RICKY MARTIN PLANNING TO SHAKE HIS BOOTY FOR APARTHEID

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He WAS one of my favourites till he decided to play in Tel Aviv next week.

Martin, himself a victim of occupation should know better …. but obviously doesn’t.

SHAME ON YOU RICKY MARTIN!

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‘Get ready to sweat’: Ricky Martin to shebang in Israel
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Ricky Martin is coming to Israel for what will likely be an energized performance; this will be the first Israeli show for the Latino superstar, who began in a Puerto Rican boy band and achieved international success with his infectious beats during the 90s; ‘Israelis and Latinos are very similar, we’re very warm,’ says Martin, who advises you come to his show ready to move; watch the interview below.
Click HERE

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.”

GAZA’S UNDERGROUND SIEGE

Do you see a similarity? … as history repeats itself
Famous photo taken in the Warsaw Ghetto

Famous photo taken in the Warsaw Ghetto

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Photo that Israel does not want you to see .... child being harassed by ziocop in Gaza Ghetto

Photo that Israel does not want you to see …. child being harassed by ziocop in Gaza Ghetto

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The Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, the year of its construction. The Nazis herded and confined more than 400,000 Jews into a small area of the city.

The Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, the year of its construction. The Nazis herded and confined more than 400,000 Jews into a small area of the city.

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The nazis never went as far as this ….

Building starts on underground Gaza barrier

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With a budget of NIS2 billion, work has begun on constructing an above and below ground barrier on the border with Gaza; work has started primarily in the Gaza border communities; government promises that there is a budget for the project.
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Israel is planning to build a massive concrete wall which will extend below ground along the Gaza Strip border, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper has revealed. The barrier is aimed at combating the threat posed by Hamas tunnels crossing into the country from Gaza.
The wall, which will stretch along the 96km (60 mile) border around the Gaza Strip, will extend several dozen meters below the ground, and will also be present above the ground. It is estimated to cost US$568 million.

The costly plan – aimed at tackling Hamas terror tunnels – was cleared for publication by Israel’s military censor, according to Ynet, a website affiliated with Yedioth Ahronoth.The wall will be the third defense system of its kind to be erected along the border.

The first 60km (37 mile) barrier was constructed in 1994, following the Oslo Accords. The second was built following Israel’s decision to disengage from Gaza in 2005. However, neither system proved successful in combating the threat of attack tunnels.

Israel’s plan comes after two Hamas tunnels spanning from Gaza to Israel were discovered in April and May. Hamas has confirmed it is building tunnels, and residents in southern Israel communities bordering Gaza have reported hearing digging sounds under their homes, i24 reported.

Hamas has previously used tunnels to avoid or carry out attacks, store weapons, and enter Israel. It says, however, that the tunnels are needed to defend against Israeli fire.

In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to build barriers to “defend ourselves against wild beasts.”

“We are preparing a multi-year project to encircle Israel with a security fence, to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be,” Netanyahu said in a statement at the time.

“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” he added. “I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy reported in March that Israel is building an ‘Underground Iron Dome,’ a system that could detect and destroy cross-border tunnels. The government has spent more than $250 million on the project since 2004, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV station.

The Thursday report comes just one day after a senior Defense Ministry official said that Israel has “no desire to rule over Gaza, and as long as there is no alternative government there, we have no business being there…but on the other hand, we cannot conduct a constant war of attrition.”

“Therefore the next conflict has to be the last conflict in terms of Hamas ruling the Strip. We are not looking for an adventure, but a confrontation with Hamas is inevitable. It is an ongoing and growing threat and we need to be prepared for it,” he added.

ISRAEL MIGHT SOON BE VOID OF LEFTISTS

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

Should I Give Up On Changing Israel from Within — and Take a Stand by Leaving?

A debate has been raging in the Israeli left over the past few weeks — primarily in the opinion pages of Haaretz and on my Facebook feed — about Israelis who are choosing to move away from Israel as a political statement.

Although these leftists make up only a tiny percentage of Israelis, their departure has hit a nerve. The veteran Israeli left-wing activist and founder of Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, has called on them to return, arguing that leaving is a cop-out, that they are needed here. This has sparked a back and forth, with several younger Israelis writing that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their children’s lives for what they see as a dead-end country — and so, yes, they’re opting out.

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving. My family and I included. The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli left regarding the inability to effect change, and the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too. For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation, but about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberals are either ignorant of the state’s actions or complicit in them.

When I became active in the West Bank nearly a decade ago with the direct-action Arab-Jewish cooperative Ta’ayush, I witnessed and experienced many Israeli human rights violations and absurdities that profoundly changed my working assumptions and shaped my politics, instantly setting me apart from most Israelis. Whereas other Israelis spent their Saturdays resting at home or going to family gatherings, I spent them escorting Palestinians to their wells or their grazing fields while being confronted by settlers and soldiers. I would come back to the comforts of my life in Tel Aviv outraged that people could just sit in cafes with no clue what was being done in their name just a few miles away — or worse, that they just didn’t care. The sharp dissonance affected all aspects of my life and my interaction with friends, family members, everyone. It breeds a constant sense of despair and resentment.

A decade later, and five years since the “tent protests” that saw hundreds of thousands of Israelis out in the streets protesting the high cost of living without any mention of the disenfranchised Palestinian population in our midst, this sense of alienation has only intensified. Instead of gaining legitimacy in Israeli society, activist groups like Ta’ayush, Anarchists Against the Wall and Breaking the Silence, which came of age during the second intifada with the goal of exposing and opposing human rights violations, are now targets of state-sanctioned incitement; they are marginalized even more than they already were, and delegitimized.

Israel currently has the most right-wing government in its history, and “leftist” is a bona fide bad word whose definition just keeps broadening. An Israeli who never set foot across the Green Line but who protested in central Tel Aviv against Israel’s past two wars in Gaza is considered radical. A soldier who has fulfilled his military service and then speaks out against the actions he carried out is a traitor. A 2016 poll shows that 72% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories does not even constitute an “occupation.”

Under these circumstances, how can the left possibly hope to shift the discourse, much less end the occupation?

This is the question I am constantly grappling with, and it is the million-dollar question facing the Israeli left today. In 2005, Palestinians answered this question by calling for international pressure through boycott, and some Jews in Israel and abroad have joined them, believing that change is simply not coming from within. It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, not local activism, has taken center stage in this era when it comes to opposing Israeli policies. The Israelis emigrating from the country are inadvertently part of the spirit of the boycott movement in the sense that they, too, have given up on the idea that change will come from within.

Although I feel a constant and growing sense of alienation from the majority of Jewish Israeli society, and this makes leaving seem more appealing, I also live a comfortable life here and am invested in this place. It’s home. But every time I walk from my house in Jaffa to the beach and dip my limbs into the open sea, I am sorely aware of all the Palestinians in the West Bank who don’t have this luxury, who have never seen the Mediterranean, or for whom the chance to visit is an extraordinary, one-time opportunity entirely dependent on the whims of the Israeli establishment. Every time I experience fear or anxiety about the increasingly violent, herd-mentality society my 2-year old is growing up in, I consider the Palestinian children who are stateless and roofless in Gaza.

We can’t live in a constant state of guilt. But even as Israeli leftists are increasingly persecuted, we have to recognize that we also enjoy a lot of privileges. And it’s precisely because of the privileges I enjoy here that I feel compelled to fight for those who lack them.

There are many ways to fight that fight, though. The question, then, is not whether to stay or to go. That choice is personal and will always be personal. The real question for me is how to have an impact and how to live a life that is true to my ideals.

 

Read a commentary from Mondoweiss HERE

 

 

ISRAEL DECLARES FULL SCALE WAR AGAINST BDS MOVEMENT

Gearing up to face BDS as if it were a military challenge
0715-bds-poster

This report from Israel’s state broadcaster, subtitled in English by activist Ronnie Barkan, shows Vaknin-Gil vowing to defeat the BDS movement in her testimony to the Knesset committee. It also shows the committee’s chair, Stav Shaffir, complaining that the government is revealing almost nothing about how it is spending the huge sums allocated to the anti-BDS effort.

 

Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE

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WHY WE BOYCOTT …

BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES

And this in memory of Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman

MY HILL IS COVERED WITH BLOOD ~~ MAN’S BEST FRIEND IS ISRAEL’S ENEMY

For Julian …. One of the few who cared …. here are his words

This is the result of fear, intolerance and  hatred of life… is easier kill and forget .. than to take care and keep .. a home for 5 souls that possibly no one will remember .. if somebody kills an innocent life .. what can we hope for? This was an act of our protectors, the police and agents. but They prefer a world with out compromise and a comfort zone .. and live there rather than go out and see that it’s our responsibility. They prefer to erase than give our time our life our love .. this way I think that it is better to empty this earth of human beings … especially this class of people .. peace to our baby’s!
What remains of a loving family / Photo by Julian

What remains of a loving family / Photo by Julian

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Victims of fear and hate

Victims of fear and hate

My community of French Hill is the greatest example in Israel of what can be. Israelis of every background, both religious and secular, Palestinians and new immigrants have lived here in harmony for years.

This week we observe the start of the new month of Elul on the Hebrew calendar. A time for reflection and forgiveness … but some things cannot be forgiven.

A few weeks ago a pregnant dog was abandoned on my street and wound up having her six puppies in the bushes on my hill. As all puppies, they were absolutely adorable. But no one wanted them. The Pound is full to capacity with dogs waiting for adoption, but this family was destined to live in the street. They were fed and cared for by neighbours  who cared … that is until this morning when ‘animal control’ came with guns and shot them all to death.

Can this be forgiven? How can people be so cruel to creatures of the same God that created them?

French Hill is in mourning today for this family. 

Special thanks to those who cared and tried to help.

 

 

A LABOUR DAY GIFT FOR YOU!

ENJOY!!

STILL TIME TO GET ON BOARD THE BOAT TO GAZA

Same Struggle …. Be a part of history by CHANGING IT!

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CrJMXoxXEAE8wLP

Wear our T-shirt,
logo on front,
Women’s Boat to Gaza 
in all our coalition languages on back.
Men’s and women’s styles and sizes, available now, $25 plus $5 postage. Contact Kit Kittredge, marnykit@gmail.com to order.
Ask about discounts for bulk orders to sell at fundraising events.
 
Our U.S. national goal is $30,000.  Please help by holding a fundraiser in your community.  We can send fliers and a powerpoint presentation on Women’s Boat to Gaza for the program.

 

#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.

COLOUR CODED PALESTINIANS

Defense Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Israel to colour-code “good” and “bad” Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Launched this month, as much of the world was on holiday, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should.

Defence minister since May, Lieberman has been itching to accelerate Israel’s annexation by stealth of the West Bank.

Quislings and propaganda

His “carrot and stick” plan has three components. First, he intends to sideline the Palestinian Authority (PA) in favour of a new local leadership of “notables” hand-picked by Israel.

Preferring to “cut out the middle man”, in his words, he will open a dialogue with supposedly more responsible Palestinians – business people, academics and mayors.

Next, he has established a new communications unit that will speak in Arabic over the heads of the PA in the West Bank and its Hamas rivals in Gaza directly to ordinary Palestinians.

An online campaign – budgeted at USD 2.6 million – will seek to convince them of Israel’s good intentions. The Palestinians’ problems, according to Lieberman, derive from corrupt and inciteful national leaderships, not the occupation.

And finally, his Defence Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Sticks and carrots

Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, from which Palestinian attacks have been launched. Presumably night raids and house demolitions will increase, while closures will further curtail freedom of movement.

Palestinians in green areas will reap economic rewards for their good behaviour. They will be given work permits in Israel and the settlements, and benefit from development projects, including the creation of Israeli-controlled industrial zones.

This week the Haaretz daily reported that Lieberman is convinced that all the Palestinians can be attributed to Abbas’s “reign of corruption”. In briefings he has stated that the Palestinian leader “doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment. The entire system of management there has failed.”

It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless. Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinians were “stupid and lacking self-respect” and could be “bought with economic perks”.

Lieberman’s longer-term goal is to persuade Palestinians – and the international community – that their aspirations for self-determination are unattainable and counter-productive

Failed old policy

Israel has tried that approach before, as Palestinian officials pointed out. Decades ago, Israel sought to manage the occupation by imposing on the local population Palestinian collaborators, termed “Village Leagues”. Armed by the Israeli military, they were supposed to stamp out political activism and support for the PLO.

By the early 1980s the experiment had to be abandoned, as Palestinians refused to accept the leagues’ corrupt and self-serving rule. An uprising, the firstintifada, followed a short time later.

Israel’s agreement to the PA’s creation under the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was, in part, an acceptance that the occupied territories needed a more credible security contractor, this time in the form of the Palestinian national leadership.

Disorganised resistance

Whatever Lieberman and others claim, the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza are the last parties to blame for the recent wave of Palestinian unrest. The attacks have been mostly carried out spontaneously by “lone wolves”, not organised groups. Many occur in Jerusalem, from which all political activity is barred.

Abbas has described the “security coordination” with Israel as “sacred”, aware that his PA will not survive long if it does not demonstrate its usefulness to Israel. His security services have subdued Palestinian resistance more effectively than the Israeli army.

Bereft of regional allies and a credible strategy, even Hamas has chosen quiet since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its lethal wrecking spree in Gaza in 2014. It has kept the tiny coastal enclave locked down. Rocket fire – one of the few remaining, if largely symbolic, ways to confront Israel – all but ceased long ago.

The silence from Gaza was briefly disturbed a week ago by a rocket fired by a small group linked to the self-styled Islamic State. Despite Hamas’s disavowal of the attack, Lieberman demonstrated his new big stick by bombarding government sites in Gaza in a show of force unseen over the past two years.

Grassroots rage

The futility of this approach – blaming the official leaderships for the roiling frustration and resentment of those they formally lead – should be self-evident.

Ordinary Palestinians, not officials, endure the endless expansion of settlements and the resulting takeover of their agricultural lands. Ordinary Palestinians, not their leaders, face daily abuses at checkpoints and in military raids. Reports at the weekend suggested soldiers were deliberately kneecapping youths at protests to permanently disable them.

Round-ups, torture, military courts that always find the accused guilty – these are the rites of passage for Palestinians in the West Bank. For Palestinians in Gaza, it is slow starvation, homelessness and a random missile rain of death.

An Israeli strategy that failed decades ago – before the PA even existed – is not going to succeed now. Social media campaigns and paltry handouts will not persuade Palestinians they are nothing more than a humanitarian problem.

They are not about to shelve their dreams of liberation just because Lieberman colour-codes them in red and green.

ANOTHER ACT OF SOLIDARITY ON THE SPORT’S FIELD

It is inspiring to see an athlete who cares more about the world than their own ambitions. And it is stunning that so many people are saying that an NFL player this thoughtful and selfless is somehow a “bad” role model, in a league so rife with scandal from the owner’s box to the locker room.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

America Needs to Listen to What Colin Kaepernick Is Actually Trying to Say

Too many people are talking about patriotism and etiquette instead of reckoning with the substance of his critique.

TOOSDAY’S TOON ~~ US COPS ON TRAINING MISSION IN ISRAEL

ADL took US cops to Israel prison, occupied Hebron, settler winery in counter-terror event

Image by Carlos Latuff

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ADL took US cops to Israeli prison, occupied Hebron and settler winery during counter-terror seminar

Alex Kane

The cops flew into Tel Aviv on a Sunday afternoon. Four hours later, they met with an Anti-Defamation League official and an Israeli professor, who gave them an “introduction to Israeli politics and society.” A week later, the officers got time for an “optional walk on the Mediterranean Sea,” and in between their Tel Aviv arrival and their idyllic walk, they traveled to occupied Hebron and drank settlement wine in the Golan Heights.

Those are some of the details of a recent U.S. law enforcement trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The itinerary for the 2016 ADL National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, obtained by Mondoweiss from a public records request to the Orlando Police Department, provides a look into what American cops do when they’re flown into Israel to meet with Israeli security officers. (The document is embedded at the end of this article.)

Since 2004, the ADL has taken American law enforcement on annual trips to Israel, where, the ADL says, the cops get “strategies and best practices in fighting terror” from “Israeli experts.” The ADL trips, and similar jaunts sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, are promoted as ways for U.S. law enforcement to learn how Israel deals with terrorism and to forge ties with Israeli security forces. The pro-Israel groups typically pay for the officers’ trips to Israel.

But the trips have come under withering controversy from Palestine solidarity activists and Black Lives Matter protesters. In an age of police militarization and a growing movement to combat police brutality, critics see these trips as potentially fueling harmful police tactics. And they point out that the Israeli army and police are occupying forces that have repeatedly been accused of violating Palestinian rights.

These trainings, Amnesty International’s Edith Garwood recently wrote, put U.S. police “in the hands of military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years”–including extrajudicial executions, torture, surveillance and excessive use of force against protesters.

The ADL and Orlando Police Department did not return requests for comment.

This year’s one-week trip began on July 31, and included members of the New Jersey State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Illinois State police, and the heads of the Orlando and San Bernardino police, two cities recently hit by mass shootings.

The ADL and the police departments do not release details about what specific tactics the U.S. police learned in Israel. John Mina, the head of the Orlando Police Department, told the Orlando Sentinel that the information he received was “law enforcement sensitive,” and that he “learned about how the Israeli Police respond to and investigate terrorism.” He told the paper he liked the random Israeli checkpoints security forces set up, and that while he wouldn’t do that in Orlando,  “it did give me a few ideas about security measures here in Orlando that I won’t share.”

The itinerary Mondoweiss obtained does provide specifics on where the officers traveled and who they spoke to. On August 1, they met with Roni Tidhar, who does security work at Ben Gurion Airport. Security forces at Ben Gurion Airport routinely racially profile Arabs and Muslims, including Americans, and subject them to invasive interrogations.

The next day, after meeting with Palestinian Authority police in Bethlehem, the American officers traveled to occupied Hebron, the most distilled microcosm of the Israeli occupation, where Israeli soldiers and police protect around 800 extremist settlers who routinely abuse Palestinian residents. In Hebron, they spoke with Israeli Police Commander Ron Gertner and received a “security overview” of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a holy site in the city.

On August 4, the delegation traveled to Gilboa Prison, a site criticized by lawyers and Palestinian rights advocates as a place run by authorities who have tortured prisoners and withheld air conditioning units in extremely hot cells. Later that night, they traveled to the Golan Heights, an area taken from Syria in the 1967 war, then occupied and annexed by Israel. An estimated 20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights. The police officers visited the Assaf Winery, a well-known winery, and drank wine and had lunch there.

U.S. law enforcement trips to Israel have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. In July, Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Atlanta called for the end of “the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.” But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pushed back on that demand, saying he believes Israel has “some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world” and that it “benefits our police department.”

Despite the criticism from activists, programs to forge relationships between U.S. law enforcement and Israel continue to expand. As Mondoweiss reported, Birthright recently started a program for Jewish law enforcement officers to travel to Israel.

ADL Itinerary for 2016 Law Enforcement Trip to Israel by alexbkane4538 on Scribd

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IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ THANK YOU CELTICS! LOVE FROM GAZA!!

Footballers in Gaza thank Celtic fans for their recent displays of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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Carlos Latuff adds his two cents …

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

ISRAEL’S INTIFADA CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Video intifada

Image by Carlos Latuff

third-intifada-palestine

When you hear the word ‘Intifada’ you think of a Palestinian uprising ….

Below are videos of the zionist Intifada, where not a stone is thrown, but bullets are in their stead.

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This video of Mustafa Adel Al-Khatib, 17, being shot in the back and killed in the Old City last year.

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On this video of a Palestinian girl being shot at a bus shelter inside the occupation as she holds up a knife in obvious desperation.

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This video obtained by the human rights group B’Tselem a year ago of Muhammad al-Kasba, 17, throwing a rock that broke the windshield of a jeep a brigade commander was riding in. So the commander jumped out of the vehicle and pursued al-Kasba, shooting him 3 times in his upper body and killing him. The beginning of the execution was captured on the video:
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The above is taken from a report by Yakov Hirsch.
Read it in full HERE

PAYPAL WON’T PAY PALESTINE

Palestinians Can’t Use PayPal—but Israeli Settlers Can

A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

PayPal and Palestine

By Sam Bahour

As a Palestinian-American management consultant in Ramallah, Palestine, I advise my Palestinian clients living under Israeli military occupation to use world-class software and online services, assuring them that it will help them enter global markets. Some of these clients are not-for-profit outfits, like the Palestinian Circus School and Birzeit University; others are tech start-ups, many of which are funded by U.S. tax dollars via USAID. Time and again, I regretfully must explain to clients that the most popular worldwide online payment system, PayPal, is unavailable to them.

As an American from Youngstown, Ohio, trying to contribute to building a modern Palestinian economy, and a former software developer who worked all over the U.S., I can never offer a satisfactory answer to those who ask why PayPal refuses to follow the lead of technology giants like Google, Cisco, HP, Oracle, and many others, that all operate in Palestine.

Palestine has a thriving banking sector and all Palestinian banks have corresponding U.S. banks that make money transfers daily. The U.S. Treasury Department is also active in Palestine and has praised the level of Palestinian banking compliance. Considering these financial ties, it is a mystery why PayPal, which is widely considered the most trustworthy company in its sphere, continues to ignores this market. While it’s available to users in Israel and to Israeli settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land, PayPal does not extend its services to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Many of these illegal Israeli settlers live literally a few minutes walk from my home, yet they have access to PayPal, but Palestinians do not. This is doubly unfortunate since Palestinians who live in other parts of the world and are regular users of PayPal cannot use the platform to conduct business with Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel has continuously placed suffocating limitations on the Palestinian economy, many which have been directly challenged by successive U.S. presidents, such as Israel’s refusal to release the needed frequencies for Palestinians to have 3G services. The Internet age has brought with it a bit of relief from these physical limitations, and the Palestinian tech sector is a key area of the economy that has potential to grow, especially considering the population is so young. Palestine produces roughly 2,000 IT graduates per year that are well-positioned to address the huge gap between growing demand for online Arabic content and the current lack of supply. Currently, however, only one-third of these graduates find work in their field. Without access to the needed services that facilitate businesses to grow, more Palestinian youth will fall into the despair of unemployment and all that it carries with it.

In order to meet these market needs and generate employment opportunities, Palestinian startups and entrepreneurs need equal access to services like PayPal for business and charitable services. In December, the President of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE), Edward Thompson, and myself, as Chairman of AVPE, wrote to inform PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman of the company’s shortcomings in Palestine, but our request for a meeting went unheeded. Now, a group of 40 prominent Palestinian organizations have penned a public letter asking Mr. Schulman to reconsider.

Among the signatories are the Palestinian Telecommunications Group (Paltel) the largest private-sector company in Palestine and one that I assisted in establishing, the renowned startup incubator Gaza Sky Geeks, and Palestine’s National Beverage Company, whose CEO Zahi Khouri is an early stage startup investor through another signatory, the Ibtikar Fund. And these are just a few examples — those in tech, business and finance have come together from across the span of the struggling Palestinian economy to make this request. Seemingly small but poignant indignities like this one block the road toward freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians, and we hope to methodically clear them from our path.

In the letter, my co-signers and I explain that while other payment portals are available, there is no replacement for the trust and familiarity that PayPal inspires among potential users, particularly those that are unfamiliar with Palestine-based companies. Without access to PayPal, Palestinian entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and others face routine difficulties in receiving payments for business and charitable purposes.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about PayPal’s presence in Israel-Palestine, however, is that access to it depends on ethnicity. Again, while Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are completely integrated into the Israeli system and have access to PayPal and other technologies, the Palestinians they live among do not. These are settlements that are considered illegal under U.S. foreign policy and international law, and the settlers who live in them enjoy access to resources that are regularly denied to the Palestinians next door. In fact, Human Rights Watch released a report earlier this year stated that businesses should withdraw from the settlements entirely to end their complicity in “an inherently unlawful and abusive system that violates the rights of Palestinians.”

This is not just about access to PayPal. It is about PayPal’s role in empowering entrepreneurs, small businesses, and individuals to make a living and conduct commerce, particularly in parts of the world where physical barriers and limitations are established by governments. We would be doing ourselves, as Americans and Palestinians, a disservice by allowing any company to deny their service based on ethnicity, heritage or because of Israeli pressure to enforce a clear suppression of the Palestinian economy via the limitations of occupation.

It is our sincere hope that our latest attempt to right this wrong will not fall on deaf ears. For the Palestinian people, breaking free from Israeli military occupation will mean carving out a meaningful space for ourselves in the global economy, and we cannot do that without equal access to indispensable tools like PayPal.

 

IN MEMORY OF A GREAT DREAM

 

Rosa sat so Martin could walk …
Martin walked so Barack could run …
Barack ran so all our children could fly …
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There is no doubt in my mind that Martin Luther King would have rejoiced the day Obama was elected President of the United States. His dream was finally realised ….
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Or was it??
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The dream did not include the continuation of illegal wars …
Nor the racial profiling and hate crimes in the streets …
Nor the use of drones against innocent civilians …
Nor the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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The dream spoken about above was supposed to set us free, but we still have a long way to go.
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Don’t Give Up The Fight!
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This could be the end result …
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#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

#Celtics ~~ THE SAGA CONTINUES

Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.

UEFA has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for display of an “illicit banner.” The “illicit banner” is a reference to Palestinian flags waved by Celtic supporters last week.

Fans hold up Palestine flags during Glasgow Celtic’s match against an Israeli football team on 17 August. (Russell Cheyne/ Reuters)

Fans hold up Palestine flags during Glasgow Celtic’s match against an Israeli football team on 17 August. (Russell Cheyne/ Reuters)

 

Celtic fans defy threat by hugging Palestine tighter

Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.

UEFA has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for display of an “illicit banner.” The “illicit banner” is a reference to Palestinian flags waved by Celtic supporters last week.

The fundraising campaign has been set up by the Green Brigade, a Celtic fan group, which has pledged to put part of the money towards setting up and sustaining a youth soccer team in the occupied West Bank.

Another part of the proceeds will go to the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, MAP.

The Green Brigade “ultras” were largely behind a solidarity action at a Champions League against Hapoel Beer Sheva match in Celtic Park, the Glasgow club’s home ground, last week. Celtic won the game by five goals to two.

Supporting Palestine

The money raised by the Green Brigade will not actually go towards paying any fine imposed by UEFA. Rather, it will be used to support projects in Palestine.

Green Brigade has described UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings as “petty and politically partisan.”

It set the objective of raising £15,000 (about $20,000) to form and sustain a football team, Aida Celtic, based in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

The target of £15,000 is based on a previous fine UEFA handed out to the club after another display of Palestine solidarity in 2014.

By Monday, the Green Brigade had already raised more than three times the initial £15,000 target, according to the fundraising page.

Celtic fans have previously raised funds for Aida camp. A youth delegation from the camp toured Scotland earlier this summer.

The only football pitch in the camp was built by the Lajee Cultural Center in Aida. Its coordinator, Salah Ajarma, has welcomed the initiative and pledged to call the team Aida Celtic in recognition of the show of support from Celtic fans.

“It will mean so much to our young people to be part of an official team, to have boots and strips and to represent the camp wearing the colors of our friends,” Ajarma was quoted as saying by the Green Brigade group. “Aida Celtic will be a source of pride for all in Aida.”

The funds raised will provide equipment, team uniforms and cover travel costs to allow the camp to enter a team in the Bethlehem Youth League. It will also pay for an annual Aida Celtic football tournament of teams from refugee camps across the West Bank.

Sense of history

UEFA bans the display of symbols deemed political at football games.

Celtic has strong connections to the Irish community in Glasgow. The repeated displays of solidarity reflect the affinity between Irish people and Palestinians as both have experienced colonization and occupation.

“There is a strong sense of history among that community, even though it’s now third, fourth and fifth generation Irish,” Scottish historian Tom Devine told Al Jazeera. “The situation in Palestine is a classic example of land that is being taken from people who lived there for generations. It chimes in with the course of Irish history.”

In a statement following last week’s game, the Green Brigade explained that its action sought to challenge the normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“From our work with grassroots Palestinian groups in the West Bank and the refugee camps of Bethlehem, we know the positive impact international solidarity has on those living in the open prisons of the occupied territories,” the Green Brigade stated.

“We also know that their suffering cannot be ignored by the international community and last night’s actions also sought to raise awareness of the boycott, divest, sanctions (BDS) campaign which seeks to challenge the normalization of the Israeli occupation.”

Since the action last week the story has gone viral on social media with Palestinians using the hashtag #thankscelticfans to show their appreciation for the display.

In Ramallah, the crest of the club was projected onto a building over the weekend.

Celtic will play the return tie in Israel on Tuesday.

US IS FUELING ISRAEL’S CIVIL WAR

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern  city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ  File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

US should withhold military aid until Israel recognises Palestinian sovereignty

US fueling Israel’s civil war

Sam Bahour

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

On one side of this civil war is the elected government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a bunch of the most extremist politicians one can find, several illegal settlers themselves. Aligned with the government are a cohort of settlers in the West Bank, which have surpassed their widely acknowledged role as the largest impediment to peace and have become an electoral consistency that is hard to reckon with.  Supporting this camp in Israel are party faithful that in any other country would be called outright racists. You can find some of them at Israeli soccer games chanting “Death to the Arabs.” A few have actually made that chant a reality.

On the other side is everyone else, albeit unable to see themselves on the same political side. In this camp are many Jewish Israelis who voted for Netanyahu, some more than once, and have watched their candidate move Israel to the most isolated position it has ever witnessed. These Israelis do not feel any safer today than they did when Netanyahu first ran for office. Added to this group are the second, third and fourth class Israeli Jewish citizens who traditionally vote Likud, against their best interests, and they make up the bulk of Israel’s poverty-stricken class; they sometimes are referred to as Mizrachi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and the like. Then there is the 20 percent block of Palestinian citizens of Israel. This Palestinian constituency comprises the third largest elected block in the Knesset, but no other Israeli Jewish party deals with them; thus is the extreme state of racism inherent in the Israeli political system.

These two warring sides are fiercely at each other’s throats to claim the nature of Israeli society. The government has embarked on a tragic course to complete the process started in 1948 when Israel was established, to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants. The other camp, however fragmented, understands that Palestinians are never going to disappear into thin air and seek their government to end the nearly 50-year military occupation so Israel can reenter the community of nations with some sense of normalcy.

We are told to believe, ad infinitum by Israel’s most senior officials and an endless stream of flashy media clips, that Israel is a “light upon nations,” and brought the world high-tech, modern agriculture, and even cherry tomatoes. Israel brags that it is a “start-up nation” and Intel, Microsoft and HP, just to name a few multinationals, have all enthusiastically setup shop in the country. What these exaggerated quips and polished marketing tools do not tell us is that Israel is at a point where it is at war with itself.

The social inequality in Israel has reached epic proportions. As reported in Haaretz in 2015, as of 2013 “Israel remained at the bottom of the OECD rankings for measures of inequality and poverty.” Added to this acute class strata, indigenous Palestinians who make up one-fifth of Israel’s population are dealt out of the Israeli melting pot. Jewish Israelis are divided to the point where physical altercations frequently occur across race divides in the streets of Tel Aviv. Additionally, imported foreign labor, brought to replace the traditional Palestinian labor force from the West Bank and Gaza, are tearing Israel at its already fragile seams.

The “start-up nation” started up because Israel acquired, by the use of brute military force, land and water, the two key ingredients to statehood in the Middle East. Israel thrives because the US has chosen to relieve it from its full financial burden as a nation by granting it over $120 billion since its founding. Furthermore, all of this start-up buzz is a result of research and development spending by the military, without which there would be no start-up sector to speak of. This external budget support frees Israeli funds to do other business.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently negotiating President Obama for a 10-year military aid package to the tune of $40 billion. This new package follows President George W. Bush’s administration’s generous 10-year aid package of $30 billion. Historically, the bulk of these funds have been earmarked for Israel to purchase US weaponry, but the current package under negotiations allows Israel to spend the money in Israel. These monies are Israel’s slush fund. With these funds at its disposal, no wonder Israel can afford to offer multinationals 10 and 20-year tax incentives. In 2014 alone, it was reported that “Intel, the US chip giant, will invest $6bn in the upgrade of its main manufacturing plant in what will be the biggest single investment by a foreign company in the country [Israel]. The company will receive a grant of $300m over five years and will pay a corporate tax rate of only 5% for a 10-year period.” With that kind of financial underwriting, I can make the roof of my house a start-up nation.

Part of that other business that the US indirectly funds allow Israel to pursue its continuation of repressing by military occupation 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US Department of State registers in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – year in and year out how Israel violates human rights. US human rights attorney Alice Lynd, with the assistance of her husband, Atty. Staughton Lynd, documented these report’s human rights violations in a pamphlet for the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW). Yet, US policy remains uninformed by these reports. Israel laughs all the way to the bank as they continue to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territory and entice multinationals to come to Israel to do business.

Don’t do it President Obama. This is an unwise use of US tax dollars. If for some unorthodox political reason, you must agree to this (which I do not buy into), then make sure today’s fundamentalist, right-wing Israeli government finally walks up to the plate and takes the move that is inevitable, recognising the State of Palestine, not to mention ending their occupation. Actually, the world is awaiting the US to make the same recognition. Better yet, take Israel’s hand and head to the UN Security Council and pass the pending resolution which upgrades Palestine’s status at the UN to a full member state. Later, both countries, Israel and the US, can decide when to extend direct recognition.

If Israel refuses to accept recognising the State of Palestine, the ultimate act to save the rapidly vanishing two-state paradigm, then hold the military aid package and take bold political action before you leave office, grant US direct recognition of Palestine. When the incoming president is faced with the wrath of Israel and the pro-Israeli lobby for this US recognition, the new administration will have a $40 billion card to subdue them. Maybe by then, these funds can be leveraged to get Israel to end their military occupation once and for all.

It’s sad that tax dollars are used in such a fashion, but if that is how the US works, then let it work for peace, not to continue fuelling Israel’s civil war, which will ultimately spill over to yet another armed clash with Palestinians under occupation. As a Palestinian-American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I have an obligation to my two daughters and all Palestinian children, as well as all of Israel’s children too, to speak up before we all end up paying the price, again, for US inaction, or worse.

 

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