HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATE AND MORE

Prepared By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD 

Below items deal with BDS and the attack on Omar Barghouti and other human rights advocates

Image by Carlos Latuff

 
Racist Zionists are using all the guns in their arsenal from Violence
(killing activists here and attacking and beating activists abroad) to
verbal assaults (calling human rights advocates anti-semites etc).
Emboldened by a racist US government to their liking . The US government
now openly disdains human rights and considers international law irrelevant
 and will not allow discussion of the Palestine issue at the UN. "Moderate"
(read subservient) Arab leaders like coup leader Sisi are happy with Trump.
Below items deal with BDS and the attack on Omar Barghouti and other human
rights advocates

Image by Latuff



Two Jewish Activists Charged With Assaulting Arab Teacher Outside AIPAC
Conference. Police say Yosef Steynovitz and Rami Lubranicki beat up Kamal
Nayfeh after a 'verbal altercation' broke out.

Image by Latuff



A similar demonstration against the Zionist lobby in France took place/
Below is a letter from Israeli Jewish activists to the French government on
their attempts to silence free speech in obedience to the Zionist lobby.
Israel Bans Palestinian Products Inside Occupied Palestinian Territory


Efforts To Fight BDS Have Failed, Says ADL



Boycott Air Canada: Tell Them We are not On-Board with Human Rights
Violations 

Doctors with Nazi mentality torture Palestinian prisoners


On the campaign against Omar Barghouti (by Haidar Eid)


Petition: Drop the charges on Omar Barghouthi


Statement from Omar Barghouti:
Dear friends and colleagues,

Finally, I was allowed to access my email account after 12 days of being
banned from doing so during the most intense phase of the ongoing
interrogation I am subjected to by the Israeli authorities. The BNC
statement on this issue accurately sums up this latest chapter in the
Israeli regime's war on the BDS movement.

Due to a gag order, I am not allowed to delve into any facts about the
case. I am thus denied the ability to even refute the vicious lies
published by Israel's regime against me. I am in no hurry to do so, though,
as their main objective -- attempting to tarnish my reputation and, by
extension, hurting the BDS movement -- has clearly failed. Their campaign
of repression has, to an extent, backfired. By preventing me from
travelling to the US to receive the Gandhi Peace Award, jointly with Ralph
Nader, Israel's regime has inadvertently increased the publicity around
this award.

Before anything else, I read the many moving messages of solidarity that
many of you have sent, and this gave me even more strength and hope to
resist the McCarthyite witch hunt against me. I deeply appreciate your
letters and the sincere sentiments of support that they convey. I am so
grateful to everyone who wrote an article and every organization that
issued a petition in this respect.

Nothing empowers human rights defenders facing political persecution like
the warm feeling that there is a whole community of activists and people of
conscience standing with them and carrying on the struggle no matter what.

For more than a year now my colleagues in the BDS movement and I have been
warning about the "tarnishing unit" established by the Israeli Ministry of
Strategic Affairs as a key organ in fighting BDS. As I have personally
written and argued many times, this devious unit's key function is summed
up in "digging up dirt" against human rights defenders and networks
associated with the BDS movement and if no dirt is found in fabricating it.

McCarthy would be proud of his loyal heirs in Israel's regime of oppression
and repression. Many of you have asked how best you can support me to face
this latest persecution. My answer is, without hesitation ... more BDS!

We need to expand, mainstream and build on our many inspiring BDS
campaigns, academic, cultural and economic, as the most effective way to
respond to the new McCarthyism designed by Israel's regime of occupation,
settler-colonialism and apartheid and exported to states where its lobby
groups enjoy massive influence.

Further growing our movement for freedom, justice and equality is the
answer. Highlighting and popularizing the recent, unprecedented verdict by
a UN body that Israel is guilty of apartheid -- the second most serious
crime against humanity in international law -- is the answer.

Countering their racism, hate, "black lists" and ugly colonial repression
with our inclusiveness, categorical rejection of all forms of racism, and
our boundless passion for freedom and justice is the answer. Further
strengthening our principled intersectional alliances with movements for
indigenous, racial, economic, social, gender, climate and other forms of
justice is our loudest response to their xenophobic, far-right,
fascist-leaning agenda and their draconian laws.

As they desperately attempt to sow fear and despair, to chill our free
speech, to tarnish our records, and to bully us into silence, we nourish
our well-founded hope with generous doses of effective, strategic,
morally-consistent campaigns for justice and equality and insist on our
right to freely express ourselves and to defend our rights.

As humans, we need permission from no one to pursue our inherent rights. As
human rights defenders, no degree of intimidation and bullying can deter us
in our passionate, nonviolent resistance to injustice, inequality and
colonial slavery.

Alone, we fail. Together, we prevail. The latest savage, even irrational,
attacks on our movement indicate, more than anything else, that we are
indeed prevailing.

In gratitude and hope,
Omar
========
March 10th, 2017
Dear Excellencies, Mr. François Hollande, President de la Republique Mr.
Bernard Cazeneuve, Premier Ministre Mr. Michel Cadot, Préfet de Police de
Paris

We are writing to you as Jewish citizens of the State of Israel who are
opposed to the illegal and immoral practice of the Israeli governments over
the years. It has come to our attention that attempts are currently
underway in the city of Paris, to restrict and even ban altogether the
ongoing demonstrations in support of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions) campaign against Israeli human rights violations. It is
therefore of utmost importance for us to state, as clearly as possible,
that the BDS campaign is not anti-Semitic and is clearly opposed to all
forms of racism. Rather than being racist, it is founded on the strong
basis of adhering to international law and universally respected human
rights. Only recently, on March 7th, 2017, the campaign unequivocally
stated1 that :

Adhering to the UN definition of racial discrimination, the BDS movement
does not tolerate any act or discourse which adopts or promotes, among
others, anti-Black racism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism,
sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia. We strongly condemn apartheid, genocide,
slavery, colonial exploitation and ethnic cleansing, which are crimes
against humanity that are founded on racism and racial supremacy, and we
call for the right of their victims, including descendants, to full
reparation. We equally condemn and stand in solidarity with the victims of
other human rights violations including human trafficking, workers’
exploitation, and sexual exploitation. Furthermore, we are appalled by the
false accusations made by Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet, in a letter of February
15th 2017 to Mr. Cadot, le Préfet de Police, where it is claimed that the
BDS discourse amounts to hate speech.

We are clearly opposed to Israel’s grave violations of international law,
including its practice of the Crime of Apartheid as defined in the Rome
Statute and we are unapologetic about it. Our demand to end Israeli
apartheid is a clear expression of love towards all the residents of
Israel-Palestine, along with our insistence on the most basic values of
equality, freedom and justice for all. It would be outrageous if France, of
all states, would ban freedom of expression of its population who insist on
respect of the law and on these fundamental human values which are the very
foundational elements of the French constitution and the Declaration of the
Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

We therefore urge you to respect and protect the rights of those who
challenge Israel’s severe human rights violations and to protect your
French citizens who campaign on behalf of the BDS movement to be able to
freely do so, without being intimidated with legal persecution or with
physical threats as had happened in the past.
Sincerely,
Ronnie Barkan
Einav Kaplan-Raz
Maya Rotem
Lia Tarachansky
Guy Davidi
Ron Merom
 Lizi Sagie
Tamara Traubmann De-Colonizer
Ofer Neiman
 Herzl Schubert
Michel Warschawski
Shir Hever
Lorien Newman
Stavit Sinai
Sergio Yahni
Yudit Ilany
Jonathan Ofir
Eyal Sivan
Yael Kahn

TERRORISM ON THE STREETS OF WASHINGTON CAUGHT ON VIDEO

JDL member arrested for attacking Palestinian-American teacher ran anti-Muslim website    (Click on link)

Image by Carlos Latuff

Videos of Sunday’s attack show a group of JDL members beating Kamal Nayfeh, who is on the ground. A number of the group use their American and JDL flags to hit him, while others kick him.  

The Jewish Defense League, which has been labeled a “right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI, was inactive for more than a decade.

The Jewish Defense League has recently reemerged in the United States after Donald Trump’s election win.


*

WAR ON BDS INTENSIFIES

Palestinian society has condemned Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the next step in Israel’s fight against the BDS movement as a whole.

Image by Carlos Latuff

BDS co-founder: Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti next step in ‘war against BDS movement’

Palestinian society has condemned Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the next step in Israel’s fight against the BDS movement as a whole.

Israel arrested Barghouti on Sunday, raided his family home in Acre, Israel, held him for 16 hours and released him — however the BDS co-founder has been subjected to daily interrogations with Israeli authorities since then, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

Israeli tax authorities are accusing Barghouti of tax evasion on the sum of $700,000 in alleged hidden income from National Computing Resources, a business he heads in Ramallah, which sells ATM machines and other equipment in the occupied West Bank, as well as income from his book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights and money he received as speaking fees for speeches.

The BNC on Wednesday released a statement challenging the charges.

“Omar Barghouti, has for years been subjected to intense threats, intimidation and repression by various arms of the far-right Israeli government, particularly after it considered the movement a ‘strategic threat’ to its entire system of injustice against Palestinians,” the movement said in a statement.

In March 2016, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Dery threatened to revoke Barghouti residency in Israel. Barghouti, born in Qatar, gained permanent residency through marriage to his wife, a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

“I received information that his life is in Ramallah and he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner,” Israeli Daily Haaretz quoted Dery as saying.

“He was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world,” said Dery.

During the same conference, Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence, meaning to tarnish one’s reputation and character among civil society.

The Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information, Gilad Erdan, also described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, which he clarified did not mean “physical harm.”

A month later, Amnesty International released a statement, calling on Israel to “cease intimidation of human rights defenders and protect them from attacks.”

“Amnesty International is concerned for the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti and other [BDS] activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers,” the report read.

“Barghouti is a founding member and a prominent spokesperson of the BDS movement. He campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations and advocates for the use of non-violent means in doing so. He was personally attacked in comments and statements by conference participants including ministers, including by describing him as a threat who should be stopped,” the report continued.

Earlier this month, the Israeli Knesset passed a controversial law barring BDS activists from entering the country. The law banned people who call for BDS against Israel, as well as its settlements.

A fellow co-founder of the Palestinian BDS movement, Adnan Ramadan, told Mondoweiss that Barghouti’s arrest and interrogation was just another step in Israel’s strategy against the BDS movement.

“All of this tax evasion business is just an excuse to pressure the BDS movement as a whole, Ramadan said. “In general, it’s part of their war against the campaign, but it won’t work. They can arrest whoever they want, they can do more than that, but that won’t prevent people from continuing to use BDS as a tool in the struggle for Palestinian freedom.”

“This kind of targeting won’t work simply because the BDS campaign isn’t one person or two people or ten people, it’s an organized movement of hundreds of thousands of people, if not more than that, who feel strongly about their fight against the occupation and feel strongly about their motivations in resistance,” Adnan continued.

Adnan stressed that this move against Barghouti is not the first time Israel has targeted particular BDS activists for their work.

“They have been arresting people since the beginning, and it’s all to pressure the people, but the people won’t be silent,” he said. “Palestinians have been resisting for more than 60 years, Israel can kill people, they can assassinate and detain leaders, but it won’t and can’t stop the struggle. All they are doing is holding the body of someone inside a wall, but they can’t hold ideas, or souls of people who believe in the importance of their role of humanity against occupation and injustice.”

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ THE BILLBOARD THAT WENT ASTRAY

“On Feb. 6, 2017 this ‘America First’ highway billboard was erected in Ann Arbor, Michigan by the group Deir Yassin Remembered.  A week later Adams Outdoor Advertising told the group that their billboard had to come down.  It has since been removed.”

The billboard that went astray

The billboard that went astray

Read HERE the story of  DEIR YASSIN, and why zion does not want you to remember it

zion’s new mantra is ” If you can’t re wright history, simply erase it”

EXPOSING THE TRUTH IS LIFE THREATENING IN ISRAEL

So true in Israel today

So true in Israel today

The greatest threat to the extreme right in Israel is not terrorism, it is TRUTH.

After the conviction of the soldier terrorist Elor Azaria, the right launched a campaign to free him. The mouthpiece of the right, our local Psycho Gal has been the most vocal, which came as no surprise to anyone.

As stated above, the TRUTH is their greatest threat.

Not necessarily so in Israel

Not necessarily so in Israel

Here is the result of the anti-Truth campaign ….. FROM

Harassment and attacks against activist who filmed Hebron shooting continue

Israeli settlers attempted to break into the Hebron home of activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya and threw stones at the house Saturday evening, as he has continued to be the target of death threats and harassment after he filmed an Israeli soldier shoot a Palestinian to death last year.

In a rare move move, the soldier was convicted of manslaughter earlier this week, in large part due to the damning footage captured by Abu Shamsiyya, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers who are not held accountable for similar cases of apparent “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.

On Wednesday, the day of conviction, Abu Shamsiyya said he “feared for his life.”

Since his footage went viral the day of the shooting back in March 2015, Abu Shamsiyya has been the target of violent settler incursions on his home and has received hundreds of death threats online.

Leading up to the announcement of the verdict, Abu Shamsiyya said that members of Elor Azarya’s family — the soldier who was ultimately convicted for the shooting — broke into his home and “asked me to go to court and change my testimony.” He said he had video footage proving the incursion took place.

Israel settlers returned to his home Saturday evening, he told Ma’an, and attempted to break into his home.

Abu Shamsiya told Ma’an that settlers gathered around his house, and when they failed to break in, they hurled stones, causing minor damages.

He highlighted that large numbers of Israeli forces were present when the settlers attacked the house and soldiers intervened and drove away the attackers.

Abu Shamsiyya added that in March he had asked the Israeli army to provide him protection from settlers, as death threats began pouring in on Facebook while others attempted to bribe him to change his witness testimony.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports of Saturday nights attack.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last month condemned the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A “worrying number of complaints” have been filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which have highlighted in particular the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists “as a direct result of their important work in their communities.”

“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the report said.

Amnesty International released a statement Wednesday saying that the conviction of Elor Azarya “must pave the way for justice for unlawful killings.”

“Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Sadly, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Time and again we have witnessed cases where Israeli forces appear to have carried out unlawful killings, displaying an appalling disregard for human life. The authorities’ repeated failure to hold anyone accountable for flagrant violations has fostered a culture in which unlawful killings have become acceptable,” said Philip Luther.

Amnesty international said that they sent a memorandum to Israeli authorities in Sep. 2016, citing at least 20 cases of apparently unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces, of which at least 15 of those killed were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life.

The video that helped get the conviction ….

*

And the man behind the camera ….

 Imad Abu Shamsiyya

Imad Abu Shamsiyya

“NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU!”

Here is what happened  in video and why even this short encounter reveals at least six violations of International law.

NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

January 7th is Christmas for my family (Eastern Christian traditions). After we had our large gathering of a few hundred members of the Qumsiyeh clan, and paying visits to my sisters and the older people in my family, I tried unsuccessfully to visit Jerusalem (both with my US passport and with my Palestinian ID). The idea was to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and have dinner in Jerusalem.

I used to be a high school teacher in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only 4 miles away and is a suburb of Jerusalem. The economies were/are inter-dependent and for five thousand years were inseparable. That is until Israel decided to separate us after they signed the Oslo agreements in 1994 (one of many reasons why these sell-out agreements entrenched apartheid and colonization). I am not allowed to enter Jerusalem on my American passport because I am a Palestinian who does not get a visitor visa on my US passport (I hold green card resident ID in my own country). Most Palestinians are not allowed to their own city of Jerusalem except with special permits. On occasions (like Muslim and Christian holidays, Palestinians above a certain age (males over 55) are allowed. In this case they claimed that Shabak (Israel Internal Security) said that even if I was above 55 I am not allowed and that if I try to come through again I would be jailed (lack of due process not withstanding). While I was questioned, the bus from Bethlehem had left and we were forced to then walk back in the cold weather.

The Israeli policies of separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem and denying us entry are violations of International law and many are considered war crimes. Here are the violations that these soldiers and the Israeli government are guilty of based on International law:

1) Israel’s changes to borders of the municipality of Jerusalem to include parts of Bethlehem (illegal for occupiers, several UN resolutions),

2) Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem (both West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem are not Israeli per the UN resolutions that Israel itself agreed to implement when they became members of the UN),

3) Israel’s establishment of 23 Jewish only settlements/colonies in Bethlehem is a war crime and the fact that such Jewish settlers cross over without requiring tasrih (permit) is racist,

4) Israel cannot prevent freedom of movement between one occupied town (Bethlehem) and another occupied town (Jerusalem),

5) Building walls and fences inside the 1967 occupied areas is also illegal (International Criminal Court Ruling 2004),

6) That the “shabak” can give direction to prevent people like me from crossing simply because we advocate non-violent resistance (I wrote a book on the subject) is contrary to both local law (supposed freedom of speech, due process) and International law (e.g. violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

These colonization tactics are nothing short of state terrorism. This indignity was a disappointment in Christmas but we have the peace of Christmas in our hearts and the silver lining is that this provides another motivation for us to redouble our efforts to end the ongoing crimes against humanity. Others suffer and even get injured, jailed or tortured so we are still grateful. May 2017 bring us closer to ending this nightmare of apartheid, close to return of Palestinian refugees, closer to justice, and closer to peace.

Stay Human!

original

#InIsrael ~~ DON’T YOU DARE QUESTION APARTHEID

Israel jails Palestinian journalists and threatens to revoke permits of international journalists, including Australia’s Antony Loewenstein, pictured in 2014, over unfavorable coverage. (Claudio Accheri)

antony-loewenstein

Israel threatens to expel reporter who asked apartheid question

Israel is threatening to expel an Australian journalist in Jerusalem, accusing him of being a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The threat against Antony Loewenstein comes after the freelance journalist asked a question about Israeli apartheid at a press conference given by former government minister Yair Lapid, and after a campaign against him by the anti-Palestinian group HonestReporting.

“We are leaning toward recommending that his work permit not be renewed due to suspected BDS activity,” Nitzan Chen, director of the Government Press Office, told The Jerusalem Post. “We are checking the incident because unfortunately, the journalist did not give enough information to our staff. We will learn to check better so there won’t be such incidents in the future.”

Speaking to The Electronic Intifada, Loewenstein, who has won recognition for his reporting from South Sudan and Afghanistan, dismissed any suggestion he had misrepresented himself.

“I am an accredited freelance journalist which is how I presented my work to the Israeli government in March, which they accepted,” Loewenstein said. “I’m not here associated with any organization. I’m here as a freelancer, officially, so there’s been no misrepresentation by me, ever.”

Loewenstein has written about the region for more than a decade, including the bestselling book My Israel Question.

Growing crackdown

The effective threat to expel Loewenstein comes a week after the Committee to Protect Journalists revealed that this year Israel remained among the world’s worst jailers of reporters – all of those in its cells are Palestinians.

And earlier this month, Israel detained and expelled Isabel Phiri, associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches, claiming she too supports BDS.

Last week, Israel’s Shin Bet secret police barred entry to two leaders of a British Muslim humanitarian aid group, citing “security reasons.” The two officials from Muslim Hands were invited to the country by the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz describes as “a nonprofit group that promotes coexistence, cooperation and equality between Jews and Muslims.”

In August, Israel’s public security and interior ministries set up a joint task force to deny entry to or expel foreign activists allegedly affiliated with organizations that support BDS.

This is part of a broader crackdown, whose primary targets are Palestinians.

On Friday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that it has been receiving a “worryingly high number of complaints” about Israel violating basic rights of Palestinian human rights activists.

It said that human rights defenders living under Israeli occupation “face daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

The UN said peaceful protest and opposition to the occupation is effectively outlawed.

Anatomy of a smear

Loewenstein became a target after he asked a challenging question at a press conference last week to Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party that was formerly part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.

“You talked before about the idea that since Oslo, Israel has done little or nothing wrong, but the truth is that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the occupation,” Loewenstein began, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Pointing to the large number of Israeli settlers now in the occupied West Bank, Loewenstein continued: “Is there not a deluded idea here that many Israeli politicians, including yourself, continue to believe that one can talk to the world about democracy, freedom and human rights while denying that to millions of Palestinians, and will there not come a time soon, in a year, five years, 10 years, where you and other politicians will be treated like South African politicians during apartheid?”

In response, Lapid attacked The Guardian, claiming that it and other publications are encouraging Palestinians to be intransigent.

From there, HonestReporting, a pro-Israel group whose managing editor once worked in the Israeli army spokesperson’s unit, launched a campaign against Loewenstein.

It called him “an anti-Israel activist” and implied he had obtained his official Israeli press card and membership in the Foreign Press Association under false pretenses.

“Loewenstein is clearly incapable of reporting on Israel in a fair and objective manner,” HonestReporting asserted.

“Did Loewenstein gain his official press card by claiming to be a Guardian writer?” the group asked, effectively making an allegation without any basis.

HonestReporting took its campaign to The Guardian directly, complaining to the newspaper that “hiring Loewenstein was the equivalent of hiring a corporate lobbyist to be the newspaper’s business correspondent.”

This apparently elicited the desired response: The Guardian threw Loewenstein under the bus – presumably without speaking to him first.

According to The Jerusalem Post, The Guardian’s head of international news, Jamie Wilson, said that Loewenstein was contracted to write comment pieces for Guardian Australia and remains an occasional comment contributor but he “is not a news correspondent for The Guardian in Israel.”

And The Guardian’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Peter Beaumont, emailed HonestReporting that he had never heard of Loewenstein.

The Guardian’s distancing itself from Loewenstein is a welcome development,” HonestReporting’s managing editor Simon Plosker said, adding that the Foreign Press Association should revoke Loewenstein’s membership and the Israeli Government Press Office should cancel his accreditation.

Loewenstein told The Electronic Intifada that he identifies himself accurately as a freelancer and author of several books, who contributes to many publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times and Newsweek Middle East.

Loewenstein noted that in the tight-knit world of foreign correspondents in Israel, it would be impossible to get away with misrepresentation: “It’s a pretty small place.”

But the smear did its job and now Loewenstein is a target for government expulsion for asking a challenging question of an Israeli leader.

In February, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Israel’s intimidation of the international media, including threats to revoke the credentials of reporters who published headlines it didn’t like.

“It is virtually impossible to work as a reporter in Israel and the occupied territories without a press card,” the group’s executive director Robert Mahoney said. “The threat of withdrawing accreditation is a heavy handed approach at stifling unwelcome coverage.”

#RacismInIsrael~~ FIRST THEY SILENCED THE MOSQUES, THEN THEY SILENCED THE BUSES

The Israeli Ministry of Transportation ordered that an Israeli bus company stop broadcasting announcements in Arabic in the city of Beersheba.

'They never announced my stop so I fell asleep :( )

They never announced my stop so I fell asleep 😦 

The Israeli Ministry of Transportation ordered that an Israeli bus company stop broadcasting announcements in Arabic in the city of Beersheba, a spokesperson for Dan Bus Company told Ma’an on Thursday.

The spokesperson said to Ma’an that the company had been asked by the Israeli Ministry of Transportation to cease broadcasting announcements in Arabic on Tuesday, only four days after opening its new bus line in Beersheba.

They said that “many, many people complained to the municipality,” which in turn took the matter to the Ministry of Transportation.

The Dan spokesman stated that the company was “not comfortable” with the request to stop the Arabic announcements, adding that “40 percent of our drivers are Muslim,” but that it would comply with directives from the Ministry.

They went on to add that this was the first time that the company was broadcasting these announcements in both Arabic and Hebrew, but that signs remained written in both languages.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Ma’an on the legality of the decision given Arabic’s status as one of Israel’s official languages.

The director of the Coalition Against Racism in Israel, Nidal Othman, said that the ban was symbolic of Israeli authorities submitting to racism which it should stop at every level, adding that the bus company’s response was unacceptable and showed an agreement on racism between governmental and public institutions.

Othman went on to call the decision a “very dangerous escalation” which could prove to become a slippery slope from racist political statements to racist actions.

“A minority of society refuses coexistence (between Israeli Jews and Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), but they have loud voices, while the majority is silent,” Othman said.

He added that the continued presence of the Arabic language in Israel was the product of efforts conducted by human right organizations, and must be protected from the “racist minority” in Beersheba which seeks to make Arabic disappear from the public sphere.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship constitute 20 percent of the population of Israel, and have long been targeted by discriminatory Israeli policies, whether through fewer resources allocated to Palestinian-majority communities in Israel, “divide and conquer” tactics, attempts at forcibly displacing Bedouin communities, and what have been denounced as policies of “Judaization” at the expense of other religious communities.

The bus announcement ban also comes right as the Israeli Knesset is discussing a bill which would ban the use of loudspeakers to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) from mosques in Israel.

Despite the bill not yet being voted into law, a mosque in the town of al-Ludd was fined in late November for broadcasting the adhan, sparking uproar.

 

 

FROM

HOW THE ‘SUPER MOON’ AFFECTED THE SUPER LUNATICS IN ISRAEL

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent.

Image by Carlos Latuff

cxrxwurxcaakvzp

 Israel’s #1 Lunatic

Image by Amos Biderman

Image by Amos Biderman

A Pogrom Shakes a Palestinian Village Strangled by Israeli Settlements

A dozen masked settlers wielding knives and clubs and yelling ‘death to Arabs’ attacked five Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives; ‘They came to kill,’ one victim says.

Gideon Levy and Alex Levac

It was a pogrom.

The survivors are five congenial Palestinian farmers who speak broken Hebrew and work in construction in Israel, with valid entry permits. On weekends they cultivate what is left of their lands, most of which were plundered for the benefit of the settlements that choke their village, Janiya, outside Ramallah. They are convinced that they survived last Saturday’s attack only by a miracle.

“Pogrom” really is the only word that describes what they endured. “We will kill you!” the assailants shouted, as they beat the men over the head and on their bodies with clubs and iron pipes, and brandished serrated knives. The only “crime” of the Palestinians, who were in the midst of harvesting their olives when the settlers swooped down on them, was that they were Palestinians who had the temerity to work their land.

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent. No Israeli official condemned the assault, no one got upset. One victim needed 20 stitches in his head, another suffered a broken arm and shoulder, a third is limping, a fourth lost his front teeth. Only one managed to get away from the attackers, but he was also hobbled, when he injured his leg on the rocky terrain as he fled.

The farmers, who days later were still in shock from the experience, were evacuated by fellow villagers; the olives remain scattered on the ground. Now they are afraid to go back to the groves. This weekend, they promised themselves, they will send young people from Janiya to collect what was harvested and to complete the work. They themselves, their bodies and spirits battered, say they are incapable of doing anything.

The assailants, about a dozen masked settlers, are seen in a video taken by a local resident, Ahmed al-Mazlim, as they – apparently flushed with the excitement of their act – made their way back to their huts, which are scattered below the settlement of Neria, also known as North Talmon, between Modi’in and Ramallah. This was their “oneg Shabbat,” their Sabbath joy: descending into the valley and beating up people who were working their land, as innocent as they were helpless – possibly even with intent to kill. A peaceful weekend.

The settlers are seen climbing slowly back up to the huts of their unauthorized outpost, which is planted on the hillside below Neria. They are not in any hurry – after all, no one is going to catch them. Finally they sit down on the porch of one of the huts to quench their thirst with a canteen.

I’ve never before seen criminals leaving the scene of the crime with such indifference. Maybe they were exhausted from their labors – thrashing Arabs – tired but happy. Yotam Berger, the Haaretz reporter who was the first to publish the video, visited the huts the day after the pogrom. It was clear to him that settlers lived there, even though the structures were empty when he arrived. No arrests have been made so far, and past experience suggests that none will be made. The police are investigating.

Janiya, a small village of 1,400 souls in the central West Bank, made a living from its lands until most of them were grabbed by the nearby settlements, beginning in the late 1980s. Few regions are as dense with settlers as this one; few villages have had as much of their land plundered as Janiya. Of the original 50,000-60,000 dunams (12,500-15,000 acres) owned by its residents, only 7,000 remain in their hands. The village is being suffocated.

From a vantage point at its edge, we can view the valley in which the assault was perpetrated, and the nearby settlements. Our guide is Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Beneath us, the homes of Talmon A abut Janiya’s remaining lands, quite close to the villagers’ houses. Just stretch out your hand and touch them; one more expansion project and they’re inside Janiya.

To the right – southeast – is the settlement of Dolev, on behalf of whose residents Israel blocked the main road to Ramallah for years. Perched on the hill opposite is Talmon B; next to it is Talmon C; and there, on the horizon, lies Talmon D. An Israel Defense Forces base stands on the top of the hill, at a distance.

Every hilltop here poses another threat to the quiet village. Neria overlooks the olive grove belonging to the Abu Fuheida family and the terraced slopes leading down to it. The dwellings of the “hilltop youths” are scattered across the whole expanse, beneath the Talmons, dozens of meters apart from each other.

It’s quiet in the valley. Some of Janiya’s olive groves now lie on property owned by the settlements; when they are harvested, it’s done in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces. For example, olives were picked in Palestinian-tended parts of Talmon A last week. But the attack by the settlers was perpetrated in a location where coordination isn’t required, because it’s not on the property of any settlement.

This is the end of the harvesting season, and this is a wadi called Natashath. It’s Saturday morning, a beautiful day, and five members of the Abu Fuheida family – Sa’il, Hassan, Sabar, Sa’ad and Mohammed – descend to their family grove, where they have about 70 olive trees. It’s about 8:30; there are no other farmers around. They carry bags (“No knives,” one of them quickly makes clear) that are spread out on the ground to catch the fallen olives, along with a bottle of Coca-Cola, tomatoes, pita and cold cuts. This is not a good year for olives – the harvest has been meager.

They work until midday, sit down to eat and go back to the ladders. Their plan is to complete the harvest by evening. But then the assailants sweep down out of nowhere; the harvesters, up on ladders, heads amid the branches, don’t see them. Only Sa’il, at 57 the eldest of the group and the only one not on a ladder, is able to get away, only to be injured in the course of his panicky flight.

According to Sa’il and to his wounded brother Hassan, there were 10, perhaps 15 attackers. They looked young and robust. One of the four who assaulted Hassan wore glasses; Hassan saw only his eyes. He was the one who gave him the worst pummeling, adds Hassan. All were holding pipes, clubs, sticks or knives. There was also one who seemed to be a lookout: He stood atop the hill next to Neria, armed with a rifle, apparently observing the goings-on. “Kill the Arabs! Kill the Arabs!” the attackers shouted. “We will kill you, you sluts.”

Sa’il: “They were aggressive, violent, I’ve never seen an attack like it. They came to kill.”

The villagers scampered down from the ladders, straight into the hands of the attackers, who grabbed Sabar first, then Hassan, surrounding them – a few settlers for every Palestinian – and walloping them. Sabar was the first to lose consciousness, Hassan says he also passed out. The pogromists tried to hit them on the head, but Hassan protected his with his hands. His right hand is now bandaged, stitched up and in a sling, four of his teeth were knocked out and his lip was cut, too. He is barely functioning and his speech is slurred.

The attack went on for between five and 10 minutes. One of the cousins, Mohammed, managed to flee at one stage, after being slightly wounded, and he summoned help from the village. When the assailants left, the wounded were taken in ambulances and private cars to the Ramallah Government Hospital. Hassan relates that he regained consciousness in his brother’s house, where he had been taken by villagers before being evacuated to the hospital. He gets dizzy when he stands up. He was certain he was going to die, says Hassan, a construction worker in Rishon Letzion (“with a proper permit”).

Only Hassan and Sa’il were in the village when we visited this week (the other three victims had gone to Binyamin Region headquarters, to give testimony to the police.) Their home was packed with visitors offering words of comfort to the victims. The assailants are insane, their cousin Sahar tells us: “They hate the Arabs, they hate the smell of Arabs, they see an Arab and want to trample him underfoot. They want to kill us. They don’t want Arabs here. And they do whatever they feel like.”

We sat in the shade of the bougainvillea in the yard of the family house. I asked Hassan what he thought about what happened. A faint smile crossed his wounded lips, as he replied, “I don’t know what to think. This happens every year.”

Source and photos AT

SILENCING OF THE LAMBS IN JERUSALEM

The latest attempt to erase Palestine from the map was to silence the call for morning prayers in Jerusalem ….

This is what some Israelis found offensive …. simply meaning that God is great.

Islamic Call to Prayer at Dawn

Israeli authorities ban Muslim call for dawn prayer from 3 mosques in Jerusalem town

Israeli authorities reportedly banned the Muslim call to dawn prayer from being projected over loudspeakers in three different mosques in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis on Friday, according to local sources.

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Lawyer Bassam Bahr, head of a local committee in Abu Dis, told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the town just before the dawn prayer on Friday.

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According to Bahr, Israeli forces raided the al-Rahman, al-Taybeh and al-Jamia mosques in the town, and informed the muezzins, the men responsible for the call to prayer that the call for dawn prayer through the loudspeakers was banned.
Bahr added that the forces did not provide any reason for the ban, and also prevented locals living in the eastern part of the town from reaching the Salah al-Din mosque for dawn prayers.
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Bahr condemned the “unjustified ban,” saying that “Israel attacks Palestinians in all aspects of their lives,” in the form of limiting free movement through the use of checkpoints, and through the disruption of daily life in the form of nightly detention raids.
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The events in Abu Dis came a day after a number of Israeli settlers from illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev protested in front of the house of Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat over the ‘noise pollution’ caused by the Muslim call to prayer.
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A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality told Ma’an that Barkat, “in collaboration with the Jerusalem District police chief and local Muslim leadership, has developed a plan to protect the religious freedom of Muslim muezzin to announce the call to prayer, while ensuring reasonable quiet in Jerusalem’s residential areas.”
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The spokesperson went on to add that the municipality guidelines would include “increased instructions for muezzin operators regarding technical guidelines for optimal playback and sound amplification, increased mapping of city mosques, and continuous dialogue with local Muslim leadership.”
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Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority (PA)-appointed governor of Jerusalem, told Ma’an at the time that the call to prayer — also known as the adhan, which is broadcast five times a day from mosques — was one of the main Muslim religious rituals and an integral part of Jerusalem’s identity. He said that Israeli demands to lower the sound of the adhan was a threat which had been issued several times before in Jerusalem.
Al-Husseini said that the sound of the adhan doesn’t rise above an agreed-upon decibel level, adding that Israeli settlers were not annoyed by the noise, but by the call to prayer as a reminder of Palestinian presence in Jerusalem.
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Meanwhile, Hatem Abd Al-Qader, a Fatah official in Charge of Jerusalem affairs, told Ma’an that Israel aimed to provoke Muslims by attempting to ban the call to prayer.
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Abd al-Qader said that the Israeli settlers’ protest against the adhan came amid constant violations and raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem’s Old City, and demolition of Muslim graves in Jerusalem, which he said were part of a broader Israeli plan to destroy the Palestinian Muslim and Christian identities of Jerusalem and replace them with a Jewish one, turning the Israeli-Palestinian political conflict into a religious one.
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Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem — within the municipal boundaries and also beyond the wall in the occupied West Bank — and the larger Jerusalem district, have long been targeted by Israeli authorities in what has been denounced as a policy of “Judaization” of the holy city at the expense of other religious communities.
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This “Judaization” has been characterized by the continuous expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements and a large-scale policy of demolition of Palestinian homes.
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The Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound has also been the stage of numerous tensions over the years, with Israeli forces imposing tight restrictions on Palestinian worshipers at the site.
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Many Palestinians fear that right-wing Israelis are attempting to reclaim the holy site, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
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SOURCE

PRINCIPLES COST MILLIONS

That is if those principles are in support of the BDS Movement …

Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported.

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Rocker Roger Waters Loses $4M Over Anti-Israel Activism

Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported.

The credit giant took off the table a $4-million sponsorship of Waters’ 2017 tour in North America following his partisan and anti-Israel rhetoric this month at a festival that American Express sponsored, according to the tabloid’s reportThursday.

“Roger is putting on a huge show. The company was asked to sponsor his tour for $4 million, but pulled out because it did not want to be part of his anti-Israel rhetoric,” an unnamed source from American Express is quoted as saying.

But an official spokesperson for the firm said it never formally offered to sponsor Waters’ 2017 tour. “When we were approached with the options, we passed on making a bid,” the spokesperson said.

At the “Oldchella” festival, Waters used his time on stage to blast the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and to call for a boycott against Israel, according to the Post.

“F - - k Trump and his wall,” Waters said at that event, calling Trump “arrogant, lying, racist, sexist.” He then voiced his solidarity with students protesting for Palestinians. He also urged people to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Waters did not reply to requests for a reaction by the Post.

Earlier this year, Waters said during an interview that celebrities are afraid to “speak out against Israel’s policies,” as he termed it, because of what he described as financial consequences attached to doing so.

“I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s - - tless. If they say something in public, they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed,” he said.

Waters, the 69-year-old co-founder of the classic rock group Pink Floyd, has been widely criticized for his anti-Israel activities and accused of espousing anti-Semitic symbols, though he has denied doing so.

In a 2013 concert in Brussels, Waters performed on a stage featuring a giant pig balloon emblazoned with a Star of David, among other symbols.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called Waters “an open hater of Jews.” And the Anti-Defamation League’s then leader, Abraham Foxman, in an open letter to Waters earlier this month, said his “views on Israel are in fact colored by offensive and dangerous undercurrents of anti-Jewish sentiment.”

THE TERRORISTS THAT WALK AMONG US …. (PART 2 OF PREVIOUS POST)

Be sure not to miss the previous post HERE

LABEL ME A PROUD TERRORIST

Palestinian rights activists on American college campuses have become the target of posters that attempt to smear them as supporters of violence, with a new round of posters calling out students and teachers by name.

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New campaign uses racist posters to target Palestinian campus activists by name

Palestinian rights activists on American college campuses have become the target of posters that attempt to smear them as supporters of violence, with a new round of posters calling out students and teachers by name.

“Do you want to show your support for HAMAS TERRORISTS whose stated goal is the elimination of the Jewish state?” one poster asks. Then, posing as the national Palestinian rights group, says “Join us! Students for Justice in Palestine.” The poster drives home its point with a cartoon of a man wearing a kaffiyeh, pointing at the viewer like Uncle Sam.

The posters are the work of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a pro-Israel group that has a history of attempting to intimidate Palestinian activists, especially those in academia. Some of the smears use terms like “Hamas BDS,” smashing together the name of the Palestinian political party and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to protest Israel economically and earned the ire of anti-Palestinian groups like Horowitz’s and others.

The posters also come amid rising Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, both physical and verbal, tied to the rise of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has made suspicion of Muslims a centerpiece of his campaign. Horowitz isn’t doing anything to help, Palestinian activists say.

“Horowitz, a driver of the anti-Muslim movement in the U.S., has taken credit for this and previous campaigns attacking students and faculty. While Horowitz is viewed as an extremist, his tactics are in line with broader efforts by mainstream pro-Israel advocacy organizations and U.S. government officials to suppress speech in support of Palestinian rights,” Palestine Legal said in a statement. “The Horowitz posters fall in line with a pattern of widespread intimidation and censorship of students and faculty in the U.S. who speak out for Palestinian rights, a pattern that Palestine Legal has documented.”

According to Palestine Legal, the schools where the posters have appeared are the following: Brooklyn College (CUNY), San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, Tufts University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Vassar College.

The identities of the individual distributors of the posters remain unknown, but the images, including the hashtag #JewHate list the names of different Palestinian rights activists.

Electronic Intifada reported that San Francisco State University had released a lukewarm response to the incident, which some feel qualifies as a hate crime.

“We do not endorse the message, and consistent with principles of free speech, we believe that the most powerful response to speech that divides or degrades people is more speech which promotes inclusion, advances human dignity, and encourages mutually respectful actions and communications,” SFSU communications officer Elizabeth Smith told the site.

SFSU president Leslie Wong added decried the posters as a “bullying” tactic, but did not name Horowitz’s organization.

“Well-funded groups are trying to undermine us because they know if the discussion happens more and more people are more likely to join the world community in supporting Palestine,” SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, named in the poster, told EI.

LABEL ME A PROUD TERRORIST

DesertPeace is proud to identify and support the groups named in this post. I guess that makes me a terrorist as well.

A notorious anti-Black and Islamophobic group has launched a national offensive against students and professors associated with the movement for Palestinian rights.

Beginning earlier this month, posters placed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center appeared at San Francisco State University, the University of Tennessee, Tufts University, Vassar College, the University of Chicago, the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, San Diego State University and the University of California’s Irvine, Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses.

Posters have appeared on campuses nationwide smearing students and teachers as terrorists.

Posters have appeared on campuses nationwide smearing students and teachers as terrorists.

Racist group launches national offensive on US campuses

A notorious anti-Black and Islamophobic group has launched a national offensive against students and professors associated with the movement for Palestinian rights.

Beginning earlier this month, posters placed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center appeared at San Francisco State University, the University of Tennessee, Tufts University, Vassar College, the University of Chicago, the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, San Diego State University and the University of California’s Irvine, Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses.

The posters feature cartoon portraits of the named students or professors they’re targeting, next to a list of allegations, followed by the hashtag “#JewHatred.”

Though they include some innocuous labels, such as “BDS activist” or “SJP activist,” the posters also include defamatory charges.

For example, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University is called “a leader of the Hamas BDS campaign” and a “collaborator with terrorists.”

Hatem Bazian who teaches at UC Berkeley is called a “supporter of Hamas terrorists” and an “Islamophobia alarmist.”

Among the campaign’s unsupported claims is that American Muslims for Palestine, a group founded by Bazian, has been funneling “terrorist dollars” to Students for Justice in Palestine groups to support the “Hamas-sponsored” BDS movement.

Spreading fear and hate

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has claimed credit for the campaign.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremism, says that since the 1980s the group’s founder, David Horowitz, has “become a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements.”

Horowitz’s organization has also “become the premier financier of anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies, as well as acting as an exporter of misinformation that seeks to increase popular appeal for Horowitz’s fears and phobias,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Horowitz’s posters credit Canary Mission, a website that blacklists students and teachers who criticize Israel, for information.

Horowitz appears to have piloted his campaign in April when similar posters turned up on the UCLAcampus.

At the time, UCLA vice chancellor Jerry Kangsharply denounced the posters as “a serious escalation” and promised that the university would “deploy all lawful resources to counter any harassment or intimidation.”

Kang has now become a target in Horowitz’s renewed poster campaign.

“Vandalism”

San Francisco State University president Leslie Wong condemned Horowitz’ posters on 14 October, the day they appeared on campus, but some students and faculty say he has not gone far enough.

Wong said he was “angered” by the “vandalism” on campus, calling the posters a “hateful attack.” He blamed “an outside extremist group,” but did not name Horowitz.

“This is not an issue of free speech; this is bullying behavior that is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus,” Wong added.

Campus police have opened an investigation.

“We do not endorse the message, and consistent with principles of free speech, we believe that the most powerful response to speech that divides or degrades people is more speech which promotes inclusion, advances human dignity, and encourages mutually respectful actions and communications,” San Francisco State University spokesperson Elizabeth Smith told The Electronic Intifada.

She said the investigation would review how widespread the activity was and whether any school policies were violated.

But Joanne Barker, a professor of American Indian Studies, believes Wong should have named the Horowitz organization and exposed the racist intentions of the campaign.

“In moments like what happened last week where you have non-response response, it doesn’t make me feel safe as a university employee,” Barker said.

She noted that the FBI defines vandalism as a hate crime when it contains the added element of bias.

Barker said that the university “should be contacting federal and state authorities to investigate this incident as a hate crime.”

After the posters went up, the General Union of Palestine Students called an emergency meeting on campus, attended by representatives of other student organizations and communities.

Rex Halafihi was the first student to see the posters when he arrived on campus at 7:30am on Friday morning.

“It’s funny how media is congratulating Wong. His email is so vague and doesn’t actually condemn David Horowitz or Canary Mission or talk about how they’re anti-Muslim organizations,” Halafihi said. “It’s just so ridiculous.”

Silence at Irvine

The legal defense group Palestine Legal urged UC Irvine chancellor Howard Gillman to publicly condemn the posters.

But administrators have yet to do so. UC Irvine spokesperson Cathy Lawhon told The Electronic Intifada that the posters were removed within two hours of being put up and as a result the school received no complaints from students.

Palestine Legal reminded Gillman that, in contrast to his silence now, he has been quick to propagate what turned out to be false accusations against student activists for Palestinian rights.

“Terrorist campaign”

“Our universities are anti-free speech and they support terrorists,” Horowitz told The Electronic Intifada. “I want people to know that you guys – The Electronic Intifada included – are part of a terrorist campaign to destroy the State of Israel and kill the Jews – and Americans as well.”

When asked for evidence that Students for Justice in Palestine groups were funded by Hamas or “terrorist” groups, Horowitz pointed to a document on his website that purports to connect the dots from SJP to “terrorists” and Hamas.

But the only loose connection Horowitz draws is between American Muslims for Palestine and individuals formerly involved in the Holy Land Foundation.

In a highly politicized trial, the US prosecuted five men who worked for the charity on charges of “material support for terrorism,” even though the US had provided funding to the same organizations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Holy Land Foundation.

Horowitz told The Electronic Intifada that Students for Justice in Palestine tells “huge lies,” like “Israel occupies Arab lands.”

“Palestinians are a completely invented nationalism,” he added. “It’s ridiculous. Israel is the only state in the Middle East that’s not apartheid.”

Emboldening harassers?

Abdulhadi, the main target of the posters at San Francisco State University, says that it is past time for Wong’s administration to stand squarely behind those who have been subjected to a long harassment campaign.

“Well-funded groups are trying to undermine us because they know if the discussion happens more and more people are more likely to join the world community in supporting Palestine,” Abdulhadi told The Electronic Intifada.

Two years ago, anti-Palestinian organizations AMCHA, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East accused Abdulhadi of meeting with “terrorists” and asked the university to investigate her.

The university found the allegations had no merit, and that the alleged activity was part of her scholarship.

Nonetheless, Abdulhadi believes the administration’s weak responses have emboldened the groups to escalate their attacks.

Zionist groups are currently targeting the partnership Abdulhadi recently brokered between San Francisco State University and An-Najah National University in Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

For Abdulhadi, the dearth of support amid the mounting intimidation campaign is compounded by what she says is the university’s failure to fulfill its commitments to Muslim and Arab ethnic studies programs.

Following a student hunger strike last spring in response to proposed cuts to the budget for ethnic studies, the administration renewed its promises to hire two more professors.

The ‘real terrorist’ himself ….

David Horowitz has been a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements since the 1980s. (Gage Skidmore)

David Horowitz has been a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements since the 1980s. (Gage Skidmore)

SOS VIDEO MESSAGES FROM THE WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA

SOS video messages were released by the Freedom Flotilla group after the all women crew members were reportedly intercepted and taken by Israeli forces en route to the shores of Gaza. Shortly before the release of the videos, Al Jazeera reported that the activists were expected to be detained and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, then deported.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

SOS video messages from Zaytouna-Oliva

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Contact President Barack Obama    (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry           kerryj@state.gov or
                                                          (202) 647-4000

Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends.  Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.

More contact info here ….

UN: His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
E-mail: sgcentral@un.org
Twitter: @UN_Spokesperson

EU: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Email: federica.mogherini@ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @FedericaMog

AUSTRALIA

Julie BishopMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
E-mail: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
Teléfono: +61 8 9388 0288
Twitter: @JulieBishopMP
Facebook: Julie Bishop MP

CANADA

Justin Trudeau, Primer Ministro
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
(No necesita franqueo!)
Teléfono: +1 613 995 0253
Teléfono: +1 514 277 6020
E-mail: j+ustin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

Stephane DionMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Información de contacto
mailto:stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Para más contactos en Canadá: http://canadaboatgaza.org

FRANCE

Monsieur le Président, protégez la Flottille des Femmes pour Gaza
http://www.plateforme-palestine.org/Monsieur-le-President-protegez-la-Flottille-des-Femmes-pour-Gaza

NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Please contact: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/demand-israel-allows-womens-boat-to-gaza-safe-passage/

NORWAY

Børge Brende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
N-0032 OSLO
E-mail: utenriksminister@mfa.no
Twitter: @borgebrende
www.shiptogaza.no

SOUTH AFRICA

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Womensboattogazasouthafrica/?fref=ts

SPAIN

  • Please check the following link for detailshttp://www.rumboagaza.org/convocatorias-asalto-zaytouna/
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on civil society and organizations to gather at 7pm in front of Spanish government offices the same day of the possible interception.
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on the Spanish Government and Spanish MPs and MEPs to protect the Women’s Boat to Gaza mission and their participants, including the Spaniard Sandra Barrilaro.

UK

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary
Tel: +44 20 7219 4682
E-mail: boris.johnson.mp@parliament.uk
Twitter: @borisjohnson
Facebook: facebook.com/foreignoffice
Twitter: @foreignoffice

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY IS DOING IN ISRAEL …

A new twist to the immortal words of President Kennedy …

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

BUT … Don’t ask what your country is doing in Israel!

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Image by Latuff

Image by Latuff

 

Jew Arrested for Questioning Israeli ‘State-Sponsored Terrorism’ at Kansas City Library

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest after he challenged Ross to explain why the U.S. continues to support Israel at the inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture, established by the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City on May 9, the Kansas City Star reported.

“When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?” Rothe-Kushel asked.

Private security guards employed by the employed by the Jewish Community Foundation bundled Rothe-Kushel out of the hall. They also arrested Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, after he tried to intervene. He suffered a torn knee ligament.

Police defended the arrests and said the security officers were enforcing a rule against follow-up questions.

But library officials spoke out strongly against the arrests.

“At this stage, I’m actually outraged,” said R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system. “This is a big violation of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Rothe-Kushel said he was also outraged.

“The library tried to defend my person and my God-given rights of the First Amendment,” he told the paper. “We believe the charges should be dropped.”

Although the incident took place months ago, library officials went public with their outrage this week after prosecutors decided to press ahead with charges against Rothe-Kushel and Woolfolk.

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

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Images by Carlos Latuff

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

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

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Bowing to zionist pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Deactivate your accounts and Explain your reasons for this

Deactivate your accounts and Explain your reasons for this

Related posts by Ali Abunimah (Click on links)

Facebook disables accounts of Palestinian editors

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Facebook apologizes for disabling Palestinian journalists’ accounts

BUT ….

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

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

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

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

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

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

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

One of Bendib's finest

One of Bendib’s finest

 

Justice Minister: BDS movement is a terror organization

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

Full zioreport HERE

And here you can see why we boycott terrorism!

FREEDOM VINDICATED ON CAMPUS

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

the-first-amendment-parchment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ZOA had eagerly assisted with the investigation months ago.

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

CAUGHT ON VIDEO ~~ LINEUP OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

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

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

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

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

Israeli soldiers raid house looking for 8-year-old

Ali Abunimah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharp contrast

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

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

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

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

Abuse of children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#InPalestine ~~ THE POLITICS OF WATER AND SEWAGE

The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills)

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/ ActiveStills)

West Bank villagers suffer from sewer politics

Abu Mazen Square has become a bit of a joke for Palestinian residents in the occupied West Bank town of Bruqin.

To understand why, it is imperative to delve into recent history.

Two years ago, the site of what is now a public square was an open cesspool. Wastewater pumped out of the nearby Israeli settlement Ariel, one of the largest in the West Bank. This wastewater mingled with overflow from nearby Salfit.

Salfit, a town of some 9,000 Palestinians, has spent the past 22 years trying to update its sewage management system, according to chief municipal engineer Saleh Afaneh, but has not been able to get the necessary permits from the Israeli military authorities. Consequently, wastewater has been flowing down freely, joining the natural stream that runs through Bruqin village.

The Salfit government has little power to reduce the amount of sewage entering Bruqin and the neighboring Palestinian village Kufr al-Dik, but it has supplied a few kilometers of pipeline to keep the mess underground in the most densely populated parts of the two towns.

While only four out of 15 planned kilometers of pipeline have been built so far, the Palestinian Authority took the opportunity to build a lavishly decorated new town square, dedicated to Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president, directly over the line, giving Bruqin’s local residents Abu Mazen Square. A kilometer away, the sewage continues to flow openly.

The story of Abu Mazen Square is an execrable reminder for many in Bruqin that their problems are being glossed over by the Palestinian Authority. While sewage leaks have plagued the village for years, the PA and its Ministry of Health have offered a minimal amount of relief, and have abandoned attempts to advocate for rural communities suffering from wastewater mismanagement.

The PA might claim that all is well, but beneath the surface the situation stinks.

Sewer politics

Wastewater management is a problem in the West Bank.

Approximately half of Israel’s environmental regulations do not apply in the occupied territory. With such lax legislation, companies producing metals, chemicals and plastics flock to settlement industrial zones, such as West Ariel and Barkan. Both Israeli and international companies are drawn to areas where they can pollute more freely, often at the expense of surrounding Palestinian communities.

The Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s saw the West Bank carved up into areas A, B and C with the Palestinian Authority exercising a diminishing level of control over the internal affairs of Palestinian communities in those areas.

For project approval in Area C — the some 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and military control — Palestinian towns and villages must apply to the Israeli body which oversees civilian affairs in occupied territory.

It is the Israeli military that ultimately decides whether Palestinians can build new sewage infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants in places like Salfit where, according to Afaneh, there is no available land in areas A and B, where the Palestinian Authority exercises civilian control, for such projects.

But the Israeli authorities refuse the vast majority of applications. Making matters worse, since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli military has demolished more than 50 water and sanitation structures in Area C.

The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

In the summer, when the West Bank faces massive water cuts imposed by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, Palestinians are forced to turn to polluted water sources to meet needs.

Farmers and herders in the area also report that free-flowing sewage damages crops and can poison animals, undermining livelihoods and negatively affecting the quality of food available in rural communities.

Crisis? What crisis?

One wouldn’t know any of this, however, from talking to Palestinian Authority officials.

Haytham Mansour is director of the Ministry of Health in the Salfit region. Mansour refused to be drawn out on whether there is a water crisis in the area. While he acknowledged both water cuts and sewage leaks, he was adamant that both were under control and did not cause undue suffering in the Salfit region.

He insisted that his department tests local water on a weekly or monthly basis. Yet he would not share the findings of those reports or even confirm that the ministry kept records on water quality.

Mansour did concede that the overflow of sewage, combined with the lack of access to potable water, could hypothetically put communities at risk from anything from scabies to Hepatitis A, but maintained that the Salfit region had not seen any significant increase in those maladies.

But his denials, and those of his deputies, seem to fly in the face of evidence collected independently.

Mohammad Bishr, a doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Salfit branch, is concerned. As a participant in a mobile clinic program, he regularly visits both Kufr al-Dik and Bruqin to offer free consultation and primary health care services to underserved communities.

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, Bishr said that since the beginning of June, the nongovernmental organization has noted an increase in the number of patients with scabies, gastroenteritis and gastrointestinal amebiasis, a miniature epidemic that repeats itself every summer. He attributed this pattern to a lack of proper sanitation and the domestic use of polluted drinking water.

Bishr also noted that patients were concerned over the size and frequency of mosquito bites they sustained in recent years. Small pools of sewage provide optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“We’ve started to see this every time the water goes [out],” noted Bishr. “Every summer, it gets worse.”

Bassam Madi, another doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society mobile clinic program, worries that if the sewage crisis is not adequately addressed, there will be further increases in communicable diseases.

Crucial evidence

But to address a problem, it first needs to be acknowledged.

With no access to water quality reports from the Ministry of Health, local clinicians and public health officials are at a disadvantage. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society and local government officials have access to just a single independent report, obtained after an Israeli activist sent samples of water from polluted streams outside the Ariel settlement and the Barkan Industrial Zone to Aminolab in Israel.

Some samples showed high levels of organic waste, consistent with untreated industrial waste. Others showed waste consistent with unrestricted dumping. Additional samples showed evidence of intermittent filtration.

Aminolab noted in its report, seen by The Electronic Intifada, that this level of contamination in certain areas deviates from the Inbar standards, the Israeli regulations on water quality. While the report is not comprehensive, it includes enough detail to confirm that industrial pollutants from settlements are entering water used for agricultural and household purposes by thousands of Palestinians in the Salfit district.

The mayors of Bruqin and Kufr al-Dik have been equally dependent on the lone water quality report from Aminolab and confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health had taken almost no measures to address the wastewater problem in their towns.

Jamal al-Dik, the mayor of Kufr al-Dik, said that in 30 months of construction, the PA had only completed a little more than a quarter of the planned 15 kilometers of the sewage diversion pipeline that gave rise to Abu Mazen Square. Currently, this pipeline is only keeping sewage at bay in the most heavily populated areas.

The mayor did say that the ministry this year had supplied Kufr al-Dik with a small shipment of mosquito spray, though not enough to supply every household. The health ministry, he said, had been ignoring the escalating public health threat for years.

“This is an old story, but also our future,” the mayor added.

After years of trying to hold a public health crisis at bay with minimal assistance from the ministry, local residents and health workers are losing confidence in finding a solution to the sewage crisis, and losing confidence in their government.

Politics of water

The politicization of water in the West Bank is nothing new.

Under the Oslo accords, a Joint Water Committee, with equal numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, was established to oversee water and sanitation issues in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. While representation within the committee was hypothetically equal, Israel’s military control over Area C gave Israel effective veto power over the committee’s decisions. As a result, almost no Palestinian proposals to the joint committee ever came to fruition.

In 2010, Palestinian Authority representatives stopped giving their approval to Israeli proposals at the joint committee in protest. The Palestinian delegation failed, however, to combine their protest with any strategy to mitigate the effects of stressed water infrastructure for the Palestinian population.

The Israeli military occupation puts a burden on the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry as well. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2015 the ministry was unable to procure an estimated 30 percent of essential medicines, and 25 to 30 percent of medical equipment and laboratory supplies, due to budget shortfalls as well as Israeli restrictions on movement, which limit the flow of medical goods and personnel.

In addition to restricting access to medical supplies, the violence of the military occupation mean hospital beds are filled with those who have been injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The restricted access to potable water simply adds more pressure on already overstressed Palestinian public health institutions.

The Ministry of Health could face political consequences for protesting the causes of the sewage crisis. The ministry’s budget for 2015 was some $323 million, according to the World Health Organization. During the same year, the US government agency USAID donated $7.6 million to the Palestinian Authority for basic health projects and $45 million for water and sanitation.

The health ministry remains caught between acknowledging the overtly political causes of a public health crisis, and the political risk of taking concrete action against the occupation.The US government has previously set a precedent in using aid as a bargaining chip against the PA as possible punishment for state-building activities.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Bassam Madi believes that the problem of a lack of access to potable water will be solved when the PA, and its donors, are ready to address the matter as a public health crisis, not as a political issue.

“Let’s address the human issue, let’s address the environmental issue,” he said during a break from his work with the mobile clinic.

But, if Abu Mazen Square is any indication, the PA seems more interested in keeping up political appearances, whatever the underlying reality. The needs of vulnerable villagers in the Salfit district do not compete with this priority.

At present, the Palestinian Authority is addressing neither the “human issue” described by Madi nor the underlying political reality of Israeli control and abuse of the environment.

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