

“Therefore we have decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian nation, which has divided human beings into two antagonistic camps. This ‘temporary’ situation has gone on for 50 long years now, and we won’t contribute to it.

“We will refuse to serve in the army out of a commitment to the values of peace and with the knowledge that there is another reality we can create together. We say to the rest of the country’s [12th-graders], will your military service really help bring about that reality?”

The signatories say the government is engaged in inciting Israelis against Palestinians and Israel’s Arab citizens.

“An entire nation is living under institutionalized incitement directed against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, and we are here – young men and women from different parts of the country and different social backgrounds – refusing to believe the systematic incitement or participate in the government’s oppressive and occupying arm.”

The letter echoes the famous petition of the “12th graders,” a group of high-schoolers who sent a letter to then prime minister Golda Meir in 1970 expressing their opposition to serving in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel allows military service exemptions for a number of reasons, including mental health and medical problems and religious objections, and for Arab Israelis, but not for conscientious objectors. Refusal to serve is one of the most divisive issues in Israel.

One signatory, Inbal Vardi, a student at a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic high school in Jerusalem, explained in a Thursday interview with Israel Radio that the letter constituted “a refusal to take part in this circle of violence, and somebody needs to take responsibility and say enough. We are not prepared to take up guns anymore.”

Her parents support her decision, she said. “It could end in jail, I hope not, but it could.”

“It’s not a small thing in a democratic state” to sign such a letter, another signatory, Hillel Garmi, told the Ynet news site, “but under any government things could be happening that I would refuse to take part in.”

Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, a retired IDF major general who once headed the army’s manpower directorate, called the letter “sad” but “marginal.”

“I think our youth is committed enough to handle these marginal types. It’s minuscule compared to the hundreds of thousands who enlist, and isn’t more than [the numbers of draft defiers] in the past,” Stern said.

According to Ynet, the signatories plan on taking to the streets to recruit more high schoolers to their cause.

Here is one of the brave souls …..

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE …. EXCEPT FOR PALESTINE

The Tamimi family are known for their activism. “It’s just stealing… a clear theft in the middle of the day” 

The price of protesting …..

Well known Palestinian activist 16 year-old Ahed Tamimi was seized by IDF from her home in the dead of night and taken into custody. Her mother went to find her and was also arrested. Children experience widespread, systemic abuse in the Israeli military detention system.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Ahed Tamimi, kidnapped by Israeli soldiers last night

*

It’s not just the water shortage we protest …

UN BLACKLISTS THE OCCUPATION

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights al-Hussein warns Israeli firms of their inclusion in ‘blacklist’ of companies operating in West Bank, east J’lem, Jordan Valley; list includes prominent companies such as Bezeq, Hot, Ahava, Cellcom, Bank Hapoalim and others; Bezeq CEO scorns ‘entirely anti-Israeli propaganda.’

130 Israeli companies, 60 int’l corporations on UN ‘blacklist’

Itamar Eichner

In the past few weeks, 130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations operating in Israel received warning letters from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein cautioning them of their impending inclusion in a “blacklist” of companies active beyond the Green Line in “violation of international law and UN resolutions.”

Ynet has gained access to part of the list, which is set to be published in late December and cites 25 well-known Israeli companies. The companies operate in different sectors—some in food manufacturing, others in services, pharmaceuticals and even high-tech—but have one thing in common: they all operate in settlements, east Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

Among the companies in the commissioner’s sights are Ahava, Dor Alon, Amisragas, Angel Bakeries, Arison Investments, Ashdar, Clal Industries, Café Café, Cellcom, Danya Cebus, Electra, HP, Hot, the Israel Aerospace Industries, Matrix Systems, Motorola, Nesher, Partner, Paz, Rami Levy, Remax, Housing & Construction (Shikun Binui), Shufersal, Sonol and Trima.

The above companies are joined by the 12 companies already published on Channel 2 News including Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bezeq and Bezeq International, Coca Cola, Africa Israel, Teva, IDB, Egged, Mekorot, Netafim and Elbit Systems.

The “Washington Post” published American companies will also be appearing on the list, including Caterpillar, Tripadvisor and Airbnb.

Some of the companies to be included on the list are still considering their response, but others are already fighting back with the claim their inclusion on the list may cause them financial harm and tarnish their brand, and are therefore looking into filing suits against the Commissioner and the UN’s Human Rights Council that called for the list’s preparation in the first place.

The companies claim the list’s creation was politically motivated and point to the fact that the commissioner constructed no such lists pertaining to other regions of conflict—such as the Crimean Peninsula and Western Sahara—as proof.

Both Israel and the US have been working behind the scenes in the past few weeks to prevent the list’s publication, but it appears it may be presented with a fait accompli. Despite the fact the list carries no operational or legal ramifications, the symbolic move nevertheless caused concern among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials due to the fact it may provide a serious boost to BDS efforts, deter foreign investors and convince foreign companies operating in Israel to reduce their operations.

“It may cause large investment firms or pension funds carrying stocks of various Israeli companies to divest in them because they, in turn, operate in the settlements. It may lead to a snowball effect that will greatly harm the Israeli economy eventually,” said a senior Israeli official.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates the Human Rights Commissioner received most of his information about the Israeli firms from Israeli non-profits operating in the settlements and investigating business activities beyond the Green Line.

AIPAC goes to war

In an effort to scuttle the move, the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby has been working in the US on promoting rapid legislation in Congress determining any company divesting its business dealings from Israel will be considered to have “capitulated” to the Arab boycott, and would thus be in violation of American law.

The Human Rights Council’s efforts to isolate Israel—executed through the office of the commissioner—have largely been facilitated by what Israel frequently slams as the UN body’s years-long anti-Israeli majority which has a long record of a bias slant.

Bezeq CEO Stella Handler published a Facebook post 12 days ago in which she made public the overture she received from the UN’s Human Rights Commissioner. After the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted her, Handler took the post down.

“Here’s something the UN’s Human Rights Council doesn’t want you know: we’ve received a message from Special Assistant to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad Ali Alnsour. Alnsour communicated to us that Bezeq was to be included on a list of Israeli companies operating in the West Bank. He asked us to keep that information confidential and to not publically comment on it,” Handler’s Facebook post said.

“Before we get started, here’s some background about the UN’s Human Rights Council. Since it was founded in 2006, it published 68 decisions denouncing Israel, making up 50 percent of the total resolutions pertaining to specific countries the council has made. Not North Korea, not Syria, not Sudan and not Yemen were afforded such attention,” the post continued.

“We will not be cooperating with a move that’s entirely anti-Israeli propaganda. Despite the council’s attempts to harm Israel by harming Bezeq, we give you our solemn commitment to keep focused on what we do best: providing all of Israel’s citizens with quality service, to provide our employees with a fair workplace and to manufacture profits for our shareholders. That is our role as Israel’s communications infrastructures company,” Handler concluded.

WHAT JEWISH HOLIDAYS MEAN TO PALESTINIANS

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure.

Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah (Flash90)

Israel set to put West Bank, Gaza under 11-day closure for Sukkot

Exceptionally long closure comes after Har Adar attack; defense minister dismisses as ‘nonsense’ TV report he overruled army’s recommendation

In a rare move, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved a plan to shut off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 11 days for the Sukkot holiday and the following Shabbat, his office said Sunday.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that this was the current decision. However, she stressed that the closure was subject to further assessments ahead of the holiday and could change.

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure. However, in the past, Israel has shut down the West Bank and Gaza only at the start and end of week-long festivals like Sukkot, rather than for the entire holiday.

As the holiday ends on the evening of October 11 — a Wednesday — the closure is scheduled to last through the weekend, until midnight on October 14, for a total of 11 days.

Channel 2 news reported that Liberman’s decision went against a recommendation by the army and was due to pressure by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, following the deadly stabbing attack at the Har Adar settlement last week in which a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed three security officers and wounded a fourth.

The defense minister’s office dismissed the unsourced report as “nonsense,” and the army similarly denied the claim.

According to both the minister’s and an army spokesperson, since the Har Adar attack, the IDF’s stance has been in favor of a closure for the entire holiday.

The military said that prior to the Har Adar terror attack, it did advocate closing the West Bank and Gaza for only the first and last days of the holiday, but that assessment changed after the attack.

Liberman’s spokesperson said that the new “recommendation was accepted by the defense minister.”

In general, the Jewish high holiday season, which began last week with Rosh Hashanah, is seen by defense officials as a time period of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.

Ordinarily, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank enter Israel and Israeli settlements for work each day. A far smaller number of Gaza residents also travel to Israel, mostly to receive medical treatment.

The IDF makes exceptions to the closures for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, based on assessments by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

West Bank and Gaza closures for holidays are intended both to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period and to allow the Israeli security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival.

A similar closure was imposed on Friday and Saturday for Yom Kippur and last week, for Rosh Hashanah.

The above brings to mind a poem that I wrote 13 years ago ….

MY FAMILY IS DIVIDED  

By Steve Amsel 

 

A wall has been built,

I cannot see my neighbor

I know not when he needs my help

I know not when he is hungry.

 

My brother’s child cannot come for an afternoon snack

I cannot bring it to him

The wall is in the way

Dividing families and loved ones.

 

“They” told us the wall is for protection.

From what?

Must our children go hungry?

Must we be jobless?

 

“They” say we are the enemy.

Is going to work a crime?

Is going to school a crime?

Try to tell a child that hunger is a good thing.

 

If the wall stays up

There will be an enemy

Uneducation and hunger leads to resentment

Resentment will lead to revolt.

 

Learn from your history my friends

Learn that walls are not the solution

Learn that unity is strength

And learn that justice triumphs over evil always.

 

RACISM HAS BECOME AMERICA’S GREATEST EXPORT

Ben Packer, a US-born rabbi, is helping to push Palestinians out of their homes.

US-born rabbi aids East Jerusalem eviction

Michael F. Brown

Ben Packer, a US-born rabbi, is helping to push Palestinians out of their homes.

Last week, the Shamasneh family was evicted from a house where family members had lived for more than 50 years in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

Packer, who runs a hostel in Jerusalem’s Old City, swiftly welcomed the eviction. Writing on Facebook, he statedthat “our guys were there to help move out the Arabs’ stuff and are now helping to guard the property.”

Packer did not respond to a request asking what he meant by the phrase “our guys” and if staff or residents in his hostel – the Jerusalem Heritage House – had assisted the eviction.

Notorious political activist Arieh King – who sits on the Israeli-run Jerusalem City Council – was instrumental in securing the eviction. King regards Palestinians as “squatters” in Jerusalem and, backed by US donors, has been trying to force their removal. The settlement activities which he undertakes are all illegal under international law.

Applauds ethnic cleansing

Ben Packer is an enthusiastic supporter of King’s work.

Another Facebook posting shows Packer applauding Israeli settlers as he marched with them through the Silwanneighborhood of East Jerusalem in August. Among them is Arieh King.

Both Packer and King were celebrating the placing of a new Torah in a synagogue. The synagogue is located in a building that had been seized two years ago from a Palestinian family. Proponents of the seizure argue that Jews owned the property decades ago. Israeli law, however, prohibits Palestinians who similarly own properties in West Jerusalem and elsewhere from returning to them.

This instance of dispossessing Palestinians was by no means isolated. The day after Packer posted his videos, the Israeli authorities instructed several Palestinian families in the Silwan area to collect demolition orders on their homes.

Packer is an admirer of Donald Trump, another man keen to pursue ethnic cleansing. When Trump was elected US president last year, Packer argued that Israel should “fire up the bulldozers” and build more settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Packer has claimed to be a friend of Stephen Miller, now a senior policy adviser to Trump and an instigator of the attempt to stop people from six largely Muslim countries from entering the US. A decade ago, Packer took Miller on a guided tour of Jerusalem and Hebron.

The two men – Packer and Miller – appear to have similar political views.

Miller has a history of coded racism. Many comments he has made since taking up his current job can be considered as sympathetic to white supremacists.

Soft spot for KKK?

Packer’s response to last month’s violence in his home state of Virginia suggests he may have a soft spot for the Ku Klux Klan.

His first posting on Facebook after the clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists in Charlottesvillewas to claim that “both sides there hate Jews.” That remark was made one day after Heather Heyer was killedwhen a car was driven into a protest against the far-right demonstration.

There is no evidence that Heyer hated Jews. On the contrary, there are numerous character references indicating she was a strong proponent of equal rights for all.

In subsequent postings, Packer gave succor to white supremacists in an apparent reference to neo-Nazis and the KKK.

“These people have no real record of terrorism or anything else,” he argued.

That profoundly ignorant remark was made during a Facebook discussion prompted by Packer’s sharing an article with a headline about how one Orthodox Jew in Israel was “standing with the KKK on Charlottesville.”

Falsehood

In a further falsehood about white supremacist protesters, Packer claimed, “There was no indication of violence by the protesters, only by the counter-protesters and that does not justify preventing their ‘rally.’”

He defended his views by noting, “I’m from the South, I think I know a thing or two.”

His high school civics classes in Virginia must have been woefully inadequate or non-existent.

Any adult who has lived in the South in the last 60 years is aware of the history of racial terror spread by the Klan.

Packer’s comments bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Yair Netanyahu. A son of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Yair alleged that the anti-fascists in Charlottesville are worse than the neo-Nazis.

The prime minister’s son thinks campaigners against fascism and activists in the Black Lives Matter are getting stronger while the neo-Nazis are “dying out.” Unrebuked by his father, Yair was unable to distinguish between groups supporting equal rights and those who prefer states led by racist supremacists.

Yair has subsequently circulated a cartoon that recycles anti-Semitic tropes. The cartoon suggested that George Soros, a Jewish billionaire, was a puppet-master of Ehud Barak, a long-time rival to Benjamin Netanyahu – and, in effect, controls the world.

The few public figures who defended Yair over the cartoon included the former KKK leader David Duke and Ben Packer. Benjamin Netanyahu, ever-quick to assign anti-Semitic motivations to leftists for speaking on behalf of Palestinian rights, has remained silent on the matter.

It is disturbing that a rabbi would endorse an attempt to score political points by approving an age-old conspiracy theory about Jewish domination.

It is equally disturbing that Packer would indulge the extremists in Charlottesville who chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

Yet the depravity of the relationship between alt-right American racists and alt-right Israeli racists is becoming clearer in the Trump/Netanyahu era with supremacists such as Richard Spencer – a Duke University friend of Miller’s – referring to his pursuit of a “sort of white Zionism.”

In a recent article for the Israeli settler publication Arutz Sheva, Packer wrote about wishing to “send a message.” Opposition to settlement activities in East Jerusalem, he argued, should be “punished” by the building of more settlements.

What that means in practice is that Packer wants to uproot Palestinians and deny their basic rights. Is it any wonder that someone with such an extremist attitude would indulge the KKK?

Having urged supporters to help “work in the Yemenite Village (right outside the Old City),” Packer was recently asked by a Facebook correspondent: “How about you hit up the KKK? You seem to be buddies with them.”

In an unguarded moment, Packer responded: “They’d probably be more helpful than all the liberal losers out there. Let’s be honest.”

Of course, the saddest aspect of Packer’s comment is that both racists on the far right and many “liberals” – particularly in the US Congress – are doing their utmost to dispossess Palestinians.

Packer calls criticism directed at him “fake news” but he has yet to separate himself explicitly from both the racism and the anti-Semitism of the KKK. Like Trump, Packer often appears to be winking at the racist right in the US.

He claims, “Nobody that knows me at all would ever think I support Nazis or any other Jew haters.” That’s his strongest statement to date but it fails to address directly his position on the KKK and it underestimates the disturbing nature of his other posts downplaying the dangers of white supremacists.

Additional research by David Cronin

Israeli settler leader Arieh King observes protests against an eviction he pushed for in occupied East Jerusalem; Ben Packer supported that eviction. (Oren Ziv /ActiveStills)

FRIDAY’S TOON ~~ THE OCCUPATION IS FOREVER!

Or Not!!!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu promises West Bank will be occupied Israel “forever”

ARMED TO KILL WITH ‘NON-LETHAL’ WEAPONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sponge rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, the rounds are considered non-lethal.

Rubber-coated steel bullets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.22 Caliber Bullets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tear gas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tear gas canisters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More photos at the SOURCE

IN VIDEOS ~~ DENIAL AND REALITY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

First the denial …..

Now the reality …..

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue at this Israeli military checkpoint before dawn each day.

Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills.org

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