AN INTERVIEW WITH STEVE AMSEL OF DESERT PEACE

Steve Amsel: Peace is the only alternative for Israelis and Palestinians

The video about our interview with Steve Amsel of Desert Peace about peace as the only alternative for Palestine and Israel. Anti-Zionism means opposition to apartheid and oppression, not Anti-Semitism.

The interview can be seen HERE in German ….

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And HERE in English

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HERE in Italian

THE PSEUDO-ZIONISTS AND THEIR DIRTY WAR AGAINST TRUTH!

“Beware of anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, but also beware of all what tries to make you silent and of those who want to put all people criticising the oppressing Israeli politics as anti-Semites into pigeonholes.”

promosaik-palestine

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski

Who are the real anti-Semites and what do philo-Semites and anti-Semites have in common? Is it not anti-Semitism when Jewish organisation consultants and Sayanim, their covert political and media helpers, subject them to enforced censorship? Which raises the question of whether the Central Council of Jews in Germany is being anti-Semitic and racist when it does everything to prohibit all kinds of projects, conferences, and events including those with Jewish speakers or to deny them public financial support? All of which culminates in censorship and event cancellations which result in the general public being denied the right to have an informed opinion.

So by exploiting false and unjustified accusations of anti-Semitism — which are particularly sensitive in Germany — against upright people who refuse to be cowed, pseudo-Zionists nonetheless manage to get favourable media coverage while the critics of Israeli policies are pilloried and denied their democratic right for freedom of speech.  It is patently evident that the pro-Israel lobbies try to prohibit any conferences or events that engage in factual documentation of what Israel is really doing in the occupied Palestinian territories. Even in Germany, discourse within the media and politics has been restricted to an unimaginable level.

My old friend Walter Herrmann, who has since unfortunately passed away, and his unforgettable and groundbreaking Kölner Klagemauer (Cologne Wailing Wall) always felt the effect of this. While constantly criticising the injustice and criminality of the “Jewish State”, he was inundated with lawsuits and slanders. Even after his death, his legacy was still portrayed in a negative and hateful light by different lobbyists and Israel understanders such as the olive-green politician Volker Beck. While the photos of murdered children of the “Genocide in Gaza” which he displayed on the “Wailing Wall in Cologne” elicited outrage and demands that they should not be shown, politically driven prime time media broadcasts, showed photos of mutilated and starving children from Syria or Africa, thereby in effect censoring and selecting the news and images that are put before us!

In the meantime, the phenomenon of the selection of “good” and “bad“ Jews and “good” and “bad” Muslims is the measure of all things. All criticism against the racist, Apartheid state of Israel is immediately branded as “hate against Jews” and “Anti-Semitism.” And all that the “Jewish State” does for its “security” is presented to us as a shining example and model. The strategy of concepts, the war of words is alarming. The Zionist “word creators” have been a political project of enormous significance since the foundation of the “Jewish State” from which time propaganda had a most important role with a board which served as the department of the Prime Minister and worked to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine also on a linguistic level! (1)

In fact, for dictatorships and “ethnocentric systems” it is particularly important to hide their crimes with linguistic distortions and inventions of words. In the meantime this variant about how to make politics by language is sold to the citizens so that by complicated linguistic creations almost nobody understands the real facts of the case.

While politics in Germany become more and more “remote from citizens,” people are surprised if parties like the right-wing AfD attract certain voters and sympathisers with their “simple” words like rat catchers. While “ethnic pipe dreamers and race theorist” such as Thilo Sarrazin are positively reviewed in German over-regional media and can stay in the German Socialist Party without any consequences, critics of Israel are subject to completely different treatment. The powerful Israel lobby has ensured that they can neither talk in parties nor in feuillotons or talk shows. And while the self-appointed critics of Islam have enjoyed prosperity and become favoured amongst the “media Gods,” critics of the “Jewish State” have become outcasts whose voices are to be avoided.

While the secret war against the BDS movement and its activists was started on a global scale that was financed by U.S. $45 million from the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, critics of Israel encountered the implications directly (2).

In Germany, the government and its close media representatives do their best to make political concepts more and more incomprehensible. Did we not have a similar propaganda ministry in the past working almost in the same way? Already at that time there was fertile ground for many propaganda concepts. What is alarming in this context, is the constant level loss, beginning with the widely read newspaper Bildto which even governing politicians make reference to explain their political orientation. In fact, we are concerned with a dangerous political education programme. This is the shape of national dulling in Germany! Of course, in this context we have avoided mentioning that the newspaper Bild is in the frontline of this linguistic war for the “Jewish State” and extends the “long arm of Netanyahu” to Germany through the media.

So it is not surprising that the newspaper Bild pulls out of its hat a Jewish journalist by letting him compare Aleppo with the Holocaust … this relativization is left to certain Jews.

And what happens in Syria, is a war that was planned long ago with the aim of a “regime change,” an intriguing and proven method employed by USA and its henchmen. While jihadists are armed and supported by the Western Alliance, Russia comes to help Assad. And the well-known patterns are repeated: Russia is the mass murderer, while the upright USA just wants the best for the people (this is exactly what we can observe in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya).

In view of the fact that Israel supports the Nusra front, we should ask: Who benefits from this? The answer is of course the “Jewish State,” because a weakened Assad Regime helps to maintain the annexation of the Golan Heights with shameless violations of international law and crimes against humanity.

This is not just a case of a Holocaust and genocide of people, but also of a brutal proxy war shamelessly manipulated by an Israeli journalist who compared the Holocaust with Aleppo. Instead of such a heinous diversionary tactic, it would have been more appropriate and timely for an “Appeal from Israel“ to stop the illegal Judiazing and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. (3)

As soon as the hate campaigns of Springer and Bild started, the Sayanim occupied themselves by completely supporting this struggle. In Germany it is a shame that political parties and political leaders are more concerned with the dubious, inexistent “right of existence” of the “Jewish State” than with freedom of expression.

Jewish German or foreign citizens are not allowed to express their opinion. They are defamed as anti-Semites and denigrated only because they show civil courage and are opposed to Israel’s illegal occupation policies; support the BDS campaign; or openly identify themselves as “anti-Zionists.”

So who are the real Anti-Semites? The real anti-Semites are the political representatives who want to prevent Jewish citizens in Germany from speaking out or expressing their opinions. In this context it is interesting that in particular again and again German citizens whose parents or grandparents were deeply involved in the Nazi crimes persist in this deviation. Because of guilty feelings and their compensation, a philo-semitic exaggerated love towards Jews has become a very particular, second anti-Semitism.

The manipulation of the holocaust, shamelessly exploited by Jewish organisations and the “Jewish State”, is the most awful phenomenon after the shoah, which in the long run does not support either the murdered Jews or the “Jewish State.”

It is anti-Semitic if the suffering of the murdered Jews in Germany is misused to whitewash actual crimes of the Israeli State. It is totally immoral for Jewish officials to brand Jewish citizens as anti-Semites; and promote prejudice against Muslim immigrants and citizens by accusing them of anti-Semitic ideas and hate against Jews (like Charlotte Knobloch! does). But do Jewish officials not have a particular duty of care with concepts and language? In reality, it is exactly the opposite: they promote prejudice and make islamophobia socially acceptable and oppose freedom of speech. While DITIB is denigrated as anti-Semitic, and while Jewish critics of Israel have to endure hate speeches, Jewish organisations and the “Jewish State” – in spite of their international law violations against the Palestinian people – have been rewarded. While Amnesty International has just produced a well-documented accusatory report about the pattern of illegal murders and about the shocking disrespect for human lives, universities and conferences and their speakers who talk about these awful conditions are portrayed as “Jews‘ haters” which in Germany is like an employment ban. (4)

If we do not stop this trend, I am very pessimistic about the freedom of speech in Germany. All that is not suitable is hushed up. The fatal reality is that the German media has increasingly become an instrument of the U.S. whose continuous propaganda constitutes brainwashing. And it is a fact that by constant repetition the person gets more and more indifferent and memorises what should be questioned.

However, in the constant rabble-rousing against Russia, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon because the Germans – unlike most politicians and media pundits – are not stupid and want good relations with their Russian neighbours. Even more shocking is the behaviour of the Green and Conservative Parties with the infamous Marieluise Beck and Göring-Eckart constantly promoting the right-wing trend of the Green Party. While they kowtow to the “Jewish State” and U.S. war crimes, they oppose Putin, Erdogan and Assad. In future, these awful hawkish policies must defeated at the ballot box!

Therefore, I would like to conclude this article with the following quotation by Bishop Desmond Tutu which all democratic forces in Germany, the media, and political leaders should carefully consider:

“Beware of anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, but also beware of all what tries to make you silent and of those who want to put all people criticising the oppressing Israeli politics as anti-Semites into pigeonholes.”

Originally appeared in German AT

English translation by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik, edited by William Hanna

IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE ~~ 120 SECONDS OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

WATCH: In 120 seconds, this video will change the way you see the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

An Arab and a Jew asking for hugs on the streets of East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – and the results will surprise you.

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There IS hope …. It’s up to us to make it a reality! Don’t wait for Bibi’s or Abbas’ OK … Just do it!

PALESTINIAN UNIVERSITIES FIGHTING A BATTLE ON TWO FRONTS

Palestinian universities are fighting an uphill battle on two fronts, one being the Israeli military occupation, and more recently, the other being the Palestinian government. Although each poses two very different sets of challenges, one outcome is clear. If immediate and decisive intervention is not forthcoming, the structural damage that will set back entire generations of Palestinian students will haunt Palestine’s developmental capabilities for many years to come. That is, if the damage has not already been inflicted.

On display at the Bethlehem Museum, the abacusis a simple, but yet piercing piece of art reflecting what Palestinian kids aregoing through under military occupation. Palestinian Artist Rana Bishara fromTarshiha in the Western Galilee. (October, 2016) Printed with permission ofartist.

On display at the Bethlehem Museum, the abacusis a simple, but yet piercing piece of art reflecting what Palestinian kids aregoing through under military occupation. Palestinian Artist Rana Bishara fromTarshiha in the Western Galilee. (October, 2016) Printed with permission of artist.

Palestinian Universities on the Frontline

By Sam Bahour

Palestinian universities are fighting an uphill battle on two fronts, one being the Israeli military occupation, and more recently, the other being the Palestinian government. Although each poses two very different sets of challenges, one outcome is clear. If immediate and decisive intervention is not forthcoming, the structural damage that will set back entire generations of Palestinian students will haunt Palestine’s developmental capabilities for many years to come. That is, if the damage has not already been inflicted.

Prolonged Israeli military occupation of Palestine (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip) has caused a staggering amount of damage to the Palestinian society at large. Much of this damage is visible to the naked eye, such as land grabs, settlements, walls, fences, checkpoints, demolished airports, and bombed-out buildings, just to name a few. However, the more serious and long-term damage is hidden from view. I call it the administratively applied part of the Israeli military occupation. These invisible aspects of the occupation comprise issues such as the infamous permit system, the limiting and prohibiting of access to the electromagnetic spectrum, confiscation of water resources, severely limiting Palestinians’ access to water, and importation restrictions. The list is long.

These are the elements of occupation you cannot capture in a photo. One of the key elements Israel has routinely sought to attack is Palestine’s education system. The Israeli fixation on blocking Palestinian education is not new.

When Israel was yet in its formative years, it introduced an office of the advisor to the [Israeli] prime minister on Arab affairs. As quoted in Atty. Sabri Jiryis’ landmark book, “The Arabs in Israel” (1976), one of the most racist persons to hold this position was Uri Lubrani (1960-1963). Lubrani stated in a lecture, “It very probably would be better if there were no Arab university students. It probably would be easier to govern them if they continued to work as wood cutters and waiters.” It seems this desire has not faded away.

Earlier this month, Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, a Palestinian research group which recently became affiliated with Birzeit University, held its 22ndAnnual Conference titled, “The Complex Challenges Facing Palestinian Universities: Is There a Way Out?” The conference was held at Birzeit University on September 30 and October 1, 2016. The Muwatin Conference came on the heels of a provocative student strike at Birzeit University, which witnessed a handful of students forcibly chain closed the gates of the university, totally paralyzing the university for nearly a month and delaying the start of the school year. There is no indication that the situation has stabilized to prohibit the students (or teachers’/workers’ unions) from undertaking future disruptive labor action. The backdrop of this strike made the Muwatin Conference even more timely.

The conference brought together an impressive audience of senior academics, education administrators, including several current and past university presidents, private sector concerns, and Palestinian government officials, including the current Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Sabri Saidam, as well as several ex-ministers. The panels hosted some of the top Palestinian thinkers on higher education.

One panel, Higher Education: Continuation or Start Over?, offered an historical overview of the young Palestinian higher education sector. Another panel, Where Does Higher Education Stand in Palestine?, grappled with the need to educate for the sake of education, as well as to educate to serve a productive labor market, one that is extremely distressed by prolonged occupation. Other panels were titled Self-Restricting Constraints on Higher Education, University Economics and Country Economics, Higher Education Under Occupation, The Regulatory Framework for Higher Education, and Higher Education and State Building. Having listened attentively to them all, the overarching messages were loud and clear: our higher education system remains in the crosshairs of the Israeli occupation, and the Palestinian government, with its deep financial constraints and lack of legislative oversight, is unable to stop the imminent damage on its own.

From the Israeli side, the damage to the higher education sector is systemic. Physical targeting of university facilities, as was the case at the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip, and frequent incursions on to campuses, as was recently the case at the Palestine Technical University (Kadoorie) located in Tulkarm and Birzeit University near Ramallah, have brought material damage and disruption to university operations. Additionally, the heavy restrictions Israel has placed on Palestinians’ movement and access have forced universities to be established near the students, bringing the total number of universities to 15 for a population of 4.8 million with over 220,000 university students, with three new private universities in the pipeline. This forced geographic fragmenting of our community is not only draining material resources, but it is cannibalizing the shrinking pool of qualified university professors, especially those holding PhDs. Just last month, Israel denied entry into the country to UK-based scholar Dr. Adam Hanieh, who was invited by the Ph.D. Program in the Social Sciences at Birzeit University to deliver a series of lectures at the university. He is not the first case of an academic being denied access. The number of Israeli restrictions and disruptions is too long to list here.

On the side of the Palestinian government, the criticism was pointed. The inability of the government to meet its financial commitments to universities was highlighted by almost every panelist, especially given the over 40 percent budget allocation that goes toward security. Another alarming issue brought up by many was the issue that the Palestinian security forces have “infiltrated” the universities and are seen as hindering the academic freedoms students expect. This criticism was exacerbated by the fact that, as of late, the Palestinian security forces have arrested and interrogated many student activists.

The Muwatin Conference distributed a booklet titled, “Higher Education in Palestine…Beyond the Figures!!!” I think the three explanation points in the booklet’s title speak for themselves. Nevertheless, reading the set of statistics presented, from the rising unemployment rates, to the declining interest in sciences, to the inability of the labor market to absorb the nearly 40,000 annual graduates, it becomes apparent that the situation is reaching a tipping point and the spillover, when it occurs, will not remain confined behind campus walls.

It was refreshing, albeit depressing, to hear the case made by Dr. Samia Botmeh, Assistant Professor of Economics at Birzeit University, about the negative effect that neo-liberalism is having on Palestine’s higher education system. She made a convincing argument that higher education cannot merely be reduced to providing job skills to serve a market (something she called the “productization” of education), but rather must be viewed from a much broader societal vantage point where a higher education is instilling a set of values and skills to produce a life-long learner who has the ability to assume his or her role in society, be it in serving a business, engaging a philosophical dilemma, producing music, or being a homemaker.

One missing aspect of the conference that I have interest in was how to utilize our diaspora, academics and non-academics, to support the higher education of Palestinians, as well as Palestinian higher education institutes. A week before the conference, my consulting firm launched a Linkedin Group, Academic Network for Palestine (ANPs), to start to collect in one location those Palestinian academics and non-Palestinian academics who are in solidarity with Palestine to discuss ways to support the sector.

Ironically, as I was writing this article, my 11th-grade daughter, Nadine, came to me with her laptop in hand. She enthusiastically wanted me to watch something. It was this, THE PEOPLE VS THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, a YouTube clip by American rapper, spoken word artist, music video director and rights activist from St Louis, Missouri, Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince EA. Nadine’s timing was spot on.

Palestine’s challenge is huge. As this video clip by Prince EA so eloquently articulates, we must deal with the same mega-challenges that the entire world is dealing with, the only difference is we must do so while the oppressive boot of Israeli military occupation is pressing on our necks. Ignoring desperately needed reforms and freedoms in Palestine’s education system levies a heavy price on students and the society at large. As Palestinian educators struggle to survive, our Israeli occupier is laughing all the way to the next settlement hilltop.

Originally appeared AT

REMEMBERING THE ‘MEN OF PEACE’ WHO OPPRESSED PALESTINIANS

Wiesel and Peres dedicated their lives to a project that deflects Jewish culpability in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Though world leaders will gather for Peres’s funeral in the coming days, Jews need to mourn aspects of the violence Wiesel and Peres enabled. The idea of Jews simply finishing the job that Wiesel and Peres began, viewing their legacy as simply unfinished, won’t do either.

Israel has embarked wholesale on the displacement and ghettoization of the Palestinian people. The trajectory Wiesel’s and Peres’s life is a dead-end for Palestinians and Jewish history, if one believes that without an ethical center, Jewish life is truncated, if not voided altogether.

Shimon Peres never expressed regret over Qana operation that killed over 100 civilians, “[I'm] at peace with it.”

Shimon Peres never expressed regret over Qana operation that killed over 100 civilians, “[I’m] at peace with it.”

Shimon Peres, Israel’s greatest ambassador, will be remembered for enabling oppression of the Palestinians

The world is awakening to the news of the death of Shimon Peres, the last liberal lion of the founders of the state of Israel. He was 93 years old. Yet the real meaning of Peres’s life will be decided in the future. That future is troubling. It has already arrived.

As a military and political person, Peres did it all from the beginning of the state of Israel. Peres fought for the new born state of Israel, held many and varied political offices during the course of Israel’s history, including Prime Minister and President, played a key role in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons and encouraged and augmented Israel’s settlement project in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

As important was Peres’s role in portraying Israel as a Jewish and democratic state around the world. In this latter project, so important to Israel and Jews in the Diaspora, Peres succeeded magnificently during most of his long life. Yet, it is exactly here that Peres faltered in his later years, partly as his age increased but more importantly because the tide of history turned. Today, portraying Israel as a refuge for Jews, as innocent, under siege and as a beacon of light, is unacceptable. It is impossible.

From the beginning, Palestinians knew a different Israel and, with time, more and more Jews do, too. Though Peres will be widely celebrated in the upper echelons of American and European power in the coming days, like Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust sage, who died some months ago, Peres will be remembered for enabling a narrative of Jewish innocence and redemption that was, also, something much more sinister from the beginning.

With Peres’s death, the issue of the future of Israel and Jewish life becomes more urgent. Though, again like Wiesel with the Holocaust, Peres sought to create a lasting legacy enshrined in Jewish history, now their legacy and Jewish history itself are in doubt. Building on the legacy of the Holocaust and Israel seems dubious. The ground beneath our feet is uncertain.

Entering the Jewish High Holiday season, a time of reflection and confession, what are Jews to do? Wiesel and Peres dedicated their lives to a project that deflects Jewish culpability in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Though world leaders will gather for Peres’s funeral in the coming days, Jews need to mourn aspects of the violence Wiesel and Peres enabled. The idea of Jews simply finishing the job that Wiesel and Peres began, viewing their legacy as simply unfinished, won’t do either.

Israel has embarked wholesale on the displacement and ghettoization of the Palestinian people. The trajectory Wiesel’s and Peres’s life is a dead-end for Palestinians and Jewish history, if one believes that without an ethical center, Jewish life is truncated, if not voided altogether.

Was Shimon Peres’s life wasted, culpable, to be derided in Jewish history and the history of peoples around the world, including and especially the Palestinian people? In the coming days, we will hear more about Peres’s accomplishments than explore the content of these dissident thoughts. To speak about the end of Jewish innocence will be seen as a betrayal.

Perhaps a rabbi or two will parse Peres’s life during the upcoming Days of Awe. More likely, however, most rabbis, like our political leaders, will laud Peres’ life and further postpone the confession so central to the Jewish future.

#JeSuisPalestinian!

“Palestinian citizens of Israel are its Achilles’ heel; they refuse to become Zionists, refuse to leave Israel, and refuse to vanish into thin air. And, increasingly, they are refusing to remain silent.”

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Don’t Call Us ‘Israeli Arabs’: Palestinians in Israel Speak Out
By Sam Bahour

When Israel’s founding fathers removed by force the native Palestinian Arab population living where they intended to establish their state, they murdered or displaced more than 80% of that population.

This act of ethnic cleansing — to borrow one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly found phrases — was given a name in Arabic: the Nakba, or catastrophe. The Palestinian Muslims, Druze and Christians who remained in what became Israel have been, and are today, approximately 20% of the population. These are indigenous Palestinians and their descendants, who have had Israeli citizenship imposed upon them.

’48ers, Palestinian Arabs, ‘insiders’ – just not ‘Israeli Arabs’

For over half a century, Israel has preferred the designation Israeli Arabs, focusing on their Israeliness and attempting to obliterate any trace of Palestinian from their identity. Among Palestinians in exile or the West Bank, they’re referred to as ‘48ers, referring to the year of the Nakba, or as those living “on the inside,” meaning inside the 1949 armistice line, better known as the Green Line. Now, a new cohort of Palestinian thinkers inside Israel writing 68 years after the Nakba reaffirm that they are not just Arabs, but Palestinian Arabs, and that while they may be “in Israel,” they are not Israel’s: they are their own masters.

These Palestinian citizens of Israel are its Achilles’ heel; they refuse to become Zionists, refuse to leave Israel, and refuse to vanish into thin air. And, increasingly, they are refusing to remain a silent, or passive, player.

This increasingly assertive minority in Israel spoke out in a new think tank report published this month by The Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel hosted by the Oxford Research Group and supported by the I’LAM Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research in Nazareth and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Full disclosure: While completely independent, this project is also a sister project of the Palestine Strategy Group, of which I’m a secretariat member.]

Four futures for Palestinians in Israel, from chaos to a binational state

The report is unequivocal about the need for the state of Israel to wholly accept these Palestinian citizens as full and equal citizens. Israeli Jewish citizens who think they have quashed any impetus for collective action by their Palestinian neighbors in Israel would be well advised to read, not just this report in its entirety, but also the biographies of those responsible for its production. Some of the sharpest political and academic minds in Israel are exposing the historical misjudgments and internal contradictions in the Israeli state and offering a way out, if anyone is interested in pursuing it.

The report highlights three possible scenarios – four futures for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and their relationship with the State of Israel.

Scenario 1 assumes the continuation of the status quo
, which could proceed along two different paths: Israel could embark on attempting to better the quality of life of its Palestinian citizens, as individuals, without addressing the core political or collective issues, or could simply attempt to perpetuate the status quo, without the emergence of a Palestinian state, a combination that would inevitably become less status quo and more a continuous downward spiral.

Scenario 2 envisions chaos on Israel’s borders as regional Islamic fundamentalism in bordering states spills over into Israel, provoking redeployment of the Israeli military and greater potential instability.

Scenario 3 assumes the creation of an independent Palestinian state(as defined by the UN General Assembly Resolution passed on November 29, 2012) living side by side with Israel.

And scenario 4 projects Israel’s transition into a binational state, in effect a one-state solution, but with a very different social contract with Jewish Israelis: one that ensures constitutional equality between Jews and Arabs and re-envisions all of the state’s trappings, such as the flag, national anthem, etc.

Recognizing the collective rights of Palestinians in Israel

But in parallel to these high-level strategic scenarios, Palestinian citizens in Israel need tangible goals.

In the short-medium term (five- to ten-years) framing the aspirations of the collective, building and upgrading the institutional infrastructure of the legitimate minority status of Palestinians in Israel based on pluralism, democracy and equality. Specifically, the umbrella representative organizations – the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Localities – should be reformed and new associations should be considered.

A ten- to twenty-year horizon focuses on individual rights and equal opportunities in addition to the attainment of recognition as a collective. This includes efforts to revitalize existing representative bodies and create new ones to work toward achieving formal recognition at all levels of government with the aim of securing first-class citizenship rights and economic and development rights, as well as addressing the various state planning bodies.

And finally looking forward twenty to forty years: the achievement of a historic reconciliation between the two peoples in historical Palestine as part of reconciliation between the Jewish community and the Palestinians alone, or also with the peoples and countries of the wider region.

Palestinians: Accept pluralism. Israelis: Right historical injustice

Such charting of a joint future is difficult to envision today because of the vast ideological diversity with the Palestinian community, with some calling for no separation between religion and state and others calling for total separation. This major disparity in ideologies is a clear potential weakness: the report calls for the universal acceptance of pluralism as the necessary foundation on which to build, with all stakeholders accepted as part of a shared future. The report notes likewise that the need for the state to be a state for all its citizens must be a given in any future scenario.

It is true that ending the nearly 50-year-old Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, although imperative, will not bring total peace to Israel. What could finally accord Israel a normal place among nations, for the first time ever, is for it to come to terms with its history of injustice.

That means acknowledging its role in the creation of the Palestinian refugee community, taking restorative efforts to right that wrong, and finally accepting its Palestinian citizens as full and equal civic partners in theory and in practice.

Written for HaAretz

Also posted AT

NEW VIDEO ~~ DROP THE WALL! … END AIPAC NOW!!!

UPDATED ~~ MORE IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ FACEBOOK DELETES PALESTINE YET AGAIN

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Images by Carlos Latuff

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Deleting FB posts, pages & accounts of Palestinian media professionals restricts the exercise of freedom of opinion

Deleting FB posts, pages & accounts of Palestinian media professionals restricts the exercise of freedom of opinion

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Bowing to zionist pressure

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Facebook censors Palestine according to an agreement with Israel as it removes the posts that expose the Israeli crimes

Facebook censors Palestine according to an agreement with Israel as it removes the posts that expose the Israeli crimes

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The agreement between Facebook & Israel is a blatant violation of codes of international law and freedom of opinion

The agreement between Facebook & Israel is a blatant violation of codes of international law and freedom of opinion

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Palestine will be free. Mark Zuckerberg, you teamed with the wrong side.

Palestine will be free. Mark Zuckerberg, you teamed with the wrong side.

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 Deactivate your accounts and Explain your reasons for this

Deactivate your accounts and Explain your reasons for this

Related posts by Ali Abunimah (Click on links)

Facebook disables accounts of Palestinian editors

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Facebook apologizes for disabling Palestinian journalists’ accounts

BUT ….

Palestinians remain concerned over Facebook’s power to censor their voices.

Palestinians remain concerned over Facebook’s power to censor their voices.

SEE HOW PRIVATE DONATIONS TO ISRAEL HELP DESTROY PALESTINE

 U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

T’ruah’s new campaign asks the Jewish National Fund to be fully transparent about where American Jewish donations are being spent, and to stop using these donations on projects in the settlements.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

Jewish National Fund Gives $530K From American Donors to West Bank Settlement

The Jewish National Fund’s American fundraising arm gave $530,000 to a visitor’s center in a West Bank settlement, according to a new disclosure by the JNF, which has been under pressure from the left-wing rabbis’ group T’ruah to list its donations to the West Bank.

The $530,000 grant to a museum and visitor’s center in Kfar Etzion is the only West Bank project listed in the new disclosures. While JNF’s American arm has long acknowledged funding the center, the size of the grant has not before been publicly available.

T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group, has for years campaigned to demand details from the JNF on funds it sends to the West Bank, creating a a series of web videos and a write-in campaign demanding a full accounting of JNF spending.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

JNF has said in the past that it makes grants to the occupied West Bank. But since 2008, American charities have not been required to reveal the recipients of their overseas grants, and in recent years the JNF’s public tax returns have not spelled out how its money is spent in Israel.

The charity behind the iconic blue donation boxes that litter Hebrew schools and synagogues across the United States, the JNF in Israel played a key role in the creation of the Jewish state, and still owns a large share of all Israeli land. The American fundraising arm’s reputation as a centrist Israel development charity, however, has taken a hit in recent years, amid attention to the Israeli organization’s role in the displacement of unrecognized Bedioun villages, and questions about its involvement with the West Bank settlement project.

T’ruah’s campaign has sought to quantify how much of the American fundraising arm’s money has gone to West Bank settlements.

Now, in recently-released tax returns for the fiscal year ending last September, the American group has listed the recipients of nearly all of the $29.7 million in grants that group sent to Israel that year.

Nothing in the new documents appears to directly contradict the JNF’s earlier accounting of its West Bank activities. Aside from the grant to the visitor’s center, called the Gush Etzion Foundation, no other projects listed explicitly and directly benefit West Bank settlements.

In a press statement, T’ruah raised questions about $290,000 attributed in JNF’s the tax documents to “general afforestation,” noting that the group doesn’t say whether those trees were planted in Israel or in the West Bank.

T’ruah also pointed to $250,000 that went to a group called Face of Israel, which doesn’t have a functioning website. And T’ruah noted that JNF reported giving $33,000 to a U.S.-based group called Friends of Ir David, which funds the Israeli organization Elad, which is engaged in settlement activity in East Jerusalem.

A spokesman for JNF did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a JNF spokesman said that the organization “will not be intimidated by those who claim to have a higher moral authority while dismissing and belittling the good work that U.S. Jewry performs for the land and people of Israel.”

IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S MINION OF ABOMINATIONS

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PROTESTING NETANYAHU @ HIS AWARDS DINNER @ PLAZA HOTEL NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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OBAMA’S FINAL ACT AGAINST PALESTINE

Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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Will Obama’s final act be the liquidation of Palestinian rights?

Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

It is a time-honored Washington ritual.

Given his passing reference to Palestinians and Israelis in his final speech to the UN General Assembly, however, it might seem like there is not much chance of that with Barack Obama.

“Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” Obama told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday.

It was classic Obama: tricky and deceptive language that seeks balance where there is none – equating alleged Palestinian “incitement” with real Israeli colonialism and occupation – and floating lofty goals belied by his actions.

The most glaring of these, of course, is Obama signing off on the record 10-year, $38 billion dollar military giveaway to Israel.

This weapons windfall caps a term during which Obama aided and abetted two devastating Israeli assaults in Gaza, as well as the ongoing siege, and offered Israel every diplomatic protection as it built more settlements on occupied Palestinian land, exceeding even the frenetic pace of colonization during the Bush administration.

Obama is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday, where he will reportedly push Israel to make progress towards the so-called two-state solution.

All Netanyahu will need to do is smile and nod politely for the cameras, knowing that the president has already given away any potential leverage by signing the massive military deal.

But make no mistake: Obama still poses a continuing danger to Palestinian rights as long as he remains in the White House.

Canceling Palestinian rights

In recent weeks, think tankers belonging to the peace process industry have launched a new campaign urging Obama to support a UN Security Council resolution before he leaves office that would enshrine the two-state solution.

But what it would actually do is write into international law an abrogation of Palestinian rights, offering Palestinians no more than a pale bantustan. It would renege on the right to return of Palestinian refugees, a right that the UN has guaranteed. It would, moreover, recognize Israel’s claimed “right” to discriminate against the indigenous Palestinians solely because they are not Jews.

France floated a similar initiative last year, which, as I explained at the time, would have fatally undermined Palestinian rights, but thankfully it went nowhere because the US would not support it.

The most thorough elaboration of this approach now comes from Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group.

In a New York Review of Books article this month, Thrall calls a UN resolution laying out the parameters for the partition of historic Palestine into ethnically segregated Palestinian and Jewish states a “last chance” for Obama to “salvage his legacy.”

Thrall claims that “many in the administration” are hoping that this will indeed be Obama’s final act.

“Any resolution the US supports will contain clauses that are difficult for each side to accept,” Thrall writes. “The most troublesome issues for Israel are that the borders will be based on the pre-1967 lines and that the Palestinian capital will be in Jerusalem. The most onerous clauses for the Palestinians relate to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the absence of a timeline for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and a resolution of the refugee problem that would rule out anything but symbolic return to Israel.”

He affirms that the resolution would need to “offer some sort of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” in effect granting Israel a legal license to be racist.

It would also force on Palestinians what Thrall calls “entirely new concessions to Israel.”

“Settlements that existing Security Council resolutions call to dismantle would gain legitimacy as parts of a potential land swap,” Thrall writes.

Thrall, who enthusiastically supports this approach, is clear about the political realities: “It is a safe bet that on the majority of … issues, a US-supported resolution would favor Israeli positions over Palestinian ones.”

Abrogating UN resolutions

Another figure pushing for a UN resolution is Carl Bildt, the former Swedish foreign minister and high representative – diplomatic speak for unelected ruler – of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Obama, Bildt writes, “should push for a UN Security Council resolution that establishes new parameters for a future peace accord and replaces UN Security Council Resolution 242, which dates back to the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria.”

In other words, Bildt and Thrall want UN resolution 242 – which for all its shortcomings and omissions is at least clear on the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” – replaced by a new resolution that actually blesses Israel’s decades of ethnic cleansing and land theft under the banner of “peace” and a “two-state solution.”

Israel’s certain resistance to such an approach should not be taken as evidence that a resolution would somehow be good for Palestinians. Its rejectionism is simply based on long-standing policy that Israel should never be bound by any international rules no matter how ineffectual or favorable they are.

As Thrall acknowledges – and this is also where the grave danger lies for Palestinians – the Palestinian Authorityleadership would probably welcome such a resolution, dedicated as Mahmoud Abbas has been to abrogating Palestinian rights when it comes both to refugees and settlements.

Dennis Ross, that stalwart of the Israel lobby who has – absurdly – served as peace envoy for several presidents including Obama, has also weighed in on the potential impact of November’s presidential election on the prospects for such a resolution.

“I suspect that if [Donald] Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Ross said at a Zionist conference in California last week. “If [Hillary] Clinton wins, I suspect he [Obama] would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurts her.”

But either way, Ross said, Obama “would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.”

No friend of Palestinians

Thrall kicks off his New York Review of Books piece by revisiting Obama’s early connections to the Palestinian community, particularly in Chicago: “He had met, dined with, and attended the lectures of such figures as Edward Said, the most famous and eloquent Palestinian critic of the Oslo accords, and he had offered words of encouragement to Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian activist, writer, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and leading advocate of a one-state solution.”

On the strength of this, Thrall asserts that when the president came to office, “Palestinians looked to Obama as a potentially historic figure capable of ending their occupation.”

That was certainly true for wishful thinkers and the ill-informed. But let me set the record straight. Thrall’s knowledge of Obama’s dining with Said, and his “encouragement” to me, comes from an article I wrote in 2007, when the then senator from Illinois was in the early stages of his presidential primary campaign, titled “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.”

The point of the article was not to offer hope, but to warn that despite Obama’s connections to the Palestinian community, he had already eagerly adopted the hardline positions of the Israel lobby as he became more politically ambitious.

“Palestinian Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico,” I wrote about Obama’s ditching of anything resembling a just and principled position on Palestine.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Instead, as I wrote days after Obama’s election in November 2008, Palestinians should invest their efforts in building up their own power and broadening their movement – particularly through boycott, divestment and sanctions – because no US administration would ever support their rights unless compelled to do so.

The best we can hope for now is that in his final months in office Obama will do no more damage to add to his poisoned legacy on Palestine.

THE DEAL TO ERASE PALESTINE COMPLETELY

The clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

US aid deal gives green light to Israel’s erasure of Palestine

The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion to $3.8bn a year – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

Netanyahu’s agreement to such terms has incensed Israeli loyalists in Congress such as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who had been fighting Netanyahu’s corner to win an even larger aid handout from US taxpayers. He accused the Israeli prime minister on Friday of having “pulled the rug from under us”.

As Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s former defence minister, also pointed out in a series of TV interviews in Israel, the deal fails to take into account either inflation or the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Netanyahu preferred to sign the deal now rather than wait till the next president is installed, even though Clinton and her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, are expected to be even more craven towards Israel. That appears to reflect Netanyahu’s fear that the US political environment will be more uncertain after the election and could lead to long delays in an agreement, and apprehension about the implications for Israel of Trump’s general opposition to foreign aid.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even the New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one implicates the US in Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria, however, would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own large nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Obama signed the aid agreement to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate the unity necessary to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Obama really wanted to pressure Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act again the Palestinians with continuing impunity and lots of US military hardware.

#InGaza ~~ A POEM TO MAKE YOU WEEP

This poem was written by a German friend, Christopher Ben Kushka, a courageous activist for human rights and Palestinian liberation . It is not easy to speak out for Palestine in Germany. He is a teacher who is having a very hard time , threatened by Benjamin Weinthal and the lunatics and ideologues trying to harm him. He writes that 85% of Germans are indifferent or think it is a 50:50 conflict. Like me, he has been dropped like a hot potato for his views considered extreme.  He is also shut down from taking part in public discourse.

Bansky graffiti

Bansky graffiti

Here is a heartbreaking poem Christopher wrote at the height of the Gaza massacre in 2014

I want Palestinians to die

I want Palestinians to worry
about
which career to choose?
where to go on vacation, which country to travel to first?

I want Palestinians to despair
over the sun having set already
when they arrive at the beach to BBQ with family and friends

I want Palestinians toddlers and kids to cry
over a broken toy
and then to stroll on to another day full of adventures

I want Palestinians to battle
the challenges inside their own society
in a country based on justice and rights and peace
with none of us well-meaning friends interfering

I want Palestinians to die
a calm death
after a fullfilled and dignified life
after doing the deeds and praying the prayers
and working the work and
watching the next generations grow and prosper

a calm death they shall die
with a smile on their face
and an Alhamdulillah! on their lips

Click HERE to see a report written by the poet for Mondoweiss

IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID

What was still is ....

What was still is ….

Be sure not to miss this post from yesterday (Click on link)

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

PROTESTING THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND CONVENTION @ THE NYC HILTON HOTEL

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

According to the ‘logic’ of the present day elders of zion I have always been a ‘self hating Jew’. This was merely because I refuse to hate anyone else … does that make any sense to you?

It seems that times have changed and new definitions have been added to the zio-dictionary … Now I am a terrorist. The reason being that I am a part of and supporter of the BDS Movement. Have you ever heard of a terrorist that refuses to kill? Have you heard of one that refuses to support those who do?? Now you have!

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) participated on Sunday in a conference held by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in New York.

Speaking during the event, Shaked slammed the BDS movement, calling it “a new extension of terrorism.”

One of Bendib's finest

One of Bendib’s finest

 

Justice Minister: BDS movement is a terror organization

‘BDS is the new face of terrorism,’ Ayelet Shaked says during JNF conference in New York.

Full zioreport HERE

And here you can see why we boycott terrorism!

WOMEN SET SAIL TO FREE GAZA

Two boats packed with activists, politicians, and artists from around the world have set sail for the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. The boats, named Amal and Zaytouna (“hope” and “olive” in Arabic, respectively), set sail on Wednesday from Barcelona, with only women comprising the crew for each vessel.

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

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Images by Carlos Latuff

Women's Boat to Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza

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This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel's siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel’s siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

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For the past two days, locals and international supporters have been flocking to attend the activities hosted by Rumbo a Gaza (Boat to Gaza) to mark the launch. Hundreds attended the events, including concerts, talks and non-violence training.

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Related report from Mondoweiss

Two women’s boats set sail for Gaza in effort to break blockade

Allison Deger

Two vessels with all-female crews set sail for Gaza from Spain on Wednesday in an attempt to break the nine-year Israeli blockade on the coastal Mediterranean strip. The “Women’s Boat to Gaza” is the fourth of its kind, captained by women-only, with 30 female activists and high-ranking officials aboard the Arabic-named Zaytouna (“Olive”) and the Amal (“hope”)

The organization said in a statement the boats are on a course to pierce Israel’s maritime control over Gaza’s borders, and in doing so, raise awareness of conditions inside of the Strip.

“While our focus is on opposing the blockade against the Palestinian people of Gaza, we see this in the larger context of supporting the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians,” the group said on their website. “The Occupation daily violates the rights of Palestinians to move freely around their country and to leave and return to their country, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Gaza is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, under siege since 2007. In the last decade, unemployment has soared to 42 percent, according to the World Bank. Gaza’s weak infrastructure already lacking basic services took a toll in the 2014 war, and of the funds promised to reconstruct, only half have been disbursed. 

Since 2014 Gaza’s southern crossing into Egypt has also mostly been shut down, with the exception of a few dozens of days of openings, leaving a majority of Gaza’s residents living in poverty reliant on aid parcels to survive. 

Notable passengers on the boat include Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire from Northern Ireland, retired U.S. army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright, parliamentarian Marama Davidson from New Zealand’s Green Party, and playwright Naomi Wallace.

“We hope that people will put pressure on their governments to hold Israel accountable, to put sanctions on Israel for what it’s doing to the Palestinians and to tell them to lift the blockade,” Wright told the Middle East Eye before the ships left port in Barcelona two days ago.

“For us, as the women of the world, this fight is also important, it is important to show our rights and opportunities; to prove that we are able to send ships to the Gaza Strip; to show that we stand in solidarity with women and people in the area,” Palestinian-Spanish activist Jaldia Abubakra told Spanish RT.

In 2010 passengers aboard a boat in an aid flotilla charted toward the besieged Gaza Strip, the Mavi Marmara, were intercepted by Israeli commandos in an night-time raid while the boats were nearing the edge of international waters. The Israeli navy fired several rounds while commandeering the ship, killing 10 passengers including the husband of one of the sailors now aboard the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Çiğdem Topçuoğlu.

At the time Israeli officials claimed the ships were shuttling weapons. Ultimately, no such items were found stored. “Since no material aid is being provided, Israeli cannot claim the ships are bringing contraband,” the Women’s Boat to Gaza said.

The after effects of the raid disrupted relations between Israel and Turkey for six years. The two countries had a rapprochement earlier this year when they signed a memorandum of understanding. In the deal, Turkey agreed to absolve Israel of any civil or criminal penalties for the deaths of its citizens. Topçuoğlu came out against the agreement last spring. 

The two-boat flotilla left Barcelona two days ago with a sendoff from the city’s mayor. “Barcelona wants to continue to exercise the Mediterranean leadership for peace and human rights,” said a letter to the government of Israel from the Barcelona City Council.

The ships are due to arrive in Gaza during the first week of October. 

FREEDOM VINDICATED ON CAMPUS

Two lawyers hired by the City University of New York to investigate alleged instances of anti-Semitism found that expressions of political opposition to the State of Israel are not inherently anti-Semitic, and that such expressions are protected under the First Amendment.

the-first-amendment-parchment

Pro-Palestinian Group Vindicated of Anti-Semitism Charges After CUNY Probe

An independent investigation has vindicated a pro-Palestinian group charged with fostering an anti-Semitic climate at the nation’s largest urban public university.

Two lawyers hired by the City University of New York to investigate alleged instances of anti-Semitism found that expressions of political opposition to the State of Israel are not inherently anti-Semitic, and that such expressions are protected under the First Amendment.

The investigation and the events that triggered it are part of a broader trend of campuses becoming political battlegrounds, where heavyweight Israel advocacy groups, like the Zionist Organization of America, spar with pro-Palestinian activists. Students for Justice in Palestine, the subject of this investigation, is a frequent target of such groups — but not the only one.

“The report finds what we’ve said all along, that the ZOA’s claims that SJP engaged in anti-Semitic activity are completely unsubstantiated,” said Radhika Sainath, an attorney with Palestine Legal.

The lawyers’s conducted their investigation after the ZOA wrote a scathing letter in February accusing local chapters of SJP of creating “a hostile campus environment” for Jewish students at CUNY. The ZOA, one of the country’s oldest pro-Israel organizations, has been campaigning against SJP for years.

Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights have documented what they call a “Palestine exception” to free speech, which they say is a pattern of censorship on campuses and a silencing of criticism of Israel. The ZOA, Palestine Legal said in a statement, is at the forefront of these efforts.

“[The report] confirmed that SJP cannot be scapegoated for accusation of anti-Semitism on campus,” said Nerdeen Kiswani, a former SJP leader at CUNY who graduated in June. “The facts on the ground are that standing against Zionism is not anti-Semitic and is protected under free speech.”

Similar allegations against SJP and other pro-Palestinian groups have also been dismissed at San Francisco State University and the University of California Irvine, according to Palestine Legal. The U.S. Department of Education also dismissed complaints against pro-Palestinian groups at at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UCI in 2013, and against Rutgers in 2014.

“This is not the first time that ZOA has made these kinds of allegations about a university, saying there is rampant anti-Semitism and blaming it on SJP,” said Dov Waxman, a Northeastern University professor and co-director of the university’s Middle East Center. “In the previous cases those allegations turn out to be largely baseless or exaggerated.”

But even if such allegations are ultimately thrown out, Waxman said, they “force universities to be on the defensive and that means that particularly groups like SJP are going to be much more closely monitored and closely scrutinized by nervous administrators.”

Morton Klein, head of the ZOA, said he was “shocked” and “worse than disappointed” with the results of the investigation for which his group had pushed.

The report, conducted by Paul Shechtman, a former federal prosecutor, and Barbara Jones, a former federal judge, concluded that those who call for boycotts and divestment against Israel “should not be tarred as anti-Semitic.” The report also stated that banners with depictions of a kaffiyeh, or Palestinian scarf, are protected speech.

Shectman and Jones interviewed more than 60 students, alumni, administrators and faculty.

The report said that there was a “tendency to blame SJP for any act of anti-Semitism on any CUNY campus,” which it called a “mistake.” It found that SJP could not be tied to any of the most controversial instances of alleged anti-Semitism at the CUNY campuses.

The reported also noted that a Brooklyn College SJP leader had also been the victim of an Islamophobic incident. “No fair-minded person would attribute that conduct to Hillel,” it read, “and SJP should be judged by the same standards.”

To be sure, the report noted, there had been instances of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses, such as swastikas appearing on library book or desks. The report also described an SJP rally at Hunter College, where it was “undeniable that some protestors made anti-Semitic and threatening comments.”

An individual also pulled a pro-Israel sign from a Jewish student’s hands. These actions at the Hunter College protest “went beyond offensive speech and were tantamount to assaults,” the report read.

But the investigators could not identify those responsible for conduct: “If they can be identified, they should be punished.”

Some of those interviewed for the report said that they believed “Zionist” was often used as a code for “Jew” during rallies. The report found that in one case, this may have been true but that “it would be wrong, however, to conclude that is generally the case.”

Those who shout for “CUNY out of Israel,” the report said, should also not be automatically considered anti-Semitic.

Still, the report did note that investigators spoke to Jewish students who did feel threatened on campus — and that those experiences should not be ignored.

“It’s true that these protest activities can be very strident,” Waxman said. “They can be experienced by some Jewish students as threatening. And they can be unnerving for Jewish students for whom Israel and Zionism is a part of their identity.”

In conclusion, the report read: “The picture that has emerged is not one of unchecked anti-Semitism, far from it, but it is hardly perfect.”

A separate but related inquiry, also stemming from the ZOA’s allegations of anti-Semitism, exonerated two Brooklyn College SJP members in June, after investigators were unable to corroborate an allegation that a pro-Palestinian activist had called a Jewish professor a “Zionist pig.”

Klein told the Forward that his group is not trying to infringe on free speech. “One can criticize Israel’s policies,” Klein said. “But if you’re against Israel’s existence, you’re an anti-Semite.”

A March inquiry by the Forward into the allegations of anti-Semitism cited by the ZOA found that the letter was vague as to when and where several of the most clearly anti-Semitic episodes took place and that it would be difficult to hold SJP responsible for fostering a hostile climate for Jewish students.

The ZOA had eagerly assisted with the investigation months ago.

But now Klein said, “It did the opposite of what it was supposed to do.”

NETANYAHU’S LATEST LIE GOING VIRAL ON THE NET AS IT ANGERS THE WEST

Image by Carlos Latuff

Here we go with just another lie from Netanyahu ... "Ethnic cleansing of Jews" in Palestine

Here we go with just another lie from Netanyahu …
“Ethnic cleansing of Jews” in Palestine

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This appears to be a new spin-strategy by Netanyahu’s office: taking the term “ethnic cleansing”, which the world has increasingly become aware that Israel enacts, and turning it against its victims.

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Israeli government projects ‘ethnic cleansing’ on Palestinians

On his official Facebook page yesterday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu posted a speech in English. The concept here is so novel, that the text merits full presentation:

“I’m sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace. I’ve always been perplexed by this notion. Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel, that they are an obstacle to peace. That’s because they aren’t. On the contrary. Israel’s diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace.

Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with ONE precondition: No Jews.

There’s a phrase for that: it’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is OUTRAGEOUS. It’s even more outrageous, that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage. Ask yourself this: would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks?

Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace? At This moment, Jewish school children in Judea and Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends. Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so. I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all the people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don’t pursue peace.

I envision a middle east where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together, side by side, in peace. Our region needs more tolerance, not less. So the next time you hear someone say that Jews can’t live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications. Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did.”

Netanyahu is apparently discussing a claim that is not new, but three years old, and that does not mention Jews as such. In 2013, Palestinians President Abbas said, following a meeting with interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour in Cairo, that “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands”.

Abbas is thus referring to Israelis and soldiers of the occupying power. This is completely uncontroversial by international law, where the Fourth Geneva Convention (article 49) clearly states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

But Netanyahu turns this potential realization of international law, into an intent of “ethnic cleansing” by the Palestinians.

This is especially perplexing considering Israel’s history of ethnic cleansing, a history which continues today, where the rate of Israeli demolitions in occupied territory have doubled this year. Netanyahu further refers to Israel’s Palestinian citizens (the “nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel”), who are incidentally also subject to discrimination by some 50 laws  and recurring displacement (particularly the Bedouin community). Those Palestinians are the roughly 15% of the Palestinian population that managed to survive the first large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. He regards their presence, and Israel’s ‘tolerance’ of them, as a proof for Israel’s moral magnanimity.

Netanyahu states that “Jewish school children in Judea and Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends”, rebuffing a supposed claim that their “presence makes peace impossible”. Disregarding the fact that these children play in segregated sandboxes, in segregated communities connected by segregated roads and sometimes throw stones at Palestinians with an impunity not experienced by Palestinian children, the usage of the emotional appeal of “children” is hardly relevant, nor tasteful, to say the least, in this context.

This appears to be a new spin-strategy by Netanyahu’s office: taking the term “ethnic cleansing”, which the world has increasingly become aware that Israel enacts, and turning it against its victims.

Yesterday, I happened to read Isabelle Kershner’s article in the New York Times (dated August 30th), concerning the settlements. Allow me first to note, that Kershner’s article has a main flaw, in that she cites only 350,000 settlers in West Bank. This appears to be an outdated 2013 number, and excluding East Jerusalem. The number today excluding East Jerusalem is about 400,000, and the East Jerusalem settlers by some counts nearly double that number, which justifies citing the settler figures as high as journalist Gideon Levy recently did: 800,000 settlers. The citing of settlers in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem is a common practice, which effectively endorses Israel’s illegal and unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem by 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, Kershner’s article brings us some interesting information.

“Asked about the legalization of outposts — and the international criticism — Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman, David Keyes, did not respond directly, but instead turned the question to the Palestinian leaders’ stance that no settlements could remain in the West Bank under a future deal. “The frequently echoed Palestinian demand to ethnically cleanse their future state of Jews,” Mr. Keyes said via email, “is outrageous, immoral and antithetical to peace,” she notes.

This is a spin that is thus being repeated by the Israeli government over the last ten days. The demand to evacuate settlers and settler infrastructure from a future Palestinian state is regarded as “ethnic cleansing”, based upon racist notions.

The whole world is being admonished by Netanyahu for being “intolerant” in entertaining such notions at all.

Related report from HaAretz (Click on link)

U.S. Slams Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video, Calling It ‘Inappropriate and Unhelpful’

IN PHOTOS ~~ ANTI BDS BILL MEETS RESISTANCE FROM NEW YORKERS

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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First read this related article from Mondoweiss (Click on link)

NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters

Additional notes by Chippy Dee

When about 100 supporters of Palestinian human rights gathered in a hearing room at City Hall to voice their objections to an anti-1st amendment free speech resolution which opposes BDS, they didn’t expect a free inquiry into what BDS was or why this form of non-violent protest was a historically time honored form of protesting injustice going back, in American history, to the Boston Tea Party.  But neither did they expect abject rudeness, a total lack of professionalism, and blatant hostility from a body of lawmakers purporting to represent all  New Yorkers, not just Zionist supporters of current Israeli policy.

When they entered the chamber they saw that the 2 front rows were set aside for people testifying for the motion. None for those against it.  The committee chair, Helen Rosenthal, announced that 2 hours had been set aside for the hearing (that was later extended), that there would be a rotation of the speakers representing each side, and that nobody should make a sound, no applause, no laughter, no booing – only hand motions were acceptable.  The 1st speaker was Rep. Charles Barron, a member of the NYS legislature who had been  on the NYC Council in the past.  He was to make a statement of his own and also read a statement on behalf of his wife who currently serves on the NYC Council.  Barron is a long time supporter of Palestinian human rights having led one of the earliest attempts to break the Gaza blockade.  Before long he was interrupted by Rosenthal addressing him as “brother” and telling him to make his remarks more brief.  He responded asking her not to call him brother and that he would take the time he needed.  He also said that no person of color should support the motion. As he spoke 2 council members on the panel appeared to be paying no attention while doing something with their phones (texting?).

The next speaker supported the motion.  He essentially said the same thing all the other proponents said at great length – mostly an often repeated pack of lies.  That BDS supporters want to destroy the Jewish state because they are antisemites,  it is all just an effort to delegitimize Israel, and that BDS supporters intimidate students on campuses all over the country.  They gave no example of any student being threatened either verbally or physically by any BDS supporter.  This writer thinks that if Zionist students are feeling threatened it is because they are not comfortable with hearing about the outrages that Israelis are visiting upon Palestinians and prefer to bury their heads in the sand.

People against the measure tried to explain what BDS stood for, its’ place in history (the Montgomery bus boycott, Indian independence, the anti-apartheid struggle in So. Africa), its’ international support,  it’s  support among Jews and the constitutional free-speech issues.  Each time after a supporter of the motion spoke the panel questioned them, giving them more time to speak on their position.  This was not done when opponents spoke.  If anything, they were challenged and asked if they supported a one state or 2 state solution in Palestine/Israel.  They answered that BDS did not take a position on this issue.  Some council members pressed, insisting on hearing the speakers personal opinion on the issue.  In general the questioning was rude, insulting (calling people anti-semites) and saying that what they were saying was untrue (i.e., calling them liars)

Meanwhile, it was abundantly clear that this was a charade.  Members of the audience, all supporters of Palestinian human rights, began, one by one, to object to the hearing, to shout “Free Palestine”, some waved Palestinian flags.  One person stormed out saying that she felt like she was sitting at a council meeting in Israel. Rosenthal had them ejected by the security  guards and then demanded that the entire balcony be ejected although most of them were sitting quietly.  Many of those ejected were scheduled to speak against the motion but she would not allow them to return.  A member of the city council who was not involved in the hearing saw what was happening and he arranged for security to let the speakers back into the hearing room.  Among the last few opponents to speak were 2 citizens of Israel.  One spoke of his time in the IDF, where soldiers had contests on how many ‘Arabs’ they could kill (Israel never speaks of Palestinians, they refuse to recognize their existence) and the other described, in detail, the many acts of racism she witnessed in her years there.  When she concluded Rosenthal said that she knows she should thank her for her testimony “but I won’t”.

When it was over many discussed whether anything was accomplished.  Most thought it was important to be there because the group made it clear that opposition exists, that it will continue to fight for Palestinian human rights using BDS, and that the opposition will come from many communities, including Black, Muslim, and Jewish.

CAUGHT ON VIDEO ~~ LINEUP OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

An Israeli soldier searches a 15 year old boy in Hebron. One of the many incidents that takes place in Hebron that many Israelis don't know about.

An Israeli soldier searches a 15 year old boy in Hebron. One of the many incidents that takes place in Hebron that many Israelis don’t know about.

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This video shows Israeli occupation forces raiding the home of Karam Maswadeh in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Combatants from the Israeli Border Police enter the house and demand the whereabouts of Maswadeh’s son. Unable to find the child, the soldiers seize two other boys, aged 11 and 12.

Israeli soldiers raid house looking for 8-year-old

Ali Abunimah

This video shows Israeli occupation forces raiding  the home of Karam Maswadeh in the West Bank city of Hebron.

It was filmed on 10 August by an international volunteer and published by the human rights group B’Tselem on Monday.

Combatants from the Israeli Border Police enter the house and demand the whereabouts of Maswadeh’s son. Unable to find the child, the soldiers seize two other boys, aged 11 and 12.

The boys are then marched over to a checkpoint where an Israeli settler armed with a rifle is waiting with his son.

The Border Police commander asks the settler and his son if they recognize the Palestinian boys. When they say they do not, the boys are released.

According to B’Tselem, occupation forces later picked up three other Palestinian children, aged 8, 11 and 13, and repeated the same procedure.

This was in connection with a fight that reportedly took place earlier that day between Palestinian children and Israeli settlers.

“Fights between Palestinian and settler children are commonplace in downtown Hebron, where Israel imposes a regime of segregation, causing systematic and extensive harm to the Palestinian population,” B’Tselem states.

Settlers in Hebron habitually harass and assault Palestinians with impunity, often under army protection.

In July, an Israeli soldier was filmed assaulting a Palestinian girl and confiscating her bicycle apparently because she was playing on a street that Israel has designated for the exclusive use of Jews.

According to Maswadeh’s testimony to B’Tselem, the Israeli soldiers later came back to his house at 2am to arrest his 8-year-old son. The father and son were then driven to the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba where occupation forces wanted to interrogate the boy without his father present. Maswadeh said he refused.

“The video footage – showing Israeli security forces working in the service of the Hebron settlers and launching a night-time raid to locate an 8-year-old boy – highlights the disregard shown by Israeli authorities for the legal rights afforded to minors,” B’Tselem states. “Children below the age of criminal responsibility must not be detained for questioning, and certainly not in the middle of the night.”

The group also condemned Israel’s attempt to interrogate Maswadeh’s son without his parents present.

Sharp contrast

B’Tselem adds: “The immense efforts mounted to locate Palestinians suspected of harming settlers contrast sharply with the near absence of action to protect Palestinians from violence by settlers, be they minors or adults, or to uphold the rights of Palestinian children below the age of criminal responsibility.”

Recently, B’Tselem announced it would no longer cooperate with Israeli investigations into attacks by its soldiers and settlers on Palestinians, calling the military law enforcement system a sham.

“As of today,” B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad wrote on 25 May, “we will no longer refer complaints to this system, and we will call on the Palestinian public not to do so either.”

“We will no longer aid a system that whitewashes investigations and serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”

Abuse of children

The raid into a family home seen in the video above is routine in Hebron, as are night raids.

Harrowing video filmed last year shows Israeli soldiers raiding the bedrooms of Palestinian children in the middle of the night.

After forcing the children – at least one as young as four – out of their beds, the video shows the soldiers in full combat gear, armed with rifles and hand grenades, photographing and interrogating them.

Former Israeli soldiers have revealed that such raids in villages around the West Bank are often part of “mapping missions.”

Armed soldiers surround a Palestinian family’s home in the dead of night. A squad bangs on the front door, waking everyone up. Once inside, the soldiers gather the residents into a single room.

The family’s ID cards are inspected and recorded, as is how everyone is related, and their phone numbers.

These tactics rarely make headlines, but they are part of the fabric of a regime of seemingly permanent Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians.

These kinds of abuses against children prompted 20 members of Congress to write to President Barack Obama earlier this year urging him to hold Israel accountable.

The lawmakers wrote of their “profound concern” regarding Israel’s ongoing abuse of Palestinian children, especially during their arrest, interrogation and imprisonment, adding that “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children undermines our American values.”

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