FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

“We were also suspended and got a couple of videos removed over a month ago. The new thing we have noticed is that pictures/videos can now be removed by Facebook even if they follow the so called community standards. This is scary because soon we will not be able to post anything, it seems. So yes we do believe Facebook’s pro-Israel policy is tightening the noose around our freedom of speech.”

Facebook censors cartoon critical of Israel

The Palestine Information Center (PIC), an independent Palestinian news website and network had their Facebook page temporarily suspended for publishing a 2009 cartoon by Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. The graphic shows a woman walking and carrying a wounded child in front of an Israeli flag with one of the blue banners of the flag covering her mouth. Latuff’s text issued a warning:  “SHHHHHHHHHH!!! Denouncing Israeli War Crimes Is Anti-Semitism“.

This is not a far flung radical concept since criticism of Israel and/or issues relating to the U.S. relationship to Israel, including criticism or mention of the Israel lobby are continually lambasted as anti-Semitic. The examples are endless, even President Obama was accused of anti Semitism.

Recalling the war crimes committed during those gruesome 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 people, including over 300 children — articulated in the Goldstone Report (pdf) released in September 2009 — I asked Latuff if there was a specific incident that prompted him to draw the cartoon in 2009. “Nope, not a specific incident, just to highlight the censorship often found on Internet related to everything critical to Israel”.

Accusations of anti Semitism are, arguably, the very first line of defense by Israel’s ardent defenders. But draw or publish a cartoon about it? Censored on Facebook:

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Rami Salaam, an administrator of PIC’s English Facebook page told Mondoweiss “Cartoons are usually targeted by Facebook more than anything else. Maybe because they appeal to people everywhere. Latuff’s cartoons are widely shared on our page and maybe that is why it was removed.”

PIC was not warned or notified prior to the removal of the cartoon. “It just disappeared” according to Salaam. He continued, “When we tried to login we got a message saying that that cartoon was removed because it violates Facebook polices and that our account that posted the cartoon is suspended for 3 days. – The reason for the deletion and suspension is fickle and meaningless because the cartoon is not graphic nor does it incite any kind of violence. The reason given is “We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.” They also threatened to delete the whole page.”

I asked Salaam if this was an isolated incident and he mentioned PIC was suspended for a day two weeks ago for posting this photograph of “an Orthodox Jew and his daughter both carrying guns.” He sent me this screenshot:

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“We were also suspended and got a couple of videos removed over a month ago. The new thing we have noticed is that pictures/videos can now be removed by Facebook even if they follow the so called community standards. This is scary because soon we will not be able to post anything, it seems. So yes we do believe Facebook’s pro-Israel policy is tightening the noose around our freedom of speech.”

Facebook Community Standards can be viewed here.

During her trip to the U.S. in November 2015, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with representatives of YouTube and Google to discuss ways her ministry could “cooperate” against “inflammatory material” she claimed was inciting violence and terror attacks. Curiously, recently I searched for current videos of Israeli violence against Palestinians on both Google and Youtube and the only videos readily available dated back to last October, nothing current. Strange.

The only vulgarity about this cartoon is the truth it helps expose. Responding to the news Facebook had removed his cartoon Latuff tweeted “This censorship proves EXACTLY the point of cartoon“. How ironic.

 

AFTERMATH OF STUPIDITY ~~ ‘LEFTIST’ ARRESTED IN ISRAEL TRYING TO FLEE COUNTRY

Read THIS post first to get a background

Israeli Activist Says He Helps Kill Palestinians Who Sell Land to Jews

A man whose actions must not be condoned! Ezra Nawi. Photo from WIkimedia Commons

A man whose actions must not be condoned!
Ezra Nawi. Photo from WIkimedia Commons

‘Pot calling kettle black’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Friday that the report “unmasked radicals among us, whose hatred for settlements has pushed them over the edge to the point of delivering innocents for torture and execution. Those who encourage murder cannot continue to hide behind the hypocritical pretense of caring for human rights.”

Far-left activist at center of storm arrested trying to leave country

Ezra Nawi, filmed in television expose saying he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill those who sell land to Jews, is stopped at airport

A key figure from a left-wing Israeli group was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport on Monday as he tried to leave the country, days after being filmed in a television investigation that has rocked the halls of power.

Ezra Nawi, a Jewish far-left activist from the Ta’ayush group, is reportedly suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Nawi, a prominent campaigner for Palestinian rights, featured in a television investigation last week in which he was recorded saying that he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill Palestinians who sell land to Jews.

Channel 2 reported Monday that during the afternoon police who were watching the suspect followed him to the airport. Although at first officers assumed he was going to meet incoming travelers, it soon became clear he was trying to leave the country as he tried to check in for a flight.

Police arrested Nawi and took him away for questioning.

Police confirmed they arrested a leftist activist but declined to give his name, though it was carried in several media reports and revealed by two lawmakers not bound by secrecy rules.

A recording of Nawi was aired on Thursday by the investigative television program Uvda, on Israel’s Channel 2.

In it, Nawi is heard speaking about four Palestinian real estate sellers, whom Nawi said mistook him for a Jew interested in buying their property.

“Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” Nawi is heard saying in reference to the Palestinian Authority’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”

The broadcast sparked a political storm, with right-wing politicians and activists pointing to it as proof that left-wing groups are not necessarily interested in human rights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Friday that the report “unmasked radicals among us, whose hatred for settlements has pushed them over the edge to the point of delivering innocents for torture and execution. Those who encourage murder cannot continue to hide behind the hypocritical pretense of caring for human rights.”

In the Palestinian Authority, the penal code calls for capital punishment for anyone convicted of selling land to Jews. This law, which Palestinian officials defended as designed to prevent takeovers by settlers, has not been implemented in Palestinian courts, where sellers of land to Jews are usually sentenced to several years in prison.

A number of murders in recent years have been rumored to be related to the sale of land to Israelis, though the murders have remained unsolved.

Nawi was also documented obtaining information from a Palestinian who believed Nawi was a Jew interested in purchasing land. Nawi is seen saying he intends to give that information to Palestinian security officials as well. According to Uvda, an activist with the human rights group B’Tselem helped Nawi set up the would-be seller in a sting operation in which the seller would be arrested.

The recordings and footage were collected by right-wing activists who secretly recorded Nawi.

 

Source

IF BDS IS FAILING, WHY THE FUSS OVER IT?

Maybe because it’s not failing at all!

Despite what the zios have to say about it

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation sees the alarm shown by Israel lobby groups and their legislative supporters as “recognition of just how much of an impact this movement is having.”

“I take it as a sign that the BDS movement is on the right track and is gaining traction — and is being taken seriously by policy elites in this country,” Ruebner added. “Clearly the authors of these resolutions are fearful of the boycott movement because they understand the writing on the wall.”

New York bill would create official blacklist of Israel boycott supporters

A law being proposed in New York would create an official blacklist of supporters of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Legal experts and activists say the measure is reminiscent of the McCarthy era and could have drastic consequences for individuals, organizations or firms who engage with the campaign to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

Anti-BDS legislation was also introduced this week in California.

Two New York bills — one introduced in the state senate and another in the assembly — would require the state government to “develop, using credible information available to the public, a list of persons it determines boycotts [sic] Israel.”

Individuals or entities included on the state’s blacklist would be barred from partnering with state agencies unless they can demonstrate in a written statement that they are “not engaged in boycotting Israel.”

State pension funds would also be prohibited from investing in institutions that have divested from Israel.

Activists with the Palestine Solidarity Collective in New York are collecting signatures for a petition to lawmakers against the bill.

Nearly two dozen North America-based activist organizations are opposing the legislation.

Drastic ramifications

The New York bills are “the most egregious, most McCarthyite, most obvious violations of people’s First Amendment rights,” Josh Ruebner, policy director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told The Electronic Intifada.

If passed into law, the measure could hit local organizations that provide essential community services. Church groups, for example, that may belong to denominations which have passed boycott or divestment resolutions, often receive state funds to provide social programs such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

“Does that mean that all these churches will become ineligible to feed the hungry?” Ruebner asked.

A separate resolution pending in New York, HR-567, would condemn the European Union’s decision to accurately label goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Last year, Illinois adopted a first in the nation an anti-boycott law that established a screening mechanism to compel the state’s pension board to exclude foreign corporations that have adopted BDS guidelines.

Ruebner said that the Illinois law is now a nationwide model for anti-BDS legislation.

Boycotting the boycotters

In California, financial planner turned ultra-conservative Republican legislator Travis Allen introduced legislation on Monday that seeks to punish businesses that engage with the boycott of Israel.

One bill, AB-1551, explicitly targets the BDS movement and would in effect impose a state boycott of businesses or financial institutions in retaliation for any boycott of Israel.

State pension funds would also be required to pull investments from companies that divest because of human rights concerns.

The second bill, AB-1552, does not mention Israel by name but would prohibit any public entity from entering into a contract unless the contractor agrees not to boycott a member state of the World Trade Organization.

Allen’s anti-BDS bill labels boycotts as “discriminatory business practices,” echoing claims used by the Israeli government that the BDS movement singles out Israel.

In fact, boycott has been used as a tactic against many countries as well as within the United States. The US Supreme Court found in a landmark 1982 ruling on a case dating from the Civil Rights era that the right to use economic boycotts to pursue political ends is free speech protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

In a press release announcing the introduction of his bills, Allen praises the “unique bond” between the US and Israel.

He also notes that “California is home to an estimated 2,000,000 Jewish residents,” in effect conflating Jews with Israel.

Allen made Israel advocacy a major part of his campaign for a California state assembly seat in 2012.

He traveled to present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank where he affirmed his Christian Zionist belief that Israel has “a divine right to the whole land, which includes Judea and Samaria” — the term Israel uses for the West Bank.

On a return visit in April 2015, Allen drank wine with leaders in the Israeli settlement of Har Bracha near Nablus.

Allen also boasts of his support for a number of Israel lobby groups including AIPAC, StandWithUs and organizations that fundraise for the Israeli army.

As one of his first acts as a state lawmaker, Allen co-authored HR-35, a resolution conflating criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses.

Claims of anti-Semitism

In addition to Illinois, several states have passed anti-BDS laws or condemnatory resolutions in the last year, including South Carolina and Tennessee.

An anti-BDS resolution that passed in Florida last month — which was backed by a major Christian Zionist organizationclaims that the BDS movement “is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitic perspectives and advocating the elimination of the Jewish State.”

A similar resolution passed in Indiana last year claimed that BDS promotes a climate of “hatred, intimidation, intolerance and violence against Jews.”

As of September 2015, more than two dozen anti-BDS bills and resolutions had been introduced at the local, state and federal level, according to Palestine Legal.

“Stigmatizing and suppressing”

Israel has made it no secret that it views BDS as a major strategic threat, and the scale of the pushback by its allies in the US is one indicator of panic about the growing momentum of this grassroots movement.

But activists from California to New York are already organizing to oppose this kind of legislation.

“Essentially, these bills are more in a series of measures of all sorts — by legislatures, on campuses, elsewhere — to try to undermine meaningful opposition to Israeli policies and US support for them by stigmatizing and suppressing speech and nonviolent action in support of Palestinians’ rights,” David Mandel, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and activist with Jewish Voice for Peace, told The Electronic Intifada.

“It’s not saying that you can’t speak freely, or that you can’t boycott — it’s saying that if you do, then you’re going to be penalized by not getting the benefits of economic relationships with the state or its pension funds or other affiliated institutions,” Mandel said.

This legislation is an attempt to “burden free speech,” Mandel added, which is something that activists and constitutional rights attorneys will challenge.

The laws being passed or proposed cannot directly prevent people from taking action or exercising speech on Palestinian rights issues, Mandel stressed.

“The First Amendment is fortunately still pretty strong, and none of this can or should deter individuals from speaking out and organizing or being active on a policy level or promoting boycotts or divestment,” he said.

Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation sees the alarm shown by Israel lobby groups and their legislative supporters as “recognition of just how much of an impact this movement is having.”

“I take it as a sign that the BDS movement is on the right track and is gaining traction — and is being taken seriously by policy elites in this country,” Ruebner added. “Clearly the authors of these resolutions are fearful of the boycott movement because they understand the writing on the wall.”

THE TIMES ACTUALLY FOUND THIS ‘FIT TO PRINT’

The justification for an academic boycott — which targets institutions, not individual scholars — stems from the peculiar relationship between Israel’s educational system and its broader structures of racism.

Daily life in Jerusalem

Palestinian students play with a ball in front of the landmark Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on Dec. 9, 2015. (Atef Safadi / EPA)

Why Israel’s schools merit a U.S. boycott

By Saree Makdisi*

At its annual convention this week, the Modern Language Assn., which represents 26,000 language and literature scholars, will become the latest academic body to consider the merits of adopting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This follows endorsements of such a boycott by the Assn. for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Assn. and, most recently, the American Anthropological Assn., which voted 1,040 to 136 to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its November annual meeting in Denver; the AAA’s entire membership will soon vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass.

The justification for an academic boycott — which targets institutions, not individual scholars — stems from the peculiar relationship between Israel’s educational system and its broader structures of racism.

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination points out with alarm that Israel maintains two separate educational systems for its citizens — one for Jewish children and another for the children of the Palestinian minority — a structure that reinforces the profound segregation of Israeli society in everything from matters of citizenship and marriage to housing rights.

According to official Israeli data cited by the human rights organization Adalah, by the turn of the 21st century Israel was investing three times as much on a per capita basis in the education of a Jewish as opposed to that of a Palestinian citizen.

The consequences are obvious: Schools for Palestinians in Israel are overcrowded and poorly equipped, lacking in libraries, labs, arts facilities and recreational space in comparison with schools for Jewish students. Palestinian children often have to travel greater distances than their Jewish peers to get to school, thanks to a state ban on the construction of schools in certain Palestinian towns (for example, according to Adalah, there is not a single high school in the Palestinian communities of the Negev desert in southern Israel).

These naked forms of discrimination extend into the university system as well. “The hurdles Palestinian Arab students face from kindergarten to university function like a series of sieves with sequentially finer holes,” Human Rights Watch points out. “At each stage, the education system filters out a higher proportion of Palestinian Arab students than Jewish students.”

In other words, children denied access to adequate kindergartens do less well in elementary school; students in dilapidated and resource-starved high schools find themselves funneled into work as carpenters or mechanics rather than doctors, lawyers or professors. Indeed, the university admissions process is the point at which the country’s two separate and unequal schooling systems converge, with calamitous results for Palestinian students, who fall short on matriculation or psychometric exams that are weighted toward the Jewish school curriculum, according to Human Rights Watch.

About a quarter of Israeli schoolchildren are Palestinian. But as a recent study by the Assn. for the Advancement of Civic Equity points out, the higher you go in the system, the lower the number of Palestinian students. As of 2012, according to data published by the Israeli Council for Higher Education, Palestinians constituted only 11% of bachelor’s degree students, 7% of master’s students, and barely 3% of PhD students. A mere 2.7% of the faculty in Israeli universities are Palestinian, and the percentage of Palestinians in administration is even lower.

According to sociologist Majid al-Haj of the University of Haifa, Israeli universities systematically fail their Palestinian students. These students end up feeling alienated in an academic environment that stubbornly resists integration and seems designed to consolidate rather than challenge discrimination.

All of this is damning, but there is more: Israel’s long-standing assault on the right to education of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israel has bombed schools and besieged university campuses; it detains and harasses students and teachers at army checkpoints; it has restricted the flow of school materials to Gaza; it has prevented Palestinian students from studying overseas.

One must conclude that Israel’s educational system is intended to consolidate the nation’s putative Jewish identity and further dispossess the Palestinians. This is a process that the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling once identified as “politicide.” Surely one of its components could be called educide, which international educators ought to reject by endorsing the academic boycott of institutions that engage in it.

Such a boycott wouldn’t affect individual Israeli scholars, whose freedom to participate in international conferences, publish in journals or collaborate with other scholars would not be threatened. Rather, it calls for a break in institutional cooperation and affiliation. For example, the MLA would not co-sponsor an event with Tel Aviv University.

Boycotts have been among the most effective means of nonviolent protest against institutional injustice in the modern era. They played a key role in bringing about the transformation of the Jim Crow South and the downfall of apartheid in South Africa, both of which bear an unmistakable resemblance to the situation in Israel. It is as unthinkable to turn a blind eye to the racism of the Israeli educational system as it would have been to disregard those earlier forms of injustice.

*Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and a member of the Modern Language Assn. He presented a longer version of this piece at the MLA convention in Austin on Thursday.

 

OpEd AT

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM ‘THE ISRAELI GENERAL’S SON’

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

An open letter to president Obama

By Miko Peled

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When America voted for you the first time, many people were very optimistic. A man with an African Muslim father, an African Muslim name and what seemed like a caring heart and a brilliant mind. That was both refreshing and promising. You came into office with big promises, your first inaugural address was heard around the world with ears anticipating change, but as it turns out it was merely a crescendo of rhetoric. You promised hope to the poor and disenfranchised in this country, reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim world and even peace and justice in Palestine.

But, unfortunately you have been a failure and a disappointment. As a black man, you had an unprecedented opportunity to address the issues of Blacks, but you didn’t. You showed no care for Black lives or for the lives of Blacks in America. You said little and did even less to stop the killing of Black men and the mass incarceration of Blacks. You said nothing and did nothing regarding the over due payment of reparations to the descendants of slaves, men and women upon whose backs the US economy was built. And, if any proof was needed, the outcry of the Black Lives Matter movement shows that your priorities were elsewhere.

As things stand today, even with a President whose middle name is Hussein, there has never been a worse time to be an Arab and a Muslim in America. As Commander in Chief you brought death and destruction on Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria. You did little to promote peace or justice in Palestine.

In your inaugural address you said: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Yet you warmly held hands with Saudi dictators who silence dissent by death. Then in Egypt you allowed a military coup to depose the democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi, who now awaits execution while reinforcing the clenched fist of the dictator Abdel Fatah El-Sisi by allowing the flow of billions of dollars of foreign aid money into his pockets.

In your inaugural address you promised us: “America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.” But even as you were preparing this address, going through these very words, Israel was bombing Gaza senselessly, causing the death of over one thousand innocent civilians and the injury of countless more, and you said nothing. In Palestine, the prime example of a place where people seek a future of peace and dignity, you allowed Israel to continue to bomb and kill with the full financial, military and political backing of the United States.

As President, for the last seven years you have given Israel your full support to kill, maim, arrest and torture men, women and children. The number of Palestinians made homeless, the number of Palestinian children arrested and abused and the number of Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their homes is getting higher by the minute, yet you supported Israel.

Mr. President, in the summer of 2014, when Israel murdered thousands of Palestinian civilians, and young Palestinians in Gaza fought bravely to defend their homes and their families, futile though it may have been, instead of supporting those who seek peace and dignity, you chose to provide Israel with more arms and more money.

Though you claimed, “for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken.” Then you allowed Netanyahu to disgrace you, to walk, like Cesar marching into Rome, his hands stained with Palestinian blood into Congress. He was a victor, while you cowered away in some corner and let him spew his hateful lies. Where, Mr. President was your spirit then?

But though you were a disappointment, though you have failed us, there is one window of opportunity available to you, if you wish to redeem yourself. For the past seven years, five innocent men sit in federal prison falsely charged and wrongly convicted on charges of material support for a terrorist organization. These five men are referred to as the HLF-5, or the Holy Land Foundation Five. If you take the time to review this case, you will see what I and many others have seen and said, that in this case, the entire judicial system had been taken hostage, the constitution, the laws that govern the land, the regulations by which government agencies are supposed to function have all been placed on hold in order to convict five innocent men.

In reviewing this case you, Mr. President will see what many have us have seen and continue to see, that pressure by Israel, post 9/11 hysteria, prosecutorial over reach and a cowardice of the members of the judiciary have led five good innocent men into a living hell. Five family men, men who came to this country and contributed to their community, men who wanted nothing but to help others, must now live caged like criminals.

President George W Bush using executive order 13224 shut down the Holy land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in this country, in December of 2001 and now you must reverse this order, reinstate the Foundation, exonerate the five men in federal prison and order that an apology be given to them, their families and the entire Arab and Muslim community in America. Then you must order that they be compensated and the money taken from them be returned with the appropriate interest.

The closure of HLF brought misery not only to the five men and their family. It brought fear and anxiety to America’s finest communities, the Muslim and Arab communities. Furthermore, this closure ended crucial help to the poor, the fatherless, the homeless and the needy in Palestine. In the words of Mohammad Abumoharam, a local social worker in Gaza, “I cannot possibly find words to convey the level of poverty and suffering that exists in Palestine in general and in Gaza in particular. HLF has been able to significantly alleviate the suffering of thousands in Palestine, giving them some hope for a better life.” The closure of the HLF and the freezing of their assets by the government stopped all that.

Until the seizure of its assets on December 4, 2001, the Holy Land Foundation provided charitable and humanitarian aid to refugees, orphans, victims of human and natural disasters, and other poor and needy persons and entities throughout the world, without regard to faith or political affiliation. Among its other charitable and humanitarian work, Holy Land has organized aid to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; it has provided assistance to victims and relief workers at the Oklahoma City bombing site; to victims of flooding in Oklahoma and Iowa; to victims of riots in Los Angeles; to tornado victims in Fort Worth; to the needy in Paterson, New Jersey; to earthquake victims in Turkey and India; to victims of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts; to victims of the conflict in Chechnya; to victims of flooding in Mozambique; and to refugees, orphans, and other persons and entities in need in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Mr. President, this case is an embarrassment to the United States government, the US Department of Justice, and the entire US judicial system. In one year you will be out of office. At fifty-five you will have been a two term president, the first half African half American President, and you are undoubtedly going to be one of the richest men on earth. What will be your legacy? You sir, have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility to release without delay, Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammad El-Mezzaine, also known as the HLF-5. Please do not disappoint us again.

Sincerely,
Miko Peled

 

Source

ISRAELI RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINE’S TELECOM INDUSTRY

“Without full Palestinian control over the ICT infrastructure, any investment in the sector risks becoming a project to “manage” the occupation, rather than a catalyst for Palestinian economic growth.”
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Let Palestinians control their ICT resources

Israeli restrictions on the telecom industry have hobbled Palestine’s already beleaguered economy

 

At least 140 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed in the latest flare-up of violence that began on Oct. 1. While the world’s attention is fixated on the crisis, Israel and the Palestinian Authority quietly signed a long-awaited agreement on Nov. 19, allowing Palestinian telecom companies to provide 3G mobile services in the occupied territories. It is unclear whether or how the intensified violence will affect this implementation, but Israel should urgently lift the many technological barriers that are still in place.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an important tool for the social, economic and political development of the occupied territories. There are an estimated 250 Palestinian ICT operators and approximately 10,000 qualified ICT workers. And at least 1,000 Palestinian students graduate in ICT-related vocations each year. In 2012 the ICT sector accounted for 5.6 percent of the Palestinian Gross Domestic Product, helping drive some development despite the prolonged military occupation. But Israeli control and restrictions over the sector have limited its potential for the beleaguered Palestinian economy.

Since signing the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel has maintained a tight grip over the ICT sector to the detriment of the Palestinian economy. As part of the deal, Israel gave the Palestinian Authority (PA) limited control over its telecommunication infrastructure in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while excluding Jerusalem, and ensuring that all incoming and outgoing communication to and from Palestine goes through an Israeli switch.

In other words, Israel has retained complete control, constraining access to the electro-magnetic spectrum and imports of equipment. The lack of 3G mobile services has cost Palestinian operators an estimated $80 to $100 million annually. Whereas Palestinian mobile operators have struggled with limited 2G technologies for years, in January Israel released 4G mobile broadband radio frequencies to six Israeli companies.

Israel’s restrictions are not limited to the Palestinian telecom network and the ICT industry. Israel has also built 3G towers in its settlements across the West Bank and, in some cases, on privately owned Palestinian land in violation of the international law and previous agreements which prohibit Israel from using the Palestinian spectrum for its economic benefit. By contrast, Palestinian operators are prohibited from building ICT towers and switches in most of the West Bank, including areas that are supposed to be under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Without full Palestinian control over the ICT infrastructure, any investment in the sector risks becoming a project to ‘manage’ the occupation, rather than a catalyst for Palestinian economic growth.

As for Gaza, its telecom infrastructure is wholly dependent on Israel. The fiber optic cable that connects Gaza with the world is located in Israel. Gaza’s telecom structure has thus become a space of control and surveillance, as reflected in the calls and text messages that the Israeli military sent to Palestinians in Gaza during its military assault in 2014.

Palestinian investors are further restricted by an onerous process to import ICT equipment, including approval from the Israeli Ministry of Communications for each shipment, up to 30-day waits and delays for products listed as “dual-use items.”

The U.S. government and major American companies have made significant investments in recent years and remain key partners for ICT growth in Palestine. For example, from 2008 to 2012 Cisco invested $15 million to boost the Palestinian ICT industry, drawing the interests of other American companies, including Google, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. The U.S. State Department has also sought to support this growing sector by facilitating partnership between U.S. companies and Palestinian ICT operators. However, such efforts will be wasted if basic ICT infrastructure is not unbound and expanded across the country.

But removing barriers to ICT growth should not be limited to simply greasing the wheels of the ICT sector to recoup lost revenue. Without full Palestinian control over the ICT infrastructure, any investment in the sector risks becoming a project to “manage” the occupation, rather than a catalyst for Palestinian economic growth.

The ICT sector is a key engine of development. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly touts the vitality of his country’s high-tech sector in positioning Israel as a major economic power and high-tech corridor. But in occupied Palestine, the ICT industry serves as an example of the effect of Israel’s military occupation and asymmetrical relationship with the territories under its occupation.

By introducing 3G connections in Palestine, Netanyahu might be planning to revive his long-standing efforts to promote “economic peace” in lieu of a political settlement that would respect Palestinian rights. One thing is certain: the Palestinian economy has already paid a high cost trying to harness the country’s economic resources. Israel must immediately lift its restrictions on Palestine’s communications infrastructure and allow Palestinians to utilize their resources to their full potential.

Nur Arafeh is a policy fellow at the Palestinian policy network, Al-Shabaka.

Sam Bahour is a policy advisor at the Palestinian policy network, Al-Shabaka.

Wassim Abdullah is a policy member at the Palestinian policy network, Al-Shabaka.

Written FOR

 

2016 ~~ THE YEAR THE WALL WILL FALL!

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Happy New Year from Carlos Latuff

Happy New Year from Carlos Latuff

2015 ~~ A YEAR OF VICTORIES FOR BDS

Amid so much difficult news from Palestine and the region, that’s a bright ray of hope for 2016.

How the Israel boycott movement struck major blows in 2015

By Ali Abunimah

Despite Israel’s counteroffensive, boycott movement won some key victories in 2015.   Mark Esper Polaris

Despite Israel’s counteroffensive, boycott movement won some key victories in 2015. Mark Esper Polaris

In September 2014, on the eve of the Jewish new year, Israel’s leading financial daily named Omar Barghoutiamong the 100 people most likely to influence the country’s economy in the following year.

Calcalist, the business supplement of the mass circulation newspaper Yediot Ahronot, said that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which Barghouti helped found, was “already worrying the government.”

It cited government studies warning that Israel would lose billions of dollars a year in exports and GDP and thousands of jobs if current boycott trends continued.

“The credit and honor go to the entire BDS movement, of which I am a modest part, to each and every BDS activist in Palestine and around the world who has contributed to making BDS one the most effective forms of resisting Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada this week.

And 2015 has proven Calcalist right.

As the year closes, Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition that backs the BDS movement, is pointing out some of the successes of the last 12 months:

  • The authors of a United Nations report revealed in June that BDS was a key factor behind the nearly 50 percent plunge in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014.
  • The World Bank cited consumer boycotts as a key factor behind a 24 percent drop in Palestinian imports from Israel in the first quarter of 2015.
  • The international credit ratings agency Moody’s warned in October that “the Israeli economy could suffer should BDS gain greater traction.” Moody’s reports are used by corporations to assess the risk of doing business in a country.

A major European investor confirmed that BDS was already deterring companies from entering the Israeli market.

“During general meetings of the leading companies, even if they did examine investing in Israeli companies, it will be off the agenda immediately because of the impact of BDS,” Edouard Cukierman, founder of Catalyst Funds and chair of Cukierman & Co Investment House, told Israeli media.

Running for the exit

In 2015, activists celebrated a major victory as the French multinational Veolia sold off all its investments in Israel.

This followed a seven-year global campaign which cost Veolia billions of dollars in lost municipal and government contracts. By the end, Veolia reportedly could not find any international buyers for its Israeli businesses.

Perhaps alarmed by Veolia’s fate, the French multinational telecom company Orange announced in June that it intended to end its relationship with its Israeli affiliate.

Despite the Israeli government’s outraged reaction, Orange amended its contract with Israel’s Partner Communications so it could get out of the country as soon as 2017, instead of 2025.

The campaign to end Orange’s complicity with Israeli human rights abuses – it operates extensively in Israel’s West Bank settlements – started in France several years ago and gathered pace in May when activists in Egypt called for a boycott of its subsidiary Mobinil.

The Electronic Intifada’s April report revealing the extent of Orange’s direct complicity in Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza galvanized the campaign.

In November, the European Union finally took the step of requiring labels clearly marking goods that come from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian and Syrian land in violation of international law.

This was a minimalist step taken only after years of dithering and delay, and has to be seen in the context of massive ongoing EU complicity with Israel’s war crimes and its deepening apartheid.

But at the time, Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator for the BNC, said the move was a “sign that European governments are reacting to public opinion, civil society campaigning and Israeli intransigence and are becoming more willing to take some basic action against Israeli violations of international law.”

Israel’s furious reaction – many politicians compared EU officials to Nazis – belies its real fear: that this is only the first step of more action to come.

A sure sign of the mainstreaming of Palestinian rights came in September with Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory in the election for leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party.

Despite intense Israel lobby smears, Corbyn trounced the establishment candidates.

A month earlier, Corbyn, a lifelong champion of Palestinian rights, had told The Electronic Intifada he backed the boycott of Israeli universities involved in weapons research.

Faith and labor

In 2014, after a decade-long campaign, the Presbyterian Church USA voted by a narrow margin to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This prompted Israel and its lobby groups to step up their efforts to co-opt or intimidate church activists.

But in June this year a resounding answer came from the United Church of Christ. The one million-strong US denomination’s assembly voted by a huge margin to divest as well.

Where churches are going, labor is following. Several major labor federations in North America joined the dozens of unions, especially in Europe, that already support the movement.

In August, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America – known as UE – voted to back BDS, becoming the second US national union to do so.

“We reached a breaking point when Israel launched the war on Gaza in 2014, killing over 2,000 people, including 500 children,” Carl Rosen, a member of UE’s national executive board, explained.

In November, the Connecticut branch of the AFL-CIO, representing 200,000 workers, voted to back key elements of the Palestinian call for BDS.

And Quebec’s confederation of trade unions, representing 325,000 workers in the Canadian province, also backed BDS, including the cultural boycott and a boycott of all Israeli goods.

It pledged to work with civil society groups to organize campaigns to turn this support into action in coming months.

This year Israel also suffered from a sustained and deepening decline in tourism, especially from Europe.

There is no direct evidence that the sharp decline, which began during the 2014 attack on Gaza, is due to boycotts.

But the fact that the BDS movement – especially the cultural boycott – has been so strong in Europe undoubtedly makes it harder for Israel to market itself as a carefree destination for sunseekers.

Going mainstream

This was the year when “Lauryn Hill and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth said they won’t perform in Israel, and more than 1,000 artists across Ireland, the UK, the US and Belgium have said they support the cultural boycott of Israel,” the BNC notes, highlighting that the campaign is gaining ground everywhere.

“Israeli universities play a key role in planning and whitewashing Israel’s crimes but now academics across the world are taking effective action,” the BNC states.

Examples from 2015 include landslide votes to back the academic boycott of these complicit institutions by theAmerican Anthropological Association and the National Women’s Studies Association.

Counterattack

In 2015, Israel and its lobby groups intensified their counterattack against the growing global movement for Palestinian rights.

This included crackdowns and intimidation on campuses and efforts to legislate and litigate against BDS in North America and Europe.

They had plenty of help from complicit governments and lawmakers, including in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the US.

But the BNC even sees this backlash as a sign of success, as an increasingly desperate Israel resorts to “exporting its mentality of repression and getting its allies in the west to run McCarthyite attacks on free speech.”

“Israel knows it is losing the argument and is throwing everything it has at sabotaging our movement, dedicating money, government staff and apparently even its security services to undermining BDS,” the BNC says.

There’s no doubt Israel’s efforts to obstruct and sabotage campaigns for justice will continue and, flush with new cash, intensify.

With dozens of student bodies on US campuses having voted to back divestment in recent years, we can expect campaigns to shift toward pressuring administrations to implement those demands. They will face determined opposition, but that will only help keep Palestine front and center.

There’s also every sign that BDS could become a big issue in the 2016 US presidential campaign – already Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican hopeful Jeb Bush have launched attacks on the movement.

But that might only serve to educate more people that BDS exists and is an option for them too.

The passing year, which also marked the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for BDS, shows clearly that this diverse and decentralized movement founded and led by Palestinians is a growing match for Israel.

Amid so much difficult news from Palestine and the region, that’s a bright ray of hope for 2016.

LAST TOON OF THE YEAR ~~ NEW YEAR’S EVE IN PALESTINE

Image by Carlos Latuff

Last Cartoon of 2015. Happy New Year's Eve in Palestine

Last Cartoon of 2015. Happy New Year’s Eve in Palestine

REFLECTIONS ON A PALESTINIAN CHRISTMAS

"Israel’s Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve 
towards consolidating the separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, 
Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he 
was resurrected"


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Le Petit Prince
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
How can we learn from children dealing with adversity? There were many
images that shock us almost daily. The Palestinian child splayed on the
beach in Gaza with his tiny body ripped by Israeli bullets. In 2015 it was
of a Syrian child with the same pose, face down in the sand having drowned
in the Mediterranean. About the same time, Palestinian children where being
killed (two were burned alive) How much pain can people take? How can we
think of the dictatorial leaders of countries like the very rich Arab gulf
states and Egypt closing their eyes to this suffering which they help
perpetuate. We can reflect on these painful episodes of man's inhumanity to
fellow human beings. We can focus on the greed and the corruption and the
cruelty that we face daily (five Palestinians killed here during the two
days of Christmas). But I really do not want to do that any more.  As this
year comes to a close and a new year begins, I reflect on value of good
deeds and then reflect on other living children.

When Israel demolished a Palestinian home in Nablus recently in an act of
collective punishment as they do routinely, good people (most of them poor)
donated thousands within 24 hours for rebuilding). "Good Samaritans" are
everywhere and I meet them every day. I am so grateful to them for making
the lives of people around them better. Those who give of themselves and in
so doing enrich themselves. It is hard to describe how motivating it is to
see hundreds of good people giving to good causes that try to better the
lives of fellow creatures on earth. Some challenge oppression  to the point
of sacrificing their lives to push for the freedom of others. Others donate
to help suffering people. Some gave up their careers to work with refugees
desperately clinging to life.  Sometimes we can lose faith in humanity. But
as a biologist, I find new adaptations and new life especially hopeful.
Spring is coming earlier today in Palestine (perhaps because of the global
warming). A small bird manages to survive a broken wing. A lizard
regenerated its tail. A flower blossoms. A new seed sprouts. A new human
birth (a miracle). One surviving child in particular gave us so much hope.
Every once in a while we see a video chronicling the progress in recovery
of the surviving Dawabsha child (he was severely burned, his mother,
father, and younger sibling all perished in the Jewish settler arson
attack). We see his grandfather able to solicit the beautiful smile and
even laughter and we say: there is hope in humanity. I see a hungry child
share his bread with another hungry child with a smile. I remember how one
child from Aida refugee camp whose mother was killed by Israeli soldiers
once told me and another adult that "Do not worry, Palestine will be free".
I remember and reread the story of "The Little Prince" (Le Petit Prince by
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; I have a collection of it in many languages) and
I am reminded when tough times fall (and they do more and more often) that
we need to tap the little child inside us. Children still have the
idealism, kindness, social connection, and hope that adults seem to loose.

For me personally, many people harmed me or tried to do harm to me in 2015
ranging from Israeli soldiers and settlers to deluded Palestinians. To such
all I hope we all say: we do not hate you and we do forgive you. It does
not mean we will stop working for justice or challenging oppression and
corruption. It is actually our (positive) way of doing so. We call on you
to join the ever increasing circle of people who light a candle instead of
cursing the darkness.  They know that doing good without expecting any
return is the most enriching experience in life. Working for a bigger cause
than one self is the best and most healthy way to live. It is the essence
of true happiness.

In this same spirit, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah wrote in the
Israeli paper Haaretz a meaningful message to Israeli leaders:  "Israel’s
Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve towards consolidating the
separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he was resurrected – the essence of the
Christian faith. Aside from the daily violations that the besieged
Bethlehem suffers as a result of the occupation, Israel issued a military
order last week announcing that it has confiscated 101 dunams of
Bethlehem’s northern lands. In the same week, the Israeli government
approved the expansion of the illegal settlement of Gilo - built on
privately owned lands of Bethlehem - by 891 new housing units....Despite
Israel’s claim that it is the only country in the Middle East where
Christians prosper, the unspoken message it sends on the ground is that it
has no respect whatsoever for their rights as Palestinians and for their
existence in their homeland....Bethlehem is now either a symbol for peace,
or war. I invite the Israeli leaders to make it a symbol for peace and for
a new just approach for Palestinians. Palestinians deserve the full
achievement of their inalienable rights..."

"But Jesus said, Allow little children, and forbid them not, to come unto
me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

CHRISTMAS IN THE LAND OF JESUS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Merry Xmas from Israel

Merry Xmas from Israel

 What if ….
Joseph and Mary were not allowed to enter Bethlehem?
What would the narrative look like today??
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The artist Banksky sees it like this in his annual Christmas card …
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Text on Card:

The people of Bethlehem are asking for our help.

Towering walls and militarized fences now encircle Bethlehem, turning the 4,000-year-old city into a virtual prison for its Palestinian Christian and Muslim citizens. Bethlehem has only three gates to the outside world, all tightly controlled by Israeli occupation forces.

Israel has confiscated almost all the agricultural land in the area for illegal settlements, making it impossible for many Palestinian farmers to continue tending their land. Outside the town, the fields where shepherds once watched their flocks are being filled by Israeli housing blocs and roads barred to the descendants of those shepherds.

“It is unconscionable that Bethlehem should be allowed to die slowly from strangulation,” says South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Bethlehem’s residents increasingly are fleeing Israel’s confining walls, and soon the city, home to the oldest Christian community in the world, will have little left of its Christian history but the cold stones of empty churches.

Though most Americans don’t know it, we are directly involved in Israel’s strangulation of Bethlehem. Fortune Magazine and other analysts consistently rank the Israel lobby as one of the most effective special interests in Washington; Americans give Israel over $8 million per day. In its just over 60 years of existence, Israel has received more US tax money than any other nation.

As we seek peace and joy for the world, it is time to reconsider an expenditure that perpetuates injustice, tragic violence, and conflict.
Please help. OR THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTINUE
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From Sam Bahour ….

Dear friends,

In wishing you all a Merry Christmas, in these troubling times, and a Happy New Year, after yet another one of more death and destruction, I would like to share with you this profound Christmas message from Bethlehem by Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, President of the Lutheran World Federation.

Before viewing Bishop Munib and Reverend Mitri Raheb, whom also features in this service, as religious leaders, I view them as friends and colleagues in our struggle for freedom and independence.

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A MUST READ from What Really Happened (Click on link)
KILLING THE FAMILY OF JESUS
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Killing the Family of Jesus

Killing the Family of Jesus

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NUMBERING PALESTINIANS

Israeli army introduces a new system of identification numbers for the 30,000 Palestinian residents in the city.

Is this next?

Is this next?

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In Hebron ‘even the kids have numbers’

Hebron, Occupied West Bank – Every sunset, 23-year-old Alaa stands in the balcony of her modest stone house overlooking Hebron’s Shuhada Street.

“I count the minutes until he [her husband] comes home. I wait by the window, and I tell him not to be late,” she said, requesting that her last name not be published.

Shuhada Street (Arabic for “Martyrs Street”) was once a bustling thoroughfare running through the heart of the West Bank’s largest city, connecting Hebron’s outdoor market to the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Palestinians buzzed between busy shops and glass factories, and lived in apartments above the shops. The area is also home to 500 hardline Israeli settlers, and has long been a flashpoint for unrest between Palestinians and the Israeli military.

Over the past month, the few Palestinians, who still live on or nearby the street, are enduring a new set of army restrictions and security searches.

On October 30, the Israeli military announced a closed military zone over the area of Hebron under full Israeli security control.

“No one who can come to visit us. My father couldn’t come to see us,” Alaa said.

To enforce the closure, the Israeli army introduced a new system of identification numbers for the 30,000 Palestinian residents of the cordoned-off H2 district which encompasses about 20 percent of Hebron and includes Shuhada Street and a number of Israeli settlements.The remaining 80 percent of the city is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

In addition to presenting their identification cards at 17 internal checkpoints and undergoing security checks, Palestinians must now orally give soldiers their new ID number when entering and leaving the blockades that enclose Shuhada Street.

The army did not distribute paper documents with the new identification number. Once a soldier is told the number, he then cross-references it with a printed list.

“Anyone who does not have a number is removed or arrested. The Israeli army detained at least 20 international volunteers who monitor H2 area,” said Sohaib Zahda, of the Hebron-based activist group Youth Against Settlements.

Those who forget their ID numbers or chose not to register sneak in and out of the H2 area through fields, careful not to be caught in the heavily monitored region.

“Even the little kids have numbers,” said Anas Murakatan, 27, who lives in an apartment near a checkpoint at the entrance to Shuhada Street. “I am 58; she is 59,” Anas said, pointing to his pregnant wife, Fadwa Murakatan. His children are 60 and 61.

“When the baby is born, she will get one too.”

Fadwa’s child was due four weeks ago – prompting her husband to joke that “the baby is afraid, so he does not want to come out”. Fadwa explained that when she goes into labour, she will have to walk down Shuhada Street and cross a checkpoint, and only then will she be able to enter an ambulance. She said she had to wait 30 minutes the last time she needed an ambulance.

Because of the new regulations, she said, “we are not allowed to bring any guests. When I give birth, they will not allow my family to come and visit me.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli army said in a statement to Al Jazeera: “Precautionary measures have been implemented in order to prevent future attacks and maintain the safety and well-being of residence of the area.” But the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said, in a statement issued last month, that the new measure constituted “a collective punishment of Hebron residents”.

“Anyone whose name is not on the list cannot cross the checkpoint and is forced to take a long, arduous detour to get home. Some neighborhood residents have not had their names put on the list to protest at being required to receive a permit to enter their own homes,” said the statement.

“In other cases, checkpoint personnel have erroneously left some residents’ names off the list, so these individuals cannot cross the checkpoint either.”

Beyond Hebron’s city centre, the Israeli army mounted a series of mobile checkpoints between Hebron and Bethlehem, causing lengthy delays for motorists at the same location where cars were regularly inspected during the second Intifada

In 1994, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Israeli military closed businesses and shops along Shuhada Street.

A decade later, at the end of the Second Intifada in 2005, the army shut down the glass manufacturing plants and prohibited Palestinian vehicles from using the street.

Hundreds of people were forced to move, and those who stayed often have to enter their homes through alleyways.

“Palestinians are barred from Shuhada Street. They are prohibited from even walking down part of it,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

“This whole situation is meant to facilitate the presence of Israeli settlers. It’s an official policy called the ‘policy of separation’ that the Israeli government has adopted.”

Despite these changes, hardline Israeli politicians say the increased army presence in and around Hebron remains insufficient. Speaking to Army Radio last Monday, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the far-right Jewish Home party, called for a second Defensive Shield, referring to Israel’s large-scale military operation in the West Bank in 2002.

Bennett’s remarks reflect a growing desire among Israeli right-wingers to launch a full-scale advance into Palestinian cities.

While Hebron has long been the site of clashes between settlers and Palestinians, the Murakatans said their neighbourhood has witnessed about three settler attacks a week since it became a closed military zone.

They said the attacks always take place at night, and involve about a dozen settlers parading down Shuhada Street, often stoning Palestinian homes.

“One month ago our daughter, she fell on the stairs, and so my husband took her to the hospital,” recounted Fadwa. “When I came back from the hospital, a settler tried to attack me while I was holding Diala,” Anas said.

In another incident, Israeli soldiers accused Fadwa of concealing a weapon when she left her house to throw rubbish into a bin on Shuhada Street. “I asked, ‘Where is the knife, where is the knife?'” she said, motioning her arms from her chest outward.

As dusk fell, the family of four gathered on their rooftop – the only outdoor play space for the two children, who kicked spent tear gas canisters and a shipping box marked “hazardous”.

A packing slip on the box indicated that its contents were meant for the Israeli army. The container was lobbed on to their house during the near-daily clashes in Hebron between Palestinian youth and the Israeli military.

Below, two settlers strolled across Shuhada Street near a group of soldiers. No Palestinians were on the road.

Meanwhile, Anas reminisced about how different his neighbourhood used to be. “It was very nice; a lot of people were usually here,” he said. “At that time settlers were afraid of us – but now we are afraid of them.”

Source

NEW VIDEO ON THE TORTURE OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

Amid escalating violence, the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention is now the highest since April 2010. At the end of October, 307 Palestinian children were imprisoned in the Israeli military detention system. From the moment of arrest, these children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture at the hands of Israeli forces. 

You can learn more by reading our October 2015 Detention Bulletin and recent News Alerts.

IN PHOTOS ~~ AN EARLY CHRISTMAS FOR APARTHEID

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And The Queen of Apartheid herself …

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TURKISH SPOOFS OF THE DAY

Images by Carlos Latuff

In a country where majority is Muslim, proPalestine rethoric means votes. In fact Turkey/Israel are allies

In a country where majority is Muslim, proPalestine rhetoric means votes. In fact Turkey/Israel are allies

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 Is Erdogan a Friend of Palestine? No! A Friend of Israeli GAS!

Is Erdogan a Friend of Palestine? No! A Friend of Israeli GAS!

RELATED (Click on link)

#SettlersPeaceProcess ~~ KILLING MUHAMMAD IN SONG

This video shows a group of Israelis from the Kiryat Arba settlement “playing hate songs through a loud speaker to residents of the Hebron neighborhood of Jabal Johar.

Israeli settlers blast “Muhammad is dead” song at Palestinians

The song heard in the video, filmed by Mai Dana on 11 October, includes the repeated refrain “Muhammad is dead” – disparaging the prophet. Its lyrics say:

He is no prophet
Just another Arab
He has a moustache with fleas
And he eats goat cheese
He is a construction laborer
Even when he’s fasting on Ramadan
And he has an orange ID card
Muhammad is gay and the son of a prostitute.

The video shows many settlers, including young children, laughing, singing and pumping their fists as the music blasts.

The song refers to the Israeli-issued ID – which used to come in an orange-colored case – carried by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank which restricts their movements, in contrast to settlers who can go where they please.

In other words, the settler song celebrates apartheid.

At least one of the young men repeatedly shouts “whore” in Arabic in the direction of the camera.

“These antics continued in the presence of a soldier and police officers who took no action to stop them,” B’Tselem adds. “During the incident, settlers threw rocks at the neighborhood.”

The “Muhammad is dead” song is regularly chanted by Israelis during frequent “Death to the Arabs” marches.

This video illustrates the levels of open incitement and harassment against Palestinians by Israeli settlers, with the full collusion of the army of occupation.

This is especially so in Hebron, whose Palestinian population is bearing the brunt of Israel’s violent crackdown in the occupied West Bank.

At least one of the two Israeli youths arrested in the burning alive of the Dawabsha family last summer is from a Hebron-area settlement.

Kiryat Arba is also the settlement which hosts the gravesite marker honoring Baruch Goldstein, the Brooklyn settler who massacred 29 Palestinian men and boys during Ramadan prayers at Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994.

The video also brings to mind the words of Tommy Lapid, the late former chair of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial. He likened the routine harassment of Palestinians by Israeli settlers in Hebron to the anti-Semitism of pre-World War II Europe.

“It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us,” he said in 2007, “but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn.”

Dena Shunra provided translation.

These are the same animals that admit to killing Jesus

Jewish Settlers: “We killed Jesus; we’re proud of it!”

#SettlersRule ~~ 3 GENERATIONS TO BE EVICTED TODAY IN EAST JERUSALEM

Stay tuned to #StopNora’sEviction for updates

Sign petition to stop eviction HERE

This short video highlights the struggle of Nora Sub Laban and her family to stay in their home in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel plans to evict them as soon as 14 December from the house they’ve lived in since 1953, so it can be taken over by a group of Jewish settlers whose aim is to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

Three generations face imminent expulsion from Jerusalem home

The family has already faced two attempts this year by Israeli occupation forces and settlers to remove them from their home, which is steps from Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque.

“The simple fact is that our house in particular is being targeted because it is the last Palestinian household left in the building and the neighborhood. If we are evicted, Ateret Cohanim will have a huge property [in the Muslim quarter] that is only inhabited by Israeli settlers,” Nora’s son Rafat Sub Laban told The Electronic Intifada in March, referring to one of the settler groups that is spearheading the takeover.

“This case sits within a context where hundreds of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are at risk of forced displacement due to settler activities” in Jerusalem, the United Nations special rapporteurs on the right to housing and the human rights of Palestinians wrote last April.

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s legal system, rigged to favor the settlers, has failed to protect the family’s tenure in the house.

The video was released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) as part of the #StopNorasEviction campaign.

Almost 32,000 people have signed a petition calling on international agencies to pressure Israel to halt the eviction.

That may be the only hope, but time is running out.

“I’ve lived through my life watching my neighbors and family being slowly pushed out of the city,” Nora says in the video.

Now she and two generations of her family, including young children, face expulsion as well.

IMEU is asking people to stay tuned to the hashtag #StopNorasEviction and to its Twitter and Facebook accounts for more on its campaign to draw attention to the imminent eviction of the Sub Laban family.

ISRAELI INJUSTICE THAT YOU WON’T READ ABOUT IN THE WEST ….

Hares Boys

Five Palestinian teenagers are facing life imprisonment for a crime that never happened. A settler car accident labels them as “terrorists”. Fight for justice for the Hares Boys!

Image by Latuff

SENTENCE ANNOUNCED: 15 YEARS IN PRISON +NIS150,000 'FINE'

SENTENCE ANNOUNCED: 15 YEARS IN PRISON +NIS150,000 ‘FINE’

Five Palestinian Teens Blackmailed Into Accepting 15 Years Prison Term and Exorbitant ‘Fines’ for a Crime That Never Happened

It is with great sadness and anger that we hereby inform you of the outcome of the Hares Boys case: the five teenagers are being sentenced to 15 years in prison and are to pay a total of NIS 150,000 (~US $39,000 or €35,000) to the Israeli authorities. Failure to provide the exorbitant sum would, it is implied, result in more years of prison added to the boys’ sentences.

Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Suleiman, Ammar Souf, and Tamer Souf have been kept in prison for 2 years and 8 months and are now being sentenced for a crime that never happened.

The five teenagers (16-17 years old at the time) from the village of Hares (Salfit governorate, West Bank, occupied Palestine) were kidnapped from their homes by the Israeli army in March 2013. The teens were accused of throwing stones at illegal settler cars, one of which drove under a truck that was parked along Route 5 near the village of Hares. The driver’s children were injured during the accident and one of them died two years later after pneumonia complications. The boys denied throwing stones but were forced to sign ‘confessions’ following torturous interrogations at the hands of Israeli secret services. There was never any evidence of the boys’ guilt but it is sadly a reality in the Israeli military court system that does not comply with due process and convicts Palestinians at a 99.7% rate.

After almost 3 years of routine hearings at Israeli military courts, where the boys were initially accused of ‘attempted murder’, they were told on 26 November 2015 that they are now being charged with manslaughter and are being sentenced to prison terms of 15 years, provided their families pay ‘fines’ of NIS 30,000 [US $7,750 or € 7,100] each by the deadline of 28 January 2016. Failure to pay the amount requested by the Israeli military court would, it is understood, result in each boy’s sentence being prolonged, possibly to at least 25 years in prison.

There is no other way to describe this situation the five teens and their families have endured other than as criminal activity on behalf of the Israeli system of ‘justice’. Pressing the families to agree to a court ‘deal’ and threatening them with harsher sentences if they don’t accept is nothing less than extortion. Demanding that families pay large sums of money as a ‘fine’ or a ‘compensation’ to the occupying power is nothing less than a demand for ransom.

On behalf of the Free the Hares Boys campaign we condemn such acts of injustice committed by the Israeli military court.

We invite local and international human rights organizations, the world’s democratic government institutions and people of conscience to stand up to this injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation and to demand justice for the Hares Boys. Please consider contacting your country’s diplomatic representatives in Tel Aviv or occupied Jerusalem; the Israeli Ministry of Justice; your local politicians; asking them to intervene and condemn such injustice and disrespect for the rule of law. Organize events in your community to highlight the Hares Boys case and the situation of hundreds of other Palestinian children who are being kept in occupation prisons.

Do not stay silent in the face of what is not right.

FROM

More HERE

FRIDAY’S SPOOF ~~ PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ‘CELEBRATE’ HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

IN ISRAELI PRISONS!

Image by Carlos Latuff

More Palestinian children in Israel jails!

More Palestinian children in Israel jails!

CENSORSHIP AS A WEAPON AGAINST PALESTINE

Incitement does indeed pose a threat to the future of Israelis and Palestinians. But it is to be found in the falsehoods promoted by Netanyahu and his ministers, not the bitter truths being posted on YouTube.

YouTube becomes Israel’s new battleground against Palestinians

YouTube censored

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Once it fell to politicians and diplomats to solve international conflicts. Now, according to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, responsibility lies with social media.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, headed off to Silicon Valley to meet senior executives at Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, late last month. Her task was to persuade them that, for the sake of peace, they must censor the growing number of Palestinian videos posted on YouTube.

Netanyahu claims these videos spur other Palestinians to carry out attacks, exemplified by the weeks of stabbings and car rammings against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Snuffing out freedom of expression

After the meeting, the Foreign Ministry issued a press release claiming Google had joined Israel’s “war against incitement”, and would establish a “joint apparatus” to prevent the posting of “inflammatory” videos. Google denied last week that any agreement was reached.

On other fronts of this so-called war, the Israeli army has shut down three West Bank radio stations, accusing them of fomenting unrest. And inside Israel, officials have shut a newspaper and a separate website catering to Israel’s large Palestinian minority.

Meanwhile, Palestinians, including children, are being arrested over their Facebook posts. Others accused by Netanyahu of spreading terror-like incitement include Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian education system, Palestinian parties in Israel’s parliament and human rights organisations.

There is a deep cynicism at work here.

True, Palestinians are enraged by footage showing their compatriots shot or executed by Israelis, often after they have been disarmed or cornered, or – in the case of two teenage girls last month – badly injured.

But in many cases such videos are posted not by Palestinians but by ordinary Israelis or their government as proof of a supposed Palestinian “barbarism”.

“Concealing Israel’s brutality from the eyes of the world”

Most Palestinian videos are simply a record of their bitter experiences of occupation at the hands of soldiers and settlers. It is these experiences, not the videos, that drive Palestinians to breaking point.

A “war on incitement” waged through YouTube and Facebook won’t change Palestinian suffering. But it may, Netanyahu presumably hopes, conceal Israel’s brutality from the eyes of the world.

Unrest has escalated of late not because of social media but because Palestinians, faced with an Israeli government implacably opposed to ending the occupation, are losing all hope.

Israel’s generals have warned Netanyahu that without a diplomatic process there will be no end to the attacks. Desperate to obscure this obvious truth, the Israeli right needs to blame everything apart from its own uncompromising ideology.

Israel’s battle against “incitement” is not just meant to deflect attention from the right’s failing policies. It is also a form of incitement itself, and it is no surprise the campaign is led by two masters of provocation: Netanyahu and Hotovely.

Israel has accused Palestinians of incitement for suggesting that A-Aqsa, the much-revered mosque in Jerusalem, is under threat, yet Hotovely recently said her “dream” was to see the Israeli flag flying at Al-Aqsa.

There was a reminder, too, of Netanyahu’s own dismal record. An investigation was dropped last month against the prime minister over his warnings, using Israeli terminology for a military emergency, that Palestinian citizens were coming out “in droves” to vote in March’s general election.

A consequence of government-inspired incitement is an ever uglier climate. In many towns, crowds calling “death to the Arabs” barely raise an eyebrow any more.

The justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, has backed a bill to stigmatise Israeli human-rights groups that receive foreign, mostly European, funding. And the culture minister, Miri Regev, demanded that films showing in an Israeli festival about the Nakba, the Palestinians’ mass dispossession in 1948, be vetted for “incitement” and the cinemas showing them threatened with defunding.

Public meetings with groups such as Breaking the Silence, Israeli army veterans who want to shed light on the occupation, are being cancelled under police pressure.

Government-backed fabrications

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is giving a free hand to far right news sites as they make false and pernicious claims.

One, Newsdesk Israel, took a four-year-old video of Palestinians revelling at their acceptance into the United Nations and repackaged it as footage of Palestinians celebrating Islamic State’s massacres in Paris. Another fabricated report suggested Palestinian citizens were proselytising for Islamic State by blasting its songs on their car stereos.

In fact, no target seems too big to avoid the Israeli right’s defamation – not even Europe, Israel’s largest trading partner.

Israeli politicians have misrepresented as a full-blown boycott the European Union’s recent tepid move to label products from illegal West Bank settlements and thereby deny them special customs exemptions reserved for Israeli products. The right argues Israel is being uniquely punished by Europe, when in truth the EU has enforced economic sanctions, not just labelling, against 36 countries.

Incitement does indeed pose a threat to the future of Israelis and Palestinians. But it is to be found in the falsehoods promoted by Netanyahu and his ministers, not the bitter truths being posted on YouTube.

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