TWO MUST WATCH VIDEOS ABOUT THE PALESTINIAN CATASTROPHE

The year 1948 saw the establishment of the state of Israel, the culmination of generations of Jewish persecution across Europe and Russia. But that same year proved catastrophic for the Palestinians — 700,000 to 900,000 men, women and children were forced to leave their homes and never allowed to return. 1948 was the most pivotal year in the most controversial conflict in the world, but it is almost never mentioned on American television, radio, or newspaper stories. This documentary aims to change that.

1948: Creation & Catastrophe

This is just a trailer for the film …. you MUST seek it out and watch in full

 

AL NAKBA: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948

 Arguably the first film that seriously tackles the historical events that lead to the creation of 750.000 Palestinian refugees at the end of the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Based on historian Benny Morris’ book “The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-49”.

VIDEO OF THE DAY ~~ ‘GOOD RIDDANCE ISRAEL!’

The U.S. and Israel are pulling out of UNESCO over what they call an ‘anti-Israel bias,’ but the move may actually underscore their bias towards basic Palestinian rights. Meanwhile, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a new unity deal.

Why UN should say “good riddance” to Israel

Related post (Click on link)

Trump puts Israel first with UNESCO withdrawal

WOMEN OFFER HOPE FOR PEACE IN THE DESERT

The march by Israeli and Palestinian women, demanding that both peoples’ leaders do more for peace, was set to culminate with a protest outside Netanyahu’s residence.

Women from the ‘Women Wage Peace’ movement and Palestinians take part in a march near the Jordan River, in the West Bank on Oct 8, 2017. The peace journey was created in order to pressure decision makers to work towards reaching a viable peace agreement. Photo by Flash90

Thousands of Israeli, Palestinian women ‘wage peace’ in the desert

Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women marched through the West Bank along the Dead Sea on Sunday, part of more than two weeks of a “Journey to Peace” by an organization called Women Wage Peace.

The march, which was held under the banner, “We’re not stopping without an agreement,” was meant to culminate with a protest outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem later Sunday evening.

Smaller events have been taking place throughout Israel and Palestine for the past two weeks.

Last year a similar march was held in the same area near Jericho. In 2015, Women Wage Peace fasted (in shifts) outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence for 50 days, to mark one year since the 2014 Gaza war.

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More photos at SOURCE

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Reuters also reports …..

(Click on link)

Women march through desert for Israeli-Palestinian peace

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Culminating in this

(Click on link)

Giant women’s peace rally calls for ending conflict

30,000 people attend Women Wage Peace rally in J’lem; sidestepping specifics, they call for end to hostilities through any mutual political accord; bereaved father and former MK Shnaan: ‘Stop terrorism and stop occupation. Let’s live for memory of our fallen and children that still remain.’

AMERICAN LEGISLATION IS PROPELLED BY UNFOUNDED ANTI PALESTINIAN PROPAGANDA

The Taylor Force Act is based on smoke and mirrors. I would not lose any sleep if Congress totally stopped funding the Palestinian Authority. It would not make daily life easier under occupation, but maybe it would wake up enough American leaders to see the absurdity of their being dragged around like a flock of sheep by their Israeli herder.

Israeli police officers and Palestinians scuffle during clashes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood in this Sept. 8 file photo after Israeli officials evicted a Palestinian family from their home to make way for Jewish tenants, according to the Associated Press.(Mahmoud Illean, Associated Press)

The sadly misnamed Taylor Force Act is being propelled by unfounded anti-Palestinian propaganda

By Sam Bahour

On March 9, 2016, a 29-year-old American graduate student, Taylor Force, was tragically murdered in the Israeli city of Jaffa. Mr. Force was killed by a 22-year-old Palestinian named Bashar Masalha. There is no way for anyone to know what this crime’s motivation was because Israeli security personnel shot dead the perpetrator on the scene.

In any other place on earth, the victim would be mourned, the perpetrator condemned, prayers would be sent to both families, and life would go on. But not in Israel, where in minutes Israeli leaders blamed the Palestinian leadership for the incident, which took place under total Israeli security, legal and national jurisdiction.

More than a year and a half later, new U.S. legislation is in Congress. The legislation aims to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying annual stipends to the families of those either killed by Israeli security forces or imprisoned in Israel.

With so much happening stateside, one would think that the U.S. Congress had its hands full this fall, and could, just for a moment, leave the Palestinians alone. We could only be so lucky. Rather, Congress is at it again, attempting to punish the people who have been struggling under Israeli military occupation for 50 years and counting.

The new piece of legislation, sadly named The Taylor Force Act, advanced through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this summer. Additionally, it has just been included in the U.S. foreign operations budget measure slated for a vote in December. Embedding the measure into a broader legislative package is aimed at giving it a second path to passage.

By naming the bill The Taylor Force Act, the presumption is that Congress has bought–hook, line and sinker–the Israeli propaganda that the Palestinian Authority was somehow responsible for the death of Mr. Force, albeit the substance of the bill is about something totally different. Such a presumption is not only utterly false, but after being made so many times by Congress, it smells like the witch hunt against Palestinians that it is.

U.S. legislators will not hear both sides of this story. No mention will be made in the argument on the Hill about this murder taking place inside Israel, where Israel is 100 percent responsible for security. The Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction, whatsoever, in Jaffa. Additionally, no hint will be made of Israel’s 50-year military occupation of neighboring Palestinians.

Although the specific Act addresses a single Palestinian Authority financial line item whose amount is unclear in general, the magnitude of U.S. tax dollars being dumped into the conflicting parties is many times ignored.

Israel has been receiving U.S. financial assistance since its founding in 1948.

“Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report. The total military and financial aid to Israel exceeds $3 billion annually, the largest recipient in the planned $25.4 billion U.S. foreign assistance budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority came into existence in 1994. It, too, has received U.S. financial assistance since its inception, today receiving less than $400 million annually, excluding U.S. funds going to support the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is not part of the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction.

Inside the Washington, D.C., beltway, Palestinians can’t win no matter what they do. They simply don’t have the funds, political clout, organizing ability, leadership and lobbying savvy to make a dent in the U.S. Congress.

As an American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I wish to ask the Palestinian leadership a simple question. Do you really need the U.S. funds? Of course, having more funds is always desirable, but in this case the funds are so small in the bigger picture, wouldn’t it make more sense to kindly ask the U.S. Congress to keep its money, all of it?

Given the blind battering of the Palestinian Authority by both sides of the congressional aisle, and given the fact that U.S. funds to Palestinians come with so many strings attached, wouldn’t it make sound political and public relations sense to relieve yourselves from all the negative publicity every few years?

The Taylor Force Act is based on smoke and mirrors. I would not lose any sleep if Congress totally stopped funding the Palestinian Authority. It would not make daily life easier under occupation, but maybe it would wake up enough American leaders to see the absurdity of their being dragged around like a flock of sheep by their Israeli herder.

Sadly, this legislation is carrying Mr. Taylor Force’s name. Instead of him resting in peace, there are those who are taking joy in being able to drag his memory through this political debate. I don’t.

Originally written FOR

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.

 

TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE PALESTINIAN WAY

A poem about Truth and other thoughts from Palestine

TRUTHS

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Truths became fragile outcasts
drowned refugees denied even their pasts
or those refugees silenced
by Zionist media murdered
Orphaned and denied futures
Tortured and robbed of cultures
kept behind ghetto walls
taboo subjects in conference halls
truths sinking?
rapidly shrinking?
becoming nameless?
faceless
powerless
mentionless
lies multiply?
occupy
people’s minds
flash that blinds
polarising
colonizing
calcified hearts
broken in parts
Standing with the persecuted truths
we are hunted by mean untruths
But it is our solemn option
to offer orphan truths’ adoption

Though numerous… all lies end
Truths return and never bend
truths humble and meek but remain here
loud for those who want or wish to hear
you can see them, hear them, taste them
feel them and know them
In helping a hungry child smile
in walking the extra mile
in a shared simple meal
in every emotion we feel
in a sparkle in a student’s eye
in the pain that we cry
in a lover’s embrace
in a friend’s grace
in generous giving
in gracious receiving
in never tiring
of true loving

*

I wish that the US and the Western governments take care of their people in
need.  Instead of legislating to help Puerto Rico, the Israeli occupied US
Congress is trying to be an even more obedient "house slave" for the
Zionist masters by imposing more penalties on Hizballah (Lebanon) and Iran
and pushing for yet another devastating war (just like they did in Somalia,
Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Libya). Bernard Levy, the Jewish Zionist instigator
of the mayhem in Libya was in Northern Iraq building Zionist relationships
with the Kurdish region and instigating for dividing Iraq like the Zionists
did in Sudan. Other Zionists pour illegally acquired money in illegal
Jewish settlements and the largest terrorist organization in the world -
the Israeli army. Dividing the world and creating hatred and wars has been
a key pillar of global Zionist machinery for decades*. It is the old
colonial strategy of divide and conquer. As always many reject divisions
while some fall into this trap. Time to look in the mirror and time to turn
the tables. Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria are waking up. China and
Russia are finally showing some backbone. Even new understandings and
alliances are being forged against the wishes of the puppet masters. For
the sake of humanity, it is time to end the hate, the divisions and
conflicts.  The key to peace will be from here in Palestine. Once the
notion of a sectarian ("Jewish") state is abandoned, we transform to a
state of all its people, secular and democratic. It would have the ripple
effect of peace throughout the Arab world. Radical Islamists trying to
imitate Israel by having an Islamic state will no longer have a footing or
an excuse.

US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounces racistposter campaign 
trying to silence truth tellers [In my opinion they should
sue these racist Zionists for defamation]


The Palestine exception to free speech


EDWARD SAID writing in 1993 with amazing foresight telling the truth that
should be read by all who had the Oslo delusion (“two state” road) then and
those who still have it now


*Ex-CIA official: America's Jews Are Driving U.S. Wars

A CONTINUING LOVE FEST IN ISRAEL

Won’t you be my neighbour?

I have written about the neighbourhood I live in many times … It is truly an oasis of peace, literally surrounded by hatred and walls. Hopefully, one day it will become the norm in Israel …

NEVER SAY NEVER!

The following appeared in The Times of Israel yesterday …. it’s really a must read and very inspirational.

French Hill is a community of like-minded dwellers — a collection of people who want to live together in cookie-cutter Israeli apartment buildings surrounding a simple shopping center that includes a supermarket, bank, pizza parlor, hummus joint and café.

A view over French Hill, a Jerusalem neighborhood that’s attracted a mix of residents (Courtesy Lagur)

From Arab to Orthodox, Chinese to Korean, it’s love thy neighbor in French Hill

The northern Jerusalem neighborhood is home to a spectacularly diverse community, living in even more remarkable harmony

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When Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat made a deal recently with ultra-Orthodox politicians to funnel Haredi growth to certain parts of the city, French Hill was not mentioned.

The decision to keep ultra-Orthodox institutions out of French Hill, a staunchly secular area just a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most religious enclaves, was no accident.

Situated next to Mount Scopus at the northern end of the city, the neighborhood has long been a secular Jewish stronghold, as well as home to a thriving Masorti Conservative synagogue, a Modern Orthodox contingent, a Christian Korean community, and, in recent years, Arab Israeli and Druze families who relocated from Israel’s north to Jerusalem for professional reasons. There is a small ultra-Orthodox community too — “ultra-Orthodox who work,” said one of its members — but no major ultra-Orthodox institutions, schools or synagogues.

Walking distance to Hebrew University’s hilltop campus and one of the city’s two Hadassah hospitals, the area has been a prime residential choice for decades for native and transplanted Jerusalemites alike.

Still, the mix of residents in this quiet, unassuming neighborhood is nothing short of remarkable, given the tense, often explosive interactions between people of all sorts in the tinderbox that is Jerusalem.

French Hill isn’t removed from the intensity evident elsewhere in the city. The neighborhood, built in 1967 following the Six Day War, is flanked by several Arab villages and abuts a major traffic intersection that connects northern Jerusalem with roads to Maale Adumim in the West Bank and the Dead Sea, as well as the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat.

The intersection has been the site of 11 terror attacks in the last 15 years.

The ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Ramat Shlomo, Ma’alot Dafna and Ramat Eshkol are also just across that intersection.

And yet, say residents, French Hill is a community of like-minded dwellers — a collection of people who want to live together in cookie-cutter Israeli apartment buildings surrounding a simple shopping center that includes a supermarket, bank, pizza parlor, hummus joint and café.

“It’s a kibbutz around here,” said Merav Elbaz, who grew up in French Hill and now serves on the local community council. “It’s a neighborhood in every sense of the word.”

The Conservative congregation is strong, and so is the Arab community, said Rabbi Haya Baker, who has headed French Hill’s 25-year-old Ramot Zion Conservative synagogue for the last decade.

“It’s mixed in ways that I can’t even describe,” said Baker, whose synagogue welcomes nonreligious families to take part in the life of the congregation.

It’s that amalgam of people from different backgrounds that drew Suzanne Shihadih and her husband, originally from the northern Arab town of Sakhnin, when they were looking for a Jerusalem neighborhood in which to raise their young family.

“There were others who came before us, and that made it easier,” she said. “We always thought we’d go back to Sakhnin, but it’s more comfortable for us here.”

Shihadih is a teacher, her husband is an attorney, and they felt instantly comfortable in French Hill, surrounded by young families, both Arab and Jewish, who were a lot like them.

“We’re not Jewish and we’re not East Jerusalemites,” said Shihadih. “We feel like we belong here.”

It’s uncommon for Arabic speakers to live in a primarily Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood, commented Adam Shay, a Jewish resident of the neighborhood who is also a transplant from the country’s center. But it works in French Hill.

“They’re a very upwardly mobile crowd,” said Shay, referring to his Arab friends. “They’re lawyers and accountants, academics. Some are Druze, some are Christian or Muslim, and I’m not always sure who’s what. They want to live in a bilingual society, and they’re not East Jerusalemites, either,” referring to Arab residents from East Jerusalem, whose complicated residency status in the state of Israel sets them apart from their fellow Palestinians and from Arab citizens of Israel.

Better together

The various French Hill populations lived peacefully but separately alongside one another for years, until November 2014, when a fire was set in one of the classrooms of Hand in Hand, the bilingual Arabic-Hebrew school in Pat, a neighborhood on the other side of Jerusalem.

That night, a group of French Hill neighbors sat together at a local café feeling utterly depressed at the latest turn of events.

“We were all horrified,” said Shay. “Burning a school has nothing to do with politics, and that was something we all agreed upon at the table, even though we are a mix of people from different backgrounds and beliefs.”

They began discussing various kinds of efforts that could refute what had just taken place. Arabic classes for the kids were one idea, given that the local Arab population of children attended the local Jewish public school, but had little access to any kind of Arab curriculum.

In the end the group decided to organize an event that December at the local community center, combining Chanukah and Christmas with a menorah and tree, with one of the dads dressed as Santa Claus.

The activity was all about the kids, with zero religious debate or discussion, said Shay. “We have shared interests, we want a good education and for our kids to be happy.”

In the midst of the festivities, however, four men from Im Tirtzu, the right-wing Zionist organization, burst in, filming the event and announcing that everyone in the room supported terror.

Shay, thinking quickly, told the kids, “Hey kids, we love to live in the light,” referring to the words of the classic Chanukah song, “We Came to Drive Away the Darkness,” which all the kids joined in singing, drowning out the Im Tirtzu “yobs,” he said.

“It was beautiful and it was at that exact moment that we decided we exist, there’s a reason why we exist, and at the very least, let’s educate our kids to enjoy each other’s presence,” he said.

Following the incident, the committed residents started to call themselves Maan Yahad, a Hebrew and Arabic name meaning “better together.” Nearly three years later, the group is going strong, with close to 200 people, fairly evenly divided between Jews and Arabs. Their events don’t revolve around religious holidays, and if held on Saturdays, they try to exclude any use of music, money or electricity so that the religiously observant Jewish members can still take part.

It’s a mix that works, said Shay. No one needs to be registered in order to participate and anyone can join.

“Our motivation is our kids, and now we’re friends, we’re all there together,” said Shay. “We had 100 people at iftar, the post-Ramadan fast dinner in July, so we said, yalla, let’s get 200 next time.”

This school year, Maan Yahad received a budget from a small foundation, which they’re hoping will allow them to arrange an Arabic course for Hebrew speakers during the daily afterschool program, as well as enrichment classes for the native Arabic speakers, given that language barriers often create the greatest lack of understanding.

“Education is important to us, you need a framework for the kids,” said Shihadih, who sent her elder son to the private American School until third grade, when they switched him to one of the local French Hill public schools. “Without playmates and friends, you can’t do it.”

It feels different now, said Shihadih and Shay, referring to their children’s classes in the same school.

“In my elder daughter’s class, there’s a girl who’s Chinese, one who is French with two mommies, two Arab kids, a Druze kid and a few from Anatot, a Jewish community in the West Bank. Yes, the majority are Israeli Jews, but it’s diverse and it’s beautiful and the first thing you learn as a parent is that kids just don’t care,” he said.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

There has been an influx of some ultra-Orthodox Israelis to the mostly secular neighborhood. And that supposed growth led to a Kan television report in June about how that influx was ostensibly changing the neighborhood.

But the report, said locals, skewed the realities of the neighborhood, purporting to show that the ultra-Orthodox were taking over, jacking up real estate prices, and pushing for better, bigger preschools for their children.

The figures weren’t correct, said Rabbi Baker.

“I don’t know where they were from,” she said. “There isn’t the same amount of ultra-Orthodox kids and non-ultra-Orthodox kids. It’s not even close. There are three times the number of regular preschools in the area.”

According to Nelly Ephrati Artom, a real estate agent with ReMax Vision, there are young Haredi couples buying smaller apartments at the entrance of the neighborhood, given its walking distance to Ramat Eshkol and Givat Hamivtar, two nearby, heavily ultra-Orthodox areas.

“French Hill is a lot cheaper than Ramat Eshkol,” said Artom. “If you get an apartment for NIS 3 million ($852,000) in French Hill, the same size apartment would cost more in Ramat Eshkol.”

French Hill has always been less expensive than Ramat Eshkol, said Artom, given that the latter neighborhood has less available real estate, and fewer buildings overall.

But prices have been rising in French Hill, particularly since the arrival of the light rail that allowed young couples to live there without having to rely on private transportation.

There are also several small, ultra-Orthodox synagogues in the area, held in private homes, said Ephrati, as well as small daycare programs for ultra-Orthodox children, that are also run out of peoples’ private homes.

It isn’t surprising that French Hill caught on with a different crowd, said Artom.

“The population of French Hill has always been highly intellectual, not rich, a lot of professors and Hadassah staff,” she said. “It’s very clean, it’s old-fashioned, and it’s special, it’s like a kibbutz socially, a place where people say “Hi” in the streets.”

It was those characteristics, along with the staunchly secular character, that drew Shulamit Ansbacher and her husband to the area, making them one of the new, young ultra-Orthodox families. Ansbacher is a lawyer who wears a wig for religious reasons, and calls herself a more modern Haredi woman. Her husband is originally from the beach town of Netanya, and it was important to him that they live in a mixed community.

“It was important to us that we teach that to our kids,” she said. “Not everything has to be the way you live. In order to live in the world, you have to learn how to deal with others.”

The Hill, as the locals call it, is an unusual place, said Ansbacher.

“It’s interesting here,” she said. “It even has a reform synagogue,” referring to the Masorti congregation Ramot Zion, and using the incorrect but typical Hebrew slang term for any non-Orthodox synagogue. “But while there’s this discussion about the ultra-Orthodox taking over the neighborhood, that’s not what we talk about around here.”

Her family has changed the balance in their building, as a family with young children, and it’s been a positive shift for the neighbors, said Ansbacher. Yet she doesn’t want French Hill to become Ramat Eshkol, the nearby neighborhood that did become completely ultra-Orthodox.

“I think Haredim won’t come here if we’re this kind of ultra-Orthodox here,” said Ansbacher. “We’re ultra-Orthodox who work, like everyone else. We don’t threaten anyone. I don’t feel antagonism from anyone here,” she said.

She would love to have an ultra-Orthodox school in the neighborhood. Her daughters go to school in Rehavia, a 20-30 minute drive in morning traffic and her sons are in Neve Yaakov, another Jewish settlement just north of the city.

“A Haredi school would be great, but it would freak people out,” she noted. “There are nuances among Haredi schools that the secular don’t know about, they think it’s just one type of Haredi, so it’s threatening. But I think I’d also feel threatened.”

The religious people who live in French Hill don’t want to live in a shtetl, said Shay, referring to the small villages where Jews lived in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

“When I barbecue on Shabbat, I let my religious neighbor know that I’m going to be turning on the grill,” he said. “It probably bothers him, but he wouldn’t say anything because that’s French Hill.”

If French Hill residents were to get scared by a relatively small influx of ultra-Orthodox residents, and started to believe the secular dwellers will leave, then that would create a reason to leave, added Elbaz.

“Everyone who’s here wants to be part of what’s happening here,” she said. “The haredization of the city worries us all, but my kids get a lot by living here. There’s an openness here that doesn’t exist in other places.”

*

More photos and video (in Hebrew) at the source

 

REMEMBERING THE MASSACRE AT SABRA AND SHATILLA

The massacre at the Sabra and Shatilla camps is remembered as a notorious chapter in modern Middle Eastern history, clouding the tortured relationships among Israel, the United States, Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Image by Latuff

Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982 was carried out under the watchful eye of Ariel Sharon. #ButcherOfSabraAndShatila

A Preventable Massacre
By SETH ANZISKA
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ON the night of Sept. 16, 1982, the Israeli military allowed a right-wing Lebanese militia to enter two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut. In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.
 *
Thirty years later, the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila camps is remembered as a notorious chapter in modern Middle Eastern history, clouding the tortured relationships among Israel, the United States, Lebanon and the Palestinians. In 1983, an Israeli investigative commission concluded that Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings and that Ariel Sharon, then the defense minister and later prime minister, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.
 *
While Israel’s role in the massacre has been closely examined, America’s actions have never been fully understood. This summer, at the Israel State Archives, I found recently declassified documents that chronicle key conversations between American and Israeli officials before and during the 1982 massacre. The verbatim transcripts reveal that the Israelis misled American diplomats about events in Beirut and bullied them into accepting the spurious claim that thousands of “terrorists” were in the camps. Most troubling, when the United States was in a position to exert strong diplomatic pressure on Israel that could have ended the atrocities, it failed to do so. As a result, Phalange militiamen were able to murder Palestinian civilians, whom America had pledged to protect just weeks earlier.
 *
Israel’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war began in June 1982, when it invaded its northern neighbor. Its goal was to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had set up a state within a state, and to transform Lebanon into a Christian-ruled ally. The Israel Defense Forces soon besieged P.L.O.-controlled areas in the western part of Beirut. Intense Israeli bombardments led to heavy civilian casualties and tested even President Ronald Reagan, who initially backed Israel. In mid-August, as America was negotiating the P.L.O.’s withdrawal from Lebanon, Reagan told Prime Minister Menachem Begin that the bombings “had to stop or our entire future relationship was endangered,” Reagan wrote in his diaries.
 *
The United States agreed to deploy Marines to Lebanon as part of a multinational force to supervise the P.L.O.’s departure, and by Sept. 1, thousands of its fighters — including Yasir Arafat — had left Beirut for various Arab countries. After America negotiated a cease-fire that included written guarantees to protect the Palestinian civilians remaining in the camps from vengeful Lebanese Christians, the Marines departed Beirut, on Sept. 10.
 *
Israel hoped that Lebanon’s newly elected president, Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite, would support an Israeli-Christian alliance. But on Sept. 14, Gemayel was assassinated. Israel reacted by violating the cease-fire agreement. It quickly occupied West Beirut — ostensibly to prevent militia attacks against the Palestinian civilians. “The main order of the day is to keep the peace,” Begin told the American envoy to the Middle East, Morris Draper, on Sept. 15. “Otherwise, there could be pogroms.”
 *
By Sept. 16, the I.D.F. was fully in control of West Beirut, including Sabra and Shatila. In Washington that same day, Under Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger told the Israeli ambassador, Moshe Arens, that “Israel’s credibility has been severely damaged” and that “we appear to some to be the victim of deliberate deception by Israel.” He demanded that Israel withdraw from West Beirut immediately.
 *
In Tel Aviv, Mr. Draper and the American ambassador, Samuel W. Lewis, met with top Israeli officials. Contrary to Prime Minister Begin’s earlier assurances, Defense Minister Sharon said the occupation of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.” Mr. Draper disputed this claim; having coordinated the August evacuation, he knew the number was minuscule. Mr. Draper said he was horrified to hear that Mr. Sharon was considering allowing the Phalange militia into West Beirut. Even the I.D.F. chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, acknowledged to the Americans that he feared “a relentless slaughter.”
 *
On the evening of Sept. 16, the Israeli cabinet met and was informed that Phalange fighters were entering the Palestinian camps. Deputy Prime Minister David Levy worried aloud: “I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order there, and we will bear the blame.” That evening, word of civilian deaths began to filter out to Israeli military officials, politicians and journalists.
 *
At 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 17, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir hosted a meeting with Mr. Draper, Mr. Sharon and several Israeli intelligence chiefs. Mr. Shamir, having reportedly heard of a “slaughter” in the camps that morning, did not mention it.
 *
The transcript of the Sept. 17 meeting reveals that the Americans were browbeaten by Mr. Sharon’s false insistence that “terrorists” needed “mopping up.” It also shows how Israel’s refusal to relinquish areas under its control, and its delays in coordinating with the Lebanese National Army, which the Americans wanted to step in, prolonged the slaughter.
 *
Mr. Draper opened the meeting by demanding that the I.D.F. pull back right away. Mr. Sharon exploded, “I just don’t understand, what are you looking for? Do you want the terrorists to stay? Are you afraid that somebody will think that you were in collusion with us? Deny it. We denied it.” Mr. Draper, unmoved, kept pushing for definitive signs of a withdrawal. Mr. Sharon, who knew Phalange forces had already entered the camps, cynically told him, “Nothing will happen. Maybe some more terrorists will be killed. That will be to the benefit of all of us.” Mr. Shamir and Mr. Sharon finally agreed to gradually withdraw once the Lebanese Army started entering the city — but they insisted on waiting 48 hours (until the end of Rosh Hashana, which started that evening).
Continuing his plea for some sign of an Israeli withdrawal, Mr. Draper warned that critics would say, “Sure, the I.D.F. is going to stay in West Beirut and they will let the Lebanese go and kill the Palestinians in the camps.”
 *
Mr. Sharon replied: “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism.”
 *
Mr. Draper responded: “We are not interested in saving any of these people.” Mr. Sharon declared: “If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”
 *
Mr. Draper then caught himself, and backtracked. He reminded the Israelis that the United States had painstakingly facilitated the P.L.O. exit from Beirut “so it wouldn’t be necessary for you to come in.” He added, “You should have stayed out.”
 *
Mr. Sharon exploded again: “When it comes to our security, we have never asked. We will never ask. When it comes to existence and security, it is our own responsibility and we will never give it to anybody to decide for us.” The meeting ended with an agreement to coordinate withdrawal plans after Rosh Hashana.
 *
By allowing the argument to proceed on Mr. Sharon’s terms, Mr. Draper effectively gave Israel cover to let the Phalange fighters remain in the camps. Fuller details of the massacre began to emerge on Sept. 18, when a young American diplomat, Ryan C. Crocker, visited the gruesome scene and reported back to Washington.
 *
Years later, Mr. Draper called the massacre “obscene.” And in an oral history recorded a few years before his death in 2005, he remembered telling Mr. Sharon: “You should be ashamed. The situation is absolutely appalling. They’re killing children! You have the field completely under your control and are therefore responsible for that area.”
 *
On Sept. 18, Reagan pronounced his “outrage and revulsion over the murders.” He said the United States had opposed Israel’s invasion of Beirut, both because “we believed it wrong in principle and for fear that it would provoke further fighting.” Secretary of State George P. Shultz later admitted that “we are partially responsible” because “we took the Israelis and the Lebanese at their word.” He summoned Ambassador Arens. “When you take military control over a city, you’re responsible for what happens,” he told him. “Now we have a massacre.”
 *
But the belated expression of shock and dismay belies the Americans’ failed diplomatic effort during the massacre. The transcript of Mr. Draper’s meeting with the Israelis demonstrates how the United States was unwittingly complicit in the tragedy of Sabra and Shatila.
 *
Ambassador Lewis, now retired, told me that the massacre would have been hard to prevent “unless Reagan had picked up the phone and called Begin and read him the riot act even more clearly than he already did in August — that might have stopped it temporarily.” But “Sharon would have found some other way” for the militiamen to take action, Mr. Lewis added.
 *
Nicholas A. Veliotes, then the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, agreed. “Vintage Sharon,” he said, after I read the transcript to him. “It is his way or the highway.”
 *
The Sabra and Shatila massacre severely undercut America’s influence in the Middle East, and its moral authority plummeted. In the aftermath of the massacre, the United States felt compelled by “guilt” to redeploy the Marines, who ended up without a clear mission, in the midst of a brutal civil war.
 *
On Oct. 23, 1983, the Marine barracks in Beirut were bombed and 241 Marines were killed. The attack led to open warfare with Syrian-backed forces and, soon after, the rapid withdrawal of the Marines to their ships. As Mr. Lewis told me, America left Lebanon “with our tail between our legs.”
 *
The archival record reveals the magnitude of a deception that undermined American efforts to avoid bloodshed. Working with only partial knowledge of the reality on the ground, the United States feebly yielded to false arguments and stalling tactics that allowed a massacre in progress to proceed.
 *
The lesson of the Sabra and Shatila tragedy is clear. Sometimes close allies act contrary to American interests and values. Failing to exert American power to uphold those interests and values can have disastrous consequences: for our allies, for our moral standing and most important, for the innocent people who pay the highest price of all.
 *
Seth Anziska is a doctoral candidate in international history at Columbia University.
 *
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/Sabra-and-Shatila
*

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)

ICE CREAM AS A ROAD TO PEACE

Five years after teaming up to produce ice cream, Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Alaa Sweitat of Galilee village of Tarshiha are now proud owners of successful chain with five stores in northern Israel and Tel Aviv, becoming first Israeli business to win prestigious UN prize.

Adam Ziv (R) and Alaa Sweitat. ‘Reality is reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores’ (Photo: Yuval Chen)

Jewish-Arab ice cream business a sweet symbol of coexistence

Shirley Golan

It happened many years ago, but Adam Ziv will never forget how impressed he was by one scoop of caramel ice cream. He was a little boy from a kibbutz who had come to an amusement park as part of his summer camp, and at the end of the visit the children were taken to a hidden ice cream parlor near the park.

“I didn’t even know what caramel was,” he says. “There was no such thing in Kibbutz Sasa, but the name sounded enchanting, and every child was allowed to pick one flavor. So I tried it out, and I fell in love.”

This scoop of ice cream he tasted more than 20 years ago became the first step in a long journey, which recently reached an important milestone: a prize on behalf of the United Nations for helping promote peace. Ziv’s faith in the power of ice cream to bring people closer together apparently convinced the international organization too. It’s what happens when your ice cream is part of a vision of co-existence—a joint Jewish-Arab business.

The prestigious Flourish Prizes were handed out in Cleveland to 17 businesses from all over the world. Ziv, 31, accepted the award together with his business partner over the past five years, 34-year-old Alaa Sweitat, who was born in the Galilee village of Tarshiha and is the owner and chef of the Aluma restaurant.

Sweitat confirms he didn’t hesitate, although ice cream is not part of the Arab street he grew up on. “It doesn’t exist here. There are no ice cream parlors in the villages, and both personally and professionally, I was raised on gourmet food, on a meticulous kitchen,” he says. “But an enthusiastic person arrive, and I decided I felt like doing something new.”

Officially, Sweitat’s partner in the ice cream business is Kibbutz Sasa, which approved Ziv’s financial plan in a vote, and he finds it completely natural too. “At Aluma, I also began as a worker and was promoted to partner with the restaurant’s Jewish owner until I became its owner myself, so a partnership with Jews is nothing unusual as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, it was clear to me that it would provide added value to the village and to the Galilee. I’m delighted every day when Jewish tourists come here and feel at home, because that’s the reception they get here.”

In Buza, like in any other ice cream parlor, the most popular flavor is of course vanilla. But here people can try out unique flavors, according to the available local raw materials.

“Let’s assume that a friend has a lemon tree that bears a lot of fruit on a certain season and he comes over with a box. We’ll make lemon ice cream,” says Ziv, who is responsible for the ice cream production and preparation. “If there’s suddenly a lot of pecan from Sasa’s fields, we’ll make all kinds of flavors with pecan, or with special honey that someone brought over. We also investigate what is happening in the world in this field and renew our flavors accordingly. We enter collaborations with leading chefs like Yonatan Roshfeld, Meir Adoni and Omer Miller, as well as with commercial companies occasionally.

“Personally, my favorite flavor is the roasted pecan with salt and organic maple and our cashew flavor. Alaa prefers the sorbet, for example with lychee from the Galilee and the sabra fruit.”

An ice cream parlor and an investment fund

Two flavors which have been tried out but did not appeal to the Israeli audience are apple sorbet (“most people didn’t even want to taste it, and those who did said it resembled baby fruit puree”) and white chocolate ice cream with ginger and orange zest (“a flavor I was introduced to in the Canary Islands, where it’s very popular,” Ziv says. “I fell in love with it too, but here people wouldn’t even taste it”). On the other hand, the most popular flavor after vanilla is the chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, which is called “Buza cream.”

Unlike Ziv, Sweitat had never dreamed of owning an ice cream business. He connected, however, to Ziv’s vision and spirit of adventurousness, and Buza (the Arabic word for ice cream) was born—ice cream that is produced from the finest products and sold in five locations in northern Israel and in Tel Aviv. And regardless of the wonderful taste of this ice cream, it’s the first Israeli business to win a UN prize.

“When I embarked on my post-army trip, I bought a one-way ticket to Milan with a very clear plan: To play music on the streets, to go from one place to another in Europe and to eat ice cream,” Ziv says. “Six months into the trip, my mother told me she had heard about a project in the Canary Islands—an elderly man who had decided to cross the ocean on a raft and was looking for help. I went there to help him build the raft, and every evening I would have ice cream.

“After several visits to the local ice cream parlor, the owner offered to teach me how to make ice cream and suggested I work there in the evenings. I began doing just that and felt I was in heaven: Next to the sea, playing my music in the evening to people around a bonfire, eating fresh ice cream and feeling good. Shortly afterwards, it suddenly dawned on me and I began asking myself, inspired by that elderly man, how I planned to cross my ocean, what should I do and what do I want to do. I realized that my real dream was not to return to Israel and study music and psychology in order to earn a living, but to open an ice cream parlor with an Arab partner, in an Arab village, in a bid to strengthen the connection between the two people.”

That’s kind of naïve, isn’t it?

“Imagine a summer afternoon, Jewish and Arab parents arriving with their children, nice music playing in the background, the air conditioner is on and the sun is pleasant, and there’s of course good ice cream. What happens? They all sit down and lick their ice cream together. Shortly afterwards, the children start running wild and playing together, the parents look at each other and start talking and getting to know each other, and a sort of natural ‘together’ is created.

“That’s the picture I had in my head, and that’s what’s happening in our store in Tarshiha for five years now. Not to mention the ties created between the employees, who suddenly realize that although they’re members of different religions, they have the same iPhones and the same interests and dreams and plans. It’s beautiful.”

‘Alaa prefers sorbet’

To fulfill his dream, Ziv traveled to Italy to learn about ice cream, its preparation methods and the required machinery for the huge project ahead. He was mostly attracted to gelato, ice cream made of milk and a bit of cream, and dreamed about a transparent kitchen which would allow people visiting the ice cream parlor to experience the preparation process and catch a glimpse of the local and fresh raw materials the ice cream is made of. In the display refrigerator, Ziv wanted to cover the deep ice cream trays with stainless steel lids, to store the products in the finest conditions and offer curious people a surprise experience.

Next, he returned to Israel and began touring Galilee villages in search of the perfect location to fulfill his dream. Following a recommendation from acquaintances, he arrived at the Aluma restaurant and met Sweitat. “Alaa thought about it for a moment and told me it was a good idea and that he had a place for us. We visited it together, and since then—for the past five years—it has been our store, in the center of the village.”

Now with five stores—including a visitors’ center offering tours and workshops in Sasa—50 employees and one important prize, their new dream is to raise money and create a foundation to support other joint businesses.

“We’re doing something which we see as a good thing,” says Ziv. “As far as I’m concerned, reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores, and I would like to expand the circle, to be able to offer business support, legal counseling and a financial push for businesses with a similar goal, in a bid to change reality on a wider scale.

“The only way to change attitudes is to communicate. In order to light up the darkness, one must turn on a flashlight. The light we are creating with Buza is probably dim, but it’s a light nonetheless. You come to Tarshiha, stop for ice cream and then enter the supermarket, buy something, meet people, understand that you’re not afraid of them and that you don’t have to be afraid of them. It’s a start.”

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM PALESTINE TO HELP YOU BE HOPEFUL IN BAD TIMES

To be hopeful in bad times
Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD


Simple facts that you can get documents for by searching

-The reasons we have high incidence of hurricanes, floods, and other
catastrophe is man made climate change
-The reason we are not doing much about climate change is that there are
greedy individuals who profit from the trends
-We have wars to distract us from the inequalities and injustices and to
make money for a few already very rich people
-There are no just wars. There are understandable and justified resistance
of native people to colonialism
- North Korea watched what the US did in places like Libya (after Libya
ended its nuclear program), in Syria and in Iraq. North Korea learned from
its own history (US committed near genocide in the 1950s) and from these
other attacks and acted in its best interests.
-Israel is not an asset to the US or to any other country but a liability.
It is a country that supported genocide and brutal dictatorships from South
America in the 1970s to Saudi Arabia and Burma/Myanmar today.
-A world Zionist network created Israel and supports it at the cost of
millions of native Arab rights
-An axis of resistance against US and Zionist imperialism does exist and
does have the support of most of the people (e.g. see growth of BDS
movement and public surveys)
-An axis of collaboration, lies, deceit, and murder does exist and has the
support of most of the regimes in the Arab world (e.g. Saudi Arabia,
Emirates, Egypt) as well as regimes in Western countries (US, Britain,
Australia, France)
-Demography has shifted around the world and thus most regimes move to
assert more government controls and less democracy. The best tool for
governments is to use perceived threats (previously communism, now Islam
and terrorism). False flag operations have thus gone dramatically up.
-For people to act is no longer a luxury but an existential need to protect
our species.The last two decades showed that the schemes of the rich and
powerful can delay freedom and damage sustainability. Yet, we the people
can and do succeed. People do make a difference. If you think on all
positive things in human history, they all happened by people acting
positively and challenging status quo or rising up to help those in need.

Apathy is an enemy of progress, action works. We are hopeful because as
Howard Zinn once wrote (and I quoted it in my book “Sharing the Land of
Canaan” in 2004):

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on
the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of
compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in
this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it
destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and
places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this
gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this
spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in
however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.
The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we
think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us,
is itself a marvelous victory.”

Israel Justice Minister Shaked said the truth loud and clear: Zionism
contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist,
colonialist and perhaps racist movement


GAZA: 1 MILLION CHILDREN SUFFERING IN 'UNLIVABLE' CONDITIONS
One million Palestinian children are living in dire and deteriorating
conditions due to ongoing power shortages, with many celebrating Eid in the
dark.


As Violence Intensifies, Israel Continues to Arm Myanmar’s Military Junta



Issa Amro, persecuted by Israel, is arrested by PA

ACTION: Free Issa from PA arrest!


 

REVERSING ISRAEL’S DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTICS

Palestinians are 12 million in number, and stuck in institutional paralysis. The nearly 25-year-old Oslo Peace Process successfully, and sadly, facilitated Israel’s strategic desire to utilize the age-old divide and conquer strategy to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive.

Palestinian youths force open a gate in the Israeli separation wall, built on land belonging to the village of Bil’in, which leads to the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Ilit, also built on village land, February 17, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

How Palestinians can reverse Israel’s divide and conquer tactics

Oslo allowed Israel to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive. It’s time to reset that reality and view the Palestinians for what they are — physically fragmented, politically divided, but a whole people.

By Sam Bahour

Most veteran observers, including Israeli security authorities and Palestinian leadership, were dumbfounded by recent events in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized non-violently in response to the Israeli closure of the Old City and placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. What was the secret ingredient that made such a mass action take place and be a successful example in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the 50 years of Israeli military occupation? How did it happen so spontaneously, non-violently and with seemingly no leadership?

A new report by the group, titled, Relations Between Palestinians Across the Green Line (Arabic here, English translation forthcoming), in the works for over two years, may hold the answer to some of these questions. For months, a group of dedicated Palestinian analysts, activists, intellectuals and politicians working with the Palestine Strategy Group (PSG) have been meeting to explore an angle of the Palestinians reality that is many times ignored—the relationship between the Palestinians living inside Israel, today coined as Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Transcending artificial boundaries

The report identifies Jerusalem as a place where, paradoxically, the boundaries of Israel and Palestine collapse — a site for joint work, cooperation and struggle against Israel’s colonial policies. Many political leaders (Palestinian members of Knesset, as well as Jerusalemites, Fatah members, Hamas-affiliated academics, etc.) who were part of the group that produced the report testified to the existing, nascent cooperation and possibility and need to further develop it.

Even beyond the recent developments in Jerusalem, there are also indications of grassroots and bottom-up engagements transcending conventional and formal realms of political engagement elsewhere. The cross-border mobilization and cooperation to address the Prawer Plan, for instance, a 2011 Israeli government plan to forcibly relocate some 40,000 Bedouin citizens living in dozens of villages in Israel’s Negev desert, was identified as additional proof to this growing phenomenon of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line finding common ground.

The PSG report starts with stating an obvious, but no less bold, fact that “Fifty years after the Israeli occupation and forced annexation of Palestinians under Israel’s discriminatory ruling regime, political projects associated with ending the occupation and attaining full citizenship have ended in stalemate.”

That statement is not groundbreaking in and of itself. When coupled with the following realization, however, it provides more than just food for thought — it also sheds light on this rather invisible phenomenon which has the potential to rejuvenate the entire Palestinian national liberation movement. The report continues: “In light of different political projects, national cohesion among the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line is a key tool to create a unified, collective umbrella that allows networking, empowerment and development. While it does not abolish political specificities, this umbrella will seek to integrate political projects. Every component of these projects will support the other with a view to realizing respective demands, including ending the occupation of the 1967 territory, return of the refugees, full citizenship, and individual and collective equality inside the Green Line.”

A new Palestinian agency?

The strategy presented is premised on two hypotheses. First, is the need to maintain a clear distinction between the national and the political realms. That means an inclusive Palestinian national project that brings together all Palestinian people — those under occupation in the (New) State of Palestine, those in Israel, and those refugees and diaspora abroad. Secondly, discrepant political interests and perceptions of Palestinian groups need to be viewed as complementary, rather than contradictory to one another. Doing so means embracing diversity, transforming it from a source of divisions into a foundation for rebuilding a national project.

It is important to emphasize that support, networking and joint action of Palestinians across the Green Line have always been in place. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian party leaders inside Israel have acted in concert and coordinated with and supported each other on innumerable occasions. However, coordination always took place beyond any institutional frameworks. Oftentimes, the report notes, “collaboration was arbitrary, individual [and not] bona fide.” Today, this cross-border cooperation is not only targeted, collective and authentic, but has within it the seeds of a new type of Palestinian leadership.

In this context, namely the lack of institutional networking, PSG discussants proposed several potential options to institutionalize relations between Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. A major thrust of the report entertains the “creating an inclusive, apolitical framework for all Palestinians.”

Palestinians are 12 million in number, and stuck in institutional paralysis. The nearly 25-year-old Oslo Peace Process successfully, and sadly, facilitated Israel’s strategic desire to utilize the age-old divide and conquer strategy to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive. It’s time to reset that reality and view the Palestinians for what they are, physically fragmented, politically divided, but a whole people nonetheless, from Ramallah to Santiago.

Sam Bahour is a Secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Groupand policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. @SamBahour. The PSG report was implemented in cooperation with the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) and the Oxford Research Group (ORG). It was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority (2015-2017) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (2016-2017).  This latest report is the most recent of a series of important and influential documents the PSG has issued since its founding in 2008.

 

Originally appeared AT

FRIDAY’S TOON ~~ THE OCCUPATION IS FOREVER!

Or Not!!!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu promises West Bank will be occupied Israel “forever”

NY TIMES ASSERTS THAT JEWS ARE SAFER IN ISRAEL THAN IN AMERICA … CAUSE THEY CAN KILL PALESTINIANS THERE

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

Israeli soldiers photographed beating Palestinian in West Bank … when they are not shooting, they are beating.

Jews are safer in Israel than U.S. because our kids drop their M-16s on the sofa — NYT op-ed

The New York Times once again has offered a platform to a militant American-Israeli Zionist to argue that Jews are only safe when they oppress Palestinians.

The subject is Charlottesville, and the rise of neo-Nazis. Israel-promoter Daniel Gordis is granted an op-ed to say that Jews are safer in Israel than America, because in America, Jewish kids don’t know how to play with guns. Here’s the heart of the piece:

Israel has a military draft, and all of our kids served. Those years of service, of coming home on weekends with M-16s that we had to remind them not to leave on the sofas, inculcated in them a confidence about the world that I never had at their age.

Of course Gordis doesn’t tell us where those kids served. The occupied territories, surely, making certain that Palestinians who are resisting their lack of rights for 50 years stay fairly quiet.

Gordis doesn’t care about Palestinians. The word doesn’t appear in this homily. He cares about Jews, and about how Israel has “cured” Jews of their weaknesses. He tells a (questionable) anecdote about how Israel has turned mice into men:

I had the students — a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates — watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen.

Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their “republican principles.” The first was the supremacy of “white culture.” The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was “killing Jews.” The entire class burst into laughter.

Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: “What, does this guy believe that in today’s world you can just go out and kill Jews? It’s funny, that’s all.”…

The conclusion of the article hammers home the point about Israel being safer for Jews than the U.S. He quotes his son wondering whether the day has arrived when America will not “be there” for Jews, as it was during the Holocaust:

Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude.

Gordis and I grew up in the same Baltimore academic Jewish community (I attended a seder or two at his parents’ house) and from my standpoint, this view of America is bullshit. I am a few years older than Gordis; yet I never felt unsafe, I never felt vulnerable. I felt welcome and included. My high school had fewer than ten Jews in it, out of a couple thousand students. I was proudly Jewish, bar mitzvah’d at the old Chizuk Amuno in the inner city, I rode public buses everywhere in the city, worked nights at the stadium, enjoyed a great diversity of friendships, and had pleasures and challenges and setbacks, the proportions of which had no connection to my religion.

Gordis’s dark view of America is of a piece with Michael Oren’s fantasy of a pogrom in West Orange, NJ, 1971; and I believe it is a product of indoctrination.

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

PS. More about those M-16s. Why can’t the New York Times publish what Tony Klug wrote about the guns in 1977 and repeated last March at J Street:

While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and whose yearning for independence is no less than was that of the Palestinian Jews in the early months of 1948. As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish Diaspora.

NYT JUSTIFIES APARTHEID IN ISRAEL ~~ ‘WALLS ARE US!’

Omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

The Times is just echoing the sentiments of Trump who has called Israel’s separation barrier a success while discussing his plan to erect a wall across the US-Mexico border.

New York Times distorts reality of Israel’s walls

Isabel Kershner, writing in The New York Times, recently misrepresented the reality of Israeli-built walls and the fact that it is Palestinians enclosed by them and not Israelis.

Establishing that she spends far too much time in an Israeli milieu and too little in occupied Palestinian territory, she flips reality by penning, “Challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts, Israel is already pretty much walled in.”

Yet it is Israel itself which has chosen to build walls. The people to describe as “walled in” are Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are the ones being forcibly enclosed within bantustans as part of a comprehensive system of apartheid – not Israelis.

Throughout the article, Kershner repeatedly omits vital information about an underground wall Israel is building to further obstruct Palestinian egress from the tightly blockaded Gaza Strip.

Omissions

Israel has peace agreements with both Egypt and Jordan – and security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority to police its own people under Israeli occupation.

Even on its frontline in the occupied Golan Heights with Syria, where a devastating civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Israel funds Syrian armed opposition groups to maintain a buffer zone controlled by “friendly forces.”

Yet these facts are excluded in Kershner’s decision to present a tough neighborhood spin with Israel “challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts.”

Most of those fronts – beyond those where the Israeli government has signed peace agreements with other states – are occupied territory held by Israel for over 50 years.

Treating occupied people as “hostile” is akin to the moral equivalency offered by US President Donald Trump in equating anti-fascists and anti-racists with Nazis and white supremacists.

How else are people under an oppressive military occupation that deprives them of their most basic rights, while systematically colonizing their land, supposed to feel about their occupiers?

Yet Kershner dismissively employs the term “hostile forces,” undercutting millions of occupied people calling for equal rights and a return to stolen homes and properties.

Also omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

Israel’s wall with Egypt, though readers won’t learn it in this article from Kershner, was built in significant partto keep out African migrants and refugees, principally from Eritrea and Sudan, fleeing war and other perils.

Netanyahu himself admitted as much.

President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇮🇱🇺🇸

FED UP WITH GERMAN SILENCE

During this election campaign in Germany, a question is not addressed: How do these parties and their top candidates deal with violations against international law and human rights?Why is Russia subject to sanctions while the “Jewish State” remains unpunished? Why does the annexation of Crimea allegedly oppose to international law, while the illegal occupation of Palestine is not just accepted, but even financially supported?

We are fed up of the silence of the German Election Campaigners about Palestine!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Sicht vom Hochblauen, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

International law and human rights are indivisible and apply to all states. And the “Jewish State” always says to be the “only” democracy in the Middle East. If this is true, international law and human rights shall be the basic foundations of the Jewish State. While the Jewish regime based on State terrorism occupies, oppresses, and expropriates a whole people, after a referendum the population of Crimea decided to remain with Russia, because the Western “community of values”, led by the USA, spent many million Dollar in the name of Eastern NATO expansion for the coup in Ukraine by forcing Russia to act.

Our German political landscape is characterised by a lord of the manor approach when it is about prohibiting the Nakba exhibition or Israel-critical conferences, or when it is about refusing conference rooms. And this is exactly the behaviour of philosemite parties linked to the Israel lobby in our country. If this is the situation, we have to ask these parties (SPD, CDU/CSU, FDP, Grünen and Linke) to make a statement about it.

If you remember the Holocaust, the genocide in the name of Germany and the crimes of the century, then you should also remember and put the Nakba, the forced displacement of the Palestinian people, and its consequences in an indivisible context.

In particular for German citizens, independently from the outcome, displacement and occupation are important subjects. There we have to ask ourselves: Why does this propaganda lie –  according which there has never been a Zionist displacement during and before the Nakba and all has been done “on a voluntary basis” – fall on good soil in Germany? Same thing can be said about the “Jewish occupiers’ regime” which always avoids speaking about the occupation.

In the case of the “Jewish State”, the uncritical lobby work of the parties promotes the distrust against Jewish officials and citizens, who quickly accuse others of anti-Semitism to distract from this lobby work, who refuses the rights of the oppressed, because it expresses its solidarity with the “Jewish Occupiers’ State”, a state characterised by colonialism and historical revisionism, by asking for our unconditional solidarity with these criminals.

The air has become suffocating in the German-speaking countries and in the political circles; and this is not only due to the Diesel fine particulate, but also to the stuffy German politics. If after the end of the war there were the last Nazi officials diffusing this right-wing stuffy politics, today their descendants prefer addressing their hate against Russia. The sanctions against Russia  are strengthened, while justified and peaceful BDS initiatives shall be damned as criminal. Whole cities, from Munich to Frankfort, participate in this undemocratic rally.

The double standards when it is about the “Jewish State” are incredible and incompatible with the German Constitution. Although after a referendum the majority of Crimean citizens decided to remain with Russia, German and European politicians speak about a criminal situation violating international law. And since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 these same politicians and the “world community” of the “Jewish State” have been permitting the violation against international law, human rights, and all values, and since decades Israel has been leaving scorched earth in its wake in occupied Palestine.

At the moment, in front of the EU office in Vienna, activists of the “Women in Black” are protesting against the support of the “Jewish Apartheid State”. Protest actions of this kind are important in the struggle for a free Palestine. (1)

At the end of August, in Berlin a Pop culture festival will be held; it will be financed by the Embassy of the “Jewish State”, the European Union, and the Municipality of Berlin. As soon as threes bands and artists,  Mohammad Abu Hayar of the Syrian Rap Band Mazzaj, the Egyptian band Islam Chipsy, and the Syrian DJ and producer Samer Salem knew about it, they refused their participation, because they did not want to participate in an event pinkwashing Apartheid and racism. Unfortunately, this moral courage cannot be found in German artists, when it is about Palestine! (2)

In the next “Springer” morning Press, the Berlin Senator of Culture, Klaus Lederer, spoke about a “horrifying boycott”. From my point of view, left-wing politicians are absolutely horrifying when they uncritically accept the Illegal occupation of Palestine and criticize Israel critics because they are engaged  for a free Palestine. Lederer added that by sponsoring the artists’ travel expenses the Israeli Embassy even contributed to the “success” of the festival. Can and should you still vote such politicians? For what concerns myself, my answer is “NO”, because I always check whom and what to vote! In 2014, in the newspaper TAZ ,Pascal Beucker called me an “unacceptable Israel hater” because I had written by comment  „Der Tag des Zorns wird kommen“ (The Day of Rage will Come); this comment was uncritically accepted by Lederer. And I felt in the best of company, because Lederer polemicized even Sarah Wagenknecht and called people to dissociate from Ken Jebsen, the alleged “ideologist” of the “new right”. But I prefer dissociating from left-wing politicians and politicians of all parties like Klaus Lederer!  (3) (4)

I deal with this subject and its consequences every week. Sometimes, I am asking myself for which purpose and why I do it. My concern is that the political parties’ landscape has been dissociating more and more from Palestine, by exclusively focussing on the “Jewish State”. The security of Israel, its right to exist, the particular relationship: all these words are always repeated like a litany. However, they do not become true, but remain mendacious lies of the whole political society and their supporters  in the media.

The deep attunement with the “Jewish Occupiers’ State” is an unbearable legal violation and is incompatible with the German constitution; the same applies to the “particular” relation developed over years because of a traumatised sense of guilt, since it created  the new “guilt” of our grand-children’s generation. The real problem is that philosemitism replaced Anti-Semitism, and became a contagious epidemic, infecting all parties and many media. Is there a vaccination against Philosemitism? Indeed, a clear and logic reasoning and a sense of justice should suffice. However, this is not the case because the propaganda brainwashing, promoted by the “Springer” lobby, seems to be part of German education. That adaptation has already replaced moral courage; and this is not astonishing if you think about the so numerous attempts of intimidation.

I have been trying to wake up people for years now, and to ask them to engage for Palestine and the Palestinians. And they attacked me because I used words like Israel lobby, Judaization, ghetto or concentration camp. However, I am gaining more and more supporters on blogs and in newspapers, and I feel confirmed and happy that my engagement is worth the trouble. And I never tried to make money at the expense of Palestinian solidarity, to earn with it, or to make business at the expense of a humiliated and occupied people.

From where do German politicians take their right to criticize the Palestinian people, which – after 69 years of resistance asks for the end of illegal occupation. How can they deny to them the legitimate right for resistance against illegal occupation, while Jewish occupiers are not just given the right to “defend themselves”, but even the occupation right! What can we expect from such politicians who speak about the “Jewish-Christian community of values”, while if it is about Palestinians they talk about terror and crimes, which have nothing to do with their community of values. Muslims become foreign bodies and the concept of an enemy, and this in particular during election campaigns. Let us do the mental experiment of replacing the word Jews with the word Muslims, or Judaism with Islam. This reminds me terrible days of our recent history. This dangerous development should be limited and stopped.

With our vote, we can decide what and who will rule. The voting right is one of the few rights we still have, in this epoch of apathy and lack of perspective.

We should not ignore how parties deal with human rights and regimes. The State terrorism of the Jewish occupiers’ regime to continue with the Judaization of Palestine must be talked about, as it is not a taboo, but should become one of the main election campaign subjects.

Chancellor Merkel has succeeded in brainwashing Germans so to believe in the unconditioned solidarity with the “Jewish State” as German reason of state because of our “particular obligations”. However, this reason of state does not mean that we should not engage to ask to add justice and freedom of the Palestinian people to this German reason of state.

We – and I think also the majority of the other German citizens – ask for information and an open discussion of all democratic parties about how the candidates to be voted will deal with this subject. Also this will be an important criterion of our voting behaviour.

 

Originally posted AT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME QUESTIONS FOR U.S. CITIZENS

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

Questions to US citizens

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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

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

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

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

ARMED TO KILL WITH ‘NON-LETHAL’ WEAPONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sponge rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, the rounds are considered non-lethal.

Rubber-coated steel bullets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.22 Caliber Bullets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tear gas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tear gas canisters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More photos at the SOURCE

CHALLENGING THE BLACKLIST ~~ BDS FIGHTBACK

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

How is Israel compiling its BDS blacklists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hacking emails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Battlefront”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rivalries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exposure could “harm the battle”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Front groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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