Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.


Everyday ‘Apartheid’ and the Liberal Dream

By Larry Derfner


The following items appeared in the Israeli media this month: Superland, an amusement park outside Tel Aviv, makes a policy of reserving separate days for Israeli Arab high school classes and separate ones for Israeli Jewish classes. A Jewish community pool in the Negev refused to admit a group of Bedouin children with cancer because, in the words of the manager, the patrons have a problem with that “sector.” In a hidden-camera investigation by Channel 10 news, branches of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, refused to allow three out of five Israeli Arab customers to transfer their accounts to a branch in a predominantly Jewish area, while routinely allowing all the Jewish customers to do so.

I have to admit, I am surprised. I didn’t think it was this bad.

I didn’t think the racist practices against Arabs in Israel — not Palestinians in the West Bank, but people who live in “Israel proper” as citizens — were so deeply entrenched. Unless I’m extremely mistaken, this sort of thing doesn’t, couldn’t, go on in the United States, or Canada, or other Western countries that Israel likes to think of as its peers in the democratic world.

No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.

There’s a lot more where that comes from, of course — Israeli Arabs looking for jobs, looking for apartments, trying to get into a nightclub, trying to reserve a table at a restaurant. It’s a matter of luck, of which Jew in a position of power they happen to come across.

Two out of the five Arabs at Bank Hapoalim got lucky, the other three didn’t. The five Jews, of course, didn’t need luck.

As the saying goes, it is what it is.

What does this state of affairs say, for instance, about Israel’s blanket defense of “security” in ethnically profiling Arabs (along with all other gentiles) at Ben-Gurion Airport? How much of the true reason for that is security, and how much is straight-up racism? (And – sorry to come back to that old duel – but how much is the security problem responsible for Israeli racism, and how much is Israeli racism responsible for the security problem?)

And what does the past week’s news say about the popular claim that not only isn’t Israel an apartheid country, but that it’s anti-Semitic to even suggest so?

Finally, what does all this say to the liberals? What does it say to those (including me) who want to believe that if this country just ends the occupation, if it allows a Palestinian state to come into being in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, if it goes back to living within its old, pre-Six Day War borders, its spirit will be healed?

Larry Derfner is a journalist in Israel who blogs for +972 Magazine.

Written FOR


Or … at the back of the bus, on the other side of the street …. only in ‘The Only Democracy in the Middle East 😉
Elsewhere, there are no limits…..
A leading nationalist-Zionist rabbi has written a treatise claiming that home is a women’s place, and “not the domain of social activity,” thus reflecting further radicalization among religious Zionists.

Leading Israeli religious Zionist rabbi: A woman’s place is in the home

Leaflet promotes the opinion that too much education for women would ‘harm the quality of life of the nation.’

By Chaim Levinson
Rabbi Zvi Tau
Rabbi Zvi Tau Photo by Michael Yaacovson

A leading nationalist-Zionist rabbi has written a treatise claiming that home is a women’s place, and “not the domain of social activity,” thus reflecting further radicalization among religious Zionists.

Rabbi Zvi Tau, president of Har Hamor Yeshiva and a leader of the more extreme orthodox trend among the national-Zionist public, wrote the treatise for internal use. The leaflet promotes the opinion that too much education for women would “harm the quality of life of the nation.”

Austria-born Tau was for many years a student of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, and one of the heads of the Merkaz Harav, religious-Zionism’s most prestigious yeshiva. In 1997 he turned his back on the yeshiva and created the Har Hamor yeshiva, but is still considered one of the leading rabbis of the movement and a notable supporter of the concept of nationalism, which considers the state of Israel holy and opposes refusal to follow orders in the IDF.

Tau publicly supported former President Moshe Katzav, who was imprisoned for rape, and called on him, at the time, to refuse to resign.

Two months ago Tau wrote, for internal use, a treatise called “who created me as he willed,” a quote from the prayer said by women every morning dealing with the proper place of women according to the Torah. Tau’s position is radical, often more than orthodox concepts.

Tau writes that men and women have different roles. Indeed,it seems that the woman is discriminated against but it isn’t so, he writes. Women, according to Tau, have more emotional power, while men are more cerebral. This division is needed because of the world’s limitations, since it is unable to contain full realization of both emotion and mind. Women, due to nature’s needs, were not meant to occupy themselves with “the depths of science and morals,” but rather with carrying, giving birth to, feeding and raising children. Rabbi Tau claims that this is woman’s “natural vocation, and God created within her the necessary talents and an inner orientation for these issues,” which negate the possibility of “commiting oneself to the depths of science.”

Tau adds that the worldwide trend of allowing women equal education, and striving for equality, can only guarantee short-term profits. In the long run this trend “will harm the quality of life of the nation and society, since the true female character will not be realized and will be missed by the world. Society and the nation should rather be built on perfecting the special attributes imprinted in women.”

Tau continues to explain that children born to couples including women who devote themselves to their career will be “weak and flaccid.”

So what can women do? Rabbi Tau answers: “Home is the natural habitat for women to express their special tendency … not the domain of social activity. At home, without the bustle … is where a woman can fully live her life.”



What do you tell a child who can see the sea on a clear day, but is blocked from reaching it by a 10m illegal wall?
Not for much longer!

Visualizing Occupation: Freedom of movement

Whereas West Bank settlers can travel freely between Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian movement is governed by the Israeli security establishment. This illustration is the fourth in a series of infographics on the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population.

Machsom Watch: Invisible prisoners


Posted by By Michal Vexler AT

Michal Vexler is a designer and an activist. This work – a part of a series of infographics regarding the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population – is presented here with her permission.

Previous posts in this series:
Visualizing Occupation: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day – the numbers
Visualizing Occupation: Ethnic cleansing
Visualizing Occupation: The right (or privilege) to protest?


I’m a “lucky” Palestinian: instead of being jailed, I’m subjected to racial profiling

Yara Hawari 

The new security routine at Ben Gurion airport attempts — but fails — to disguise racial profiling.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

As a Palestinian citizen of present-day Israel, I have an Israeli passport and am allowed to fly in and out of Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. That is as far as Israeli courtesy has been extended to me. Each time I use this airport, I am subjected to racial profiling.

When I was younger and lived in Jerusalem, we would often fly to the UK to visit my mother’s family. I still vividly remember the ordeal that we would go through at the airport.

“Wrong” queue

We would always have to leave for the airport ridiculously early to be sure that the extensive security checks wouldn’t make us miss our flight. When we arrived at the check-in area, there would be two queues for each flight. A queue for Israeli nationals and a queue for foreigners.

Naturally we would stand in the Israeli national queue because despite our staunch Palestinian identity we wanted to be treated as equal citizens of the country. Airport security workers would make their way through the Israeli queue, checking passports and briefly questioning people about their luggage. When they reached us my father would address them in Hebrew (he has mastered the Israeli accent, after studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem).

But it wouldn’t take them long to register that he was, as they like to call us, an Israeli Arab. His name and place of registration (the village of Tarshiha in the Galilee) were obvious indicators, as was the fact that my mother, brother and I did not speak Hebrew. We would then be asked to move to the foreigners’ queue.

I remember several occasions when my father made loud protests at this request and the people in the foreigners’ queue would back him up. The accusations of racism and apartheid were always ignored and so we would reluctantly have to stand in the foreigners’ queue.

Designed to humiliate

If this wasn’t unfair enough we would then be subjected to an intense “security check.” Our belongings would be taken out of our suitcases, displayed so the whole airport could see, and scrutinized. We would be asked questions that had nothing to done with flight security but rather were designed to humiliate and frustrate us.

Our fellow Israeli passengers who witnessed our public security check would look on with a hostility that would continue on the actual flight. As children, my brother and I didn’t understand the gravity of our treatment; in fact, we considered it normal. The awareness of this racial profiling grew over the years, especially after using other airports where we were not subjected to anything like this.

In more recent years, the Israeli authorities decided that the airport needed a massive facelift to accommodate an increased number of passengers. So in 2004 a new state-of-the-art terminal was opened. This terminal included a new security routine that attempted to disguise the racial profiling that is imbedded in Israeli society.

Now Palestinian citizens of Israel are allowed to stand in the Israeli queue. They have a new system of security checks that lead to one being classified with numbers ranging from one to six, six being considered the highest security threat.

When you are standing in a queue someone from the airport security team will check your passport and ask you a few basic security questions such as: Did you pack your bag yourself? Do you have anything sharp in your hand luggage?

Then you will proceed to the x-ray machine for your bags. After this, you are either directed to the “security lab” — as I like to call it — or the check-in desks. Very few people make it straight to the check-in desks.

This “security lab” consists of about nine stations which have surfaces for the suitcases and computer screens with the x-ray images of your luggage. The lab also has a variety of machines to detect residues of explosive substances, among other things. This is the standard procedure for all passengers flying out of Ben Gurion.

Questions reserved for Arabs

Let me now explain my experience as a Palestinian with an Israeli passport. In the queue, waiting for my bags to be x-rayed, I am approached by a member of Israeli airport security. The member of staff begins speaking to me in Hebrew and I explain that I don’t speak Hebrew, much to his or her confusion. The staff member then opens my passport, noticing my name.

Then I get the “special” questions reserved only for Arabs:

“What were you doing here?” Visiting family.

“Where do your family live?” Tarshiha.

“What are their names?” What, all of their names? I have a very big family.

“Some of their names.” Haneen, Abed, Fadi, Majd, Mayse …

“That’s fine. Where do you live?” Oxford, England.

“But you used to live here?” Yes. “OK, wait here.”

The staff member then goes to speak to the head of security who tends to be milling around. Some pointing at me ensues, along with a nod of the head. They come back and put stickers on my bags. They discreetly give me a level six, reserved only for those who are considered a potential security check. I get my bags x-rayed and proceed to the lab where I am assigned two members of the security team (everyone else gets only one). They then proceed to go through everything in my suitcase, dirty clothes included. Every now and then, they ask me what this or that is, where I got it from, showing items to colleagues.

To most tourists, my special treatment goes unnoticed as they are subjected to a very watered-down version of this procedure.

After an hour or so, I am then asked to follow one of them to the “special room” for a body check. To my knowledge, most Arabs and Palestinians go into this room, and occasionally the odd foreigner as well. Despite Israeli insistence that this process is random, it is not. I have been going to the “special room” every time since I turned 15.

This “special room” consists of cubicles where you are patted down and prodded to make sure you aren’t hiding anything. Recently, they have begun checking in between my toes and combing through my hair. The whole process is degrading and frustrating, especially when you know that most other passengers are not subjected to this.

What’s worse is that during this procedure they continue to ask me questions but in a more off-the-record fashion. I am always asked why I don’t speak Hebrew and why I have an Israeli passport. As it isn’t enough that I have to sit in a dingy cubicle, essentially being felt up, I am subjected to ignorant questions about my identity.

Nothing to do with security

As with many security measures in Israel, the airport procedures are aimed at making life difficult for Palestinians and have little to do with security. On various occasions, I have notice lapses in their security which have confirmed my accusations of harassment for the sake of harassment.

Once I was listening to my iPod as they rummaged through my stuff. When they finished, I closed all my bags, popping my iPod inside one of them and proceeded to the “special room” for my body search. The same happened with a book I was reading once.

Both times I could have easily hidden an item considered as a security threat. I also noticed that many Israeli Jews can bypass the security lab. Are Israeli Jews incapable of any kind of threat?

Remaining sane through resistance

Throughout this treatment I am able to retain a bit of sanity by committing my own acts of resistance. For example when they are going through my luggage I like to read an appropriate book in front of them. Something on the Nakba (the systematic ethnic cleansing that led to Israel’s foundation) or Palestinian identity usually does the trick.

Often when they open my suitcase, they’ll find a traditional checkered scarf — or kuffiyeh— and an “I love Palestine” t-shirt spread out on the top. Also, when they ask me for the names of family members, I have taken to reciting various different groups of people. Once it was the Rightly Guided Caliphs, last time it was Lebanese pop singers (Nancy, Elissa etc.). I think next time I’ll go for The Spice Girls.

Despite these attempts to lighten the airport experience, it is still completely humiliating and upsetting. However, it is simply another thing the Palestinians endure on a day-to-day basis. The very fact that I get to fly out of Tel Aviv makes me one of the lucky ones.

As I write, thousands of Palestinians are stuck in Israeli prisons without hope of being released — and even more are stuck in the great outdoor prisons of the West Bank and Gaza. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. But how awful that I am considered as such when I have to go through such a public ordeal of racial profiling.

Yara Hawari is a masters student in Palestine Studies at Exeter University (England) and will be commencing her PhD later this year. Her research focuses on Nakba memory and oral history inside historic Palestine. Yara is a Palestinian from the Galilee, and although she left Palestine ten years ago, she frequently visits family and conducts research back home.



And they call the wind Maria…
Yesterday, statements made by a prominent spokesman for the ultra orthodox community in Israel, were the subject of the following article which appeared on Ynet’s Site;

‘Anti-Semitic media incites against Haredim’

MK Yisrael Eichler accuses media of using Nazi tactics to turn public against ultra-Orthodox sector

The full report can be read HERE*

Eichler failed to mention the recent incidents involving women which were reported in the media, but some are recalled in this post…

That was yesterday…..

Today the following reports appeared;
HMO holds men-only blood drive
An ad published this week by Maccabi Health Services called on members of all health maintenance organizations in the city of Ashdod to take part in a blood donation initiative – but only if they are men.
Full report HERE
Beitar Illit store offers men-only counter

Rami Levy supermarket introduces separate cash counters for men, women in haredi city. ‘I’m surprised they still haven’t opened separate stores for each sex,’ local resident says

Full report HERE*

Not mentioned in the complaint were reported incidents ordering women to sit at the back of the bus, spitting on women not dressed ‘modestly, refusing to walk on the same side of the street with women, but you know about those incidents from previous posts…. how convenient it was to leave them out, perhaps there is shame involved?

Yes, perhaps nazi tactics were used to turn the public against Haredim, but also perhaps they deserve it!




Some 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin reside in the country, many of them having arrived in three airlift operations in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many continue to face socioeconomic difficulties, racism and other barriers to social integration – including segregation in schools, and challenges stemming from the Rabbinate’s refusal to recognize the community’s religious leaders.

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis protest racism in Jerusalem march

By Max Schindler*

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis and their supporters marched through central Jerusalem on Wednesday to call attention to a recent groundswell of racism and discrimination.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Holding picket signs and shouting “a new generation demands change,” the demonstrators joined a wave of protests triggered by a Channel 2 report last week that a group of homeowners in Kiryat Malachi—a Southern town with a large Ethiopian population— signed a pledge to neither rent nor sell to Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The news sparked outrage in the Ethiopian community and demands by activists for a response from the government.

Mulet Araru, a 26-year-old university student, led the protest after walking for three days from Kiryat Malakhi, some 60 kilometers from Jerusalem. In a hoarse voice, Araru addressed the crowd, declaring, “I have no other land,” infusing his speech with traditional Zionist rhetoric and slogans.

The protestors marched from the Knesset to Independence Park, with a quick stop in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in the neighborhood of Rechavia. At the Knesset, opposition MKs Tzipi Livni (Kadima) and Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) addressed the crowd.

The atmosphere seemed tense at times, with activists sprinting towards Netanyahu’s home. Most demonstrators were students of Ethiopian origin, many of high school age.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

With differing and sometimes competing protest signs, the crowd spanned the ideological spectrum. Some demonstrators hoisted Israeli flags while others clutched photos of Nelson Mandela and sharply criticized Israel’s treatment of their community.

One Israeli-Ethiopian man held a sign asking “Is there a future for me in this state?” Others carried posters appropriating phrases and symbols from the American civil rights movement and black American figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Some 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin reside in the country, many of them having arrived in three airlift operations in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many continue to face socioeconomic difficulties, racism and other barriers to social integration – including segregation in schools, and challenges stemming from theRabbinate’s refusal to recognize the community’s religious leaders.

*Max Schindler is a student at Cornell University who is spending the year volunteering on a kibbutz and writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.




Israel policies of divide and rule, based on classical colonial principles, are not limited to its occupied populations. The adoption of the Prawer plan by the Israeli government has shown that Israel uses this mechanism of control to subjugate all non-Jewish inhabitants under its control from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea regardless of the status of their citizenship.

Israel approves plan to uproot 30,000 Bedouins

By Joseph Dana

The approval of the ‘Prawer Plan’ concerning Bedouins in the Negev desert demonstrates that Israel’s principle of divide and rule, which has been perfected in the West Bank and Gaza, also applies to citizens of Israel living inside 1948 boundaries.

A Bedouin in the village of Al Arakib after it was destroyed by Israeli forces. Photo by activestills.org

Bedouin resident in the village of Al Arakib after it was destroyed by Israeli forces (Photo: Activestills)


Perhaps the most violent component of Israel’s control over non-Jewish inhabitants since the founding of the state has been the (unequal) distribution and allocation of resources. In Area C of the West Bank, the area designated for full Israeli military and civilian control by the Oslo accords which makes up the majority of land in the occupied territories, Israel has demonstrated its ability to control the Palestinians of the West Bank through the allocation of resources such as water, electricity and building permits. In the West Bank village of Susya, for example, Palestinians are forced to purchase water at rates close to 10 times higher than an Israeli living in Tel Aviv. Their wells are destroyed by Israel’s civilian administration due to lack of permits which are almost impossible to obtain and many living structures are deemed illegally built and subject to demolition.

The deprivation of resources leaves Palestinians helpless in the face of bureaucratic measures which even Kafka could not have imagined. The point of this system is clear, make Palestinian life in area C villages so unbearable that they their only option is to move into cities in Area A, under Palestinian Authority control. The unclaimed land is then expropriated by Israel using out of date Ottoman laws. This amounts to an effective use of the classic colonial practice of divide and rule given the fragmented nature of Area A cities in the West Bank and the settlements which form almost natural barrier between them.

Interestingly, this is not just happening to West Bank Palestinians. Something similar is taking place to non-Jewish citizens inside Israeli territory. This morning, Israel authorized the controversial “Prawer Plan” concerning the resettlement of Bedouins in the Negev Desert.

Authored by Ehud Prawer, head of the Policy Planning Department at the Prime Minister’s Office, the report contradicts an earlier report on how to resolve settlement issues in the Negev desert. The first report, penned by former Justice Eliezer Goldberg, demanded that Israel make every attempt to respect Bedouins living in the Negev, noting in particular the need to allow them to remain in their villages and homes.

The Prawer report, which has been criticized by the Israeli civil liberties outfit, the  Association of Civil Rights in Israel, has proposed that as many as 30,000 Bedouins be removed from their homes and villages, against their will and for little reason. Removal has been approved by the government according to a report in today’s edition of Haaretz (Hebrew).

The decision to evacuate as many as 30,000 Bedouins and relocate them to large Bedouin towns such as Rahat has been called by some a “declaration of war on the Bedouin.” It is actually a long time coming if the experience of the Bedouin village of al Arakib is any indication. The village has been destroyed almost 30 times by Israel in an effort to make way for a new Jewish National Fund forest in its place.

During the height of the hopeful J14 tent protests this summer, demands for better Bedouin rights could be heard filling conversations even in the heart of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild boulevard tent encampment. However, hope has taken a backseat in recent days as many of the tent protesters’ demands for Bedouin rights have been dropped, ignored or simply disappeared.

Israel policies of divide and rule, based on classical colonial principles, are not limited to its occupied populations. The adoption of the Prawer plan by the Israeli government has shown that Israel uses this mechanism of control to subjugate all non-Jewish inhabitants under its control from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea regardless of the status of their citizenship.


Written FOR


Keeping with tradition, the ‘zionist State’ has not allowed Muslims to partake in Friday prayers during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Just imagine if this was to happen to Catholics in New York during the Christmas season…
Thousands of Israeli occupation policemen were deployed in the streets of the holy city and barred thousands of worshipers from reaching the Mosque.
More than 100 thousand attend Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, — Despite measures taken by the occupation to limit the number of Palestinian worshipers reaching the Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan about 100 thousand worshipers managed to reach the mosque and attend the Friday congregation.

Most of the worshipers are from the occupied city of Jerusalem and neighbouring areas as well as Palestinians from 1948-occupied Palestine who travelled to Jerusalem on coaches and other means. A number of worshipers from the West Bank, especially older people, managed to make it to the Mosque despite occupation restrictions.

Thousands of Israeli occupation policemen were deployed in the streets of the holy city and barred thousands of worshipers from reaching the Mosque.

Thousands of Palestinian worshipers aged under 50 gathered at the Qalandia roadblock after hearing news that worshipers from the West Bank will be allowed into Jerusalem on the first Friday of Ramadan, but could not cross into Jerusalem contrary to claims of Israeli war minister Ehud Barak that entry of worshipers to Jerusalem will be facilitated.

Only people over 50 years of age, residents of Jerusalem and Palestinians from 1948-occupied Palestine will be able to reach the Mosque.




Once again, the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’ has proven that it’s NOT!

Israeli courts discriminate against Arab Israelis in conviction and sentences

An Israeli academic study has revealed that Israeli judges are harsher with 1948-Palestinians (Arab Israelis) – during the conviction stages and when sentenced after conviction – in comparison to Jewish Israelis.

The statistical study that was commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association and conducted by three Jewish Israeli researchers, found that Arab Israelis charged with the same crimes as their Jewish Israeli counterparts are more likely to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, for longer sentences.

The study involved 1,500 criminal cases handled in six magistrate courts and three district courts between 1996 and 2005 and proved that while 63.5 per cent of Arab Israelis convicted of violent crimes were sentenced to prison, only 43.7 per cent of Jewish Israelis convicted for the same crimes were.

The study also pointed to the discrepancies regarding probation sentences – 71.2 per cent for Jewish Israelis and 78.7 per cent for Arabs.

Regarding the length of prison sentences given to Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis, the study found that while the average prison sentence for Jews was nine and a half months, Arabs convicted of the same crimes were given 14 months on average.

The study was conducted by Jewish Israeli professors Giora Rahav, Ephraim Yaar and Yoram Rabin. They accused the Israeli criminal justice system of dealing more harshly with Arab Israeli defendants than Jewish Israelis.



Hate-Preacher Rabbi Provokes Riots in The Galilee

Arabs and Jews have united in condemning Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for inciting racism in the Upper Galilee town of Safed. Eliyahu chaired a conference last week in which he informed his audience that it was ‘sinful’ to sell or rent property to non-Jews, sparking a violent demonstration against Arab students of Safed College. The Rabbi had previously demanded that the Israeli government “hang the children of terrorists from a tree”.

Written by Sophie Crowe.

On Friday, around sixty orthodox Jews gathered outside the home of three Arab students. One of them, Aiman Hamoda, was returning from work when he saw the crowd. “They were shouting ‘Death to the Arabs!’ and demanding we leave Safed”, he told us. They threw stones at the house and gun shots were fired, breaking a window. The students called the police, who arrived thirty minutes later and arrested two men.The three students now intend to move away from the predominantly Jewish neighbourhood where they were attacked. Hamoda believes Rabbi Eliyahu has influenced Safed’s religious Jews, who have become more intolerant. “Finding an apartment will be harder now”. 

Baruch, a Jewish resident of Safed, told us the students are over-reacting. “We have never have never had any (race) problems; the situation went out of control due to the actions of a few people”. Baruch claims the violence was partly the fault of Arabs playing music too loud.

However, Baruch blames Rabbi Eliyahu’s anti-Arab agitation as the spark to ignite confrontation. “He should watch more carefully what he says. If he wants to be a politician let him leave his rabbinical position”. He claims the Rabbi’s hate preaching has not influenced the majority of Safed’s Jews. “Jews and Arabs have lived together since the creation of Israel and there has been no trouble with our Arabs in the city or in the neighbouring villages. Arabs are very involved in Safed society”.

Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Hanna Swaid, of the Hadash party, has condemned Eliyahu’s actions and lobbied the Attorney General to place him under criminal investigation. This is not the first time. Five years ago Swaid demanded an investigation “when Eliyahu claimed the Arab presence was altering the Jewish nature and identity of the town and encouraged intimidation of families that were renting to Arab students”. The Attorney General filed a case, which was dropped when the rabbi agreed to apologise. Now, Eliyahu is repeating the call for discrimination and Swaid, among others, is demanding the Attorney General reopen the case.

It is the most serious controversy concerning a Rabbi’s behaviour since Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva, advocated the killing of gentiles who oppose Israel in July.

MK Swaid feels that a respected religious personality publically promoting discriminatory views is a reflection of growing threats toward Arab citizens in Israel.

“This is not a new phenomenon. It connects with the general climate in which extremists are trying to create a hostile environment for minorities. Safed could reflect the whole region”, he says. The Upper Galillee is particularly open to tension as it is divided evenly in demographic terms between Jews and Arabs.

Swaid believes that as “discrimination is prohibited in Israel, it is the responsibility of the government to intervene to stop this anti-Arab agitation and to bring people who perpetuate the tension to justice. We should not forget that Rabbis are official public servants who use public money in the councils they administer; the government should not allow this money to be spent on racial discrimination.”



I have maintained the position for years that there is no such thing as an Israeli Arab. Arabs that live on the ‘other side’ of the artificial border between Israel and Occupied Palestine are in fact Palestinians.

Israel has ‘tolerated’ these people and has even gone as far as giving them the right to vote, and even allow their political parties to participate in general election, albeit as second class citizens. Their elected officials do not enjoy the same freedoms that Jewish representatives have, as can be seen in the case of Azmi Bishara, among others.

Still, Abbas (who is echoed by the zionist press below) sees these people as the obstacle to peace. Perhaps he needs to look in the mirror before he issues such ridiculous statements…

We can now see that Arab Israelis and the Palestinians hold opposite interests in respect to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The success of the Palestinians may prove to be disastrous for Arab Israelis. The time has come to expose – both to Israel’s leaders and to the Palestinian Authority – the role played by those who once upon a time were referred to as a “bridge to peace.”

An obstacle to peace

Op-ed: Israeli Arabs, Palestinians have opposite interests in respect to peace deal

Guy Bechor

For years, leaders of the Arab minority in Israel had been priding themselves on being in favor of a Palestinian state and in favor of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, scrutinizing these statements shows the opposite. The Arab Israeli leadership’s various branches in fact work against the Palestinian aspirations for independence. This leadership has no interest in seeing a Palestinian state established.

This was clear upon the second Intifada’s outbreak, precisely a decade ago, when the Arab Israeli leadership – from the Islamic Movement and from the Left – sent its activists to the streets in a bid to rebel against the State of Israel. As a result, ever since then, Israel’s public opinion in respect to an agreement has toughened. Israelis may be able to agree to disengage from the territories, yet if an Arab state will emerge within Israel itself, where exactly will they go?

Things only got worse and more complicated ever since then, reaching the point where Mahmoud Abbas, in one of his most well-known speeches, reprimanded Arab Israelis, wondering who ever asked for their help during the Intifada. Meanwhile, Arab Knesset members are adopting a more radical approach than the Palestinians in respect to Israel and the future of negotiations.

For example, when PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo hinted the other day that his group would be willing to recognize Israel’s Jewish identity under certain conditions, Balad MK Zahalka quickly reprimanded him, and even called for his dismissal, no less.

Curbing any progress

While some Palestinian leaders are willing to discuss what is known as the “right of return,” Arab Israeli Knesset members are unwilling to even hear about such possibility. They are more inflexible than the Palestinians, thereby curbing any progress towards a Palestinian state.

Leaders of Israel’s Arab minority did not hesitate to laud Gaddafi in Tripoli or Assad in Damascus – two figures who are not quite fans of an independent Palestinian state. The Islamic Movement’s northern branch in Israel is actually closer to Hamas – the enemy of peace – than to the Palestinian Authority. The Balad party, premised on Azmi Bishara’s school of thought, despises the Palestinian Authority because of the deals it signed with Israel; it is doubtful whether Balad even recognizes the PA.

This raises the following question: Why is Israel’s Arab leadership more radical than the PA’s leadership?

No longer ‘bridge to peace’

This question has two surprising answers. First, the powerful claims prevalent in the Arab world towards Arab Israelis, who seemingly showed betrayal and surrendered to the Jews, require Israeli Arabs to adopt an increasingly more provocative approach towards their own country, Israel. They must prove that they are not treacherous in respect to the Arab and Palestinian issue, but rather, more nationalistic.

And so, paradoxically, the so-called “Arabs of 1948” will forever remain trapped in the scathing Arab accusations against them. These accusations define them, and instead of shaking them off they dig in deeper. The Palestinians don’t need to prove anything, while Arab Israelis do.
The second answer is as follows: Where exactly will tens of thousands of settlers be moved to should the West Bank be evacuated? To the Galilee and the Negev; that is, to Arab population centers in Israel, at the Arabs’ expense.

We can now see that Arab Israelis and the Palestinians hold opposite interests in respect to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The success of the Palestinians may prove to be disastrous for Arab Israelis. The time has come to expose – both to Israel’s leaders and to the Palestinian Authority – the role played by those who once upon a time were referred to as a “bridge to peace.”


Also see THIS post from the archives.


How can anyone in this day and age swear loyalty to fascism?

“Without loyalty–no citizenship”

“There is a whiff of fascism on the margins of Israeli society,” Isaac Herzog, the social affairs minister of the left-leaning Labour party, told army radio on Sunday. 

“The overall picture is very disturbing and threatens the democratic character of the state of Israel,” he said.

If the state of Israel HAD a democratic character, the above would be a valid statement.

Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset, told Al Jazeera that the bill is aimed at Palestinians, and not newcomers to Israel, as they are already coming in on Israel’s Jewish law. 

“Palestinians will have to say that this country is for Jews and Palestinians are only guests. If you are saying you are democratic, you should treat citizens with equality,” Tibi said.

Right on!

Dan Meridor, a Likud party member, said the law would exclude 1.5 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel and will create a rift between them and the state.

Create a rift? What has the wall of apartheid already created?

(Parenthesis taken FROM)

BUT….. despite the opposition to the new law, it was passed by the Israeli cabinet this afternoon….

Cabinet approves loyalty oath, but only for non-Jewish new citizens

Amendment to Law of Citizenship would require any non-Jew seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic state.’

The report that is taken from can be read HERE

In the same edition of HaAretz, Gideon Levy reports the following;

The Jewish Republic of Israel

Swearing an oath to a Jewish state will decide its fate. It is liable to turn the country into a theocracy like Saudi Arabia.

Remember this day. It’s the day Israel changes its character. As a result, it can also change its name to the Jewish Republic of Israel, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Granted, the loyalty oath bill that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to have passed purportedly only deals with new citizens who are not Jewish, but it affects the fate of all of us.

From now on, we will be living in a new, officially approved, ethnocratic, theocratic, nationalistic and racist country. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t affect him is mistaken. There is a silent majority that is accepting this with worrying apathy, as if to say: “I don’t care what country I live in.” Also anyone who thinks the world will continue to relate to Israel as a democracy after this law doesn’t understand what it is about. It’s another step that seriously harms Israel’s image.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will prove today that he is actually Yisrael Beinteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman will prove he is really a loyal member of Yisrael Beiteinu. The Labor party will prove it is nothing more than a doormat. And Israel today will prove that it doesn’t care about anything. Today the loyalty oath bill, soon the loyalty oath law. The dam will overflow today, threatening to drown the remnants of democracy until we are left perhaps with a Jewish state of a character that no one really understands, but it certainly won’t be a democracy. Those demanding this loyalty oath are the ones misappropriating loyalty to the state.

At its next session, the Knesset is to debate close to 20 other anti-democratic bills. Over the weekend, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel issued a blacklist of legislation: a loyalty law for Knesset members; a loyalty law for film production; a loyalty law for non-profits; putting the Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakba, beyond the scope of the law; a ban on calls for a boycott; and a bill for the revocation of citizenship. It’s a dangerous McCarthyist dance on the part of ignorant legislators who haven’t begun to understand what democracy is all about. It’s dangerous even if only a portion of the bills become law, because our fate and our essence will change.

It’s not hard to understand the Netanyahu-Lieberman duo. As sworn nationalists, they are not expected to understand that democracy doesn’t only mean the rule of the majority, but rather first and foremost that minorities have rights. It’s much harder to comprehend the complacency of the masses. Town squares should have been filled today with citizens who do not wish to live in a country where the minority is oppressed by draconian laws such as the one that forces them to swear a false oath to a Jewish state, but amazingly almost no one seems to feel affected.

For decades, we have futilely dealt with the question of who is a Jew. Now the question of what is Jewish will not go away. What is the “state of the Jewish nation”? Does it belong more to Jews in the Diaspora than to its Arab citizens? Will they decide its fate and will this be called a democracy? Will the ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta sect, which opposes the state’s existence, along with hundreds of thousands of Jews who have avoided coming do whatever they want with it? What is Jewish? Jewish holidays? Kosher dietary laws? The increased grip of the religious establishment, as if there is not enough of it now to distort democracy? Swearing an oath to a Jewish state will decide its fate. It is liable to turn the country into a theocracy like Saudi Arabia.

True, for the time being, it’s a matter of an empty, ridiculous slogan. There aren’t three Jews who could agree what a Jewish state looks like, but history has taught us that empty slogans, too, can pave the path to hell. In the meantime, the new proposed legislation will only increase Israeli Arabs’ alienation and ultimately result in the alienation of much wider segments of the public.

That’s what happens when the fire is still smoldering under the rug, the fire of the basic lack of faith in the justice of our path. Only such a lack of confidence can produce such distorted proposed legislation as that which will be approved today, and clearly approval will be forthcoming. Canada doesn’t need its citizens to swear an oath to the Canadian state, nor do other countries require similar acts. Only Israel. And it is being done either to provoke the Arab minority more and push them into a greater lack of loyalty so one day the time will come to finally get rid of them, or it is designed to scuttle the prospect of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. One way or another, in Basel at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the Jewish state was founded, as Theodor Herzl said, and today the unenlightened Jewish Republic of Israel will be founded.


The final few acres were dug up just before the beginning of Ramadan, in the middle of the night so that Israel can build the Museum of Tolerance in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States.

The Destruction of the Mamilla Cemetery: Desecration of a Sacred Site

Sylvia Schwarz*


The Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) Cemetery was the oldest Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem with graves dating back to the seventh century, comprised of 33 acres and tens of thousands of graves. After 1948 the Israeli ministry that maintained the site reassured world leaders that this important religious site would be cared for in perpetuity.

Less than fifteen years later, in the 1960s a park was built in part of the cemetery and a parking lot covered another part. These were followed by a school, football field, underground parking garage, and road. Electrical wires were laid in other sections.

The final few acres were dug up just before the beginning of Ramadan, in the middle of the night (as can be seen on the CNN video) so that Israel can build the Museum of Tolerance in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States.

An enormous amount of knowledge was lost with the destruction of the Mamilla Cemetery, according to St. Paul based archaeologist, John E. Landgraf, Ph.D., because the era since the end of the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Islamic conquest (around 638 CE) up to the present day is the least known period of history in the Middle East generally. There is much to be learned by examining skeletal remains, headstones, and tombs. However, the Israeli Department of Antiquities, which has recently been taken over by the Orthodox Rabbinate, does not allow any human skeletal remains to be examined; Jewish remains must be re-interred as quickly as possible out of respect, whereas non-Jewish remains at the Mamilla Cemetery were disposed of along with tombstones and other debris in construction dumpsters.

Dr. Landgraf, who participated in a number of archaeological digs in Israel and the West Bank between 1965 and 1980, said that the Israeli Department of Antiquities was seldom interested in the preservation of remains or artifacts from the Islamic period. In the late 1960s the discovery of Muslim graves at Tell Gezer did not interest the American head archaeologist at the time, and so bulldozers were used to push remains, artifacts, and debris back into the graves.

Archaeological excavations are a way of learning about the past in an orderly fashion. One exposes history a layer at a time, and by careful examination knowledge can be gained of the various eras and cultures. When Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 Israeli archaeologists used bulldozers to excavate the Western (Wailing) Wall area down to the late Roman period, destroying the homes of Palestinians living there at the time, and along with them the 1500-year history of the people who had lived there since the Byzantine period. “Thus there is a loss of continuity in our understanding of the past,” said Dr. Landgraf.

It is ironic that in the midst of mass hysteria over an Islamic center to be built in lower Manhattan, because some people feel that this would be disrespectful to the dead, that a genuine desecration of a sacred place occurs, unreported in most mainstream media. “The unfortunate reality is that Indigenous populations live in a world in which we are never safe from colonizer assaults even when we are dead,” says Wazayatawin, Ph.D., Indigenous Peoples Research Chair and Associate Professor, Indigenous Governance Program, University of Victoria, someone who has worked on behalf of Indigenous peoples in this hemisphere for many years, and sees many parallels with the experience of Palestinians. “The ongoing desecration of Indigenous burial sites, including the Mamilla Cemetery in West Jerusalem, reflects a deeply embedded colonizer mentality that views subjugated peoples as fundamentally inferior and unworthy of even the most basic dignities afforded other human beings,” she says.

Dr. Wazayatawin continues, “The act of erasing a people’s memory from the landscape is a necessary element in the colonization process. In order for the colonizers to legitimize their occupation of another’s land, they must eradicate all memories of the colonized, including even the human remains that demonstrate a deep and powerful connection to the land itself.”

Everywhere in Israel are the eradicated memories of the dispossessed Indigenous people. Old mosques are transformed into bars and nightclubs, so that patrons drink alcohol where Muslims used to pray. The history museum in Jaffa (more of a tourist site than an educational institution) is inexplicably silent about the existence of people in the city between the Roman times and Napoleon’s invasion. Street names are changed from their ancient Arabic names to new Hebrew ones. Golda Meir’s famous comment “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” reflected her desire, not a reality, but it has been repeated so often that many Israelis believe it. The destruction of a cemetery shows starkly how little regard Israel holds for the humanity of the Palestinians. As Dr. Wazayatawin says, “There is something terribly wrong with a culture that digs up the dead of others. The societal justification for such a crime reveals its own sickness.”

* I am an American Jew who began to question Zionism in 1982 after the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon. After reading everything I could on the Israel and Palestine I realized I could no longer remain passive on this issue while Palestinians suffered from Israeli human rights abuses and international law violations. I am actively involved in the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), in a state-wide campaign to get our state to divest from State of Israel bonds, and in other Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. As I write this in June 2010 there are reasons for optimism as well as pessimism. Pessimism because the repression experienced by Palestinians increases daily. Optimism because the increasing repression is a result of the work that we are doing. I believe we will end Israeli Apartheid in my life time. This issue is all-consuming for me, and so I suppose it’s not horrible that I was laid off from my wastewater design engineering job in February 2009 and have been unemployed since.



More than five thousand Palestinian children in East Jerusalem do not attend school at all. The dropout rate for Palestinian school students in East Jerusalem is fifty percent, compared with about 12 percent for Jewish students.

Israeli discrimination drives kids from school
Mel Frykberg

The Israeli education system discriminates against Palestinian children in Jerusalem. (Mel Frykberg/IPS)

QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) – A thin Palestinian boy, no older than ten, darts between the piles of garbage and the congested lines of traffic which converge at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

He pleads with bus drivers to allow him on their buses so he can sell chewing gum at a pittance. When nobody buys any gum and the boy is ordered off the bus, he leaves on the verge of tears. Risking life and limb he then moves from car to car begging the frustrated drivers to purchase some of his goods.

Dozens of Palestinian youngsters can be seen on a daily basis at other East Jerusalem checkpoints and intersections — or scavenging through the ubiquitous garbage heaps for salvageable items — which they then try to sell to passing pedestrians and motorists.

Due to the endemic poverty in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank, hundreds of Palestinian children are forced on to the streets by parents who are living below the poverty level in a desperate bid to eke out a few extra dollars to help their families survive.

These children should be in school securing a better future for themselves but Israel’s discriminatory education policies between Jewish West Jerusalem and Palestinian East Jerusalem is driving these youngsters out of school — if they are lucky enough to be enrolled in the first place.

Knesset (Israeli parliament) member Jamal Zahalka claimed earlier in the year that “educational provision for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem is worse than anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza, or in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.”

More than five thousand Palestinian children in East Jerusalem do not attend school at all. The dropout rate for Palestinian school students in East Jerusalem is fifty percent, compared with about 12 percent for Jewish students.

“The rate of school dropouts, and the level of poverty amongst Palestinians in East Jerusalem, is frightening,” Orly Noy from the Israeli rights group Ir Amim told IPS.

“The severe neglect of the education system in East Jerusalem is brewing a catastrophe,” adds Tali Nir, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

The two Israeli human rights organizations accused the Israeli authorities of deliberate discrimination in a report titled “Failed Grade — The State of the Education System in East Jerusalem.”

In their report they state that Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem are short one thousand classrooms.

Israel’s education law requires the state to provide education equally to all residents of the city.

However, the Israeli government spent an average of 2,300 New Israeli Shekels (NIS), about $604, on each Jewish child in elementary school during the year 2008-2009. In comparison 577 NIS ($151) was spent on each Palestinian child.

According to the report, only 39 classrooms were built for Palestinians over the past year despite promises made in court to build 644 by 2011.

The rights groups further accuse the Israeli government of forcing Palestinian students to study in unsuitable conditions.

Thousands of Palestinian pupils are bundled into crowded classrooms, often in ill-equipped buildings. Approximately half of the rooms (647 out of a total of 1,398) are sub-standard and a quarter are in “inappropriate conditions,” the report found.

The state of classrooms, researchers said, often forces thousands of students to study in rented buildings lacking ventilation, libraries, laboratories, and playgrounds.

It usually takes Palestinian children hours to get to and from school as they have to cross through Israeli checkpoints, and the fares they pay for substandard transport are high.

In May 2001 Israel’s high court ruled that the Israeli education ministry and the municipality of Jerusalem were obliged to provide education for every Palestinian child in the city.

Yet 40,000 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are forced to attend private schools to obtain a decent education. Only 39,523 of 82,250 Palestinian pupils, accounting for 48.05 percent of the children, attend government schools.

Islamic organizations in East Jerusalem provide education for approximately eight percent of Palestinian children, while the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) also does its share.

“Many have to turn to private schools, and thousands who cannot afford to pay stay at home,” the report adds.

“We continually take the municipality and the education ministry to court over the issue and the state orders these authorities to rectify the situation. However, the state responds by making up excuses, saying there are many obstacles. This is not the first time court rulings have been ignored by the Israeli authorities,” Noy explains to IPS.

In the interim while the bureaucracy continues to grind in never-ending legal circles, Palestine’s street children will continue to fall through the cracks with the prospects of a better future looking particularly grim.

“This is a self-perpetuating cycle that further undermines Palestinian society and is not helping to build a strong and stable community,” says Noy.



Gaza and Brooklyn on Eid Al-Fitr

By Jared Malsin

I recently moved to the Bedford-Stuyvestant neighborhood of Brooklyn. I live around the corner from a mosque, and down the street from another mosque that has been transformed into a church. I woke up this morning, the first morning of Eid Al-Fitr, to the repetitive ”Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” It’s a specific call to prayer that goes out on this one morning of the year.

I thought back to the last time I heard that prayer, which was one year ago, in Gaza. That morning I awoke at 5am to go to cover a dawn prayer service in Yarmuk stadium. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader and elected prime minister, spoke that morning to around 10,000 people who came to the stadium. [Here’s my report from that morning]

Last year Haniyeh was praising Palestinians in Gaza for their sumud, their steadfastness, in surviving and remaining defiant nine months after Israel’s onslaught against Gaza. This year Palestinians were shaken by yet another Israeli airstrike on the eve of the holiday.

This was the scene, early on the morning of Sunday September 20, 2009, in Yarmuk stadium:



Jerusalem or Gaza – where is it worse to be Palestinian?

Is it the isolation and insulation that Israel has imposed on Gaza, or the cynicism with which the decision makers continue to turn the population of East Jerusalem into welfare clients and slum dwellers, and then pride themselves of the national insurance payments they grant them?

By Amira Hass

Graduates of the Shin Bet security service pride themselves on being able to recite Arabic proverbs, claiming this is the way to win over an Arab interlocutor. If it sounds to you as if I’m a bit envious of the linguistic training they receive, you are not mistaken; in my sort of school – the field – I have been able to memorize only a few Arabic adages.

One I learned from one of the many villagers who was handed an expropriation order for his land. Sitting at the entrance to his home, he looked like he was attending a funeral. “To whom can a grain of wheat complain when the cock is the judge?” he said, in response to my dumb question about what he planned to do.

This saying is useful in situations when all other words fail. For example, in a military tribunal that convicts and detains demonstrators protesting the robbery of their land, like Adib and Abdullah Abu Rahma.

Another adage often quoted goes something like this: “He who lives with a tribe for 40 days will begin to behave like it.” Not exactly, but like the Palestinians, who hold some strange competitions, I have found myself wondering which Palestinians have it the worst under the Israeli rule.

For many years, I thought there was nothing worse than life in Gaza. I even argued my point with a friend, who claimed the absolute worst is to be a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship because “we live in the midst of the Nakba [1948 catastrophe] sites and experience the daily racism masquerading as democracy.”

But for more than a year now, I have been vacillating between Gaza and Jerusalem. That is to say, I have been trying to decide which is worse – the isolation and insulation that Israel has imposed on Gaza (which includes being cut off from water sources and from the cultural, social and family ties those residents have with their People ); or the cynicism with which the decision makers continue to turn the population of East Jerusalem into welfare clients and slum dwellers, and then pride themselves of the national insurance payments they grant them.

A visit to the neighborhood of Isawiyah decided the issue. Heaps of concrete, uncollected garbage, roads that are becoming narrower due to pirate additions to buildings – forced on residents thanks to construction prohibitions and the expropriation of vacant lots – all lies in sight of the Hebrew University campus and the city’s French Hill, which are so green, spacious and civilized.

‘Unsafe space’

And now a report from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has confirmed my determination. The report, titled “Unsafe space: The Israeli authorities’ failure to protect human rights amid settlements in East Jerusalem,” is based on testimonies, media reports and official documents. It highlights the loss of personal and collective security in Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, in the heart of which hostile bodies have settled over the past 30 years – settlers supported by millionaires and religious and archeological associations.

Some 2,000 such people live in fortified, well-guarded complexes in Palestinian neighborhoods like Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and the Muslim Quarter of the Old City – and there are more to come. Life in Palestinian Jerusalem is shaped by these Israeli statics: 65.1 percent of the city’s Palestinian residents live below the poverty line, as compared with 30.8 percent of the city’s Jewish population; and 74.4 percent of the Palestinian children in Jerusalem live below the poverty line, as compared to 45.1 percent of the city’s Jewish children.

The city’s Palestinian neighborhoods have a dearth of 1,000 classrooms; 50 percent of the school children drop out; and 24,500 dunams of private land – more than one third of the area annexed to Jerusalem – have been appropriated from the Arab owners, while more than 50,000 housing units have been built on this land for Jews alone.

The authorities who prevent Palestinians from building and developing their lands allocate vacant plots to the Jews, not only outside of the populated areas but also in their very heart. These spaces are allocated for parking or entertainment, archeological digs or construction.

As these neighbors are the authorities’ darlings, confrontations are unavoidable, so the Housing and Construction Ministry provides hundreds of armed guards for the Jews at the public’s expense (some NIS 54 million in 2010 ). When Palestinians complain to police about harassment, they find themselves treated like suspects. When they call the police, they feel like the officers are in no hurry to get there. And when police investigate cases in which Jews are suspected of causing bodily harm, these cases are closed swiftly. In this way, the Palestinians are left at the mercy of the aggressive, belligerent and officially sanctioned invaders.

The guards, who are employed by a private company, think their position permits them to hit people, to act abusively and even to shoot. The people in whose midst these fortified complexes are sprawling are afraid to get in and out; relatives and friends think twice before coming to visit them. These complexes are also characterized by a great deal of noise – digging at archeological sites that goes on until night, and dancing and religious celebrations accompanied by anti-Arab songs.

The ACRI report was presented to the police and the Housing and Construction Ministry for perusal. The legal adviser to the police, Roni Leibowitz, asked the organization to delay publication of the report so he could examine the specific charges, saying seven days was not enough time to conduct a serious investigation.

Nevertheless, his first impression was that the ACRI report “describes the reality in a partial and sometimes tendentious manner… It relates in a forgiving light to serious violent events that took place in the village of Silwan, that by some miracle did not end in death – such as firing from live weapons by a terrorist cell, mass riots, and the throwing of Molotov cocktails, stones, iron bars and other harmful objects at security forces…”

In addition, Leibowitz says the claims of deficient treatment on the part of the police are based solely on “the testimonies of those who were interrogated as suspects in these events, which obviously can lead to an erroneous portrayal of the way the situation developed.”

Ariel Rosenberg, the ministry’s spokesman, firmly denies any claims that guards harass Palestinians and praises their professionalism and the instructions they receive to show restraint and forbearance.

“In the past year,” he writes, “the situation in the area under discussion has significantly worsened and the guards are witness to extremely hostile activity.”



A reader from California, J.David, sent me the results of a marvelous project they were assigned to do…..

A religion and reporting class at the University of Southern California dropped a friend and myself into the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The mainstream media has reported on the religious, economic and social issues plaguing the region but often lost in the issues are the very faces stuck in the conflict.  My friend and I focused on telling the people’s story as we traveled through the Old City and the West Bank.

“Checkpoint” was a demanding project moving us beyond our biases and media diet to listen to the stories of everyday people living as outsiders in an Israeli state.  These stories are their stories. Their beliefs. Their struggles. In their words.  To dismiss them would be disrespectful. To blindly accept them would be irresponsible. To let them drive you deeper into the story of the conflict and the people who deal with it on a daily basis would be all that we can hope for.

Project Summary:

Seven hundred checkpoints dot the state of Israel to keep one population in and the other out. But what about the folks that fall in between? The faithful who are neither Jewish nor Muslim. The citizens who are both Israeli and Palestinian. The elderly with five nationalities and the babies with none. These are their faces. Read on for their stories ….

Visit their Website HERE and click on the photos to see the individual reports.

Israel-Palestine Project


Sabar Kashour. Convicted of rape  Photo: Gil Yohanan

There has been much ado in the Israeli press about a Palestinian man being charged with rape after the Jewish woman involved found out he was an Arab.

There was less ado about the fact that the man is married …. a fact that makes this incident quite ugly in my opinion. Does the sanctity of marriage mean nothing today? Are the vows one takes merely words?

This raises just one question: What would the court decide had a Jewish, married man falsely presented himself to a woman in order to get her into bed? For example, what if someone like that told a woman that he is a wealthy single man, while he was in fact poor and married? Would he too be convicted of rape?

The entire incident indicates the complete deterioration of morals in a most immoral country, one run by criminals and murderers.

He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu. He didn’t have curly hair, but he went by Dudu just the same. That’s how everyone knew him. That’s how you know a few other Arabs too: the car-wash guy you call Rafi, the stairwell cleaner who goes by Yossi, the supermarket deliveryman you know as Moshe.

Granted, this entire incident stinks of racial profiling, it would most likely never had hit the courts or the press if an Arab wasn’t involved. But, that is not the only thing that is is wrong with this very sick society of ours, the fact that the man is married is not considered a crime in itself. Regardless of his race. It should be!

And if he were Jewish?

Arab man’s rape conviction raises disturbing questions about our legal system

Sima Kadmon

This past week, the Jerusalem District Court slapped an 18-month prison sentence on an Arab man who impersonated a Jew and had consensual sex with a Jewish girl.

The 30-year-old Arab man, Sabar Kashour, was convicted of rape because he falsely presented himself as Jewish and single, while he was in fact Arab and married.

In the framework of a plea bargain agreement, Kashour was convicted of a rape offense as well as a charge of performing an indecent act. In addition to the prison term, he was also slapped with a 30-month conditional sentence and a NIS 10,000 (roughly $2,800) fine to be paid as compensation to the complainant.

Notably, the judges did argue that this was not a “classic case of rape,” as the sexual relations were consensual. So what was this act all about then? According to the judges, the sexual act was elicited via fraudulent means and reliance on false information.

Or in other words: This is about sex elicited through lies. Had the girl known the man was not a Jewish single interested in a meaningful romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated with the accused, the judges ruled.

Hello? Are we getting this straight? If any married man who has ever lied in order to get sex would be charged with rape, there would be no room in our prisons. It appears that the court had a problem with Kashour being Arab, rather than with him being married.

This raises just one question: What would the court decide had a Jewish, married man falsely presented himself to a woman in order to get her into bed? For example, what if someone like that told a woman that he is a wealthy single man, while he was in fact poor and married? Would he too be convicted of rape?


Gideon Levy wrote about this as well…..

He impersonated a human

Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian.

By Gideon Levy

Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil. Married and a father of two, he wanted to work in Jerusalem, his city, and maybe also have an affair or a quickie on the side. That happens too.

He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu. He didn’t have curly hair, but he went by Dudu just the same. That’s how everyone knew him. That’s how you know a few other Arabs too: the car-wash guy you call Rafi, the stairwell cleaner who goes by Yossi, the supermarket deliveryman you know as Moshe.

What’s wrong? Is it only fearsome Shin Bet interrogators like “Capt. George” and “Abu Faraj” who are allowed to adopt names from other peoples? Are only Israelis who emigrate allowed to invent new identities? Only the Yossi from Hadera who became Joe in Miami, the Avraham from Bat Yam who became Abe in Los Angeles?

No longer a youth, Sabbar/Dudu worked as a deliveryman for a lawyer’s office, rode his scooter around Jerusalem and delivered documents, affidavits and sworn testimonies, swearing to everyone that he was Dudu. Two years ago he met a woman by chance. Nice to meet you, my name is Dudu. He claims that she came on to him, but let’s leave the details aside. Soon enough they went where they went and what happened happened, all by consent of the parties concerned. One fine day, a month and a half after an afternoon quickie, he was summoned to the police on suspicion of rape.

His temporary lover discovered that her Dudu wasn’t a Dudu after all, that the Jew is (gasp! ) an Arab, and so she filed a complaint against the impostor. Her body was violated by an Arab. From then on Kashur was placed under house arrest for two years, an electronic cuff on his ankle. This week his sentence was pronounced: 18 months in jail.

Judge Zvi Segal waxed dramatic to the point of absurdity: “It is incumbent on the court to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth, sweet-talking offenders who can mislead naive victims into paying an unbearable price: the sanctity of their bodies and souls.” Sophisticated offenders? It is doubtful that Dudu even knew he was one. Sweet talk? He says that even his wife calls him Dudu.

The court relied, as usual, on precedents: the man who posed as a senior Housing Ministry official and promised his lover an apartment and an increased National Insurance pension, and the man who posed as a wealthy neurosurgeon who promised free medical care and other perks. Dudu had nothing to offer but his good name, Dudu, and still his fate was sealed, just like those who promise apartments and perks. Not only fraud, but rape, almost like the convicted serial rapist Benny Sela.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein had, after all, defined the test of conviction for rape on “false pretenses”: “if in the view of an ordinary person this woman would have agreed to have sexual relations with a man who did not have the identity he invented.”

In tune with the public, Kashur’s judges assumed, rightly, that the woman would not have gotten into bed with Dudu were it not for the identity he invented. She also might not have gotten into bed with him if he had told her in vain that he was available, that he was younger than he really is or even that he is madly in love with her. But people are not prosecuted for that, certainly not on rape charges.

Now the respected judges have to be asked: If the man was really Dudu posing as Sabbar, a Jew pretending to be an Arab so he could sleep with an Arab woman, would he then be convicted of rape? And do the eminent judges understand the social and racist meaning of their florid verdict? Don’t they realize that their verdict has the uncomfortable smell of racial purity, of “don’t touch our daughters”? That it expresses the yearning of the extensive segments of society that would like to ban sexual relations between Arabs and Jews?

It was no coincidence that this verdict attracted the attention of foreign correspondents in Israel, temporary visitors who see every blemish. Yes, in German or Afrikaans this disgraceful verdict would have sounded much worse.



A declaration of loyalty to “a Jewish state” is not just a procedural matter. It implies, for Arabs or others, recognition of one’s inferiority vis-à-vis Jewish citizens of the state. Indeed, the ramifications of such recognition are enormous and far-reaching.

Palestinian women paint ships on a wall to show support for attempts to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, at the sea port in Gaza City

Apartheid plain and simple

Israel is reinventing the ancient punishment of banishment, though only for Arabs, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

As if the preponderance of discriminatory laws already swelling the Israeli legal system were not enough, the Israeli parliament — the Knesset — is slated to debate a fresh instalment of anti-Arab draft laws aimed at “reasserting the Jewish nature of Israel”.

One of these draft laws, tabled by a pro- settler party called Habayt ha Yahudi, or the Jewish Home, would force all citizens and would-be citizens of Israel to declare their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. The draft law specifically targets Palestinians married or wishing to marry other Palestinians who are already Israeli citizens — ie Palestinians living in Israel proper.

A declaration of loyalty to “a Jewish state” is not just a procedural matter. It implies, for Arabs or others, recognition of one’s inferiority vis-à-vis Jewish citizens of the state. Indeed, the ramifications of such recognition are enormous and far-reaching.

Israel usually claims to be both a Jewish and democratic state. However, it is widely known that the “democratic” epithet is preserved for Jews, not Arabs, and that the state can’t be both “Talmudic”, as demanded by the growing Jewish religious sector, and democratic, as asserted by secular segments, given the intrinsic contradictions between the two concepts.

Democratic dismissed, the “Jewish” epithet leaves non-Jews living in Israel as a Jewish state, even if they happen to be indigenous inhabitants, estranged and unwanted, by virtue of being non-Jews. Their status as “citizens” is not owed to the laws of the land, but mainly to Jewish magnanimity and/or charity.

“This legislation [is] organised racism whereby citizenship is granted in exchange for recognition by a citizen of his inferior status as a second or third class citizen,” said Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi.

Tibi, who denounced the new draft laws as “products of a depraved mentality,” said the camp that holds power in Israel is trying to communicate a message to more than 1.5 million Arabs in Israel proper that “if you want to have your rights guaranteed and if you want to live freely and happily, then you will have to leave this country.”

Tibi responds: “But we won’t leave this country, because this country is our country. We were born here, our forefathers were born and are buried here.”

Another Arab Knesset member, Hanin Zubi, scoffed at Israel’s notion of democracy, calling it “a joke”. “How can democracy be practised or even survive in a fascist environment?” The Knesset, Zubi said, “is becoming a fascist Jewish club, which is why it is difficult for free voices to be heard.”

Two weeks ago, Israeli Jewish MPs ganged up on Zubi while speaking at the rostrum of the Knesset, with some extremist Jewish lawmakers calling her obscene names and even trying to drag her to the ground for defending her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The Israeli navy brutally attacked the flotilla on 31 May, killing at least nine aid activists and injuring many, drawing angry reactions around the world.

Zubi’s family has been living in the city of Nazareth since time immemorial. The Jewish MP who assaulted Zubi is a recent immigrant from the former Soviet Union who doesn’t even speak fluent Hebrew.

But if the Knesset is a reflection of the state of affairs permeating Israel, and if the Israeli parliament is succumbing to an extremist onslaught, Israel itself — government and society alike — is embracing what is widely now deemed “fascism” in a most cordial manner.

This week, an Israeli court in Jerusalem decided to keep Sheikh Mohamed Abu Tir in jail for refusing to leave the city of his birth. Sheikh Abu Tir, who spent more than 25 years in jail for his opposition to the Israeli occupation, was elected in 2006 as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing East Jerusalem. However, an Israeli judge recently issued a decree banishing Abu Tir from East Jerusalem for affiliation with a “terrorist organisation” — in reference to the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, an arm of Hamas.

Abu Tir denied that he was a member of Hamas, saying he was representing the people of Jerusalem who elected him and that he took part in an election that was okayed by Israel and closely monitored by the United States and the rest of the international community. His argument was rejected by the Israeli judge. Abu Tir was then asked to pay $95,000 in bail. He refused, prompting the Israeli authorities to return him to jail.

Abu Tir, like dozens of other Islamic lawmakers, had just spent 48 months in jail for taking part in the 2006 elections. Following his release, the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, demanded that he leave his hometown within one month. He refused to heed the order, arguing that Jerusalem was his hometown and the city of his birth, and that nothing would make him leave his hometown.

Abu Tir’s lawyer Osama Al-Saadi described the trial of his client as “political and ideological from A to Z.” “This is part of the battle over Jerusalem. They are trying to convince themselves that the Palestinians of Jerusalem are only temporary citizens who can be expelled at any time.” Al-Saadi underscored the stark discrimination against the Arab community in a state that doesn’t stop claiming to be democratic.

“Imagine a Jew who is affiliated with a terrorist organisation, or who belongs to an outlawed Jewish political party. Would he ever be banished from Israel, irrespective of the enormity of his crime?” “You see the mendacity of this slogan, that Israel is a ‘democracy’? Do democratic states expel citizens because they adhere to a different religion?”


The cabinet is expected to approve a series of measures on Sunday that would make it harder for Palestinians to acquire permanent residency or citizenship in Israel. The most notable would require Palestinians to declare their loyalty to “a Jewish and democratic state” before being granted Israeli citizenship.

Image Copyleft by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians may soon have to swear loyalty to ‘Jewish’ state

The cabinet is expected to approve measures on Sunday that would make it harder for Palestinians to acquire permanent residency or citizenship in Israel.

By Dana Weiler-Polak and Jonathan Lis

The cabinet is expected to approve a series of measures on Sunday that would make it harder for Palestinians to acquire permanent residency or citizenship in Israel. The most notable would require Palestinians to declare their loyalty to “a Jewish and democratic state” before being granted Israeli citizenship.

The measures will primarily affect Palestinian men and women who marry Israeli citizens and then seek citizenship on the basis of family reunification.

Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel yesterday protested the proposed wording of the loyalty declaration. In a written statement, the group said “it views the conditioning of entry into Israel on a declaration of loyalty to a Jewish and democratic state, and of respect for the laws of the state, very gravely, because it requires all non-Jews to identify with Zionism and imposes a political ideology and loyalty to the principles of Judaism and Zionism.”

The other restrictions to be imposed on Palestinians wishing to gain residency or citizenship are not actually new; they are part of a law enacted in 2005, originally for one year, that has since been renewed annually. On Sunday, however, the cabinet is expected to approve its extension for yet another year.

One restriction in that law bars Palestinians married to Israelis from joining their families here before the Interior Ministry agrees to their right to live in Israel. The law also denies residency rights to any foreign spouse or his children if he is married to other women in addition to his Israeli wife.

Finally, it requires Palestinians who seek citizenship to provide financial guarantees and prove that they have a home in Israel.

The explanatory notes accompanying the proposed restrictions state that their purpose is to make it harder for Palestinian terrorist groups to recruit Palestinians who have acquired Israeli citizenship to carry out attacks.

“An examination of the security reality since the outbreak of armed confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians revealed growing involvement by Palestinians who took advantage of their status in Israel, received on the basis of their family reunification process with Israelis, to become involved in terrorism and abet suicide bombing attacks,” the notes said.

“The Israeli identity cards granted to [these] Palestinians provided them with freedom of movement between Israel and the [Palestinian] Authority and thus made them into the terrorist organizations’ preferred population for carrying out hostile actions in general and inside Israel in particular.”

A separate section of the proposed regulations deals with asylum seekers, and would require them to file their asylum applications within a year of entering Israel. Until now, an asylum seeker could file his application at any time. The main purpose of this change is to prevent legal foreign workers from filing asylum applications after their work visas expire, thereby gaining additional time here.



“It stays green for [settlers] for five minutes. But to go in and out of Beit Hanina? Only two or three cars can pass,” Alami says. “It’s too short. It causes a lot of traffic jams.”

Israel’s ‘street apartheid’
By Mya Guarnieri
The contrasts between Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods are most obvious in Jerusalem [GETTY]

Mahmoud Alami, a Jerusalem taxi driver, knows the city like the back of his hand. He knows the neighbourhoods, the streets. And he knows the stop lights.

There is one in particular that troubles him not professionally but personally. It stands between Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighbourhood, and Pisgaat Zeev, a Jewish settlement.

“It stays green for [settlers] for five minutes. But to go in and out of Beit Hanina? Only two or three cars can pass,” Alami says. “It’s too short. It causes a lot of traffic jams.”

Al Jazeera found that stoplights that lead to Jewish settlements and neighbourhoods stay green for an average of a minute and a half. In Palestinian areas, it’s 20 seconds. One light in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem is green for less than 10 seconds.

“[Palestinians] are stuck,” says Amir Daud, another taxi driver. “It reflects a very bad situation for the people.”

Budgetary discrimination

Roads are poorly maintained in many Palestinian areas [GETTY]

Traffic jams are just one of the many problems that plague infrastructure and services in Palestinian areas of Jerusalem. Roads are poorly maintained. They are narrow and bumpy, riddled with cracks and potholes. Street signs and sidewalks are almost non-existent.

Trash containers are usually communal and there are often too few to meet the needs of the neighbourhood. Pedestrians, forced to walk on the shoulder of the road, wade through garbage.

Jewish neighbourhoods and settlements, on the other hand, are neat and orderly. Sidewalks and traffic circles keep pedestrians safe; roads are well-marked, some with lit signs. Most buildings have a garbage bin and the streets are free of litter.

In one Jewish area, a grassy median is adorned with a rainbow assortment of decorative sculptures – metal children playing, kicking footballs, and riding bikes.

When Al Jazeera presented a list detailing the differences between Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods to the Jerusalem municipality, the spokesperson denied the findings.

But, speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former employee of the Jerusalem municipality confirmed that there is discrimination on a budgetary level. The sports department offers the most dramatic example – only 0.5 per cent of funds are allocated to Palestinian neighbourhoods. The other 99.5 per cent goes to Jewish areas.

Quality of life

Nisreen Alyan, an attorney at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), has recently filed a petition protesting against the lack of garbage collection in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Tsur Baher, located in East Jerusalem. Despite a population of 20,000, only 12 streets receive the service.

This impacts both health and the quality of life, Alyan explains. Stray dogs, some carrying rabies, are attracted to the piles of trash. Residents have been attacked by the animals. And now children are afraid to go outside.

“There are no public gardens for them, they don’t have anything,” Alyan says. “So these streets are the only place for the cars, for the children, for the garbage, for the dogs, for everything.”

The petition ACRI has filed asks the municipality to meet its legal responsibility, “nothing less, nothing more,” Alyan says. “[This] means that they have to give [the residents] the right of sanitation.”

Alyan has informed the city of Tsur Baher’s troubles in the past. But the city claims it cannot serve the whole neighbourhood because garbage trucks cannot maneuver the small streets. Alyan points out that this should not be an obstacle. The municipality has found creative solutions in other parts of Jerusalem.

The streets in Tsur Baher are problematic, one resident explains. There are not enough of them.

While most Palestinian neighbourhoods are subject to building restrictions, Tsur Baher is one of the few that is free to build. Much of their land has been appropriated by a neighbouring settlement, Har Homa; some is on the other side of the Israeli-built separation barrier; and there is no infrastructure to reach what is left.

The lack of roads also means that emergency services cannot access all parts of the neighbourhood. Children have died in house fires. And because of a police order that prohibits ambulances from entering Palestinian neighbourhoods without a police escort residents have died waiting for medical care.

“The problem is that the policemen don’t come in time,” a resident says. “The ambulance is stopped waiting at the top of the neighbourhood for half an hour …. People have died in this situation.”

“[ACRI is] writing another petition about it now,” Alyan adds.

Paying taxes

Lack of infrastructure leaves Palestinians feeling disconnected [EPA]

Asked about traffic lights in Tsur Baher, Alyan answers that there are none.

Out of concern for the children’s safety, the residents scraped together the money to add speed bumps to the roads.

In other neighbourhoods, Palestinians have pooled funds to pay for garbage collection and street sweeping.

This is after they have paid taxes.

Because over 90 per cent of Israel’s Palestinians live in towns separate from the Jewish population, many Israeli Jews excuse away the differences between Arab and Jewish areas with a “poor municipality” argument.

They are poor, their towns are poor. Arabs do not pay a lot of taxes, or enough taxes, or any taxes at all, Israeli Jews say, so their villages cannot afford the same services they enjoy.

But that reasoning falls apart in Jerusalem, a city striped with Palestinian and Jewish areas. And with Nof Tzion (Zion View), a Jewish settlement found smack in the centre of Jabel Mukhaber, a Palestinian neighbourhood, the differences are glaringly obvious.

“For years, [Jabel Mukhaber] didn’t have a main street,” Alyan says. “Just after they built Nof Tzion, [the municipality] built a very fine street with pavement and lights.” But the road stops dead after Nof Tzion. It gets bumpy, dropping off into gravel, then dirt, for the Palestinians.

The “poor municipality” argument does not hold weight in Jerusalem for another reason. To the city’s Palestinians, who have only residency and no citizenship, paying taxes is tremendously important.

“If you won’t pay your taxes, you won’t have proof that east Jerusalem is the centre of your life and if you can’t prove that, you will lose your residency,” Alyan explains. This means that one becomes stateless, a refugee.

“Before [Palestinian residents of Jerusalem] find money to feed their children, they pay their taxes,” Alyan says.

Tsur Baher, along with neighbouring Umm Tuba, pays approximately $7mn in taxes annually to a municipality they do not get to vote for. East Jerusalem residents tell Alyan that they just want the government to invest what they have paid back into the neighbourhoods.

‘Psychological warfare’

Yousef Jabareen, the director of Dirasat, the Arab Centre for Law and Policy, explains that public services are also funded on the national level. This is another point of inequality.

Jabareen points to the “National Priority” programme that gave economic incentives to government-selected areas. When the programme was introduced in 1998, 500 Jewish towns received national priority status. While Palestinians make up nearly 20 per cent of Israel’s population, and half of the nation’s poor, only four Arab villages were selected.

“That was a classic example of how the allocation of government resources is discriminatory,” Jabareen says, adding that grave inequalities can be found in the state-funded educational system as well.

Everything – from the poor conditions of the infrastructure to the lack of public services – adds up to leave Palestinians feeling rejected and disconnected, Jabareen says.

“It’s a feeling of frustration and of not belonging …. That the government and state is excluding you and you are not counted as an equal.”

Do the disparities in Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods and the differences in funding throughout the nation amount to apartheid?

“In some areas you could identify some characteristics of apartheid that should raise a lot of concern about the future,” Jabareen comments.

A young Israeli Jew, fresh from army service, simply remarks, “It’s a kind of psychological warfare. The idea is to get [Palestinians] to leave.”

Source via Uruknet

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