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`Racist and Reprehensible`: AIPAC Slams Kahanist Party Backed by Netanyahu Amir Tibon - Haaretz "AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israeli lobby group in Washington, joined the wave of criticism within the Jewish community of far- right Otzma Yehudit party, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu successfully convinced the party to join forces with the religious- Zionist Habayit Hayehudi party to increase their chances of winning seats in the upcoming election." ca 23/2/2019
Mud flies as Gantz, Netanyahu take aim at each otherTOI STAFF - The Israel Resilience and Likud parties ratcheted up election campaigns against each other Tuesday, accusing each others’ leaders of abandoning the country’s security and supporting the uprooting of Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. In a series of videos Tuesday, Israel Resilience, led by Benny Gantz, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of caving to Hamas and evacuating settlements. It was the first time the party has leveled a direct attack on Netanyahu, who has waged a months-long campaign seeking to portray rival party leader Gantz as a “weak leftist.”-rh19/2/2019
What Netanyahu actually said on Poles’ collaboration with NazisTAMAR SHARON and RAPHAEL AHREN - The Times of Israel - A brief diplomatic crisis between Israel and Poland has served as a sharp reminder of the power that a single word — even if that word is simply “the” — can sometimes carry in international relations. Top Polish politicians were thrown into a frenzy Thursday after reports emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Warsaw for an international conference on the Middle East, had said that “the Poles cooperated with the Nazis” during the Holocaust.-rh19/2/2019
Here’s why Bernie Sanders already has the Democratic party rattledNorman Solomon - Alter Net - With a launch of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign on the near horizon, efforts to block his trajectory to the Democratic presidential nomination are intensifying. The lines of attack are already aggressive—and often contradictory. One media meme says that Bernie has made so much headway in moving the Democratic Party leftward that he’s no longer anything special. We’re supposed to believe that candidates who’ve adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.-rh19/2/2019
Palestine`s other open-air prison : Here is what a West Bank Palestinian resident has to go through every time s/he tries to get out of home.Jalal Abukhater - Aljazeera - Under a debilitating siege for more than a decade, Gaza has been rightfully declared the biggest open-air prison in the world. But there is another, similar, prison in Palestine that is less obvious because it suffers from a different kind of siege, undeclared and indirect: the West Bank. Every Palestinian who resides there and holds official Palestinian identification papers is a prisoner in their own home. Freedom of movement is non-existent for the vast majority of the population because of a myriad of Israeli policies aimed at restricting it to the bare minimum. The situation is certainly shocking yet seems to be largely ignored by the world, especially by our Israeli neighbours.-rh19/2/2019
Record number of reports criticizing Israel said to be released by UN next monthTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - The United Nations Humans Rights Council is expected to release a series of reports critical of Israel next month, including one reportedly accusing the military of war crimes over its response to violent protests by Palestinians on the Gaza border. According to the pro-Israel watchdog group UN Watch, other reports are set to accuse Israel of alleged human rights violations in the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War war, and in territories claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, Channel 12 news reported Thursday.-rh 19/2/2019
How To Speak About The Israel Lobby In A Non-Anti-Semitic Way Batya Ungar-Sargon - The Forward - If you’re upset the U.S. gives Israel unconditional support despite anti-Democratic measures like the racist Nation State bill and the entrenchment of the Occupation of millions of Palestinians, and that the U.S. makes no demands that Israel stop oppressing the Palestinians in exchange for the billions of dollars in aid we supply it, you’re not alone. Many Jews share this frustration. And as an American taxpayer, you are absolutely entitled to this non-anti-Semitic opinion. So say that. Stick to actual things AIPAC does in your criticism. Talk about specific problems you have with Israel’s conduct and the U.S.’s support of that conduct, and the people who lobby for this support. Be specific about the things you wish AIPAC, or the U.S. government didn’t do.-rh 19/2/2019
What would be the fate of a prime minister convicted in a court of law?ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE - The Times of Israel - With the possibility of the attorney general announcing an intention to indict the prime minister just weeks before national elections, Israel’s political and legal system finds itself in uncharted territory. Whether or not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted, and whether he then decides to resign or chooses to wage his legal battles from the prime minister’s office, the current uncertainty does not appear to be tenable. Once the dust clears from the Netanyahu affair, we will need to consider amendments to the law to prevent such situations from arising in the future, for example, by establishing a process of suspension for the entire duration of the legal proceedings.-rh19/2/2019
2018: Plight of Gaza fishermen after Israel’s gradual destruction of their sectorB’Tselem - "In 2000, there were 10,000 registered fishermen in Gaza; now there are about 3,700. In practice, only about half of the registered fishermen actually fish, as many cannot use their boats due to the lack of supplies to repair them or build new ones, or because the military confiscated the boats. About 95% of fishermen in Gaza live below the poverty line, which is USD 4.6 a day in Gaza" [ry]18/2/2019
OCHA: Israeli settler violence continues to rise in occupied PalestineMa’an News Agency - "The uptrend in Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied West Bank recorded in recent years has continued since the beginning of 2019, with a weekly average of seven attacks resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of five in 2018 and three in 2017, according to OCHA’s report" [ry] 18/2/2019
Launch of Palestinian civilian monitor group angers settlers in HebronJACOB MAGID - The Times of Israel - Members of a new civilian monitor group launched by Palestinians in Hebron faced verbal and physical harassment from settlers Sunday as they walked a group of children to school in the flashpoint West Bank city. Footage from the skirmish showed an Israeli woman slapping Issa Amro, a local activist who is among the leaders of the group inaugurated less than two weeks after a pair of international monitor groups left Hebron.-rh 12/2/2019
Family of slain Druze border guard slams Netanyahu for politicizing his deathSTUART WINER - The Times of Israel - The brother of a Druze border policeman who bled to death in 2000 after he was shot in clashes with Palestinians demanded Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stop using the controversial circumstances of his sibling’s death as political fodder to attack political rival Benny Gantz.-rh12/2/2019
Thousands of Palestinian Bedouins have no access to vote in upcoming Israeli electionsYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel released a statement Monday saying the group is appealing to the Israeli Central Elections Committee Chairman and Interior Minister, demanding that polling stations be placed in 11 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert. The 11 villages, which are home to some 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins who have Israeli citizenship, currently have no polling stations or public transportation to reach existing stations.-rh12/2/2019
Photo Essay: Caves bring depopulated villages in the south Hebron Hills back to life Ahmad Al-Bazz - Mondoweiss - For weeks under the cloak of night Palestinians secretly renovated four caves and built a tin-roofed house in the West Bank hamlet of Ar-Rakeez where only a handful of residents live. Last week they opened the homes in a “bringing life back” ceremony. The event was not announced in advance as to avoid any potential disruption by the Israeli army, locals said.-rh12/2/2019
ISRAEL PULSE Israeli left-wing parties to unite or to sink Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - This author has been calling for a joint Labor-Meretz framework since the 1990s, after the United Workers Party (Mapam) broke away from the Labor Party, following the decision by Shimon Peres to form a national unity government in 1984. The joint Labor-Mapam framework was never reinstituted. I raised the need for this as a member of the Labor Party leadership and again in 2003, when I switched parties to Meretz and was elected party chair. A consolidation of this sort could increase the parties’ strength. After the 2015 election, for example, it would have allowed both movements to form a group with 29 Knesset members and be a significant force when dealing with the Likud and its 30 seats. Now, however, such a merger would be a “lifesaver,” not only for the two parties but for the entire center-left camp. Without Meretz or Labor, there will be no way to form a coalition of parties that could block the Likud after the April 9 election.-rh 12/2/2019
Islamic Jihad, the new lord of Gaza?Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - Who’s leading whom in the Gaza Strip? Does Hamas lord over the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a militant movement supported by Iran, or is it the other way around? Over the past few months, Israeli security forces have noted the growing influence of the Islamic Jihad on Hamas. Seeking to avoid problems with Iran, the Hamas leadership feels it has little choice but to follow the Islamic Jihad’s dictates in their actions when dealing with Israel and Egypt.-rh 12/2/2019
Settlers to Palestinian laborers: `Work with human rights groups and lose your job`Edo Konrad - +972 - Settlers in the southern West Bank posted flyers warning Palestinian labourers not to cooperate with Israeli human rights activists or organizations if they want to keep their jobs. Tazpit News Agency, a settler-aligned English-language news outlet, reported earlier this week that Israeli settlers in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc have been posting these intimidating flyers around Palestinian villages nearby. The flyers threaten to ban Palestinians who cooperate with human rights groups from working in settlements there.-rh12/2/2019
Israeli court `enables, validates` Palestinian home demolitionsAljazeera - Israel`s top court enables and validates the disposition of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes in the occupied West Bank, a new report has found. According to the report, which was released on Wednesday by Israeli rights group B`tselem, Israel`s Supreme Court has been enabling the state to continue implementing illegal policies while ignoring the defects in Israel`s "planning policy" in the West Bank. The report, "Fake Justice", details how the state`s policy minimises Palestinian construction and aims to expand the building of illegal Jewish settlements.-rh12/2/2019
In Palestine, even visiting a father’s grave can be a decades-long battleBen White - Middle East Eye - Copty, born in July 1948, never knew her father, who was killed a few months earlier. The family lived in Ma’alul village outside Nazareth, but became internally displaced when the village was occupied and destroyed by Israeli forces. The cemetery where her father is buried is now inside a military base. Since 2000, Copty has made repeated formal requests to Israeli authorities to be able to visit the cemetery. While none of the relevant bodies have explicitly rejected her requests, neither have they explained the rationale for the endless delays. In 2015, Copty was allowed to briefly enter the military base, but was not allowed to access the cemetery. Disturbingly, during the visit, Copty saw “excavation work on one side of the cemetery and that excavations had apparently desecrated some graves,” with exposed skeletons visible.-rh12/2/2019
Copenhagen mayor awards BDS activists for their courageJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - At a time when Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel are being punished by Israel-apologists, an award for the courage of these activists from the Copenhagen Municipality comes as a fresh wind.-rh12/2/2019
UNICEF Condemns Israeli Army for Murder Of Palestinian ChildrenIMEMC News & Agencies - “`This is another stark reminder of the significant violence that children in the State of Palestine continue to endure. As we mark 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is essential that the fundamental rights of children be respected`, stated UNICEF" [ry] 11/2/2019
Fake Justice: The Responsibility Israel’s High Court Justices Bear for the Demolition of Palestinian Homes and the Dispossession of PalestiniansSpecial Report - B`Tselem "The ruling’s determination that the destruction of the community is no more than an issue of “law enforcement” accurately reflects how Israel has framed its policy regarding Palestinian construction in the West Bank for years. On the declarative level, Israeli authorities consider the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank as no more than a matter of illegal construction, as if Israel does not have long-term goals in the West Bank..." ca10/2/2019
Israeli ministers sign petition to settle 2 million Jews in West BankMa`an News Agency "Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and ministers Gilad Erdan, Miri Regev, Yisrael Katz of the Likud party, Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett of New Right party, were among signatories on a petition to abandon the two-state solution and establish new Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank.The signed petition was put forward by the Nahala Movement, an Israeli settler group, to promote an Israeli settlement plan introduced under the government of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the early 1900s." ca10/2/2019
As Gantz takes on the Rabin mantle, Israel’s Labor party slides toward oblivionDAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel - Obscured by the headlines generated Wednesday by poll figures suggesting Benny Gantz’s candidacy now poses a genuine prime ministerial challenge to Benjamin Netanyahu was the same surveys’ indication that the Labor party is edging toward extinction. Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party reacted to the surveys with sensible scepticism, saying it was “not ecstatic over upturns nor worried about downturns. The public will decide.”-rh 5/2/2019
Netanyahu`s election season infrastructure bonanzaItamar Eichner - Ynet News - With just two months to go until the elections for Israel`s parliament, and at the height of the election campaign, the Prime Minister`s Office has released a detailed document entitled "Infrastructure for Growth for 2019." The plan comprises a total of NIS 196 billion (approx. $54 billion) in investment in infrastructure for the coming years. Nonetheless, given the budget cuts expected to take place once the new government is formed after the elections, it is not at all certain that many of the items will ever make it out of the planning stages. It is also unclear whether Benjamin Netanyahu will be the prime minister to cut the ribbon on these projects.-rh5/2/2019
Trump: Israel’s friends in words, not in deeds Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - Trump`s intention to withdraw 7,000 American soldiers from Afghanistan and reach an agreement with the Taliban, in complete opposition to the opinion of his former secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, is a stark example of the geostrategic threat he is creating for Israel by abandoning the region. It’s hard to find someone whose words are cheaper than those of the man who is supposed to be the leader of the free world and to whom gestures have no value if they don’t entail financial gain.-rh 5/2/2019
USAID officially ceases assistance in West Bank and GazaYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has officially ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. According to Reuters, the move came in line with a January 31st deadline set by the Anti- Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), a new US legislation that allows Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in US court over alleged complicity in “acts of war.”-rh5/2/2019
Netanyahu plays Iran threat at his convenienceAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - In two weeks’ time, that is less than two months prior to Israel’s April 9 elections, the Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can expect a rating-boosting campaign contribution. On Feb. 13, Netanyahu’s friends in Washington and Warsaw are convening an international conference on “peace and security in the Middle East,” to which 70 world leaders, including from Arab countries, have been invited. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s prime minister has decided to accept the American-Polish invitation. In fact, behind the seemingly bland conference title — "Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East" — hides Netanyahu’s magic word, which is also the key word of his re-election campaign: Iran. The magical qualities of the word are a proven fact: Reports about an Israeli air force bombing of Iranian positions in Syria push aside the latest news item about new evidence of Netanyahu’s alleged involvement in bribery.-rh 5/2/2019
Assassins: Israeli Soldiers Just "Neutralized" A "Female Terrorist," aka A 16-Year-Old Palestinian Schoolgirl Going HomeAbby Zimet - Common Dreams - In their latest atrocity among too many to count or evidently acknowledge in the media, Israeli forces shot and killed Samah Zuhair Mubarak, 16, at al-Zaayim checkpoint in the occupied West Bank as she walked home from school Wednesday. Israel claims Mubarak tried to stab a security officer, after which “a rapid response by additional security forces brought about her neutralization with no injuries to the security personnel.” To bolster their narrative of a "female terrorist," officials posted a random picture of a small, pretty kitchen knife they said they found at the scene - they uncovered only schoolbooks in her back pack - and helpfully noted many knife attacks, especially by women, stem from personal issues and essentially constitute "suicide by cop."-rh5/2/2019
Palestine’s head of mental health services says PTSD is a western conceptOlivia Goldhill - Quartz - Palestine has some of the highest rates of mental illness in the world. A quarter of Palestinian adolescents have made suicide attempts; about 23.2% have post-traumatic stress disorder (according to a survey of 1,369 over three years) compared to around 6-9% in the US; and the Palestinian territories have by far the highest levels of depression in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Samah Jabr, chair of the mental health unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health and one of just 32 psychiatrists in the Palestinian territories, doubts those statistics. “I question the methodology. I think they’re measuring social psychological pain and social suffering, and they’re saying this is depression,” she says. “What is sick, the context or the person? In Palestine, we see many people whose symptoms—unusual emotional reaction or a behaviors—are a normal reaction to a pathogenic context.” There are many people in Palestine who are suffering. But Western-developed tools for measuring depression, such as the Beck inventory, do not tend to distinguish between justified misery and clinical depression.-rh5/2/2019
“Largest Land Grab Since 1948” — Israel to Expel 36,000 Palestinians From NegevWhitney Webb - Mintpressnews - According to an Israeli media report, the Israeli government has completed work on a massive, far-reaching plan that would expel an estimated 36,000 Palestinians from “unrecognized” villages in the Negev Desert. If the plan is approved by the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, its implementation could begin as soon as this year and would take four years to complete. News of the plan was first published by Israel Hayom – Israel’s largest Hebrew-language newspaper, funded by Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to both U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan — compiled by Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his staff — features the seizure of an estimated 260,00 dunams (64,247 acres) from Palestine’s Bedouins. The size of the territory in question and the high number of Palestinians set to be affected has led some to call the plan the largest “land grab” of Palestinian-inhabited land since 1948, when the state of Israel was founded.-rh5/2/2019
New Amnesty report examines how Airbnb,, Expedia, and TripAdvisor benefit from the Israeli occupationJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - Airbnb made news in November when it declared it would remove its listing from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. This declaration preempted a Human Rights Watch report on Airbnb and, where kept its silence. Yet, shortly after its announcement Airbnb met with Israeli government officials and announced that it would not be implementing the policy after all. It then issued a maddening set of contradictory statements, which amounted to it wanting to both have its settlement-cake and eat it too. As of this week, Airbnb has yet to implement its new ban policy, as Judy Maltz noted yesterday in Haaretz. In other words, Airbnb is profiting from war crimes, and hoping that it will be forgotten, while it obfuscates its criminality with contradictory statements.-rh5/2/2019
The Moral Travesty of Israel Demanding Arab and Iranian Money for Its Own ‘Nakba’Ramzy Baroud - Axis of Logic - The game is afoot. Israel, believe it or not, is demanding that seven Arab countries and Iran should pay $250 billion as compensation for what it claims was the forceful expulsion of Jews from Arab countries during the late 1940s. The events that Israel cites allegedly occurred at a time when Zionist Jewish militias were actively uprooting nearly one million Palestinian Arabs and systematically destroying their homes, villages, and towns throughout Palestine.-rh 5/2/2019
UPDATE: On 45th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Wound 98 Civilians, including 15 Children, 4 Women; 2 of them Paramedics, and 1 JournalistPCHR - IMEMCnews - "On Friday afternoon, 01 February, 2019, in use of excessive force against peaceful protesters on the 45th Friday of the Great March of Return in the eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 98 civilians, including 15 children, 4 women; 2 of them are paramedics, and a journalist. The injury of 7 of those wounded were reported serious, including a 17-year-old girl who was shot with a bullet to the chest in eastern Khan Younis" [ry] 4/2/2019
Palestine in Pictures: January 2019EI - “Eleven Palestinians were killed by soldiers and settlers during January, and an additional Palestinian died from his injuries after being shot during protests in Gaza the previous year” [ry] 4/2/2019
MADA Condemns Wave of Attacks on Journalists in West Bank and GazaIMEMC News & Agencies - "These violations have affected nine journalists...They are: from the West Bank, Yousef al-Faqih, Mahmoud Harish, who was detained for 22 days and released two days ago, Zaid Abu ‘Ara, the media student at Birzeit University Hamzah Mahmoud Khader, Hazem Nasser, Metasim Sakf Al-Hait, Amir Estate and Faisal Rifai, whose freedoms were held for hours. And, from Gaza, Louay al-Ghoul, who was summoned and detained three consecutive times for long hours by the Internal Security, during which he was tortured and beaten." ca4/2/2019
Will seven politicians `Unite4Israel`? Akiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - Admittedly, most center-left Israelis are not stupid, but they are undoubtedly confused and embarrassed, having lost their way. The deep yearning to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates, among them Culture Minister Miri Regev, appears to have become their be all and end all, blocking the political and moral field of vision of wise and principled people. In other words, the dream of toppling Netanyahu and company in the April 9 elections has distorted the thinking of Israel`s best and brightest when it comes to the tremendous diplomatic, political and social challenges facing Israel.-rh 29/1/2019
Hamas-Fatah tension takes its toll on reconciliationMohammed Haboush - Al-Monitor - Tension between Hamas and Fatah has been surging, particularly since the latter accused Hamas’ security services in Gaza of cracking down on Fatah leaders and cadres after the Interior Ministry in Gaza refused to allow Fatah to hold a 54th anniversary celebration in the Gaza Strip. Fatah spokesman in Gaza Atef Abu Seif said in a press statement Dec. 31, “Security services in Gaza have arrested more than 500 Fatah leaders and members since Dec. 30, 2018, against the backdrop of the movement’s activities for its 54th anniversary, which falls on Jan. 1 of every year.”-rh 29/1/2019
Bernie Sanders could be US president in 2020 – and this is what it means for Israel and the Middle EastRobert Fisk - Information Clearing House - But let’s remember a few more things about Sanders. He’s always supported the “right of Israel to exist” and its right to self-defence, and he’s always condemned Palestinian attacks on Israelis. But he’s also kept away from pro- Israeli Jewish lobby groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and he didn’t restrain himself when he chose to condemn Israel for its illegal colonial project of building homes for Jews and Jews only in the occupied West Bank, nor when Israel has blatantly interfered in US domestic or electoral politics.-rh29/1/2019
Israeli teen charged with terror in rock attack that killed Palestinian womanJACOB MAGID -The Times of Israel - The Central District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment Thursday against the Israeli teen suspected of killing a Palestinian woman three months ago, in the most serious incident of suspected Jewish terror since the 2015 firebombing of a Palestinian home in Duma. The 16-year-old from the central West Bank was charged with manslaughter, aggravated stone throwing at a moving vehicle, and intentional sabotage of a vehicle. Each of the charges connected to the killing of Aisha Rabi, a 47-year-old Palestinian mother of eight, was qualified as having been carried out “in the context of a terrorist act.”-rh 29/1/2019
Demolition highway: Israel plans to force Bedouin from homes : `Developing` the Negev has entailed repeated efforts to displace Bedouin Palestinians from `unrecognised` villages.Ben White - AlJazeera - As many as 1,000 Bedouin Palestinian families are threatened with forced displacement by the Israeli government under plans for a major new highway in the Naqab (Negev) region. The route of the new section of Road 6 already entails the forcible relocation of some 100 Bedouin families. In December 2018, however, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel declared he intended to take advantage of the situation to expel a further 900 families.-rh29/1/2019
Former IDF chief launches shocking right-wing campaign Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - Gantz’s political campaign is wrapped in the human tragedy suffered by 2 million Palestinians. He boasts about how he had returned the Gaza Strip to the Stone Age. The Israeli public was eager to hear the ideas of Gantz the politician, but instead received shocking wartime videos from him.-rh 29/1/2019
Netanyahu’s archrival before elections: the attorney general Mazal Mualem - Al Monitor - Netanyahu’s election videos are very brief, rhythmic and provocative. The thing is that they do not target some political rival; they are focused on Mandelblit, who, according to all observers, is expected to announce his decision to indict Netanyahu for bribery (subject to a hearing) in Case 4000 (a telecom- media affair), and that he will do this some time in February, just before the April 9 election.-rh 29/1/2019
Why American are breaking their silence on IsraelRobert Fisk - Information Clearing House - It’s easy to accuse a white American of being an antisemite for “breaking the silence” over US- Israeli shenanigans; quite another to condemn a black American without giving the impression that such condemnation is not itself racist. And just read what Alexander actually wrote. If the US is to honour King’s message and not merely the man, she insisted, “we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements.”-rh29/1/2019
Sex scandal shakes Israelis` trust of judicial system Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - It all started with an old mobile phone. This much-too-smart phone set off one of the juiciest scandals to hit Israel in modern times, threatening to tarnish the image of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whose meteoric political rise has generated speculation of a future run for the premiership. The phone belongs to attorney Effi Naveh, the all-powerful chair of the Israel Bar Association (IBA). Until his resignation this week, Naveh was a strategic ally of the justice minister’s. He was the one who helped her lead the dramatic double reform of changing the judicial appointments’ process and appointing to the bench many conservative judges (out of the hundreds appointed during her term as minister).-rh 29/1/2019
Mandelblit in the middle: He’ll seal Netanyahu’s fate and maybe shape Israel’sThe Times of Israel - In the next few months, with attacks on him expected to ramp up yet further as he nears a decision on indicting the prime minister, the thickness of his skin and his commitment to those ideals will be put to the ultimate test. The widespread expectation that he will invite Netanyahu to a pretrial hearing, reportedly some time next month, will likely take the attempts by the prime minister’s loyalists to delegitimize and discredit him to a whole new level.-rh22/1/2019
Palestinian PM amends controversial regulation to exclude Jerusalemites Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - Due to public pressure, the Palestinian government amended a controversial regulation dealing with East Jerusalem residents. The decision set out in an order by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Jan. 3 required Palestinians holding Israeli IDs from having to pass a security clearance before being allowed to rent property in the Palestinian areas. The amendment, which made an exception for East Jerusalem residents, has eased the tension. But many Palestinians are still angry at being treated in a discriminatory fashion.-rh 22/1/2019
Is Israel spying on its visitors? Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - I found a Jan. 16 item written by Nahum Barnea in Yedioth Ahronoth discussing a form that visitors invited to attend conferences and meetings in Israel are asked to complete. It is a seemingly simple form that asks for personal details, but it also includes two rather astonishing questions: what are the visitor’s plans when not at the conference and with whom does he intend to meet in his leisure time. The second question concerns anyone the visitor knows in Israel — that is, names of family, friends, business contacts, academics, and diplomats and other people in government roles — and requests their phone number. As it turns out, this is (allegedly) a gesture of hospitality the state has decided to bestow on its guests. There is (seemingly) no requirement that one fill out the form, but those who do will be registered as a VIP and not subject to an interrogation upon exiting the country. Any attempt to learn what brilliant mind invented this new procedure encounters some difficulty.-rh 22/1/2019
Israel halts transfer of Qatari funds to Gaza as border tensions spiralJUDAH ARI GROSS - Times od Israel - Israel refused to allow a previously approved $15 million transfer to the Gaza-ruling Hamas terrorist group from Qatar on Tuesday, as the restive border region spiralled into deadly violence. The move came after an IDF officer was injured by sniper fire on the border of the restive enclave, and a Hamas fighter was killed in a reprisal shelling by Israel.-rh22/1/2019
INSS: Israel could face three-front war in 2019Itamar Eichner - Ynetnews - Israel could face military conflicts on three different fronts—Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip—at the same time in 2019, according to an annual assessment of security challenges done by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a national security think-tank. "The main three fronts are: Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and they are very volatile. Despite the continued mutual deterrence between the sides, there is a potential for a military escalation, which could eventually lead to an all-out three- front war … Israel is ought to be prepared for this scenario,” said the assessment, which was submitted to President Reuven Rivlin last week.-rh22/1/2019
Election 2019 shaping up as a festival of purported indignation over leftism : Substantive policy debate is out as campaigns look to manipulation and defamation to define their opponentsHAVIV RETTIG GUR - The Times of Israel - Earlier this week, Benny Gantz, the popular ex-IDF chief who attracted nearly half as many Knesset seats in polls as the ruling Likud before even registering his new political party, naming his Knesset slate or expressing a political opinion (or, perhaps, because he had not yet done those things), sided with Druze activists seeking to amend the nation-state law. Gantz promised to do everything in his power to ensure the law would reflect their equal standing in the Jewish state. Likud’s reaction was revealing not only for its content but for the coordinated way it deployed its response. It was as though the party’s entire cabinet cadre had turned out on social media, online videos and press statements to pronounce Gantz a “leftist.”-rh22/1/2019
Qalandiya Checkpoint: ‘Winter is a Harsh Season’Tamar Fleishman - Palestine Chronicle - A man who is yet to recover from his surgery waited with his wife for a taxi to take them back home, to Gaza. It was freezing and they were both shivering. Israeli soldiers didn’t allow just any taxi to take them home, but one that they would trust would indeed take them to the besieged Strip so that they would not stay in Israel or in the West Bank. The soldiers ordered the couple to wait outside, where there was nothing to protect them from the rain and cold.-rh22/1/2019
Electricity shortage may close Palestine`s hospitals Charles Stratford - Aljazeera - The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza is warning that at least three hospitals may be forced to close because there isn`t enough fuel to power generators vital to the supply of electricity. The latest fuel crisis started after Israel stopped millions of dollars from transferred from Qatar to the Palestinian territory more than two weeks ago.-rh 22/1/2019
Netanyahu`s well-oiled war machineTali Ben Ovadia - Ynetnews - Undermining the legitimacy of the justice system, trampling on the pillars of democracy, in this election race the prime minister takes no prisoners. Only a joint political campaign starring Lapid, Gantz and Ashkenazi could eat away at Netanyahu`s electoral advantage.-rh22/1/2019
OCHA: 10% increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018Ma’an News Agency - "During 2018, Israel demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10% increase compared to 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in a new report” [ry] 21/1/2019
Applying the law by ethnicity: Israel`s dual legal systems explainedVideo by Tal Frieden - +972 "In the occupied West Bank, everyone is subject to Israeli military law. Unless, of course, you’re an Israeli settler. The dual legal systems — separate laws and court systems for different people in the same territory — are one of the reasons some refer to Israel’s occupation as apartheid." ca19/1/2019
Trump’s Full Spectrum Assault on Palestinian PoliticsIlana Feldman - MERIP - he Trump Administration announced on August 31, 2018 that it was ceasing all US contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), rejecting what it termed “an irredeemably flawed operation.”[1] UNRWA provides education, healthcare, job training, and limited food aid for millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, the majority of whom are descendants of those Israel forcibly displaced from their homes in historic Palestine in 1948, in what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba (catastrophe).[2] Unlike most UN agencies, the entirety of UNRWA’s operational budget comes from voluntary contributions by member states. The US has historically been UNRWA’s biggest donor, last year providing about one-quarter of its $1.24 billion budget. The US refusal to contribute is therefore potentially catastrophic for its recipients.-rh16/1/2019
In Three Years, Israeli Military Courts Have Fined Palestinians $16 Million Amira Hass - Haaretz - In 2016 the fines came to 21.97 million shekels, and in 2017 to 20.59 million shekels. It’s hard to find a system and uniformity in the scales of the fines, as reports by the Machsom Watch rights group reveal. Despite the meticulous breakdown in the military courts’ reports, in July 2018 the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said in response to a question by the group Combatants for Peace – based on the Freedom of Information Law – that he could not provide figures on the fines and guarantees paid in military court. [ak]15/1/2019
Don`t say we didn`t know. The bookAmos Gvirtz - Why don`t people want to know about their own country`s crimes? Why do Human Rights and Peace movements` activities evoke such strong opposition? [You can buy the book from Amazon. Also available to read it for free--bz]15/1/2019
Are U.S. newspapers biased against Palestinians? Analysis of 100,000 headlines in top dailies says, YesDorgham Abusalim - Mondoweiss - A study released last month by 416Labs, a Toronto-based consulting and research firm, supports the view that mainstream U.S. newspapers consistently portray Palestine in a more negative light than Israel, privilege Israeli sources, and omit key facts helpful to understanding the Israeli occupation, including those expressed by Palestinian sources.-rh15/1/2019
Child Dies From Serious Wounds Suffered Last Friday in GazaIMEMC News - "Abdul-Rauf Ismael Salha, 14, was shot with a live round in the head during the Great Return March procession, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip" [ry] 14/1/2019
Legal official said to accuse PM of trying to ‘deceive public’ over graft probesMICHAEL BACHNER - The Times of Israel - In a live statement on prime time television Monday evening, Netanyahu demanded that police allow him to confront his former aides and colleagues who have reportedly provided incriminating evidence in the three graft cases in which he is a suspect. “Netanyahu wants to assert his power, weight and status to disrupt the investigation,” Army Radio quoted a “very senior official” in the State Prosecutor’s Office as saying. “In a confrontation with him, those state witnesses could give a different statement than what they gave police.” “The Israeli public is being deceived, and not for the first time, by Netanyahu, who is making use of the masses’ stupidity — meaning their lack of knowledge in those subjects,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying. “Anyway, no suspect has any right to a confrontation [during a police investigation] and it is inappropriate to hold an unnecessary and damaging confrontation.”-rh 8/1/2019
Unseen enemy: Doctors in Gaza battling superbug epidemicThe Bureau of Investigative Journalism - Doctors in Gaza and the West Bank warn they are battling an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a growing problem in the world’s conflict zones and one that risks spilling over borders and diminishing the global medical arsenal against serious illness. The rise and spread of these virulent infections adds to the devastation of war, increasing medical costs, blocking hospital beds because patients need longer care and leaving people whose injuries might once have been healed with life-changing disabilities.-rh8/1/2019
23 police officers, 4 settlers hurt in violent clashes at Amona outpostJACOB MAGID - The Times od Israel - Israeli security forces early Thursday morning clashed with roughly 300 settler youths who gathered overnight inside a pair of mobile homes illegally installed on the West Bank hilltop where the Amona outpost once stood. Officers who arrived on the scene to carry out a Jerusalem District Court order to remove the caravans encountered “very severe violence from dozens of rioters who threw stones, burned tires and threw irons bars” at the forces, a Border Police spokesman said.-rh8/1/2019
Exporting the Technology of OccupationAntony Loewenstein - The New York Review of Books - Speaking recently to an audience in Tel Aviv via satellite from Moscow soon after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged that Saudi Arabia had used Israeli-made spyware to track Khashoggi’s movements before his death. Snowden said that the Israeli cyber-intelligence company NSO Group Technologies had developed software known as Pegasus that was sold to the Saudis and allowed Khashoggi to be monitored by infecting the smartphone of one of his contacts, another Saudi critic, based in Canada.-rh 8/1/2019
Gaza’s public servants outraged at Hamas’ recent spending Huda Baroud - Al-Monitor - On Dec. 17, media sites circulated a leaked document from Hamas’ Popular Action Department detailing the movements’ expenses for the celebrations of its 31st anniversary in mid-December in Gaza City. The expenditures included travel and accommodation costs to bring Al-Waad band from Beirut to Gaza to participate in the festivities, buses to transport citizens to the event location, monitors at the festival site, Hamas flags and banners, promotion on social media and personal visits by Hamas members to Gaza. The movement also paid to install a stage in Katiba Square, west of Gaza City, and rented seating and generators. The leaked document said total expenditures up to Dec. 13 were some $534,350 — a bill that has angered many Hamas government employees in Gaza who have not been paid their full salary since 2013.-rh 8/1/2019
Birthright-will-fail-if-it-cant-adapt-to-the-needs-of-young-jewsPeter Beinart - Forward - Since June, 22 Diaspora Jews have either walked off Birthright trips in protest against their tour guide’s refusal to take them to meet Palestinians or been kicked off for raising uncomfortable questions about Israeli policy. And If Not Now activists and members of Na’amod, a similar group in Britain, have distributed anti-occupation literature to people about to embark on Birthright trips at airports. All this is both necessary and tragic. It is necessary because taking Diaspora Jews to Israel without giving them the chance to hear from Palestinians who live as non-citizens under Israeli control in the West Bank is dishonest and immoral. It’s like organizing a tour to America in the 1950s without introducing participants to blacks in the segregated south.-rh 8/1/2019
Detained Jewish teenagers suspected of murdering Palestinian woman — Shin BetJACOB MAGID - The Times of Israel - The Shin Bet security service on Sunday revealed that a group of Jewish teenagers arrested over the past week are suspected of involvement in the murder of a Palestinian woman in October. Aisha Rabi, 47, was struck in the head with a large stone while sitting in the passenger seat of a car being driven by her husband in the northern West Bank, the Shin Bet said in a statement, providing the first details on the investigation since a gag order was imposed on the case two days after the October 12, 2018, killing of the mother of eight.-rh 8/1/2019
Attacks by Jews against Palestinians in the West Bank tripled in 2018: ReportMiddle East Eye and agencies - Haaretz says 482 incidents, including damaging homes, cars and farmers` trees, reported by mid-December, compared to 140 for 2017 [ry] 7/1/2019
In 2018, Israel’s mask finally came offGideon Levy - Middle East Eye - Apartheid has been in place in the territories for a long time, and now it will be on the law books, too. Those who deny Israeli apartheid - the pro-Zionist propagandists who claim that unlike in South Africa, in Israel there are no racialist laws or legislatively institutionalised discrimination - will no longer be able to disseminate their baseless arguments. Some of the laws passed this year, and those in the legislative pipeline, undermine the claim that Israel is an egalitarian democracy. Yet, such legislation also has a positive side: these laws and the ones to come will strip away the disguise, and one of the longest masquerades in history will finally end. Israel will no longer be able to continue defining itself as a democracy - “the only one in the Middle East”.-rh1/1/2019
Seven hospitalized in settler attack on Hebron activistsEdo Konrad - +972 Magazine - Israeli settlers attacked a group of Palestinians who were attempting to rebuild part of a local youth center in the occupied city of Hebron over the weekend, sending seven of them to the hospital with minor injuries. On Saturday, according to eye witnesses, the settlers had demolished parts of a storage room being constructed at the home of local Palestinian activist Issa Amro, which also serves as a community center run by Youth Against Settlements. Amro filed a complaint with Israeli police against the settlers, who he says also tore off a metal gate from his neighbor’s house.-rh 1/1/2019
Netanyahu`s election u-turn is meant to sway his criminal probesNahum Barnea - Ynet news - Nothing can separate the elections from the attorney general`s decision, and no decision will be to everyone`s satisfaction. If Mandelblit decides to postpone the decision until after the elections, many Israelis will wonder —and justifiably so—for whom are they being asked to vote. Is it for a man who is facing charges of bribery or for a man who is facing lesser charges? They will ask whether they are voting for someone whose criminal cases are about to be closed due to the fact that "there is nothing, because there was nothing," according to Netanyahu`s oft-repeated mantra. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit Will the prime minister announce his resignation when Mandelblit`s decision is released? Will a deal be reached? Will his future coalition partners abandon him if he has already formed a government? Will Netanyahu even be the Likud`s ultimate candidate or does his candidacy depend on the outcome of these investigations?.-rh 1/1/2019
Three Israeli teens arrested in Jewish terror probeJACOB MAGID - The Times of Israel - Three Israelis were arrested Sunday on suspicion of involvement in a major security probe whose details are under gag order, a defence official confirmed to The Times of Israel. The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Shin Bet security service and the police’s nationalistic crime unit, which are probing the unspecified incident as a possible Jewish terror attack. A squad of Shin Bet agents and officers in the Yasam police reconnaissance unit raided a yeshiva in the northern West Bank and grabbed one student, who has since been prevented from speaking to a lawyer, said a spokesman for the Honenu legal aid organization that is representing the detained student.-rh1/1/2019
Don`t believe the hype: The Israeli right is weaker than it seemsMeron Rapoport - +972 Magazine - Political commentators are in near- total agreement that a solidly right-wing government will be formed after the upcoming elections, set to take place in early April. Even commentators identified with the liberal left say they have no doubt Netanyahu and the right will win. I doubt they are genuinely convinced of these predictions; rather, there are trying to avoid being seen as esoteric and out of touch with the people, as those who forecast a defeat for the right usually are.-rh1/1/2019
The case against Netanyahu: Is Israel about to reelect a corrupt prime minister?DAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel - The prime minister, a self- proclaimed victim of a political witch hunt involving the opposition, the media and the police, is seeking reelection in April precisely as the attorney general weighs whether to indict him for bribery, breach of trust and/or other allegations in three corruption cases. Immediately after Netanyahu announced Monday that he was going to the polls, discussion turned to the question of whether the prime minister was calling elections seven months before their scheduled date in part to bolster his legal position. -rh 1/1/2019
The events that shook the Palestinian territories in 2018Al Jazeera - Over the past year, Palestinians have experienced no respite from the Israeli occupation, let alone a breakthrough of ending it. Although no full-scale war broke out in 2018, as some had expected, it did bring a grim year of deadly violence, illegal settlement expansion and home demolitions. At least 289 Palestinians - men, women and children - were killed throughout 2018, while thousands of others were wounded, including many who were maimed for life by Israeli gunfire. According to the Defense for Children organisation, the death toll includes 56 Palestinian children - an average of more than one child every week. At least 538 housing units and facilities were demolished in the occupied West Bank, resulting in 1,300 Palestinians losing their homes, a report by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation`s Centre for Studies and Documentation said.- rh1/1/2019
Memo from Israel: Game still on in Syria Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - “We are not prepared to accept the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria which is directed against us. We will act against it vigorously and continuously, including during the current period,” Netanyahu remarked. “I have said that we will not be deterred from doing what is necessary. Therefore, we are called upon and we act. President Trump`s decision to withdraw the American soldiers from Syria will not change our policy. We are standing steadfast on our red lines in Syria and everywhere else.”-rh 1/1/2019
‘NYT’ report on killing of Gaza paramedic Rouzan al-Najjar is a big step forward, though flawedJames North - Mondoweiss - The New York Times surprised us yesterday by running a long, front-page investigation into the Israeli army’s killing last June 1 of a 20-year-old Gazan health worker, Rouzan al- Najjar. Before we criticize, let’s state clearly that this article was inconceivable in the Times up until a year, or even 6 months ago. By contrast, when Israel killed four small boys who who playing soccer on the beach during its 2014 assault on Gaza, the paper swallowed the army’s dishonest explanation, without challenge, even though one of its own photographers had been an eyewitness to the killings. This time, the Times came right out and said its inquiry showed that “. . . the shooting [of Rouzan al-Najjar] appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished.” The paper waited until the 9th paragraph to say this, but better late than never.-rh1/1/2019
IDF in West Bank refrains from arresting Jews Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - This December was particularly dramatic. At least one price tag attack was recorded about every three days. These included the slashing of tires of cars belonging to Palestinians, anti-Arab graffiti in Palestinian villages, the throwing of stones, the cutting down of olive trees and more. After the terrorist attack at the Givat Asaf intersection on Dec. 13, dozens of price tag attacks were recorded in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. In Beit Hanina, for example, assailants slashed tires and sprayed slogans like “Death to the Arabs” and “We will not sleep when blood is spilled here.” The graffiti included the Star of David, which has been adopted by price Tag activists as a symbol of their nationalist crimes. Despite the steep rise in incidents, almost no suspects have been arrested.-rh 1/1/2019
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