Photo by: AP

Playing with fire

Demolishing 22 houses in Silwan under the illusion of improving the local residents’ quality of life is just the first step in Barkat’s “salami method.”

If any more proof is needed that Jerusalem is not just a city, but a volcano about to erupt, here comes the Gan Hamelech affair, in the Bustan section of east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, to remind us how dangerous life in the city can be when the wrong hands are steering the wheel.

The Bustan area has been in City Hall’s sights for at least a decade, and Nir Barkat is pressing the trigger to prove he’s outdone his mayoral predecessors. As a successful businessman, he knows a lot about marketing: that you can sell anything using a smart advertising campaign – from detergent to a settlement. So Barkat packaged his plan in cellophane and decorated it with pretty pastel-colored strings.

In a singularly cynical, brilliant presentation, aimed at preventing international intervention, he marketed his plan to eradicate the Bustan neighborhood as a plan to improve living conditions for local residents. He has no intention, heaven forbid, of demolishing – simply improving, upgrading, creating a national park and turning the place into a flourishing tourism site. “Tuscany in Jerusalem” is what Barkat calls it. It’s a splendid goal, really appropriate for a city which lacks tourist sites. But just scratch at those pastel tones, and quite a different reality is exposed.

AS A long-distance runner, Barkat is well aware of the steps he’s taking. Demolishing 22 houses under the illusion of improving the local residents’ quality of life is just the first step in the “salami method” whose ultimate aim, it seems, is to remove Palestinian presence from the Bustan, and Judaize east Jerusalem. The method requires granting management of the future national park to the Elad Association that managed to transform the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, close to the Bustan, into a Jewish tourism site – the City of David. Just give the Elad guys a park, and presto, they’ll transform it into a settlement.

Control of the Bustan is achieved not only by the settlers’ physical presence but also through using architectural elements directly associated with Israel and Judaism. The physiognomy of the place filters into the awareness, and takes it over, giving the Israeli presence control no less than the settlers’ physical presence. In fact it’s even more dangerous, since who can object to such an ostensibly passive, innocent action?

The cherry on the Barkat cake is the idea of relocating evacuated families into an alternative site – anyone who wants to can build a new home on a vacant lot on the eastern side of the neighborhood, or build a second story on an existing house. This is the great lie of the plan. The Planning and Construction Law does not permit building a house unless the land is privately owned, so Barkat is incapable of granting building permits for vacant lots or for second stories.

The situation is that the vast majority of Silwan residents, including residents of the Bustan, cannot obtain authorizations of ownership from the Israeli Registrar of Land. No statutory body will give building permits to families whose houses were demolished. And for the same reason, Barkat is incapable of granting retroactive permits to the 66 remaining buildings that he’s promising to upgrade.

Moreover, the very idea of building another story on an existing building is highly surprising – why worsen density problems and overload already dilapidated infrastructures that are close to disintegrating. Why would anyone give up the option of adding another story to his house, for his children, and instead allow a strange family to build another story? Why would anyone with a private home be willing to move to the upper floor of another family’s house?

Barkat’s proposal for alternative housing obviously cannot be implemented, and it conceals another land mine – planning regulations stipulate that new construction cannot begin before demolishing the old house. No answer is forthcoming to the question – where will the family live over the years that elapse from the day their old house is demolished until the day the new one is ready?

In such conditions, no family would take the risk of evacuating its home – 43 years of occupation have taught them not to rely on the Israeli government’s promises.

Indeed, the planning of the Bustan relies on the “stick and carrot” principle – destroying and rebuilding. And we know that ultimately the Palestinian residents will receive the stick but not any carrots.

THIS WEEK Barkat launched his 2013 election campaign. He knows that Jerusalem’s haredi residents will vote for a haredi candidate, and assumes that secular residents will vote for him. What’s left are the National Religious residents whose votes are decisive in any election. The Bustan project is a down payment to this crucial sector.

At the same time, the Bustan project provides the mayor with an excuse for obtaining political quiet for the upcoming period. He’s been trying for a year to promote a bill that would add two new deputy mayors to the city – one for Shas and one for the Ashkenazi haredim. Now Meretz has objected to the approval of the Bustan plan, its members have left the coalition following the mayor’s revocation of their authority, and the position of deputy mayor it previously held will be handed over to a Shas representative. It’s easy to understand the pressure on the mayor, because the municipality is subject to the Interior Ministry, and the Interior Ministry is in the hands of Shas.

There’s one unknown in the equation: How much involvement did Binyamin Netanyahu have in the Barkat-led move? Was he aware of the timing? The assumption is that it’s hard to imagine the mayor leading such a move without informing and fully involving the prime minister. Sources close to the mayor hinted to us that it’s a well-planned move by the two, aimed at sending up a trial balloon ahead of Netanyahu’s forthcoming trip to Washington, to check the Americans’ resolve.

This trial balloon is the continuation of one sent up two weeks ago when Barkat went ahead and destroyed three buildings in east Jerusalem despite the US request to freeze all house demolitions. The buildings were carefully chosen, so it could be claimed that they were not homes but “only” warehouses. Regrettably, there was no American reaction. Encouraged by the industrial quiet, Netanyahu moved to stage two – testing the threshold of US patience. This entailed asking Barkat to submit the Bustan plan for approval by the Local Planning and Construction Committee, even though the file is still not ready for submission, and without any real need, since substantial work is still required before submitting it to the District Committee.

If this assumption is correct, Israel’s leaders are far more amateur than they seem, and the fate of the region is in the hands of people lacking any political wisdom. Perhaps the American administration knows who it’s dealing with, but time isn’t playing into our hands. If it does not send an unequivocal message to the government, the situation could get out of control.

*The writer is a field coordinator for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and was a member of the Jerusalem City Council for Meretz.

Also see THIS piece from the same source

An open city?


Arabs can’t buy land anywhere in Jerusalem.


Barred from Jerusalem for crime of being Palestinian

Engineer’s battle to overturn loss of residency highlights plight of thousands

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Samir Abu-Khalaf holds a photograph of his son Murad

Samir Abu-Khalaf holds a photograph of his son Murad, whose East Jerusalem residency was revoked by Israeli authorities

To say that Palestinian Murad Abu-Khalaf’s roots are in Jerusalem is a serious understatement. His family lived in the Baka district of West Jerusalem until they were forced to leave in the war of 1948. They have since lived – and live – in the inner East Jerusalem district of Ras al-Amud. His family doctor father’s clinic in East Jerusalem’s main street of Salahadin is opposite three shops owned by each of his uncles. One of his brothers, also a doctor, works at one of Jerusalem’s two main (Israeli) hospitals, the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. The city is, in short, his home.

But when the next hearing of a case of fundamental importance to the future of this super-qualified young man takes place in the Jerusalem District Court today, he won’t be there. At the age of 33, he has suddenly become, to use his own word, “stateless”. His only “crime” has been to spend several years in the US doing an electrical engineering PhD, completing post-doctoral research funded by a division of the US Army, acquiring high-tech work experience with the sole purpose of bettering his future career prospects in the Holy Land, and being a little homesick.

Yet in 2008 the young Dr Abu-Khalaf became a statistic, one of a record 4,577 Palestinian residents to have their Israeli-conferred status as a resident of East Jerusalem revoked in that year and with it the right to live permanently or work in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. It is this revocation which is being challenged in court on his behalf by the Israeli human rights lawyer Leah Tsemel today, and about which he says: “Losing my residency in my country is a source of pain to me… I feel I am being asked to choose between building my career and my homeland.”

For Dr Abu-Khalaf has been told his only chance of having the revocation “reconsidered” – and it’s far from certain this would succeed – is if he gives up his high-flying job as a software developer, leaves the US and stays here for at least two years – maybe “working in a café”, as he puts it. So far Dr Abu- Khalaf has been told he will no longer qualify for an Israeli travel document. He would still be able to visit the country as a tourist, though not work or live in it, and then only if he obtains a US travel document.

If Dr Abu-Khalaf was an Israeli citizen he would be able to take up temporary residency for as long as he liked without losing his rights. But his case exemplifies the fragile status of more than 200,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, who have Israeli conferred ID, and the right – denied to most West Bank Palestinians – to travel in Israel and access to certain benefits like Israeli health insurance, but not the security of full citizenship. According to Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO campaigning for an “equitable and stable” shared Jerusalem, the sharp increase in residency revocations are part of “an ongoing Israeli policy to reduce the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem”.

When Israel unilaterally annexed Arab East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War – an annexation whose legality has never been accepted by most of the international community, including Britain – it offered Palestinian residents citizenship. But the large majority refused, believing that to accept would reinforce Israel’s claim on occupied East Jerusalem.

Part of Dr Abu-Khalaf’s problem was that he applied successfully for a “green card” purely to maximise his job opportunities, but unwittingly reinforcing Israel’s determination to cut off his Jerusalem residency. Dr Abu-Khalaf said when he was job-searching “many potential employers replied to me asking if I held a green card.” They told him that “otherwise they could not employ me… I never knew it would cause all this fiasco.”

His father, Samir Abu-Khalaf, wanted Murad to return and marry when he had laid the firm basis of a career. “It’s injustice to deal with us in this way,” he said. “It seems they want Palestinians only to be workers, cleaners.” To his son it is illogical that in an age when academic and corporate life is increasingly multinational, he should be penalised for participating in it. The loss of residency “in my home country”, he said, is “at best inconsiderate… extremely backward looking, and short-sighted.”

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said the law prescribed that East Jerusalem residents were treated like any other people with resident status, losing it if they are away for more seven years or take up residency elsewhere. Asked whether the position of native East Jerusalemites was not different from – say – those from France temporarily living and working in Israel she added: “If you want someone to justify the policy you are asking the wrong person. But it’s the law.”

Source via Uruknet


An Israeli that goes abroad and stays there for a period of two to six years can return to Israel with the full ‘rights’ of a new immigrant. This includes the tax free purchases of home essentials, an automobile, and a good rate on a mortgage.

A Palestinian from Jerusalem that goes abroad for purposes of education or work CANNOT RETURN TO HIS HOME…

Palestinian Jerusalemites go work abroad and get residency revoked upon return

Palestinians who choose to study and work abroad are finding out – too late – that they have imperiled their right to return to their hometown.

By Amira Hass

Palestinians who choose to study and work abroad are finding out – too late – that they have imperiled their right to return to their hometown.

Last Wednesday afternoon a “shabah,” an illegal sojourner, sat in the small conference room of Jerusalem District Court Judge Noam Solberg. That’s how he was described by Solberg and a representative of the Interior Ministry, attorney Gur Rosenblatt. The illegal resident reads and writes Hebrew, but in the small room he had difficulty following the learned claims of the judge to the effect that a person born in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Sur Baher 43 years ago, whose parents and grandparents and great-great grandparents are from there, who went to elementary school and high school in Jerusalem, who recently paid NIS 120,000 for a construction permit from the Jerusalem municipality, is an illegal sojourner. In other words, a criminal.

Meet the criminal: Dr. Imad Hammada. He’s a father of three, with a fourth on the way. Married to a nurse who works for the Leumit HMO in Jerusalem. This biography includes other elements that could sound very Israeli: studied electrical engineering in the United States and worked in Silicon Valley to pay for his doctoral studies and to get experience. Speciality: nanotechnology (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter ). Frequent visits to his family at home, in Jerusalem.

Dr. Imad Hammada Dr. Imad Hammada and his wife at his graduation ceremony in the United States.

True, his stay abroad lasted longer than expected, from 1989 to 2007. That’s familiar to us, too. Now, three months after receiving his doctorate, in August 2007, he and his family packed their suitcases and returned home, a year after he received American citizenship. An Israeli company and an American company with a branch in Israel wanted to employ him and changed their minds. The Interior Ministry informed them that he was a tourist.

Tourist? How come? That is how he discovered that the Interior Ministry had revoked his residency status. Through attorney Leah Tsemel he petitioned the Jerusalem District Court sitting as a Court for Administrative Matters, against the revocation of his permanent residency permit. For the past three years he has been living in his homeland, in his city, in his parents’ home – without health insurance for the children, without rights, in constant danger of arrest and expulsion.

“The prolonged illegal stay in the country is to the detriment of the petitioner,” said Judge Solberg in a stern voice. He said that it could be a reason for rejecting the petition out of hand. In the corridors of the District Court on Salah al-Din Street it was said that as opposed to liberal judges David Cheshin and Yehudit Tzur, who have left, Solberg is known for summarily rejecting similar petitions. It turns out that this time Solberg had inner conflicts, as he put it.

It’s natural to go abroad

On the one hand, he said, the illegal stay causes us “to say that this is a reason for rejecting the petition out of hand.” On the other hand, the judge said: “It’s natural that people go [abroad] to study and stay for a while. There’s room for a certain amount of forgiveness when you read that the man works in Herzliya (for a Taiwanese company with a branch in Ramallah ) and his wife works…. My initial feeling is that his connection with Israel is sincere.”

Attorney Rosenblatt mentioned the “illegal stay” of the petitioner several times. Tsemel objected: This argument has not come up until now. My client entered legally and was born here and you know that it’s his right to be here. In principle, said Rosenblatt, “he can leave the court and be arrested by a policeman because he’s an illegal sojourner.” And Tsemel: “In principle he can leave the court and be arrested because he’s an Arab.”

Solberg tried to calm things down. He said he was actually seeking a compromise. Let the petition be erased, he suggested, and let Dr. Hammada ask to begin a proceeding for “family reunification” (with his wife ). The parties had to reply by today. Afterward, next to the stairs, Rosenblatt would explain to Tsemel that it was nothing personal, but that he was operating according to the law.

The 1952 Law of Entry into Israel determines that anyone who is not an Israeli citizen or the holder of an immigrant’s permit or immigrant’s certificate does not have the right to live in Israel, and his residency in Israel is conditional on a residency permit that has been granted to him according to this law.” The Law of Entry was imposed on Palestinians living in that part of the West Bank – East Jerusalem and the surrounding villages – that was annexed to Israel in 1967. “Israel entered us,” bitterly say the people to whom the Law of Entry applies, “It wasn’t we who entered it.” Solberg mentioned that there is logic to the statement that the case of a (non-Jewish ) Frenchman who immigrated to Israel is not the same as the case of a Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem. But it wouldn’t be right, he said, to discuss the matter of principle in connection with the present petition.

In addition to the Law of Entry there are regulations for entry into Israel which stipulate that the expiration of the permanent residency permit: A person will be considered to have settled abroad if one of the following conditions exists: he lived outside Israel for a period of at least seven years; he received a permanent residency permit in that country; he received citizenship of that country. One of the three conditions is sufficient to revoke the resident status of a Palestinian in East Jerusalem.

Until the end of 1995, the authorities were flexible and made do with visits by those living abroad at intervals shorter than “seven years of absence” in order to maintain residency. But in December 1995, during the term of Haim Ramon as interior minister in the short-lived government of Shimon Peres, the policy changed. Without previous warning, people who lived abroad but came for frequent visits discovered that their resident status had been revoked. A prolonged public battle – which involved Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations – created pressure that produced results early in 2000, when the interior minister was Natan Sharansky. In a declaration to the Supreme Court, he promised that the policy would revert to the pre-1995 practice. For those living abroad for any reason, their periodic visits would once again maintain their residency, whereas those who had lived abroad in the past (or who were living, for lack of housing, in a part of the West Bank that had not been annexed to Israel ) would get back their residency status if they proved that the center of their lives was in Jerusalem. With the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, the Interior Ministry resumed mass revocation of the permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians.

Imad Hammada is one of 289 Jerusalemites whose residency was revoked in 2007. In 2008, the residency of Murad Abu-Khalaf, 33, a native of Ras al-Amud, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering, was revoked. His family lived in the Baka neighborhood in West Jerusalem, from which it was expelled in 1948. The eight pages of his resume include a series of scientific publications, areas of expertise, fields of research, lectures, awards and prestigious places of work. In 2007, he completed his post-doctorate (with a stipend from the research division of the U.S. Army ). He also visited his family periodically. He knew that upon his return it was likely that he would not be hired for work in Israeli firms, and that he would teach at university. “I wanted to get some experience in the professional world outside the university,” he said two days ago in a phone conversation from his Boston home.

An engineer in Boston

Since 2007, he has been working as a software engineer in an American firm in Massachusetts, The MathWorks, whose clients are the aircraft industry and security firms, including Israeli ones such as Rafael. The U.S. requires those employed in its security industry to receive a green card. This is not permanent residency for family reasons, or that of an asylum seeker – but for purposes of work only, emphasized Abu-Khalaf in the conversation. “Had I known that a green card would lead to the revocation of my right as a resident of Jerusalem, I would have returned after the post-doctorate. But what could I have done then, without practical experience? Sold falafel?”

Deliberations on Abu-Khalaf’s petition will take place in his absence before Solberg next Thursday. Since January 2009, Abu-Khalaf has been seeking legal redress, also with the help of attorney Tsemel. His frequent but short visits (because of job commitments ) in 2009 did not satisfy the authorities. The validity of his travel document expired in January 2010. Since then, he hasn’t seen his parents and his brother. His entire family lives in Jerusalem. His father is a family doctor, his brother is a doctor who works at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He lives in Boston and he misses his friends and the streets of his childhood.

Attorney Achva Berman, an assistant to the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office, explained her opposition to permitting his return to Israel: “The policy of the Interior Ministry is a consequence of the sovereignty of the state and its exclusive authority to decide who can remain in its territory. For that purpose stringent criteria were determined, based on weighty humanitarian considerations… The acquisition of the status of a permanent resident in another place in the world… is what leads to the expiration of residency… In recent years (the petitioner ) has even been working in the U.S. By doing so the petitioner severed his connection with Israel.”

Abu-Khalaf is one of 4,577 Jerusalemites whose residency was revoked in 2008, according to the data provided by the Interior Ministry to the Center for the Defense of the Individual. That is the highest number of residency revocations since the policy began in 1995. The previous record was in 2006 – 1,363 people whose residency status expired. In 1995, the number was 91. In 1996, the number 739. In 1997, there were 1,067 cases. In 1991, the number was 20.

It’s believed that the vast majority of cases are people like them – Jerusalemites who went abroad for reasons of higher education and work experience, with the aim of returning after acquiring that experience and funding – intending to ameliorate the quality of their society. Expelling them from their country and from their hometown is the other side of the statistics of poverty and misery that typify Palestinian Jerusalem, which is under Israeli control.

Dr. Murad Abu-Khalaf Dr. Murad Abu-Khalaf during one of his visits back to his native Jerusalem.


As the question of Palestinian Statehood comes to the floor again, the choices of a One or Two State solution arises …… again.

For sixty two years Palestine has been occupied by Israel. Each year more Palestinian lands are stolen, either by the Israeli government or by settlers. The Municipality of Jerusalem is slowly finding ways to rid all of the Holy City of its Palestinian population.
To those that support a One State Solution I ask; how would it be possible for Palestine to exist at all under such a solution? Do you really think that the Israelis will ever be prepared to allow Palestine to be an equal partner in a bi national state? Do you really think that the animosities that exist on both sides of the wall will disappear automatically creating a peaceful environment?

In reality, there HAS BEEN one state since 1948, a zionist controlled one where the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have lived as second class citizens. Recent developments do not even allow families to be united in cities such as Jerusalem itself.

There is just NO WAY that a One State Solution is possible. Israel might argue that a Two State Solution would pose an unacceptable security threat to them. They have been arguing that same point as things stand today, hence the creation of the wall of apartheid. Israel’s vision of a One State Solution is not different than their ‘final solution’, a Jewish state for Jews only.

Critics have been adding ‘fuel to the fire’ regarding this question; John Mearsheimer recently stated in an address at the Palestine Centre in Washington…

Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

He also stated that….

“Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a Greater Israel,which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.”

The full text of his speech (also on video) can be found in THIS post.

The one-state solution means accepting treatment like this, Hokayem says. Emile Hokayem is the Political Editor of Abu Dhabi’s The National. His views can be seen HERE.

One important question that is constantly overlooked is  why should Palestine be treated differently than any other nation? Why can’t they have their own state within their own SECURE borders? My answer to that is that Palestine MUST be allowed to have its own state and not share one with those that have sworn to destroy them.

Can Palestine wait another 62 years to see what a new flag would look like? Can they wat to hear what a new (bi)National Anthem would sound like?? NO WAY! A Two State Solution is the ONLY viable one.

Also see THIS brilliant post dealing with the continuing Nakba…. more reasons why One State is a NON Solution.


“Profiling makes the biggest difference. A man with the name of Umar flying out of Tel Aviv, whether he is American or British, is going to get checked seven times.”

Israeli Arab brothers win payout for El Al ‘abuse’ in New York

Jonathan Cook

Abdel Aziz Shalabi, left, and Abdel Wahab were the only Arabs in a party of 17 insurance agents on a business trip. Jonathan Cook / The National

IKSAL // Two Israeli Arab brothers have won US$8,000 (Dh29,000) in damages from Israel’s national carrier, El Al, after a court found that their treatment by the company’s security staff at a New York airport had been “abusive and unnecessary”.

Abdel Wahab and Abdel Aziz Shalabi were assigned a female security guard who watched over them at the airport’s departure gate for nearly two hours, in full view of hundreds of fellow passengers, after they had passed the security and baggage checks.

Later, El Al’s head of security threatened to bar Abdel Wahab, 43, from the flight if he did not apologise to the guard for going to the toilet without first getting her approval. Abdel Aziz said he had been humiliated and “cried like I’ve never cried before in public”.

Although surveys of Arab citizens, who comprise one-fifth of Israel’s population, show that most have suffered degrading treatment when flying with Israeli carriers, few bring cases to the Israeli courts.

The brothers are now planning to sue El Al and its New York staff in the United States, over Israel’s racial profiling of passengers in a country where such a practice is illegal.

“I’d rather go to New York by donkey than fly with El Al again,” said Abdel Aziz, 44. “We will keep fighting this case until Israel is embarrassed into stopping its policy of discriminating against its Arab citizens.”

The brothers, who live in northern Israel, were the only Arabs in a party of 17 Israeli insurance agents on a two-week business trip to Canada and New York in 2007.

They arrived four hours early at John F Kennedy airport in New York for their return flight with Israir, an Israeli charter company, to allow time for the additional checks they expected from El Al’s security staff.

El Al has special agreements with most countries’ airports to carry out its own security checks for passengers flying with Israeli airlines.

The brothers said they were questioned, searched and had to wait two hours while their bags and carry-on luggage were subjected to lengthy inspections.

“The Jews with us went through in minutes,” said Abdel Aziz, in his home in the village of Iksal, near Nazareth. “The difference in treatment was very clear.”

After they had passed the checks, an El Al security guard, Keren Weinberg, was assigned to them until they boarded the plane. They were told to make sure she could see them at all times.

When Abdel Wahab visited a toilet without her permission, a noisy argument broke out between the two, with Ms Weinberg accusing him of “roaming freely”. He said he told her to “either arrest me or go away”.

Ilan Or, the head of El Al security, was then called and issued him an ultimatum that he apologise or be prevented from catching the flight. Abdul Wahab told a magistrate’s court in Haifa on April 7 that he broke down in tears and finally said he was sorry.

“I was in shock. One minute I was made to feel like a terrorist and then the next like a naughty child,” he said.

Judge Amir Toubi said the security staff had admitted that neither brother was deemed a security threat and that Israeli law did not allow checks to continue after passengers had passed the security area.

“With all due understanding of security needs, there is no justification for ignoring the dignity, freedom and basic rights of a citizen under the mantle of the sacred cow of security,” the judge ruled.

El Al said in court documents that it had been “asked by the state to conduct security checks abroad on behalf of [charter companies] Arkia and Israir airlines, and is acting under the security guidelines set by official bodies of the state.”

Abdul Wahab praised the court’s decision but said the damages were minor and would not act as a deterrent against El Al repeating such behaviour in future. He said the brothers would appeal to a higher court in Israel and were planning to initiate a legal action in New York, too.

“I will not rest until we get an apology from El Al and they acknowledge that what they did is wrong,” he said. He called on all Arab citizens to boycott El Al until it committed to stop its discriminatory policy.

A 2007 report published jointly by the Arab Association for Human Rights and the Centre Against Racism on racial profiling by Israeli carriers concluded: “This phenomenon is so widespread that it is hard to find any Arab citizen who travels abroad by air and who has not experienced a discriminatory security check at least once.”

The two groups found that Arab and Muslim passengers typically faced long interrogations and extensive luggage searches, and were also regularly subjected to body and strip searches, had items including computers confiscated, were kept in holding areas and were escorted directly on to the plane.

The report noted that foreign countries that allowed Israel to carry out its own security checks at their airports failed to supervise them and preferred to “ignore their discriminatory nature and the human rights violations committed on their own soil”.

New York’s JFK airport was one of the airports that refused to answer questions from the groups about incidents of discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Muslims.

Israel has also come under harsh criticism for the standard racial profiling policies it uses against its own Arab citizens and foreign Arab nationals at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

The practice of putting different colour-coded stickers on Jewish and Arab passengers’ luggage ended three years ago. However, airport guards still write a number on uniform white stickers indicating the level of security threat. Critics say higher numbers are reserved for non-Jews.

Faced with a lawsuit from Israeli human rights groups, Menachem Mazuz, the attorney general at the time, instructed the airports authority in early 2008 to implement “visible equality” by ending discriminatory screening policies.

However, observers have noticed no change in practice. “This was a very cynical exercise. ‘Visible equality’ simply means making it look like there’s equality when the inequality persists,” said Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Association for Human Rights, based in Nazareth.

In December an airport official told the right-wing Jerusalem Post newspaper: “Profiling makes the biggest difference. A man with the name of Umar flying out of Tel Aviv, whether he is American or British, is going to get checked seven times.”



When Muslim graves are in the way of a ‘Jewish’ project in Jerusalem, the families of the bereaved are ignored and plans go ahead with the building…

When Jewish graves are in the way of a ‘Jewish’ project, plans are changed not to disturb the dead.

Even after death, Palestinians remain Second Class Citizens in Israel…..

‘Barzilai graves block fortified delivery room in Sheba’

In letter to defense minister, Sheba Medical Center director warns hospital cannot fortify parking lot, to be used as delivery room in emergency, because funds diverted to Ashkelon ER relocation due to graves found at site

Sheba Medical Center Director Zeev Rotstein warned on Tuesday that plans to construct a fortified delivery room at the hospital may be called off, due to the decision to allot NIS 135 million ($36.5 million) to the relocation of the Barzilai Medical Center emergency room in Ashkelon after ancient graves were found at the site.

Deputy Health Minister MK Yakov Litzman’s decision to build a fortified emergency room at the Ashkelon hospital without moving the graves has lead to a delay in the Finance Ministry’s budgeting of fortification plans in hospitals across the country.
Read the rest of the report HERE.


The Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery was launched in February 2010:

In the name of tolerance, and human dignity, the Israeli regime is intent on razing the oldest cemetery in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The goal is clear: erase anything to do with the past and the identity of Jerusalem that does not conform with the Zionist vision.

For decades, this regime has been implementing policies that aim to ethnically cleanse the city of Jerusalem, as well as, other parts of historical Palestine. The regime attempts to conceal these policies and measures in various ways.

Its the turn of the 12th century Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem. The facacde cannot be more ironic: the regime intends to build the Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance on the ruins of the cemetery.

Of course, this is only part of the racist policies of the Israeli regime, where it is only non-Jewish sites that get destroyed, regardless of their historical, religious or cultural values. Even the friends of the Israeli regime think so: The Government [of Israel] implements regulations only for Jewish sites. Non-Jewish Holy Sites do not enjoy legal protection US State Departments International Religious Freedom Report, 2009

The Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery was launched in February 2010:

It seems that the Israeli regime, its followers and its supporters still do not understand…


Israel claims over and over again that it is “the only Democracy in the Middle East”.
Let’s have a look at what Democracy means according to Wikipedia:

Democracy is a political government carried out either directly by the people (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (Representative democracy). The term is derived from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”, which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (krátos) “power”, in the middle of the fifth-fourth century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of ‘democracy’, there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes: equality and freedom.  These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power.  and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.

NOW, let’s see why Israel is NOT a Democracy:

Jerusalem police arrest Sheikh Jarrah activist
By Nir Hasson

Jerusalem police arrested Michael Solsberry, one of the key activists in the ongoing protests in Sheikh Jarrah, at his home in Pisgat Ze’ev on Friday evening.

For more than a year and a half, activists have organized protests against the takeover of Palestinian homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood by groups of settlers.

On Friday, demonstrators were for the first time able to reach the disputed homes. Until then, protests were limited to a nearby public park because of the refusal of police to allow demonstrators to approach the homes.

A handful of demonstrators protested earlier Friday outside the controversial Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah. The Jerusalem municipality gave final approval this week to a settler group for the construction of 20 apartments next to the hotel, a decision that added to recent tensions between Israel and the United States.

The demonstrators moved on from the hotel to the disputed homes in the same neighborhood, apparently without the police noticing them.

The arrest of Solsberry on Friday evening appears connected to the demonstrations earlier in the day. Solsberry was arrested at the home of his parents where he lives.

Lawyer Leah Tsemel, who accompanies the demonstrators, went to the police station and was told that Solsberry had been detained for disorderly behavior.

Around 100 activists have been arrested during protests in Sheikh Jarrah. Most were released by judges who criticized the police conduct.


Adding insult to injury…….

Family ordered to fund own eviction

Jerusalem –  The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights said Thursday that Israeli police handed the Hanoun family from Sheikh Jarrah a notification they must pay 13,000 shekels in fees to foreign workers who expelled the family from their home last year.

In the statement, the center added that two other families, identified as another from the Hanoun clan and one headed by Abdul Fattah Al-Ghawi, were also expelled the same way. They, too, fear that Israel may demand that they compensate the foreign workers.

Ibn Ezra reports….

The settlement in east Jerusalem continues

Another settlement in Sheikh Jarrah was granted a building permit. The settler organizations want to turn another site in the neighborhood, the Shepard Hotel, into a settlement.

The Israeli government is leading a violent and dangerous process of judaizing East Jerusalem whose only purpose is to prevent a future peace agreement.


Another ‘Believe It Or Not’…..

A fence in the wall….. Israel’s latest attempt at ethnic cleansing and harassment. Apartheid is bad enough….. now we have Apartheid ‘Plus!

‘Believe it or not’!!

Court: Fence with gate to separate J’lem neighborhood

Residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Saad will have to go through a special gate in the separation fence in order to reach Jabel Mukaber and the rest of Jerusalem, the High Court of Justice ruled on Monday.

The judges rejected a petition filed by residents of the village and partially accepted the defense establishment’s stance, meaning the current situation will remain unchanged and the temporary fence in the area will become permanent.

The Sheikh Saad neighborhood borders Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries from the east, and is located near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, which is included in the city’s jurisdiction. According to the State’s data, some 1,500 residents live in Sheikh Saad – half of them hold Israeli IDs and the other half are Palestinians.

Read the rest HERE


Director Scandar Copti of the Oscar nominated film ‘Ajami.’

Young Israeli Arab leader: Like Ajami director, I don’t represent Israel

Abir Kopty, 34, a graduate of the City University of London, is a member of the Nazareth City Council and works for the Palestinian Government Media Center.

Abir Kopty, do all Israeli Arabs stand by what Scandar Copti said?

I very much hoped he would say that.

To spoil the celebrations a little, because it’s impossible to continue sweeping things away. This person expressed the feelings of a million or so citizens who say this all the time, but no one wants to listen. Everyone rejoiced that there was a film nominated for an Oscar, but no one thought that the person behind the film also has views and finally, he expressed them. He said the truth: The state does not represent us.

Where does it not represent you?

In the occupation policy, in the settlement policy, in the policy of racism and discrimination. Eighty-percent unemployment among women; the many employers who do not hire Arabs. The development budget – hardly 4 percent of it reaches the Arab local authorities. Upper Nazareth is almost swallowing up Nazareth because it is expanding so much, and Nazareth has no lands to expand onto. Nazareth does not have an industrial zone. Education – I don’t study my past, my identity – I study the history of the Jewish people. I also see the teachers’ fear of teaching our history, the fear that the Education Ministry will dismiss them.

In Israel, they say that 80 percent of Arab women do not work because of tradition.

I’ve already lost the patience to put up with those racist statements. Does anyone even know Arab society that he can say such things? The Jews have no idea what processes are underway in Arab society, especially when it comes to the status of women. We welcome revolutions in our society; there have been many achievements, many taboos shattered. Today the number of women studying in academia is greater than the number of men studying, so studying is something they are allowed to do but working isn’t? It’s another attempt at silencing: Poverty is cultural and unemployment is cultural. How can that be? I refuse to let them leave us 60 years behind. First let them get to know Arab society, let them learn the data on our society.

Can you understand the Jews who feel so threatened?

Yes, I can understand the feeling of a minority amid an Arab Middle East, I can understand that the Iranian president’s statements are frightening, I can understand the trauma of the Holocaust that people still experience to this day. I can understand these things, certainly.

My problem is not with the sense of fear and being threatened; my problem is with how the political system uses these feelings and manipulates them to shut the eyes of the people and block their ears – to silence all opposition to policy. Because the Jewish people are not the only people who have suffered, there are many other nations that are suffering, and you have to see this. My problem is that specifically a nation that suffered so much cannot see beyond itself and its own home.

There are some who say you have the best conditions compared with the Arab countries where there is no democracy.

Why is it even necessary to compare me with other Arab countries? I pay taxes to the state, I respect the law and I fulfill all my obligations.

Do you feel torn between your Israeli affiliation and your Palestinian affiliation?

I wouldn’t call it affiliation. I take my citizenship very seriously and I want to contribute to the state, but I want this state to contribute to me and let me feel that it is also loyal to me, not just to the Jews in this state. I take my citizenship with all due seriousness and I fight for it – I don’t give it up because I have nowhere to go. Listen, I can’t forget October 2000 – I saw the dead bodies with my own eyes. It was blood that was shed wantonly.

You know that Jews say the same thing about suicide bombings .

I don’t carry out suicide bombings . The Palestinian citizens of Israel do not do suicide bombings . I also write against suicide bombings . I fight for the morality of my society; I want my society to be clean from such things.

Do the Israeli Palestinians want to be part of Israeli society?

That is a decision we made long ago – it’s obvious that people want to be part of it, but not at the price of conceding our identity. We want to be equal and different. If integrating means forgetting who we are and what we are and not leaving space for our special affairs, then it’s not integration. Integration for me means removing all the psychological separation fences that divide not only Jews and Palestinians, but also Jews and Jews.

How do you learn about the establishment of the state as a tragedy that befell your people and at the same time integrate into that state?

That’s the concession I made; I accepted the State of Israel. I just want it to finally recognize the injustice that was done to my people. It’s a very powerful thing that we are saying – we are accepting this state that was established on the ruins of our people, but we do not accept that it ignores its responsibility for this injustice. The moment they acknowledge the injustice, it will be possible to discuss how to amend it.

But how do you live with this injustice? Isn’t there anger? Isn’t there a desire to avenge it?

There’s a difference between someone who sits and cries and says they did such and such to me and someone who says, yes, this was done to me, but I want to do something with that. I want to be a partner in shaping policy, to feel that I belong, to be someone with resources in this country. I want to change the state for the benefit of us all – my struggle is feminist and socioeconomic, I’m not stuck on the Palestinian issue. I’m not whining and sitting on the side.

If you were the prime minister’s adviser on Israeli Palestinian affairs, what would you tell him?

To listen to us. They don’t listen to us. They don’t see us. They don’t see our distress and they don’t see our desire to integrate. I would suggest that they don’t look at us as an enemy or a demographic problem. They should listen to us, talk to us.

What expectations does the Palestinian Authority have from the visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden?

People are skeptical about the Israeli government’s true intentions, but they will not miss any opportunity to achieve peace.

Do the Palestinians want peace with Israel?

The Palestinians are a people who want their own state that will live with Israel in peace – if Israel will want to live in peace, if it will not want to control [the new state’s] borders or send its army into it.

Also see THIS post…


Seventeen years ago digging was started just across from my home in Northern Jerusalem to lay a foundation for an overpass bridge that was being built. A few weeks into the project, some ancient graves were uncovered. Archeologists were called in and it was determined that these graves were of Jewish origin dating back to the First Temple Period.

Within minutes of these ‘findings’ hundreds of ultra orthodox Jews began assembling at the site. Shortly afterwards there was an angry mob determined to make sure the graves would not be desecrated. The archeologists were keen on moving them to a museum to be put on display. The ‘mob’ would not allow that to happen.

Obviously, none of the dead had any close living relatives in the area, but they were Jewish remains which according to Jewish Law must be treated with the utmost of respect…. based on the following….. According to Orthodox Judaism, a non-Jew (goy) is inferior to a Jew in every conceivable aspect. This inferiority is absolute, inherent, intrinsic, and not subject to any related or unrelated factors.

Rabbi Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, taught that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

The teachings of Kook are based on the Lurianic Cabala (Jewish mysticism), which teaches the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul  and body. This means, according to one Rabbi who is member of the Chabad  Lubovitcher sect, that “every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity and is part of God.” (taken from)

The ‘mob’ remained at the site 24/7 for weeks not allowing any work to proceed on the bridge, until the city of Jerusalem finally agreed to give in to their demands and make new plans which would move the bridge a few metres away from the graves in question, leaving them in tact.

In another part of Jerusalem, work is under way today to build a ‘Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity’…. on the site of a Muslim cemetery. Relatives of the deceased have gone as far as petitioning the United Nations to find an alternate site. A number of human remains have already been crushed and destroyed during construction, but the city Fathers have turned a deaf ear to the protests of the living relatives, unwilling to even discuss the matter with them.

The museum is meant to be a tool to educate the locals in Tolerance and Human Dignity. It has, so far, only demonstrated the arrogance of zionism and its contempt for humanity. Only Jews have a say about anything in the so called Jewish State…. even if they are dead.

You can help save the Mamilla Cemetery by signing the petition linked below…..

mamillaPetitioners request that the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention, consider this issue in the context of resuming the High Contracting Parties’ Conference to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Please sign this important Petition and pass it on to others to prevent Israel from continuing its ethnic cleansing not only of the living but also of the dead in a drive cloaked with a ‘tolerance’ approach. The zionists have not run out of ideas to lie, to cheat and to steal…and in broad daylight.


The Status of Non-Jews Under the Halacha
By  Khalid Amayreh

Journalist — Occupied Palestine

Rabbi Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, taught that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.” (Reuters Photo)

Remarks by the Israeli Minister of Interior Yaakov Neeman suggesting that the Jewish religious law (Halacha) should be adopted as the “law of the land” in the Jewish state has drawn strong reactions from both Jews and non-Jews.

“Step by step, we will bestow upon the citizens of Israel the laws of the Torah and we will turn Halacha into the binding law of the nation,” Neeman told Rabbis at a Jewish law convention in occupied Jerusalem in December 2009.

“We must bring back the heritage of our fathers to the nation of Israel,” he said. “The torah has the complete solution to all of the questions we are dealing with.”

Neeman’s statements were met applauds from participants who included high-ranking Rabbis, as well as representatives of religious parties.

However, for non-Jews, who now constitute nearly 50 percent of the total population in occupied Palestine, Neeman’s remarks are a serious cause for concern since Halacha, at least according to the Orthodox Jewish interpretation, does not recognize the full humanity of non-Jews.

Hence, non-Jews living under Halacha must accept to live under a perpetual state of inferiority, if not persecution.

Lesser in Every Aspect

According to Orthodox Judaism, a non-Jew (goy) is inferior to a Jew in every conceivable aspect. This inferiority is absolute, inherent, intrinsic, and not subject to any related or unrelated factors.

Rabbi Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, taught that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

The teachings of Kook are based on the Lurianic Cabala (Jewish mysticism), which teaches the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul  and body. This means, according to one Rabbi who is member of the Chabadi  Lubovitcher sect, that “every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity and is part of God.”

In 2003, Rabbi Saadya Grama of the Beth Medrash Govoha, the renowned Talmudic school of Lakewood, NJ, published a book in which he claimed that Gentiles were completely evil and that Jews constituted a separate, genetically superior species.

The book published under the Hebrew Title “Romemut Yisrael Ufarsahat Hagalut” quoted numerous classical Jewish sources to prove Jewish superiority over the rest of humankind.

The difference between Jews and gentiles, he argued, is not religious, historical, cultural, or political. It is rather racial, genetic, and scientifically unalterable. The one groups is at its very root and by natural constitution “totally evil” while the other is “totally good”

“Jewish successes in the world are completely contingent upon the failure of all other peoples. Only when the gentiles face total catastrophe, Jews do experience good fortune.”

“The Jews themselves brought about their own destruction during the Holocaust, since they arrogantly endeavored to overcome their very essence, dictated by divine law.”

While castigated by many Jewish figures, religious and secular, for its brazen racism, Grama’s thesis is not really in conflict with the Rabbis of Gush Emunim (the settler camp) and the rest of the National religious movement in Israel today.

He readily applies Torah passages against idolaters, other pagans to Christianity and Islam, and other monotheists who worship the God of Abraham, the very God proclaimed by the Torah.

He also ignores extensive Rabbinic deliberations during the medieval period, which concluded that both Islam and Christianity as “licit, monotheistic faiths.”

Hence, Muslims and Christians could not be lumped in one category with the idol-worshipers of earlier times.

Sub-human Slaves

If gentiles (goyem) are inherently inferior to Jews, and if their very humanity is presumed to be denied, it is axiomatically inferred from this that these gentiles have inherently lesser rights than Jews do.

Indeed, some Talmudic references do refer to gentiles as “animals walking on two feet instead of four”.

Even today, some Rabbis, such as David Batsri, invoke the “bestiality” of non-Jews, claiming that the Creator created them with two legs instead of four in deference to Jews, because it is not appropriate that Jews be served with four-legged animals.

It is true that this view is not shared by all Rabbis, especially the enlightened ones. However, it is also true that some prominent sages holding both Halachic and historical weight are among the main advocates of this pure racism.

For example, according to the code of Maimonides (Rambam): “A Jew who killed a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment, and has not violated the prohibition of murder.”

This code is implicitly practiced by Jewish settler judges when dealing with Jews convicted of killing Palestinians, which explains the extremely light punishments meted out to the perpetrators, especially in comparison to Arabs convicted of the same felony.

It also explains why Israelis in general and religious  settlers in particularly dwell so much upon “shedding Jewish blood” while never showing the slightest concern about Arabs killed by Jews.

Following the 1994 massacre of dozens of Arab worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque at the hands of an American-born Jewish terrorists, Moshe Levinger, a settler leader in the City of Al-Khalil (Hebron) was quoted as saying : “I am not only sorry for dead Arabs, but also for dead flies.”

The application of Jewish law in occupied Palestine (Israel plus  the West Bank and Al-Quds) would mean that Palestinians who do not convert to Judaism (at the hands of an Orthodox Rabbi) would have to be treated as “residents alien”.

According to Maimonides, a gentile permitted to reside in the land of Israel, “must accept to pay taxes and to suffer the humiliation of servitude.”

Such gentiles, some modern Rabbis insist, “must be held down and not raise their heads against Jews. Non-Jews must not be appointed  to any office or position of power over Jews. If they refuse to live a life of inferiority, then this will signify rebellion and the unavoidable necessity of Jewish warfare against their very presence in the land of Israel.”


This inferiority accorded to non-Jews, which is summarized by the phrase “water carriers and wood-hewers”, is actually an award for the submissiveness of the pacified and subjugated gentiles.

As to “restive” gentiles in the land of Israel, like those demanding equal human and civil rights as citizens, their punishment is usually  expulsion or outright extermination.

According to Shulhan Aruch, widely viewed as the most authoritative legalistic source of Jewish religious law, the murder of a Jew is a capital offence and one of the three most heinous sins (the other two being idolatry and adultery).

Jewish religious courts are commanded to mercilessly punish anyone guilty of killing a Jew. However, a Jew who murders a gentile, even deliberately, is guilty of committing a sin against the “laws of heaven” and ought to be published by God rather than man.

However, a gentile murderer living under Jewish jurisdiction must be executed, regardless of whether the victim is Jewish or gentile.

However, if the victim is gentile and the murderer is a Jew who had converted to Judaism, he is not to be punished.

Maimonides also rules that while Jews are forbidden to save the lives of non-Jews in peacetime, they are also forbidden to murder them outright.

“As for gentiles with whom we are not at war, their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written. Neither shall thou stand against the blood of thy fellow, but a gentile is not your fellow.”

Bluntly, anti-gentile codes are also proscribed against non-Jews living under Jewish (religious) rule. This covers the entire penal code. For example, there is an obvious discrimination against non-Jewish citizens in applying punishment for rape and adultery.

According to Israel Shahak’s classical book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Halacha presumes that all gentiles are promiscuous and presumed not to have paternity.”

For an example, a sexual intercourse between a gentile and a married Jewish woman is a capital offense for both parties, which is punishable by death for both.

However, a sexual intercourse between a Jewish male and a gentile woman — it does not matter if she is married or not since the concept of marriage doesn’t apply to gentiles — is not viewed as gravely as the Talmud equates such intercourse with an intercourse with animals.

A Biblical verse states: “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” [King James Bible, the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 23:20]. That verse is presumably applied to non-Jews”

In this case, death is proscribed for the gentile woman, while the Jew, even if it is a case of rape, is given a much lighter punishment, like flogging.


Palestinians fight Jewish-only housing in Jaffa
Jonathan Cook

While Jewish settlers seek to takeover entire areas of Jaffa, the Israeli state commonly demolishes Palestinian homes. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Over the past few days graffiti scrawled on walls around the mixed Jewish and Arab town of Jaffa in central Israel exclaims: “Settlers, keep out” and “Jaffa is not Hebron.”

Although Jaffa is only a stone’s throw from the bustling coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, Arab residents say their neighborhood has become the unlikely battleground for an attempted takeover by extremist Jews more familiar from West Bank settlements.

Small numbers of nationalist religious Jews, distinctive for wearing knitted skullcaps, have begun moving into Jaffa’s deprived main Arab district, Ajami, over recent months.

Tensions have been simmering since a special seminary was established last year in the heart of Ajami for young Jewish men who combine study of the Bible with serving in the Israeli army. Many such seminaries, known as “hesder yeshivas,” are located in the occupied territories and have earned a reputation for turning out extremists.

Last week Ajami’s residents were dealt a further blow when an Israeli court approved the sale of one of the district’s few remaining building plots to B’Emuna (Hebrew for “with faith”), a construction company that specializes in building subsidized homes for religious families, many of them in West Bank settlements.

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel, the country’s largest human rights law center, which petitioned the courts on the Arab residents’ behalf, called the company’s policy “racist.”

B’Emuna, which is expected to complete 20 apartments in the next few months, is applying for approval for a further 180, as well as a second seminary and a synagogue.

“We have no problem living peacefully with Jewish neighbors,” said Omar Siksik, an Arab councillor representing Jaffa in Tel Aviv’s municipality. “But these Jews are coming here as settlers.

“Like in Hebron, their policy is to weaken us as a population and eventually push us out of our homes,” he said, referring to a West Bank city where an enclave of a few dozen settlers has severely disrupted life for tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Jaffa’s fortunes have changed dramatically since early last century when it was the commercial hub of Palestine, famously exporting its orange crop around the world. During Israel’s founding in 1948, most of the town’s Palestinians were expelled or forced to flee, with the few remaining inhabitants confined to Ajami.

Today, Jaffa’s 18,000 Arab inhabitants are outnumbered two to one by Jews, after waves of immigrants were settled in empty homes during the 1950s.

Arab residents have long complained of being neglected by a municipality controlled from Tel Aviv. Ajami’s crumbling homes, ramshackle infrastructure and crime-ridden streets were on show in this year’s much-feted eponymous movie, nominated for an Oscar as best foreign-language film.

But the latest arrivals in Ajami are causing considerable anxiety, even from officials in Tel Aviv. Gilad Peleg, head of the Jaffa Development Authority, said he was “deeply concerned” at the trend of extremist organizations arriving “to shake up the local community.”

Nasmi Jabali, 56, lives in a modest single-story home close to the olive grove where the new apartments will be built. “We’ve seen on TV how these settlers behave in the occupied territories, and don’t want them living next to us,” she said. “They’ll come here with the same attitudes.”

But despite widespread opposition, the Tel Aviv District Court last week rejected a petition from 27 residents who argued that the Israel Lands Authority had discriminated against them by awarding the land to B’Emuna, even though its policy is to build apartments only for Jews.

Yehuda Zefet, the judge, accused the residents of “bad faith” in arguing for equality when they wanted the interests of the local Arab community to take precedence over the interests of Jews.

Siksik said the judge had failed to take into account the historical injustice perpetrated on Ajami’s population. “For six decades the authorities have not built one new house for the Arab population, and in fact they have demolished many Arab homes, while building social housing for Jews.”

Fadi Shabita, a member of the local Popular Committee for the Defense of Jaffa’s Lands, said the plots in Ajami being sold by the government originally belonged to Palestinian families, some of whom were still in the district but had been forced to rent their properties from the state.

“The land was forcibly nationalized many years ago and the local owners were dispossessed,” he said. “Now the same land is being privatized, but Ajami’s residents are being ignored in the development plans.

“For the settlers, the lesson of the disengagement [from Gaza in 2005] was that they need to begin a dialogue with Jews inside Israel to persuade them that a settlement in the West Bank is no less legitimate than one in Jaffa.”

B’Emuna told Israel National News, a settler website, that it was developing Jewish-only homes in several of the half dozen “mixed cities” in Israel to stem the flow of Jewish residents leaving because of poverty and falling property values caused by the presence of an Arab population.

B’Emuna has said it is looking to buy more land in Jaffa.

A short distance from the olive grove that is about to be developed is the Jewish seminary established last year. An Israeli flag is draped from the front of the building and stars of David adorn the gate at its entrance.

The manager, Ariel Elimelech, who was overseeing two dozen young men on Sunday as they pored over the Torah, said he commuted daily to Ajami from his home in Eli, an illegal settlement deep in the West Bank south of the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Elimelech said he favored coexistence in Jaffa but added that the seminary’s goal was to strengthen Jewish identity in the area. “We don’t call this place Ajami; it’s known as Givat Aliyah,” he said, using a Hebrew name that refers to the immigration of Jews to Israel.

He said the students performed a vital service by visiting schools to help in the education of Jewish children before performing 18 months of military service.

Kemal Agbaria, who chairs the Ajami neighborhood council, said residents would launch an appeal to the high court and were planning large-scale demonstrations to draw attention to their plight.



No matter how you look at this, the picture comes out looking the same. It’s called DEPORTATION. In the words of Israel’s late fuhrer kahana, the word used was ‘transfer’, now it’s called ‘land swap’. Take a look at the new ‘scheme’….

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Saturday spoke out on the peace process, saying that a deal between Israel and the Palestinians could include a swap comprising both land and populations, according to an interview published in the London-based Arabic daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Ayalon suggested that Israel would trade the concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages in the north known as “the triangle” in exchange for Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank. He added, however, that the swap would not include cities such as Nazareth.

Ayalon said such an exchange would maintain territorial integrity and demographics in both Israel and a Palestinian state.

“Israel’s Arabs who are moved to Palestine will also help the Palestinian state economically.”

The above is taken from THIS HaAretz report.

Palestinian lawmakers in Israel were quick to respond to the fascist overtones of the Deputy Foreign Minister……

Arab and leftist politicians are slamming Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon for promoting a land swap that would see Arab Israelis come under Palestinian control.

MK Ahmad Tibi dismissed Ayalon’s remarks, saying that the deputy FM and his boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, “have a basic flaw in understanding the fundamental values of democracy and civil rights.”

“We are not chess pawns. We did not arrive in the country on planes and we did not immigrate here,” Tibi said. “We do not wish to expel anyone…but if someone wishes to expel us, I’ll say this: Whoever got here last will be leaving first. That way, there will be fewer fascists in Israel.”

Hadash’s Chairman, MK Mohammad Barakeh, also slammed Ayalon’s remarks, suggesting that both him and Lieberman move to France and replace ultranationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“The French Le Pen is in ill health, and therefore he cannot keep on leading the fascists there,” he said. “Perhaps it would be better for them to move there in order to continue his way.”

Barakeh added that Israel’s Arabs are residing on their land legally.

“We did not immigrate from anywhere. This land is ours,” he said. “To my regret, most of this land had been robbed over the course of dozens of years. We are no settlers and there is no room for comparison between us and the thieving settlers in the West Bank, including in Jerusalem.”

“Ayalon’s words are yet another chapter in Liebermanism’s new book of racism,” he concluded.

That from THIS YNet report


Palestinian Families Appeal to UN Over Israeli Construction of “Museum of Tolerance” on Jerusalem’s Historic Mamilla Cemetery


Palestinian families have filed a petition with the United Nations over the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s plans to build a “Museum of Tolerance” over the historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Opponents of the project have long questioned how a monument to tolerance can be built on the remains of the graves of generations of Palestinian Muslims. We speak to Columbia University professor and author Rashid Khalidi, a petitioner whose ancestors were buried at the Mamilla Cemetery; and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the families in their petition.

Click HERE to view a video at the Source

A controversy over the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s project to build a Museum of Tolerance on a historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem has gone all the way to the United Nations.

Today, families defending the 12th century Ma’man Allah or Mamilla cemetery from desecration by Israeli authorities filed their case before the United Nations in Geneva, with press conferences in Geneva, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. The petitioners include descendants from 15 of the oldest families in Jerusalem whose ancestors have been buried at the Mamilla cemetery for centuries.

Opponents of the project have long questioned how a monument to tolerance can be built on the remains of the graves of generations of Palestinian Muslims. But the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of its construction in November 2008.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights is representing the families in their petition to the United Nations to safeguard their international human rights and urge Israel to halt construction of the museum.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, who’s the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, declined our invitation to come on the program but sent us a statement saying: “The Museum of Tolerance project is not being built on the Mamilla Cemetery. It is being built on Jerusalem’s former municipal car park, where every day for nearly half a century, thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews parked their cars without any protest whatsoever from the Muslim community.”

In response to criticisms that construction on the cemetery grounds has resulted in the disinterment of graves and human remains, Rabbi Heir added: “The Israeli Antiquities Authority has confirmed that there are no bones or remains on the site, which is currently undergoing infrastructure work. Remains found on the site, which have now been reinterred in a nearby Muslim cemetery were between 300-400 years old. No remains from the 12th century era were found.”

Well, I’m joined now by one of the petitioners whose ancestors were buried at the Mamilla cemetery. Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University’s Department of History and the author of several books including “Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East,” and “Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood.” And Michael Ratner the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights also joins us here in New York.

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University’s Department of History and the author of several books including “Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East,” and “Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood.”

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights also joins us here in New York.


Beit Yehonatan in Silwan.
(Limor Mizrahi)

Israel doing what it does best….. legalising crime! One set of rules for Palestinians, another set for Jews.

The settlement outpost has been home to eight Jewish families since 2004, when it was built without a licence by an extremist settler organisation known as Ateret Cohanim.

The height of Israeli intransigence

JERUSALEM // Jerusalem’s mayor threatened last week to demolish 200 homes in Palestinian neighbourhoods of the city in an act even he conceded would probably bring long-simmering tensions over housing in East Jerusalem to a boil.His uncompromising stance is the latest stage in a protracted legal battle over a single building towering above the jumble of modest homes of Silwan, a deprived and overcrowded Palestinian community lying just outside the Old City walls, in the shadow of the silver-topped al Aqsa mosque.

Beit Yehonatan, or Jonathan’s House, is distinctive not only for its height – at seven storeys, it is at least three floors taller than its neighbours – but also for the Israeli flag draped from the roof to the fourth floor.The settlement outpost has been home to eight Jewish families since 2004, when it was built without a licence by an extremist settler organisation known as Ateret Cohanim.

Beit Yehonatan is one of dozens of settler-occupied homes springing up in Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem, most of them takeovers of Palestinian homes.

Critics say the intent of these “outposts”, together with the large settlements of East Jerusalem built by the state and home to nearly 200,000 Jews, is to foil any peace agreement that might one day offer the Palestinians a meaningful state with Jerusalem as its capital.

But exceptionally for the settlers, who are used to a mix of overt and covert assistance from officials, the inhabitants of Beit Yehonatan are at risk of being evicted from their home, two years after an “urgent” enforcement order was issued by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Last week Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, finally agreed “under protest” to seal Beit Yehonatan amid mounting pressure from an array of legal officials. Mr Barkat had been fighting strenuously against implementing the court order, aided by senior members of the parliament, the police, and even Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who opposed his own attorney general’s advice by declaring Beit Yehonatan’s future “a purely municipal matter”.

But the mayor has not simply capitulated. He warned that Beit Yehonatan would be evacuated only on condition that more than 200 demolition orders on Palestinian homes, most of them in Silwan, were carried out at the same time. He argued that he must avoid any impression that the law was being enforced in a “discriminatory” manner against Jews.

Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said Mr Barkat’s idea of fairness was “ridiculous”.

“In the past 15 years there have been more than a thousand Palestinian homes demolished in East Jerusalem versus absolutely no settler homes,” he said. “In fact, no settlers have ever lost their home in East Jerusalem.”

In making his announcement, Mr Barkat admitted that the 200 demolitions would trigger “a strong possibility for conflict”. Palestinians in East Jerusalem are already seething over decades of planning restrictions that have forced many of them to build or extend homes illegally because it is all but impossible to get permits from the Israeli authorities.

Mr Halper said the municipality had classified 22,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem as illegal, even as it also assessed a shortage of 25,000 homes for the city’s 250,000-strong Palestinian population.

The homes targeted for demolition include Palestinian houses around Beit Yehonatan that violate planning restrictions that allow families to build only two floors; despite the restriction, many houses have four storeys and owners pay fines.
In addition, the city council wants to demolish 88 homes in a small area called Bustan that the municipality claims is in danger of flooding.

Zeinab Jaber lives next to Beit Yehonatan in the home she was born in 61 years ago. The building was declared illegal 20 years ago, after it was extended to four storeys to accommodate her growing family. Today she and her six grown-up sons pay monthly fines of more than $1,000 (Dh 3,672) in the hope of warding off destruction.
Her son Amjad, 32, married with two young sons, said he did not dare miss a payment. “It’s simple: if you don’t pay, you’ll end up in prison.”

“What is there for the settlers here?” Mrs Jaber asked. “They are only here because they want to take this place from us. They won’t be happy till we leave.”

On the opposite slope across the valley from Beit Yehonatan, Mohammed Jalajil, 48, said he did not doubt that the municipality would demolish the 200 homes. He, his wife and five children have been crammed into a room in a relative’s apartment since their own house was demolished seven years ago.
Mr Jalajil, 48, said: “It was only months after they took our house from us that I saw the settlers building theirs nearby. My lawyer tells me that, even though my house is gone, I won’t have paid off my fines for another 10 years.”

If Mr Barkat follows through with his threat, the demolitions will prompt a rebuke from the international community. Last month, France and the United States joined the UN in denouncing more than 100 demolitions in East Jerusalem over the past three months.
The mayor’s decision, warned Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem city councillor, was comparable to the “price tag” policy of the settlers in the West Bank, who have attacked Palestinian villages in retaliation against official attempts to dismantle a few of the settlement outposts dotting Palestinian territory.

Yesterday the municipality was due to issue seven-day evacuation notices to the inhabitants of Beit Yehonatan, but the operation was cancelled at the last minute when police refused to co-operate.
“But the difference here is that the price tag is being levied not by the settlers themselves but by the municipality and the government on their behalf,” he said.

Frictions have been growing in Silwan for several years over the activities of another settler organisation, Elad, which, with official backing, has been building an archaeological park known as the City of David in the midst of the Palestinian neighbourhood. As Palestinians have been pushed out, at least 80 Jewish families have moved into homes nearby.
As Elad entrenches itself in Silwan, Beit Yehonatan has proved more difficult to secure. “Usually the settlers present a façade of legality to what they do,” Mr Halper said. “The problem here is that they built in an overtly illegal manner, without a permit and way over the building height restrictions.”

Mr Barkat’s resistance to evicting Beit Yehonatan’s inhabitants was highlighted last month when he tried to stave off legal pressure by proposing a new planning policy to legalise unlicensed buildings in Silwan. The mayor proposed that the rules limiting homes to two storeys would be revised to four.
The reform would have applied to Beit Yehonatan first, sealing its top three storeys but allowing the Jewish families to inhabit the rest of the building.

Although Mr Barkat promised that illegal Palestinian buildings would also be saved, Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights groups, dismissed the mayor’s claim.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinian homes would fail to qualify because land registry documents are missing for the area and a range of requirements on car parking, access roads and sewerage connections are “impossible” to meet, Orly Noy, a spokeswoman, wrote in the Haaretz newspaper last month.
She added that Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem lacked 70km of sewage pipes and that not a single new road had been paved in their neighbourhoods since Israel’s occupation in 1967.

A planning map of East Jerusalem drawn up recently by the Jerusalem municipality came to light last month, as Mr Barkat was promising to legalise buildings, showing that more than 300 homes – most of them in Silwan – were facing imminent demolition.

Click on SOURCE to see more photos


This kid was lucky there were no IDF attack dogs on the bus….

Ariel College student says taken off bus for speaking Arabic

Israel-Arab claims she was humiliated by two security guards who ordered her off bus after hearing her speak Arabic on cell phone. College: First such incident in 15 years

An Arab-Israel student at the Ariel College in the West Bank claimed she was told to get off a bus because she “dared” to speak Arabic on her cell phone.

Hanin Muslah said that during Thursday’s incident she was also subjected to a full body search.

Muslah, who is originally from the Wadi Ara area and is studying for a degree in engineering at the establishment’s architecture and interior design department, said two armed security guards boarded the bus near a checkpoint as it was leaving Ariel. She claimed that the guards questioned her after hearing her speak Arabic and eventually ordered her to get off the bus.

“As I was talking on my cell I noticed they were pointing at me,” said Muslah, who takes the same bus home every day. “I started to cry. I have never been so humiliated in my entire life. They took me off the bus in the middle of nowhere. I told them, ‘I’m an Israeli, just like you are, so why are you treating me like this? Why take me off the bus in such a degrading manner?”

Read the rest HERE



Ten plagues inflicted on East Jerusalem
By Meir Margalit

The disturbances in East Jerusalem are unlikely to surprise anyone following the situation in the city, and anyone who is attentive to the voices emanating from it. Claims that a small group of inciters seeking political profit is behind the disturbances prove that people supporting such claims know next to nothing about the true situation on the ground. If they were acquainted with events unfolding in the city’s backyard, they would know that the eruption was predictable – and only its time was unknown.

Much has changed in East Jerusalem over the past decade – to the point of becoming intolerable. When Teddy Kollek was Jerusalem’s mayor, its Arab citizens were disadvantaged, but their honour was scrupulously defended. They felt that at least they received civilized treatment. Recently though, several moves have made their lives unbearable and- the most difficult to bear- they feel their honour is being trodden underfoot. Ten plagues are being inflicted on East Jerusalem’s Arab citizens, and they cannot be ranked by gravity.

The first plague: the option of lawfully building a home has become almost impossible. Here, the difficulties have been accumulating for years: proving ownership, the absence of infrastructures, low building percentages, the reduction of areas permitted for construction – all of these have worsened due to the migration of scores of families across the separation fence into the `right side`, risking the loss of their blue (Israeli) identity cards.

The second plague: the separation fence – has not only created a wave of internal migration, but has cut the migrants off from their families, relatives, and loved ones. Matters have become highly complicated and a family visit which in the past entailed a short journey of minutes has become a `journey into the unknown`, in which no one can guess how long it will take to reach the destination, or to return from it. Everything depends on the mood of the soldier standing at the checkpoint.

The third plague: in tandem, the Interior Ministry has intensified the campaign of confiscating identity cards from people whom it maintains are living beyond the municipal borders. Many find that one day their citizenship status has been revoked without their knowledge, and they must retain a lawyer’s services to get it back.

The fourth plague – the Interior Ministry continues to prevent East Jerusalem residents from uniting with their families or spouses and are forced to live in the town without permits, almost in an underground, out of fear of being arrested by the police.

The fifth plague: the settlers are completely unrestrained in their attempts to take over every spot of land in the city`s eastern half. Their irritation has intensified with the rumours and headlines about a political process that is taking shape. Very recently, without any qualms, they have removed entire families from their homes, imposing fear everywhere they go.

The sixth plague: the destruction of homes which threatens thousands of families. This is not because the municipality is capable of demolishing such a huge number of homes, but because none of the thousands of families who received demolition orders knows who the blow will land on, and when their turn to lose their home will arrive. In this situation, every family lives on borrowed time and the stress is a form of torture.

The seventh plague: the economic crisis has caused calamity in the eastern city, with close to 70% of all families there living below the “poverty line”. In the absence of any prospects for improving the situation, they have very little to lose.

The eighth plague: the humiliating attitude of the Border Police, which has become unrestrained and ever more violent, gross and hot-headed. Its soldiers disdain everything that appears Arab, and injure the deepest sensibilities of Arab citizens.

The ninth plague: the archaeological excavations that the state is carrying out close to the Temple Mount, both in the Givati car-park and in El Wad Street, are generating immense concern among those who believe they are intended to cause the collapse of mosques. It is a belief nurtured by their `intimate` knowledge of the settlers who are conducting the excavations and the nationalist-Messianic agenda that motivates them. It may not be true, but in East Jerusalem even a feeling or a rumour can ignite a conflagration.

The tenth plague: the low level of municipal services, ranging from garbage collection, to the education system which determines their inferior status. Every time Arab citizens cross to the western part of the city and see how great the divide is between their own standard of living and that of their Jewish neighbours, it is seared into their awareness.

Apparently most Israelis prefer not to know what is happening in East Jerusalem, but the city’s leaders would do well if they rethink their policies before the huge explosion – of which we’ve seen just a short “trailer” in the past few days.

Dr. Meir Margalit, Member of the Jerusalem City Council for the Meretz faction.

second class citizens


eid mubarek

The Holy Month of Ramadan has ended and Muslims throughout the world are now celebrating the Glorious Feast of Eid al Fitre. But the realities of the occupation in Palestine linger on as the Jews celebrate their New Year, Rosh Hashana…. meaning a total closure on the entire Occupied West Bank. During the entire month there were obstacles, some making it impossible for Muslims to pray at one of their most sacred sites…. as can be seen below.


eid cookies

Praying for Al-Aqsa access

Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, thousands of worshippers make their way there to pray in the space where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

But for many Palestinians living in the occupied territories, visiting the seventh century mosque is impossible due to Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports on how others arrive at the site after taking considerable risks to make the journey – defying Israeli restrictions and sneaking under the separation barrier.



Israeli Arabs deserve better

Israel’s Arabs are right to call for a strike. Their sense of disenfranchisement is a problem too serious to ignore

By Seth Freedman

The announcement that the Israeli Arab leadership is calling for a general strike next month demonstrates the further deterioration of relations between the authorities and the beleaguered Arab citizens of the state. The 1.3 million Arabs living within Israel’s borders have never had the most cordial of relationships with the country’s rulers, and in the wake of the hard-right coalition’s election victory the gulf has grown even wider – culminating in the symbolic protest set for 1 October.

The date chosen is no accident: it marks nine years to the day since 13 Israeli Arab demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli police during a previous general strike – a set of killings that left societal scars that remain unhealed almost a decade later. The government’s latest set of proposals – such as the plan to ban the word “nakba” from school textbooks, and to link schools’ funding to their success rate in sending students to enlist in the army – have rubbed salt into wounds that continue to fester throughout the Arab community, culminating in the decision to down tools and speak out against their treatment.

The sense of disenfranchisement felt by the Israeli Arab minority is, according to academic Bernard Avishai, a problem too serious to be swept under the carpet by Israel’s leaders. Action must be taken, he urged, “to prevent a terrible intifada”, fearing a mass explosion of tension that will dwarf anything that’s gone on “in Gaza and the West Bank”.

“Israeli Arabs live in townships on the edge of Israeli cities; their intellectual elite go to Israeli universities and assimilate, while those not in those circles join drug gangs and jihadist cults.” He said that the Israeli Arab community expects to be treated as “full citizens of this country, nothing less” and unless this happens, tensions will spill over onto the streets.

The anti-Arab bias of senior Israeli politicians and military figures is well documented, and causes far more concern to the Israeli Arab community than the equally insidious behaviour of radical settler leaders and their cohorts. Unsavoury as the likes of Baruch Marzel and his merry men may be, their actions can in part be dismissed as the rantings and ravings of extremists living on the fringes of society. However, when similarly racist and discriminatory calls to arms emanate within mainstream Israeli society – from the upper echelons of power all the way down to street level – it is little wonder the Israeli Arab leadership take the situation so seriously.

Last month, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman took aim at Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset and leader of the Arab nationalist party in Israel. “Our central problem is not the Palestinians,” declared Lieberman, “but Ahmed Tibi and his ilk: they are more dangerous than Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad combined.” Such incendiary talk is nothing new for Lieberman; in November 2006 he ratcheted up tension by comparing Israeli Arab nationalists with Hitler and his henchmen: “The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in the Knesset.”

His proclamations are, quite rightly, denounced by those who recognise the menace latent in his words. “When the foreign minister says that, ordinary Israelis understand that he is calling for me to be killed as a terrorist,” said Tibi in relation to Lieberman’s recent outburst. “It is the most dangerous incitement.” Politicians lead by example, and Lieberman knows full well the impact the statements he makes can have on the man on the Israeli street.

Israeli Arabs have good reason to believe that they will never be fully accepted by Israeli society, despite assertions to the contrary on the part of more conciliatory and diplomatic members of Israeli officialdom. The proof is not simply the unabashed racism of the likes of Lieberman and Aharonovitch, nor the paucity of state provision of basic services in Arab towns and cities compared with the funding given to their Jewish counterparts.

Rather, the malaise is far more entrenched and permanent than isolated incidents of prejudice. The very fact that Israel is and plans to forever remain a Jewish state – and wouldn’t tolerate the election of an Arab prime minister or ruling coalition, despite all the claims that the system is truly democratic – gives the lie to any suggestion that Israeli Arabs can ever have an equal footing in Israeli society, or that the country is genuinely a state for all its citizens.

Against such a backdrop, the fears of the Israeli Arab community are entirely understandable. That the community has opted for peaceful demonstration against the status quo by way of general strikes, rather than violent resistance in the vein of their peers in the West Bank and Gaza, is a fortuitous state of affairs for the rest of Israeli society. But the longer their grievances are left unheeded, the more likely the dam is to eventually burst, and Israel’s rulers would do well to heed the caution of both Avishai and the Israeli Arab leadership. Israeli Arabs deserve better from those ruling the roost in Israel, as do Israeli Jews by extension – though if past performance is any guide to the future, the division and discrimination is doomed to continue for many years to come.




UNBELIEVABLE but true. Israel’s own version of Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not’….. families forcibly removed from their homes that they lived in for generations, so illegal settlers can move in.
OH!!!!! I left out some important facts….. the evicted families are Palestinians and the settlers are Jewish. And all of the above by decision of the Supreme Court of Israel. BUT….. if you speak out against these injustices you get hauled off to jail….. while the illegal, criminal settlers get the full protection of the law.
Unbelievable? But True!
The following was prepared by Joseph Dana of Ibn Ezra….
Sheikh Jarrah – In Memoriam
Last night in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah there was a vigil, a memorial to the families’ homes from which they were evicted. First they were refugees and now they are homeless. After weeks of legal battles, sit-ins and press conferences, several hundreds gathered to acknowledge a critical defeat in the battle over the future of this land and the two peoples who want to live here in peace.

Yes, the Supreme Court ruled, yes, the Palestinians were evicted in accordance with the law and yes, the Jews who moved in there did so legally. But this is a matter of the future viability of a Palestinian state, and the true test, or more correctly, disclosure of Israel’s true intentions and integrity. Assuming the Jews who moved into these houses (and now pray on the rooftops looking down on the newly homeless families in the street), did in fact live there at some point, this only strengthens the argument that all Palestinian refugees are entitled to reclaim their lost homes all over Israel. Israel’s legal system has set this precedent. It has given legal credibility to the 7 million Palestinians who once lived somewhere in Israel and cannot return.

Israel could not be making it any clearer that its policy is to allow, encourage and facilitate Jewish settlement anywhere and everywhere it wishes, right in the middle of Palestinian communities, with the ultimate aim of clearing them out.

How can Israel, in its claim to represent the Jewish people, who have experienced the worst forms of discrimination, violence, ghettoization and homelessness, now inflict it on another people? And what exactly is it trying to achieve? Have we heard any Israeli politician actually articulate what the objective is here, other than showing off the country’s ability to kick people out and take over whatever place they want? What does Israel think it will gain from these reprehensible actions?


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