IN PHOTOS ~~WOMEN’S BOAT TO SAIL TO GAZA IN SEPTEMBER 2016

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Getting ready for the sendoff in New York …

Photos © Bud Korotzer

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ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ITS OWN VERSION OF BDS

Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.

You can beat this ban by buying Palestinian products …. Click HERE and HERE

Image by Latuff

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Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products

Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman did not immediately respond for request for information about the protest.Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.The director of marketing for the Hamoda company, Fadi Abu Hilweh, told Ma’an on Saturday evening that Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks of the five companies since Wednesday.

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Hamoda head Ameer Haddad told Ma’an that Hamoda — along with the companies al-Juneidi Dairy and Food products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries — all parked their trucks near the prison to protest the ban and “the horrible consequences of this decision.”Haddad added that the companies export their products to Jerusalem under agreements with Israel and that there was no grounds for the ban.
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He said the companies would continue protesting until Israeli authorities canceled the decision.Abu Hilweh said the companies were not officially notified of any decisions to ban their products in Israel and were “surprised” when Israeli soldiers at Beitunia commercial crossing denied their products entry to Israel on Wednesday.
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He added that about 50 percent of the five companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.
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If this ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) a year.Hamoda has already notified its milk providers to halt supplies until the ban is resolved. Abu Hilweh said the five companies would have to discharge large numbers of workers if the ban continued.
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He added that he was surprised when Israeli authorities informed the companies that the decision to ban products was a “political” decision and “the Palestinian Authority was notified of the decision six months ago.”
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An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, who requested anonymity, told Ma’an that the ministry was not notified of any such decision.“
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The ministry is looking into the case, which is a flagrant breach of Paris Protocols,” the official said, referring to an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.
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Palestinian lawmaker and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli decision by banning Israeli products from entering the Palestinian market.
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According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.
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A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 86 percent — said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
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THE EXISTENTSIAL DILEMMA FACING ISRAEL TODAY

By definition, a dilemma is a situation where one has to choose between two unattractive choices. 

 An activist puts a Palestinan flag on the Separation Wall facing the Modi’in Illit settlement (Photo: Anne Paq/ Activestills.org)

An activist puts a Palestinan flag on the Separation Wall facing the Modi’in Illit settlement (Photo: Anne Paq/ Activestills.org)

Zionism’s existential dilemma 

By Khalid Amayreh 

 

In 1895, the fledgling Zionist movement dispatched a number of rabbis to Palestine to explore the possibility of establishing a homeland for Jews in the predominantly Arab country, then under Ottoman rule. 

After scouring the country, the rabbis sent back the following message: “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man” 

Today, 120 years later the legitimate husband and the rapist turned-master of the house continue the century-old fight for legitimacy and possession of the land. 

At one point, the arrogant and self-absorbed rapist thought he achieved a final victory over the legitimate husband who obviously lacked the wherewithal to defend, let alone repulse, the powerful beast, the pugnacious settler and colonizer. 

But the legitimate man of the house was not to be crushed. He survived despite his weakness, vulnerability and poverty. 

In a certain sense, he survived in spite of logic and history. 

Today, notwithstanding Israel’s incessant efforts to obliterate the Palestinian and his memory, there are as many Palestinians as there are Jews in the area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, including Israel proper, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. 

This is more than just another problem facing the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. This is the ultimate nightmare haunting Israel, rendering its future precarious. 

Indeed, the fact that Israel and the territories it occupied in 1967 are today populated by approximately 6 million Palestinians (in addition to 6 million Jews) should be viewed as the ultimate strategic failure of Zionism. Of course, this failure was never intended to be. In fact, it was inadvertent as it was inevitable. 

The re-emergence of demographic realities in Palestine-Israel reminds us of Albert Camus’s iconic words, appearing in his famous play   “Le Malentendu” or “In Cross purpose.”

“In a world where everything can be denied there are forces undeniable, and on Earth where nothing is sure we have our certainties.” 

Thus it seems that Palestinians have survived “in spite of logic” and “in spite of history”, perhaps thanks to Camus’ “forces undeniable” 

That is precisely the Palestinian odyssey in a nutshell. 

I have no doubt that history will record that one of the main reasons for Israel’s ultimate demise is the intensive proliferation of Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank which rendered the establishment of a viable Palestinian state utterly impossible.   

Yes, it is hard to thank someone for doing you a favor he never intended to do in the first place. But perhaps we Palestinians ought to thank Israel for building that many settlements in the West Bank. 

I don’t know if Israel knew or not what she was doing.

But the net outcome is the same as the   seemingly existential dilemma already facing the Zionist enterprise  is irreconcilable, irreversible and inescapable. 

By definition, a dilemma is a situation where one has to choose between two unattractive choices. 

The dilemma facing Israel and Zionism today is having to choose between a bi-national state where at least half of the population is non-Jewish (and they are growing demographically at a faster rate in comparison to Jews) or adopting perpetual occupation, repression, and apartheid as outstanding policy pending the appearance of the Messiah, irrespective of his religious affiliations and political orientations!! 

Israel might very well be entertaining a third Choice. After all, Israel is Israel and can be expected to embark on the unthinkable. 

But the “unthinkable”, however ghoulish it might be could boomerang on Israel and be decidedly suicidal for Jews especially in the future. 

This is because any foolish act against the Palestinians, such as mass expulsion, which would be tantamount to an actual genocide, would really open the gates of hell on Israel. 

Because then every expelled man, woman and child would, almost spontaneously and automatically, transform themselves into bombs walking on two legs. And they would meet absolute approval and backing from the 1600 million followers of Islam and other supporters. 

Such would be the ultimate triumph of the Isis.

NEW DRESS CODE IN FRANCE ~~ IF YOUR T-SHIRT CRITICIZES ISRAEL, IT’S ILLEGAL

European ‘Democracy in action …

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Woman arrested in France for T-shirt critical of Israel

France has ratcheted up its draconian repression of free speech about Palestine with the arrest of a woman for wearing a T-shirt supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

According to the newspaper L’Humanité, officers from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence service of the French police, were involved in monitoring the demonstration in which numerous social justice and leftist groups took part.

France remains under the state of emergency severely limiting public freedoms that was declared after last November’s atrocities by suspected Islamic State extremists who killed 130 people in Paris.

The young woman was taken to Paris’ 3rd district police station for questioning.

Hundreds of marchers halted their procession and demonstrated loudly outside the police station for an hour until she was released, as a video posted on Facebook.

Political repression

The woman has been summoned back to the police station for questioning at 2pm on Monday on suspicion of “inciting hatred by reason of [national] origin, through writing,” according to L’Humanité.

Supporters are planning to demonstrate outside the police station at that time.

The feminist collective 8 Mars Pour TouTEs denounced the arrest and pledged support for the activist and for the BDS movement.

The arrest was evidence of the “criminalization of political struggles,” the group said, vowing to mount strong solidarity in response to “the police state and political and racist repression.”

The left-wing grouping Ensemble has condemned the arrest, describing it as a consequence of the “security climate” in France.

The Palestine solidarity group BDS France noted that the day after the arrest, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tolda dinner hosted by the Israel lobby group CRIF that “anti-Zionism is nothing more than a synonym for anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel.”

“Today, politicians who support the Israeli apartheid regime are out of arguments,” BDS France said in a statement.

“They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and terrorism, and take all the Jews of the world hostage, stubbornly insisting that they become accomplices of the war crimes and apartheid of a state which is foreign to them,” BDS France added.

The campaign group said that with the growing global success of BDS, “a nonviolent, anti-racist citizen movement for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Israel and its allies in the French government had no recourse but to try to smear it as anti-Semitic.

Court rulings and government decrees have outlawed calls to boycott Israeli goods, prompting defiance from French civil society.

Undeterred

BDS France is also vowing not to fold under government repression.

On Thursday, dozens of activists handed in an international petition at the Paris offices of Airbnb to protest the company’s profiting from the renting out of vacation homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

As the photos published by BDS France show, the activists were proudly wearing their “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” T-shirts.

On Saturday, activists will hold rallies all over France against the state of emergency. An action alert from BDS France urges supporters to wear their T-shirts at those marches too.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ON THE WEB

When a Brazilian’s cartoon is used at a gathering in New York and photographed by our roaming photographer …. it lead Carlos Latuff to state the following;

When I see my toons about Palestine being used, I feel that I kept my word with the Palestinians. Photo Bud Korotzer

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Other photos from the event … © Bud Korotzer

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ZIONISM … CAUGHT ON TAPE AND IN RAP

If you DON’T support the BDS Movement, then THIS is what you DO support …

Video distributed by Ryan Dawson, with thanks

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The following 2 posters were displayed at Columbia University Saturday evening

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

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Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

THE PLIGHT OF OUR BETTER HALF IN PALESTINE TODAY

On this day we celebrate International Women's Day. 
Below you can read of the situation and plight of women 
in Occupied Palestine.

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International Women's Day
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The struggle of women here continues unabated. Many people like me believe
sincerely that had women been in charge here, we would have had a free
Palestine by now. My mother who is 84 years old showed us by example what
giving and self-sacrifice and love of people and land means. My wife and
three sisters are likewise examples of what we all should aspire to do:
kind, dedicated, and hard-working human beings. Like millions before them
and millions contemporary with them, these women make life livable while
many men (and a few women) engage in hurting others and pushing for
conflicts and war. Words are too mediocre and inadequate to express our
feelings but I simply want to say to all the women working for peace and
justice: thank you and to pledge that we will work with you for more
progressive change in our societies. As males, we must challenge the system
we inherited of giving privilege to men (Patriarchal societies we live in).
This must be in deed not in words.


For the local situation of Palestinian women today, I urge you to read this
remarkable new issue of the excellent magazine “This Week in Palestine”
dedicated to our better half.
 

#AntiApartheidWeek ~~ RAPPING WITH REMI

Wonderful party last night at Columbia U.  Totally packed. Lots of young people dancing the night away to Palestinian music, many of the women in embroidered Palestinian dresses.  These young diaspora Palestinians all knew their folk dances very well, as well as their food and art.  And they seem to fully recognize the importance of keeping these memories.

This was performed by Remi Kanazi …

Nor·mal·i·za·tion: a “colonization of the mind” whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality…and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.

Those who engage in normalization either ignore this oppression, or accept it as the status quo that can be lived with.

In an attempt to whitewash its violations of international law and human rights, Israel attempts to re-brand itself or present itself as “normal” — even “enlightened” — through an intricate array of relations and activities encompassing hi-tech, cultural, legal, LGBT and other realms.

Normalization applies to relationships that convey a misleading or deceptive image of normalcy, symmetry, or parity despite a patently abnormal and asymmetric relationship of colonial oppression and apartheid.

SOME RAMBLINGS ABOUT JEWS AND ISRAEL

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“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour.
That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.”

Going through the archives I found some must reads … some that may have been missed over the years.

This one was written 10 years ago .. but it could have been written today;

A MESSAGE TO MY FELLOW JEWS

IF YOU LOVE ISRAEL SPEAK UP FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE!

I have often said that it is very difficult to remain objective towards something when the subjective circumstances seem to be stronger.

The case of Israel and Jews is one of the cases that comes to mind. Many Jews outside of Israel support Israel blindly. The attitude is very similar to the American attitude during the Vietnam War… “My country right or wrong”..

That concept alone is wrong. If you really love something than you let it know when it is wrong… this is not happening in the case of Israel. If you really love Israel then you must treat it as you would treat your own child. Not to do so will only make a very bad situation that much worse. As a result, Israel will think it has a ‘green light’ to pursue its policies of occupation, apartheid and most recently, brutal aggression towards its neighbours. Since the war started in Lebanon, the aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza has not subsided. Do not let our brothers in Palestine think we have forgotten them..

If you support these policies and actions, then you do not love Israel as you claim you do. You are, in effect, helping Israel self destruct.
In order to survive and flourish, Israel needs peace. There is no other way. The Torah is the Law that governs the lives of observant Jews. Rabbi Hillel said the following regarding the Torah…

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour.
That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.”

Answer the following questions….

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT…

*Peace in the Middle East will only come about with mutual recognition and respect and must be seen as just by both sides.
*Peace requires the end of illegal occupation and settlement.
*Violence against civilians is unacceptable.
*Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment.
*It is crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights.
*The values of Israeli society have been corrupted by the Israeli State’s human-rights abuses.
*A lasting peace must be seen as just by both sides.
*Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia and the UN must be persuaded to implement UN resolutions on Palestine.

If you answered yes to all or most of the above questions then you must act on the situation. To remain silent is to be as guilty as the government of Israel is. To remain silent is to witness the very destruction of the State of Israel… from within.
Show your support for justice by speaking out against the wall of apartheid.
Speak out against the occupation of Palestine.
Speak out against the war in Lebanon.
Boycott Israeli goods until Israel becomes a State worthy of your support.
Show that you truly love israel and fight for PEACE and JUSTICE… nothing else will do!

Some more must reads from the past ….
(click on links)

AN OPEN LETTER TO NEIL SEDAKA TO BOYCOTT APARTHEID

 

WHO AND WHY I AM WHO I AM

 

BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS

 

and finally ….

WHY AM I IN ISRAEL?

THE MASSACRE ISRAEL WANTS US TO FORGET

We will never forget this or forgive

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Twenty two years ago this week terror struck out in Hebron. Thirty Palestinians at prayer were slaughtered by one Judeo nazi. There were no solidarity marches, there were no massive outcries in the Western Press, after all, the dead were only Palestinians. Instead there were graveside ceremonies glorifying the terrorist and his acts. Twenty one years later a compatriot of the terrorist was a candidate for the Knesset

ISRAEL MUST HANG ITS COLLECTIVE HEAD IN SHAME!

The following is by far the best account of the massacre itself. It was originally posted seven years ago…..

22 Years of Lessons after Al-Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre – A Memorial History for the 30 Palestinian Martyrs

The story:

The dawn of Friday 15 Ramadan 1414 a.h. / 25 February 1994 marked the first of three massacres perpetrated by Israeli settlers accompanied by the Israeli Army. There were more than 30 martyrs and 270 injured. The main massacre took place while the victims were performing al- Fajr (Dawn) Prayer at Al Ibrahimi mosque.


(Al-Ibrahimi Mosque – Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine)

At 05:00 on February 25, around eight hundred Palestinian Muslims passed through the east gate of Al-Ibrahimi mosque to participate in al-Fajr prayer, the first of the five daily Islamic prayers. At that time of the holy month of Ramadan, there were many people who flocked the Ibrahimi Mosque to perform their prayers. The mosque was under Israeli Army guard.


That same day, a Jewish American Zionist physician decided to materialize the dream of the typical Zionist movement of annihilating the Arab existence in Palestine. Dr. Baruch Goldstein prepared for the move. It was during Ramadan when Dr. Goldstein decided to execute his old plan of vengeance.

Goldstein passed two army checkpoints at the dawn of February 25, 1994 from the northeastern gate of the mosque near privy. That privy could be the reason why Goldstein decided on that gate because he, probably, received his contemplation about Arabs from the Rabbis of Kach in Kiryat Arab where the Arabs were described as the demons of the privy. The privy of the mosque is important not only because it has two Israeli army checkpoints on its nearby mosque’s gate, but also because it is surrounded by Israeli army posts from the east and army patrols in the west. So Goldstein was acting from the deepest parts of the Zionistic ideology in liquidating the demons.

Goldstein was carrying his IMI Galil assault rifle, four magazines of ammunition, which held 35 bullets each and hand grenades. He thought about the best moment to execute the plan, maximize the number of casualties and secure the escape or rescue. The best moment, of course, was when the Muslim worshipers knelt on the floor with their backs towards Goldstein.

It was first a hand grenade that he threw among the worshipers causing casualties, confusion, and possibly an invitation to the Israeli soldiers in the halls and outside of the mosque to intervene for rescue. And in no time, the automatic massacre took place with the same kind of mercy that other Zionists like Goldstein shows all the time toward Arabs.

Standing in front of the only exit from the mosque and positioned to the rear of the Muslim worshipers, he opened fire with the weapon, killing 29 people and injuring more than 125. He was eventually overwhelmed by survivors, who beat him to death.

An eyewitness said that when Goldstein was executing the massacre and people attacked him, there was a soldier who attempted to come closer to the scene. But instead of “rescuing” Dr. Goldstein, the Israeli soldier shot his bullets in the air and then escaped from the inside eastern door of the northern hall to the previously known “women praying area.” In the opinion of the eyewitness, the soldier could have rescued Goldstein by killing 5 or 10 more Palestinians, but it appeared that his personal safety was above any blood value.

Al Ibrahimi massacre (a.k.a Hebron massacre) is not the last one. Muslims and Jews are and will remain candidates for victimization. But the cause will always be the same: “The Nazi style laws of the Zionists occupation in Palestine.”

Reports after the massacre were inevitably highly confused. In particular, there was uncertainty about whether Goldstein had acted alone; it was reported that eyewitnesses had seen “another man, dressed as a soldier, handing him ammunition.” The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said that the attack was the work of up to 12 men, including Israeli troops. However, Israeli Army denied that and confirmed that Goldstein had acted alone without the assistance or connivance of the Israeli guards posted at the mosque.

News of the massacre immediately led to riots in Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) and the rest of the occupied territories. Additional Palestinian Muslims were crushed to death in the panic to flee the mosque and in rioting that followed.

Now that was history, a bloody history that marked Feb 25 of every year with memorials of the Palestinian Martyrs massacred that day for nothing but being Palestinians. So, what are the lessons learned from this?

First we will look at the ideology behind this massacre (and all the Zionist massacres), then how it is treated among Zionists. And last but not least, how does the media look at Zionist (terrorists) and how do they handle such massacres compared to other terrorist acts and massacres.

Prof. Israel Shahak wrote – The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre:

The sympathy which Baruch Goldstein enjoys among the Gush Emunim, whose influence is more pervasive than that of the Kahanists, can only be explained by a shared ideology. However, Gush Emunim leaders enjoy Rabin’s friendship and strong influence in wide circles of the Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities. Therefore it is their version of this ideology which is more important. Gush Emunim’s thinking assumes the imminence of the coming of the Messiah, when the Jews, aided by God, will triumph over the Gentiles. Consequently, all current political developments call be interpreted by those in the know as destined either to bring this end nearer or postpone it. Jewish sins, the worst of them being lack of faith in Gush Emunim ideology, can postpone but not alter the predestined course of Redemption. The two world wars, the Holocaust and other calamitous events of modern history serve as stock examples of such a curative punishment for Jewish sins. Such explanations can go into a lot of specific detail. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior (who attended Goldstein’s funeral and praised him), blamed Israel’s relative failure in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon on the lack of faith manifested through signing a peace treaty with Egypt and “returning the inheritance of our ancestors [i.e Sinai] to strangers”.[…]

The fundamental tenet of Gush Emunim’s thinking is the assumption that the Jewish people are “peculiar”. Lustick discusses this tenet in terms of their denial of the classical Zionist claim that only by undergoing “a process of normalisation”, by emigrating to Palestine and forming a Jewish state there, can the Jews become like any other nation. But for them this “is the original delusion of the secular Zionists”, because they measured that “normality” by applying non-Jewish standards. According to Gush Emunim, “Jews are not and cannot be a normal people”, because “their eternal uniqueness” is “the result of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai”. Therefore, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of their leaders, “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of ‘justice and righteousness’, such laws do not apply to Jews”.

Harkabi quotes Rabbi Israel Ariel, who says that “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement, and has not violated the prohibition of murder”. The Gush Emunim rabbis have indeed reiterated that Jews who kill Arabs should be free from all punishment. Harkabi also quotes Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook and Rabbi Ariel, all three of whom say Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because since the land was once Jewish, all property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews. In the original Hebrew version of his book Harkabi expresses his shock at finding this out. “I never imagined that Israelis would so interpret the concept of the historical right.”

Gush Emunim’s plans for governing non-Jews in Israel are also based on “theological” principles. According to Rabbi Aviner; “Is there a difference between punishing an Arab child and an Arab adult for disturbance of our peace? Punishments can be inflicted on Jewish boys below the age of 13 and Jewish girls below the age of 12…But this rule applies to Jews alone, not to Gentiles. Thus any Gentile, no matter how little, should be punished for any crime he commits.” From this dictum, it is only a short step to slaughtering Arab children.

Even Israel’s Supreme Court compared Kahane to the German Nazis. The prominent Orthodox dissident, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, said that the mass murder in Hebron was a consequence of “Judeo-Nazism”. But Gush Emunim’s ideology is no less like that of the Nazis than Kahane’s.

Celebrating the Hebron massacre:

Why do we hate them?

When you see the Israelis and Zionists from different parties and sections of the Israeli society, including their army, as well from around the world, gathering annually at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshipers in Al-Khalil (Hebron), how can you but “LOVE” them?

Here is a sample of the news stories from BBC –Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre (21 March, 2000):

Militant Jews have gathered at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshippers in Hebron.

The celebrants dressed up as the gunman, wearing army uniforms, doctor’s coats and fake beards.

Goldstein, an immigrant from New York City, had been a physician in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Waving semi-automatic weapons in the air, the celebrants danced, sang and read prayers around his grave.

“We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” said Baruch Marzel, one of about 40 celebrants.

The tribute was a macabre twist on the Jewish festival of Purim, when it is a custom to dress in costume and celebrate.

Massacre in mosque

In 1994 on Purim, Goldstein stormed a mosque and fired on praying Muslims in the West Bank city’s Tomb of the Patriarchs – a shrine sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Twenty-nine people died in the attack, and the angry crowd lynched Goldstein in retaliation.

Israeli extremists continue to pay homage at his grave in the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, where a marble plaque reads: “To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel.”

About 10,000 people had visited the grave since the massacre, Mr Marzel said.

Note: the above news story is ten years old.

Not only that. The Israeli government allocated a special site for the grave, in the Tourist Park in Kiryat Arba settlement. Over the years, the grave has become a site of pilgrimage. Tens of thousand people from all over the world go to pray and honor this terrorist memory. The local religious council of Kiryat Arba settlement declared the grave site a cemetery. During the Feast of Purim, Goldstein friends celebrate the feast near his grave to honor him, in appreciation of what he did!

Last but not least, on the biased media side, Leon T. Hadar wrote:

Following the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the arrest of several Muslims who were charged with the crime, the American media were flooded with news stories, analyses and commentaries that warned of the coming “Islamic threat.” “Investigative reporters” and “terrorism experts” alleged on television talk shows and op-ed pages that the accused perpetrators of the bombing were part of an “Islamic terrorism network” coordinated by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, or other Middle Eastern bogeymen.
[…]
Contrast those reactions with the media’s response to the massacre in Hebron. No analyst suggested that the event reflected the emergence of a global “Jewish threat. ” No terrorism expert was invited to discuss on “Nightline” or the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” the rise of a “global Zionist terrorism” organization manipulated, say, by the Israeli Mossad. No scholar alleged that the massacre by a Jewish settler suggested that Western and Jewish values were somehow incompatible.

If one really had wanted to apply the journalistic methods that were used in the case of the World Trade Center bombing, it would not have been so difficult, after reviewing the biography of Rabbi Meir Kahane by Robert I. Friedman, to point to the strong ties between Baruch Goldstein and the other “fanatics” in the Jewish settlements and members of the Israeli political establishment, especially in the Likud party. One could even have reminded American readers that Kiryat Arba, where Goldstein resided, was actually the brainchild of a pre-1977 Labor government.

Any analysis of public statements and writings by some of the major political and spiritual leaders of the Jewish settlers, including the rabbis who head the movement, would reveal a fanatical hatred and racist attitudes toward non-Jews in general, and Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

Instead, most journalists and analysts adopted the official Israeli line and described the massacre as an “isolated” case of Jewish “extremism,” an act of a “lone gunman,” a “lunatic,” a “madman” who does not represent Israeli society or, for that matter, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories. Journalists, like the Israeli government, stressed that killing of innocent civilians violates the moral tenets of Judaism.

The above was originally posted by Haitam Sabbah eight years ago.

AFTER 94 DAYS, ISRAEL STRIKES DEAL WITH PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKER

Image by Latuff

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist, has been in critical condition for days now, with doctors and rights groups repeatedly warning that he stood on the cusp of death.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist, has been in critical condition for days now, with doctors and rights groups repeatedly warning that he stood on the cusp of death.

Al-Qiq ends 94-day hunger strike after deal struck with Israel

Imprisoned Palestinian hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq on Friday ended a grueling 94-day hunger strike that has brought him close to death after his lawyers struck an eleventh hour deal with the Israeli authorities.

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, told Ma’an that while Israel had not agreed to al-Qiq’s immediate release, a “compromise” had been reached.

Israel’s six-month administrative detention sentence against al-Qiq will not be renewed, while his lawyers managed to push the date of his release back to May 21, he said.

The date will mark exactly six months since al-Qiq was detained from his home in Ramallah on Nov. 21, as opposed to six months from the date he was sentenced on Dec. 17.

“The military order will be the last one,” Fares said.

He added that al-Qiq would also be allowed visits from his family, including his wife, two children, and father.

Israel has also agreed to transfer the hunger-striker to any hospital in Israel, although Fares said they had not agreed to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist, has been in critical condition for days now, with doctors and rights groups repeatedly warning that he stood on the cusp of death.

He initially went on hunger strike in late November to protest the torture and ill-treatment he said he faced in Israeli custody, but his protest quickly developed into another bid to challenge Israel’s use of administrative detention — internment without trial or charge.

Numerous Palestinian prisoners have undertaken hunger strikes to protest the controversial practice, including last year Khader Adnan and Muhammad Allan, who were both close to death by the time Israel agreed to their release.

Their hunger strikes were far shorter than al-Qiq’s — standing at 55 days and 66 days respectively.

Fares warned earlier this month that the Israeli security establishment seemed less willing to negotiate on al-Qiq’s release, believing they had “nothing to lose” by allowing him to die.

Numerous international bodies, including the UN and European Union, condemned Israel for its continued incarceration of al-Qiq, as well its use of administrative detention for nearly 700 other Palestinian prisoners.

 

 

From  MA’AN NEWS AGENCY

 

COMING SOON ~~ PULITZER PRIZE WHISTLE BLOWERS JOIN FORCES TO EXPOSE THE OCCUPATION

The project, a joint initiative by “Breaking the Silence,” Peruvian Pulitzer Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Chabon, and Waldman, will host a delegation of authors on both sides of the Green Line this year to allow them to learn about the different aspects of Israel’s military presence in the Palestinian territories. The authors will visit West Bank villages and East Jerusalem, and will meet Israeli and Palestinian human rights activists, academics, and legal experts.

Surely to be a MUST read …. look for it soon

Joint initiative by ‘Breaking the Silence’ and writers brings renowned authors to Israel and the Palestinian territories for book on ’50 years of Israeli occupation’.

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Prominent international writers to write book on ‘occupation’

Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Michael Chabon and his wife, Israeli-American author Ayelet Waldman, plan to edit a literary project bringing together writers from all over the world over the world to write a book of essays on “50 years of Israeli occupation”  The book is scheduled be published in June 2017.

The project, a joint initiative by “Breaking the Silence,” Peruvian Pulitzer Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Chabon, and Waldman, will host a delegation of authors on both sides of the Green Line this year to allow them to learn about the different aspects of Israel’s military presence in the Palestinian territories. The authors will visit West Bank villages and East Jerusalem, and will meet Israeli and Palestinian human rights activists, academics, and legal experts.

The first delegation landed in Israel on Sunday and includes British author Hari Kunzru, American playwright Taiye Selasi, Irish author Eimar McBride, and Palestinian-Israeli playwright-author and journalist Ala Halihal.

Additional authors who intend to take part in the project include Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, American author and publisher David Vargas, Irish author Colm Toibin, American author Cheryl Strayed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, Norwegian author Lars Sobi Kristensen, American author Rachel Kushner, British author Tash Aw, and local authors Assaf Gavron, Raja Shahada, and Nir Baram.

So why are Chabon and Waldman participating in this project? “A short time after we met in 1992, we traveled to Israel,” Chabon told Ynet. “Even though Ayelet, the daughter of Canadian immigrants, was born in Israel, I had never visited previously.

“It was a time of cautious optimism about the Oslo Accords,” he added. “We visited friends and family and we made it to all the essential places including the Western Wall and Masada. We thought the trip would be one of many.

“In the more than 20 years that have passed since, the optimism of the Oslo Accords has disappeared, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered, and the occupation of the West Bank has expanded,” continued the prize-winning author. “We are also all shaken by the violent rhetoric from both sides and we did what many others stuck in the middle decided to do: We chose to live outside the discourse and distance ourselves from Israel.

“However, Ayelet returned to Israel and Palestine in May 2014 for the first time in two decades, and met with the courageous ‘Breaking the Silence’ group, which recently became the target of intense attacks by the Right,” said Chabon. “Its publication of soldiers’ narratives, describing their experiences in the West Bank and Gaza has made it difficult for the Netanyahu government to continue its deceitful campaign.

“And now things stand at a critical juncture,” he said. “The right-wing Netanyahu government is threatening to prosecute ‘Breaking the Silence’ for treason and forcing members of the organization to wear special tags when they come to the Knesset to meet with legislators. Jews are forcing other Jews to wear special tags. Jews are threatening other Jews with imprisonment and even death for expressing their point of view. The people carrying out these deeds do not even understand the astounding irony.

“We decided to mark 50 years of the occupation of the West Bank by collecting candid articles about life in the Palestinian Territories written by prominent authors from around the world,” Chabon explained. “We collected an amazing array of well-known stories to give life to the current situation. The articles will allow readers to understand the situation in Israel-Palestine in new and human way instead of the dark way it is portrayed in the news.”

 

Source

 

BRITAIN AND THE BDS MOVEMENT ~~ CONTRADICTIONS IN POLICY

Britain MUST make up its mind!

Britain MUST make up its mind!

If this is the case …..

British PM slams Israel: ‘Situation in East Jerusalem is genuinely shocking

David Cameron criticizes Israeli construction beyond the Green Line and the ‘effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem.’

British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed Israeli construction in East Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, saying the situation in the capital was “genuinely shocking.”

More HERE

Then WHY DID THEY GO FOR THIS?

Israel “quietly” pushed for anti-BDS legislation in US, UK

The Israeli government played a direct role in recent policy and legislative moves in the US, UK and other countries to suppress the free speech rights of citizens calling for the boycott of Israel over its human rights abuses.

Israel is now planning to significantly step up its efforts to thwart the Palestine solidarity movement, through its embassies in key capitals.

A 23 February article in Israel’s Ynet takes to task Israeli politicians for making too much public noise about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

It cites as an example the fuss Israeli politicians made about the “subvertisements” Palestine solidarity activists placed on the London Underground this week.

Ynet claims that Israeli politicians helped the activists achieve their goal by giving them free publicity.

“The government, which prefers to deal with BDS activists quietly and under the radar, is now forced to deal with local politicians who threaten to ‘hijack’ this work to serve their local political interests,” the article states.

“Successes”

While it is no surprise that Israel and its lobby groups are backing the heavy-handed censorship of the Palestine solidarity movement around the world, Ynet provides confirmation of the Israeli foreign ministry’s direct lobbying and political interference in domestic legislation in several countries.

“In cooperation with Jewish and pro-Israeli organizations, the ministry convinced several American states to pass legislation against the boycott of Israel,” Ynet states.

This is a reference to a raft of federal and state-level legislation that aims to penalize companies or blacklist individuals who support boycott or divestment from Israeli or other companies or institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

Human rights defenders say the initiatives violate a landmark US Supreme Court ruling that boycotts and related activities to bring about political, social and economic change are political speech, occupying “the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

The Israeli government is also claiming credit for new UK regulations aimed at stopping public bodies, including democratically elected local municipalities and public universities, from boycotting Israel.

“The Israeli embassy in London succeeded through quiet and effective work in convincing the British government to pass a directive prohibiting municipalities and public bodies from taking decisions to boycott Israel,” Ynet reports.

The policy is not an outright ban, but threatens public bodies with civil court cases which could result in “severe penalties” if they take ethical investment or purchasing decisions to exclude companies from World Trade Organization member states that violate human rights.

Israel is a member of the World Trade Organization.

Riya Hassan of the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that the government of Prime Minister David Cameron “is going further than Margaret Thatcher ever went to defend South African apartheid.”

Ynet cites other “successes” for Israel’s anti-human-rights strategy, in Luxembourg, Sweden and France, including a vote by the Paris city council to condemn the BDS movement.

“An additional specialization of Israeli embassies is the use of existing legislation against boycott: in several countries there exists legislation against boycott and discrimination,” Ynet observes. “The embassies were requested to check how it is possible to use local law to curtail boycott initiatives.”

Ramping up

Israel’s efforts to sabotage and attack the BDS movement are not new.

It is already known, for instance, that Israeli military intelligence spies on “overseas organizations” that advocate BDS as a strategy to support Palestinian rights.

And in 2013, Israel beefed up its London embassy with staff dedicated to fighting BDS.

According to Ynet, these kinds of efforts are about to be dramatically ramped up.

Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Gilad Erdan as minister with the responsibility to combat the movement for Palestinian rights, and armed him with a budget of $30 million.

Following the London Underground posters incident, Erdan announced that he intends to allocate $1 million “to create ten BDS coordinator positions in important Israeli embassies throughout the world,” Ynet states.

“The coordinators will collect and coordinate information from the ground concerning boycott movement threats” and “will further assist in promoting projects for positive Israel branding.”

As part of this work, Ynet reports, Israel will “hire local citizens – Jews and non-Jews – who will work in the framework of the Israeli embassies.”

Pushing back

While there is no doubt that Israel’s bullying and harassment of those calling for full rights for Palestinians is going to increase, it is doubtful that it will do much to gain Israel any public sympathy.

Israel’s problem is not the marketing, but the product: brutally enforced occupation, settler-colonialism, war crimes and state-sanctioned racism.

As long as Israel is unwilling to end these practices, it will only generate more opposition both to its policies and its smear and censorship tactics.

In the latest example, 22 Jewish academics, artists and activists published a letter in The Guardian objecting to bogus claims of anti-Semitism made by anti-Palestinian activists after the Oxford University Labour Club decided to support Israeli Apartheid Week.

“Those who deliberately confuse anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism give comfort and aid to the real anti-Semites in our society,” the letter states. “Like the boy who cried wolf, they ensure that if anti-Semitism does rear its ugly head, people will assume that this is just another false accusation.”

Connie Hackbarth contributed translation.

TELL OSCAR NOMINEES TO SAY NO TO APARTHEID

unnamed (6)

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is offering this year’s Oscar nominees a free VIP trip to Israel worth $50,000.

This is a cynical and desperate attempt by the Israeli government to fight its increasing international isolation with bribes to celebrities.

Take action: ask Oscar nominees to reject Israel’s propaganda tour

Oscar nominees Mark Rylance and Asif Kapadia have already promised not to visit Israel professionally.

An Israeli government press release admits the whitewash: “If they do indeed accept the invitation, their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans and followers, including social media.”

As the Washington Post said, the initiative is a response to the growing strength of the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Join us in asking Oscar nominees not to help Israel whitewash its crimes

The Academy has sought to distance itself from the initiative by filing a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the company distributing the luxury gift bag, which includes the trip to Israel.

Musician Brian Eno summed up the irony of sending celebrities to Israel at a time of increased repression against Palestinians: “Visit Palestine! Enjoy a tear-gas filled weekend in an East Jerusalem ghetto!”

Tell Oscar nominees to act with conscience and #SkipTheTrip to Israel

Many thanks,
Palestinain BDS National Committee

 

THE MOST PATHETIC ATTEMPT EVER TO DISCREDIT BDS

bible-Screen-Shot-2016-02-22-at-11.51.17-AM

I was not able to upload the video in question, instead it is linked below …. it is a MUST watch if you want to see the desperate attempts by supporters in the ‘Christian’ Camp to discredit the entire BDS Movement . The video has gone viral since they posted it two days ago.

It is most entertaining …. you will get a kick out of it for sure.

They call it 

The video that literally just blew the BDS movement to smithereens!

Click HERE to see the video in question ….

THE BELL TOLLS FOR THE 1st AMENDMENT IN CHICAGO

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

ZIONISTS LITERALLY KILL THE 1st AMENDMENT

Despite the Lamar Advertising Company’s policy of defending the 1st Amendment ….

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

*
…. A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

The billboard in question ....

The billboard in question ….

Company to Remove Chicago Billboard Calling for Israel Boycott

Bella Ciao :(

Bella Ciao😦

A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

Lamar Advertising, which leases billboards throughout the country, announced in a Facebook post on Friday that it would remove the billboard “as soon as possible.” Earlier in the day, also in a statement on Facebook, the company said it had received a “large number” of social media comments and hundreds of telephone calls protesting the billboard located on a major highway about five miles from O’Hare Airport.

The billboard sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, or SEAMAC, is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. It reads: “Boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights.”

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

“We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views and would also support the right of those who disagree with SEAMAC.”

After saying it would take down the billboard, Lamar said it “tried to contact SEAMAC to discuss these issues but have not received a reply to our telephone and email messages.”

In a post Saturday night on Facebook, SEAMAC said it received one phone call from Lamar Advertising, early in the morning due to the time difference between Seattle and Chicago, and that there were no emails or other attempts by the company to contact the organization.

The group is raising money to put the ad on public buses in several U.S. cities.

Only YOU can get a stay of execution by ….

A TASTE OF PALESTINE AT MY DOORSTEP

Supporting the BDS Movement , boycotting Israeli products, specifically those from the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories is a great way to help the growing economy of Palestine and showing your solidarity with its people.

But now, thanks to the initiatives of the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement, you can purchase products made in Palestine itself. They created a ‘shopping site’ called PALBOX

Ordering from them is one of the greatest ways of showing solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially its farmers and those involved in cultural activities.

Palestine is literally across the road from where I live, but the infamous wall and checkpoints make it impossible for me to go on a shopping spree there, so I ordered from PALBOX and my treasures arrived today ….

The box you will find at your doorstep ...

The box you will find at your doorstep …

The treasures inside included …..

Palestinian Olive Oil

oil-2

The olive tree is the virtual lifeline of Palestine, hence it is one of the major targets for destruction by zionism itself. Some of the trees are over a thousand years old and have provided a livelihood for hundreds of Palestinian families. Every drop of oil in the bottle is precious and represents all that Palestine stands for.

Also included were 2 bars of Olive Oil Soap ….

100% pure olive oil soap from Palestinian olive trees. No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin, just the gentile and moisturizing properties of olive oil.

 No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin.

That’s not all …..

Za’atar

Za'atar (thyme)

Za’atar (thyme)

No better way to enhance the taste of your salads and enjoy the taste of Palestine itself.

HERE are some easy recipes that I found online using Za’atar.

And from the Artistic Community ….

A beautiful handcrafted necklace made by Katie Miranda, resident cartoonist at Mondoweiss. Many of her works appeared on the pages of this Blog.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Katie studied the art of Arabic calligraphy with a master calligrapher while on a three year Solidarity Mission to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement.

The necklace would be a perfect gift for the special woman in your life.

Her beautiful creations can be ordered separately from THIS site

And finally …. a treasure to enjoy over and over again ….

From Palestinian Artists …. a Gift of Music

Included is an album of music sung but Dr. Haidar Eid, BDS activist, and professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University.

Thanks to the electronic media, the cultural treasures of Palestine cannot be blocked by any wall or blockade. Become a part of this.

Here’s how to get your virtual treasure box ….

Click HERE to get to PALBOX’s order page.

Keep the following in mind when you order ….

Palbox helps Palestinian farmers, artists and artisans, as well as entire communities that benefit from Fair Trade community development. Second, downloadable music and visual art bypasses the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and provides a living for Palestinians under siege. 100% of your purchase goes to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, which has been participating in Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli repression since 2001.

The songs are dedicated to the courage and resistance of the Palestinian people on the journey to justice and freedom. All proceeds from sales of the songs will be donated to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

The ISM is a Palestinian led movement dedicated to resisting the Israeli occupation through non-violent means. In addition, Norcal ISM pays bail money for Palestinians arrested for political reasons, and gives travel grants to volunteers going to Palestine. 

Is there a better way to support the Palestinian Cause? I think not!

This page with it’s links will remain on the SideBar for future reference

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS THE DEATH PENALTY IN ISRAEL

Despite it’s claims to the contrary, there IS the death penalty in Israel as can be seen in the following report that you won’t read about in the Western Media …

Israeli court’s decision may be death sentence for hunger striker

Al-Qiq, who works for the Saudi news agency Al-Majd, began his hunger strike in November, shortly after Israeli authorities arrested him. Following his interrogation, Israel put him in administrative detention.

Human rights organizations and UN officials have called on Israel to charge or release al-Qiq, who is one of 660 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders handed down by a military court.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Despite his critical condition, journalist captive Mohammad al-Qiq refuses to bow.

Despite his critical condition, journalist captive Mohammad al-Qiq refuses to bow.

Israel’s high court today confirmed its refusal to free Muhammad al-Qiq, the gravely ill Palestinian journalist who has been on hunger strike for 84 days.

The judges held a closed session Tuesday morning, adjourned for several hours, and then issued their decision.

In response to the decision, al-Qiq reportedly told his supporters and his family to be “patient and steadfast.”

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, whose lawyers represent al-Qiq, sent a brief statement to media confirming the court’s rejection of al-Qiq’s request to be allowed to receive treatment in a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The court’s hearing likely marked a last chance for al-Qiq, who is now too weak to receive visitors, according to sources at the hospital where he is being held.

Doctors have said that al-Qiq could die at any moment. By all accounts his life remains at imminent risk.

“Death sentence”

Yousef Jabareen, a member of Israel’s parliament for the Joint List, called the court’s decision a “death sentence.”

“Instead of canceling the administrative detention to save al-Qiq’s life, the court once again succumbed to the diktats of the security agencies and set aside humanitarian considerations,” Jabareen added in a statement sent to media.

Al-Qiq has vowed not to give up his strike unless he is freed.

On Monday, a video was circulated on social media showing al-Qiq in his hospital bed, crying out from severe pain.

Earlier on Monday, the high court rejected a petition from al-Qiq to be transferred to Ramallah, but it ruled that he could go to al-Makassed hospital in occupied East Jerusalem. It gave him until Tuesday to consider the offer.

But al-Qiq rejected the offer immediately, because it did not meet his condition to be released and go where he chooses.

Al-Qiq has insisted that he be allowed to return to the West Bank and receive treatment in a Palestinian hospital.

No compromise

While the court considered its decision on Tuesday, Palestinian Prisoners Club attorney Jawad Boulos told mediathat Israeli military prosecutors had said in the hearing that they could not allow al-Qiq to go to Ramallah, where he would be outside Israel’s direct control, and could therefore represent a “threat” to its security.

Boulos said he responded that currently al-Qiq is not under guard at the hospital in Afula, in the north of present-day Israel, and is able to speak to whoever he wants, which would also be the case in Ramallah.

Boulos added that al-Qiq and his family had also agreed that he could be monitored by Palestinian Authority security for the remainder of his administrative detention period, which ends in May.

On 4 February, Israel’s high court suspended al-Qiq’s administrative detention but ordered him to remain in the HaEmek hospital in Afula to receive medical treatment.

But al-Qiq rejected the suspension, refusing to be treated by Israeli authorities as long as he was not free to leave. It is also unclear what the suspension meant in practice, since al-Qiq has remained effectively an Israeli prisoner.

Al-Qiq, who works for the Saudi news agency Al-Majd, began his hunger strike in November, shortly after Israeli authorities arrested him. Following his interrogation, Israel put him in administrative detention.

Human rights organizations and UN officials have called on Israel to charge or release al-Qiq, who is one of 660 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders handed down by a military court.

NO UNILATERAL ISRAELI PATH TO TWO STATES

If Israel’s leadership is serious about reaching a two-state solution, the road is defined and clear. It requires that Israelis grapple with the real interests and demands of Palestinians as of equal substance and value to their own, rather than wishing them away.

No unilateral Israeli path to two states

By Sam Bahour FOR

palestinian_flag004_16x9

The composition and track record of the current Israeli government leads Palestinians to expect very little from Israel in the way of advancing peace. After five decades of military occupation, and repeated failures of two decades of bilateral negotiations based on the Oslo Accords, there is a clear need for new ideas. But the proposals offered by Amos Yadlin’s post last month, “Two states, four paths for achieving them,” do not accord with basic realities on the Palestinian side, and as such do not offer a viable pathway to a two-state outcome.

Yadlin’s argument is premised on the belief that a negotiated two-state outcome is not possible today because of a Palestinian refusal to engage. He argues: “It appears that in 2016, the Palestinians do not view a two-state solution…as a preferred outcome.” Palestinians, by contrast, see their leaders’ actions, like the November 2012 UN General Assembly resolution that accorded Palestine observer state status, as efforts to save the two-state solution in the face of Israeli actions that undermine it.

The outcome Yadlin offers as one that would meet Israel’s needs would require Palestinians to forfeit basic components of statehood and basic principles of Israeli-Palestinian peace that are enshrined in international law, such as the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their or their families’ places of origin in what is today Israel.

Similarly, Yadlin calls for Palestinians to accept “limitations on their sovereignty” to meet Israeli security concerns. From a Palestinian perspective, though, that sovereignty has been systematically constrained already by Israeli policies, including annexation of territory and the expanding settlement enterprise. These are but two examples of divergent viewpoints between Israelis and Palestinians that doom each of the “four paths” Mr. Yadlin proposes to reach a two-state solution.

Each of Yadlin’s proposed paths for Israel—negotiations toward a final status agreement (with the expectation that they would fail due to Palestinian intransigence), pursuing a regional agreement, seeking an interim bilateral agreement, and taking unilateral action—is problematic.

“A negotiation process resulting in a final status agreement” – The Oslo Peace Accords and the 20 years of unconsummated negotiations that followed were an intensive effort to achieve just that. However, they failed in part because they did not address the fundamental asymmetry between the parties to those accords—Palestinians recognized a state, and Israel, in turn, recognized the representative body of a national movement seeking its right to self-determination.

If Israelis were serious about two states, and heeded lessons from the failed interim agreements of the Oslo process, a good starting point would be for Israel to reciprocate the political recognition of Israel that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) made back in 1993. Israel’s recognition of the state of Palestine is long overdue, especially after more than 130 countries—including the Vatican—have done so.

This symmetrical recognition would also define the end game upfront as the outcome to which both sides are already formally committed—and then both sides can spend their negotiating energies on realizing two states living in peace.

“A regional agreement” – The notion that a regional track could substitute for the bilateral track suggests a failure to learn from the past. At many points throughout the history of this conflict, Israeli politicians and policymakers have sought to transfer the Palestinian issue onto other regional states—as in the Camp David I agreement with Egypt, or the suggestion that Palestinians should instead create their state in Jordan, a sovereign country.

It is positive that Mr. Yadlin seems to embrace the Arab Peace Initiative (API) as a means for progress toward two states—but it can only play the role he envisions if it morphs into something it is not.

The API is not a starting point for negotiations, but rather terms of reference for an agreement that Arab states would recognize as sufficient to gain Israel normalization within the Middle East. As such, Yadlin’s call for an “updated version” in which the “plan should be decoupled from the issue of the [occupied] Golan Heights” and “not be conditional on a solution to the refugee problem according to U.N. Security Council Resolution 194 from 1949,” do not take into account Arab governments’ own interests in these issues. Regional peace for Israel is unattainable without Israel first making peace with Palestinians.

“An interim bilateral agreement” – When Palestinians accepted the interim agreements of the Oslo bilateral process, there were 100,000 illegal settlers on the ground. Two decades of negotiations has left us with over 500,000 settlers and with the Palestinian community in the West Bank and Gaza further fragmented and battered. This is why the Palestinian leadership has been crystal clear in rejecting another interim agreement.

Without more than verbal commitments to a viable two-state solution, and without a clear pathway to get there, another interim agreement would only allow Israel to create more “facts on the ground” that would preclude such a solution. It is hard to understand how such a proposal would offer Palestinians any hope of progress, given the experience of the past two decades.

“In the case a negotiated agreement cannot be realized, an independent Israeli determination of its own borders” – It is even harder to understand how a unilateral Israeli determination of its own borders could, as Yadlin argues, “reinforce the agreed two-state solution paradigm,” especially because this would likely require massive Israeli military force (along with continued blind support from the United States) to create more facts on the ground. It’s understandable why Israelis would prefer to negotiate this conflict with themselves rather than engage with their adversaries, but it is the vast disparity in power between Israelis and Palestinians, not the logic of conflict resolution, that gives Israelis the realistic ability to do so. Still, this does not mean that unilateral decisions by Israel will one day find support among Palestinians.

It’s understandable why Israelis would prefer to negotiate this conflict with themselves rather than engage with their adversaries, but it is the vast disparity in power between Israelis and Palestinians, not the logic of conflict resolution, that gives Israelis the realistic ability to do so.

It is the nature of international conflicts that they can “end” only in one of two ways: either the two parties agree to a solution that meets their mutual interests, or the side with greater power dictates, imposes, and enforces an outcome over the objections of the weaker side. In proposing unilateralism as a “solution,” Yadlin abandons the more sustainable former pathway for the latter, which I see as doomed.

If Israel’s leadership is serious about reaching a two-state solution, the road is defined and clear. It requires that Israelis grapple with the real interests and demands of Palestinians as of equal substance and value to their own, rather than wishing them away. Equality can be achieved in two, truly independent states; or this conflict will default to a single state—as warned by President Obama and Secretary Kerry—marred by a civil rights struggle that may take another 70 years to bear fruition, but whose result is pre-defined.

TRYING TO CROSS THE ‘FLYING CHECKPOINT’ IN PALESTINE

There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.

Hizma flying checkpoint

Hizma flying checkpoint

Biodiversity and terrorism

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

I was with two of my students and an International visitor heading to Birzeit for our first class in biodiversity this semester on Saturday when we got selected for search at an Israeli “flying checkpoint”.  There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.  In this case a long line of cars were held at Hizma.  When it was our turn, a young Israeli younger than my son told me to stop.  I said can I pull to the side to let other cars pass.  He said no.  There were several of them young recruits dressed in police uniforms and in army uniforms.   In the occupied territories the two services are indistinguishable and operate as one fascist occupation force.  Another Israeli was nearby so I said why can’t I pull to the side.  He turned over to his commanding officer who nodded his agreement.  Then the officer asked me to pull onto the circle in the middle of the road.  They asked for all our ID cards and handed them to another person who went to check them via his computer.  Then they demanded each of us get out of the car in turns.  My students in the back first, then the international visitor, then me.  Some of the uniformed occupiers pointed their guns at us while others demanded we empty all our pockets and frisked us.

They searched the car and they flipped through the camera memory to see all our pictures. They were saying things in Hebrew and I was telling them repeatedly we do not speak Hebrew and that we can speak in English or Arabic to them.  I think they all understood English and at least two showed they understood Arabic after persistence from us.  I repeatedly asked in Arabic and in English why we were picked on.  One occupier said it is because he liked the shape of my car!  When I turned to a female soldier and asked her the same question and adding “are we living in a fascist state,” she merely shrugged her shoulders and said “he liked your car”.  They did not smile but I did, which seemed to irritate them.  Ryan was asked if he smokes anything and why is he here.  Then they asked him “do you like Palestinians,” to which he answered “I like all people!”  After delaying us for half an hour, they handed our ID cards to the international visitor and let us go.  For me, I was used to this.  One of my students (also a museum employee) is from an isolated village of Nahhalin which is frequently closed off has also been frisked and checked many times in the past.  His village was closed in the last three days and he sleeps in Bethlehem instead.  My other student (also a museum employee) and the international visitor had never experienced such harassment.  We joked later that this was a “good taste” of colonial occupation for them.

We discussed how these are really mild experiences compared to others.  For example, for the first five weeks of 2016, Israel demolished an average of 30 Palestinian structures weekly, displacing an average of 66 persons a week (this is three times the weekly average than that in 2015).  Palestinian young people as young as 12 continue to be murdered by Israeli occupation forces almost every other day.  Israeli soldiers carry knives in their backpacks to plant as “evidence” against many Palestinians they murder.  But there is growing Palestinian desperation.  Israeli occupation forces currently hold hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge (“administrative detentions”.)  At least one of those who has been held for nearly three months is on hunger strike (taking only water and salt.)  He will likely die in the next couple of days if Israel does not release him (Mohammad Al-Qeeq).  The Israeli Knesset continues to add racist laws to an already long list of racist laws (over 50) that discriminate against non-Jewish “nominal citizens”. This is not counting hundreds of military orders that discriminate against us who are not considered “nominal citizens” in our own country occupied by individuals with a superiority-inferiority complex gathered from around he world under the banner of Zionism.

Gaza’s situation is far worse than the West Bank and Gaza prisoners get no family visits and the Strip is besieged and starved of basic supplies.  Most of the tunnels that “smuggled” humanitarian supplies have been destroyed.  A slip of the tongue by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Egypt’s new policy of flooding the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula with seawater had come at Israel’s request.  The promise of rebuilding after Israel’s last genocidal attack on Gaza never materialized.  We shudder to think that it is again time for Israel to test new weapons on the Gaza “laboratory”. Israel’s largest “export” is weapons-related technology, and Israeli leaders have to “test” their weapons on the nearly two million captives in the open air prison called Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Fatah and later Hamas have taken the bait/infection of “Oslo process” believing it is possible to have an authority under occupation.  Here in teh West Bank many good Fatah leaders admit to us privately that they do not support the president whose erm expired years ago and who firest anyone who criticizes him. Yet he takes unilateral decisions to join the despots in “Saudi Arabia” and his speeches are frequently dotted with statements like “we have our hands stretched for peace.. we stop any armed resistance..we arrest activists… we believe only in peaceful demonstrations…ask [beg] the US and International community to exercise its responsibilities .. etc”.  Contrast this with what Ho Chi Minh once said: “Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.”  Or what Martin Luther King Jr said from Birmingham jail: “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate…who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'” Or even what Yasser Arafat said during the siege in Beirut or when Israel was pounding his last two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters “we will have freedom or die as martyrs”.

It is hard to cope with political leaders who do not seem to push strong enough but it is harder to deal state terrorism (which is far more devastating than individual terrorism). I (almost) retain sanity by staying busy (teaching plus other volunteer jobs including directing the Palestine Museum of Natural History, clinical laboratory work, writing, lecturing on Palestine, visitor guiding, research, and more.)  Birzeit University where I teach (more coach) a Biodiversity course is a beautiful campus with great students and faculty.  Before class, and having been delayed at the flying checkpoint, my two students had to rush to finish their work on “fruit flies/Drosophila”.  Spring is here and he gardens are blooming. The smell of freshly dug air mixes with the smell of almond blossoms. Good people and good food ameliorate life under occupation.  It helps to have a larger cause than one self.  Like MLK Jr and Steven Biko and Malcolm X, we are some times bewildered by the people around (including internationals and Palestinians) who show signs of “mental occupation” or are simply apathetic. But I would like to focus on those who have freed their minds and are helping others do the same.  There are literally millions of points of light out there.  We do not “win” over the darkness but it is those lights that make life meaningful. My own students (at Bethlehem Bible College, Birziet, and Bethlehem University) are also lights. For all those points of light we say thank you.

Here are a few lights expressing via writing “We are not just numbers”

And here is a timeline of positive actions using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) done in 2015 as examples of points of light

Having humility to recognize all these lights can help us amplify our own small light.

If you want to help in lighting our small candle locally, please see this

Photoassay of colonialism

 

ACTION: The UK and US government are introducing new rules that would prevent local councils from supporting BDS.

If you live in the UK, please take action to stop the government doing this.
In the US, please write your representative

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