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Leading House Dems warn Netanyahu against promise to annex West Bank settlementsAllison Deger - Mondoweiss - Days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged as the clear victor of Israel’s elections and will lead the country for a fifth term, a campaign promise he made to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank is catching ire from House democrats. Taking the unusual step of publicly criticizing Israel and Netanyahu, today Eliot L. Engel, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Schneider, all supporters of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, issued a statement cautioning against any “unilateral steps” to declare occupied Palestinian territory part of the state of Israel.-rh16/4/2019
Anti-BDS laws are ‘McCarthyism 2.0 with loyalty to Israel’s far right regime as litmus test’ — BarghoutiPhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss - On the same day that the State Department was demonizing anti-Zionism as a greater threat to Jews than white nationalism, Jim Zogby and Peter Beinart hosted Omar Barghouti for a 90-minute discussion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. Barghouti appeared via Skype at the NYU/Washington event, having been prevented by the State Department from coming in person. The discussion was remarkable for Beinart’s generosity of spirit to the Palestinian activist. And Barghouti’s description of the anti-BDS laws as “McCarthyism 2.0 with loyalty to Israel’s far right regime as litmus test.”-rh16/4/2019
Chomsky: Trump Radically Interfered with Israel’s Election to Help Re-elect NetanyahuAmy Goodman - Democracy Now - Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is headed to a record fifth term in office after narrowing defeating former military chief Benny Gantz. In a discussion with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky talks about how President Trump directly interfered with the Israel election by repeatedly helping Netanyahu, from moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in defiance of international law.-rh 16/4/2019
Report: PM’s allies weighing move to presidential system to shield him legallyTOI STAFF - Allies of Benjamin Netanyahu are considering launching a bid to move Israel to a presidential system in order to protect the prime minister from prosecution in three criminal probes, Channel 13 news reported Friday. The TV channel claimed such a fundamental change to Israel’s system of government could ease legislation to stop legal action against Netanyahu.-rh 16/4/2019
Bennett: ‘The West Bank Will Soon Become Part of Israel’Ben White - Palestine Chronicle - According to Hebrew news site 0404, Bennett’s statements came in response to the Israeli occupation forces’ evacuation of 15 houses in the settlement of Netiv HaAvot on a hill belonging to Palestinian civilians in the town of Al-Khader, west of occupied Bethlehem. Bennett confirmed that the government had approved the establishment of a settlement in the area, adding that a huge neighborhood will be built on this hill.-rh16/4/2019
Is Blue and White strong enough for life in opposition? Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - Blue and White was established on the fly to achieve a single goal: bringing down Netanyahu. It is led by a quartet consisting of former military chief Gantz, who hooked up with another former chief of staff, Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya’alon, who had formed the Telem Party. The two then joined forces with Lapid and drew in a third former military chief, Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi. It all happened within two weeks and two and a half months prior to election day. This patchwork creation is composed of representatives from the political right and left, social activists and additional generals (two former major generals, two police commissioners, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet agency and a former deputy Mossad chief). The quartet runs this strange hybrid from what has been dubbed “the cockpit,” with Gantz at the controls and the other three as co-pilots. Whether this strange creature can survive in Israel’s political jungle and opposition exile is unclear.-rh 16/4/2019
Palestinian security prisoners end hunger strike over cellphonesTOI STAFF - A hunger strike by dozens of Palestinian security prisoners belonging to the Hamas terror group has come to an end after Israeli officials reportedly agreed to install public telephones in their prison wards. “An agreement in principle has been reached between the prisoners and the management of the occupation’s prisons regarding their demands,” the Palestinian Prisoners Club said on its Facebook page on Monday.-rh16/4/2019
German leader calls Netanyahu, stresses need for two-state solutionTOI STAFF and AP - German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday his reelection and stressed the need to work toward a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Merkel’s office said she emphasized in a phone conversation the continued relevance of a two-state solution, which she said should be the goal of international efforts, after Netanyahu vowed in the final days of his reelection campaign last week not to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, which he said would threaten Israel’s existence.-rh16/4/2019
How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American PoliticsNathan Thrall - New York Times - The growing prominence of the B.D.S. movement — and the backlash to it — is widening fault lines from college campuses to Capitol Hill. [The article is documenting a huge amount of background facts-bz]16/4/2019
Let’s change Europe from the ground upYanis Varoufakis - Le Monde diplomatique - Since it was created in 2016, DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) has resolved to make the most of this opportunity. First we prepared our programme, the New Deal for Europe. Then we invited other movements and parties to help develop it and to create, together, our European Spring — the first transnational list pursuing a common policy agenda across Europe. Before discussing this project, the left must address two issues dividing and weakening progressives across Europe: borders and the EU.-rh16/4/2019
Exit polls in Israeli voting show a tight race. Netanyahu may be in better position to form a coalition.Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash - Washington Post - Israelis voted Tuesday in a fiercely fought election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling for political survival after more than a decade in power. Challenger Benny Gantz, a former military chief of staff, is hoping to unseat him.-rh 9/4/2019
Likud admits deploying cameras at polling stations to monitor ‘problem Arabs’Tamar Pileggi - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Tuesday confirmed dispatching 1,200 election-day observers equipped with cameras to polling stations in Arab towns. Party officials told the Kan public broadcaster that Likud activists were hired to counter what it claimed were widespread voter irregularities, in areas it said were at high risk of voter fraud.-rh 9/4/2019
Absolute racism: a prerequisite for becoming prime minister of IsraelSiddiq Bazarwala - Mondoweiss - Regardless of who wins the upcoming Israeli elections on 9 April 2019, Palestinians will most certainly lose. While past elections focus on Iran or the economy, this campaign season the Israeli electorate is being fed a steady diet of anti-Palestinian toxicity. Historically Israelis have a tendency of voting for those with the most vile, intolerant and yet variedly repeated anti-Palestinians tropes. Racism in the upper echelon of the Israeli government is a norm, however, embedded just as well deep within its institutional policies, the media, immigration rights, housing and legal policies. In fact, it all goes back to the time Israel was founded.-rh9/4/2019
Arab Israelis alienated by both top candidates as vote approaches Akiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - Not even the most optimistic of polls give the Blue and White Party any hope of forming a relatively stable government after the April 9 elections without the support of the two Arab parties running, Ra’am-Balad and Hadash-Ta’al. However, neither one may get sufficient votes to enable the formation of a center-left bloc large enough to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ra’am- Balad may not attract enough votes to get into the Knesset at all. Labor and left-wing Meretz are not doing well among Arab voters, while Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has declared on more than one occasion that Arab parties would not be welcome in his government. In a Feb. 8 interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Gantz said he will consider partnership with any Zionist, a clear reference to the Arab parties not known to share the Zionist dream. In a March 19 interview on Channel 11, Gantz explicitly ruled out any political dialogue with Arab representatives.-rh 9/4/2019
Netanyahu’s post-election gambit? Protect me and I’ll annex the settlement blocsDAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s curtailed visit to the US was dominated by the escalation in violence spurred by a Hamas rocket attack early Monday that leveled a home in central Israel, and by the landmark White House meeting the same day at which US President Donald Trump formally conferred US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Somewhat overshadowed were comments made by Netanyahu pointing to his intention to permanently retain all or parts of the disputed West Bank.-rh 9/4/2019
Israel Demolishes Bedouin Village for 142nd TimeImemc News - Israeli bulldozers destroyed, Thursday, tents and residential structures that housed an indigenous Bedouin community in the Negev, reported Palestinian Ma’an News Agency. The Al-Araqib village is located in the Negev Desert, and is one of many villages that predate Israel, but remain unrecognized, and has been demolished 142 times by Israel.-rh9/4/2019
Trump to reveal peace plan on 71st anniversary of NakbaMA’AN NEWS AGENCY - The United States President Donald Trump is most likely to reveal his Middle East peace plan, known as the “Deal of the Century,” on the 71st anniversary of Nakba, on Thursday. According to Al-Khaleej Online news outlet, the US administration told Arab and Gulf officials that the peace plan would be revealed on May 15th on “Nakba day,” when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or “catastrophe,” when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes when the state of Israel was created. On Nakba day, Israel also celebrates its Independence Day.-rh 9/4/2019
Dareen Tatour: I was booked to read poems alongside Rasmea Odeh in Berlin, then Israel intervenedDareen Tatour - Mondoweiss "It is a painful feeling when a cultural or political event in which I was supposed to have participated in, specifically in Berlin, is cancelled. This is especially so as I have suffered a lot from systematic policies related to the occupation of Palestine and constant pressure from the Israeli Ministry of Culture on cultural institutions. Increasingly in Israel artistic and cultural works are being declared as conduits to terrorism that the state must abolish. I never imagined for a moment that I would relive the feelings of artistic sanction, or any degree of incitement to violence against me, in Europe too. Nor that I would witness a woman having her visa stripped because she was going to talk on a stage about an experience she first told the United Nations about nearly 40 years ago." ca7/4/2019
`Shoot to maim`: How Israel created a generation on crutches in GazaDania Akkad - Middle East Eye - Israeli snipers have intentionally maimed Palestinians protesting in Gaza over the past year, creating a generation of disabled youth and overwhelming the territory`s already crippled medical system, frontline doctors tell Middle East Eye. According to a United Nations inquiry released this month, over 80 percent of the 6,106 protesters wounded in the first nine months of the Great March of Return were shot in the lower limbs. Israeli soldiers intentionally shot civilians and may have committed war crimes in their heavy-handed response to the protests, which have been held regularly across Gaza since 30 March 2018, the report concluded.-rh 2/4/2019
Why Israel`s double standard on anti-semitism is dangerousMarco Carnelos - Middle East Eye - As Israel`s election nears, Netanyahu attempted - but clumsily failed - to host a meeting of the Visegrad Group, an informal gathering of four EU states - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - distinguished by their growing critiques of EU policies and open, uncritical support for Israel. While it is perfectly legitimate for Israel to seek better relations with EU members, there is an embarrassing problem: the leaders of Poland and Hungary have repeatedly been criticised for problematic and anti-semitic comments. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban`s party has even been suspended by the European Parliament`s biggest grouping.-rh 2/4/2019
Citizen Rivlin: Campaigns target the one voter who could decide the electionThe Times of Israel - There are three stages to an Israeli election: the voting for the parliament, the presidential selection of the potential prime minister, and coalition negotiations to form a government with a parliamentary majority. The people of Israel only have a say in the first part. The third part usually falls into place, eventually. And so, seven days before polls open, it is the second stage, the presidential selection of a prime minister, that is the great unknown of the race. If 61 or more of the 120 MKs recommend one candidate, Rivlin will almost certainly task that candidate with building a coalition. But if they don’t, there is no clear guideline as to how Rivlin must decide whom to entrust with leading government, and few legal limitations.-rh2/4/2019
Israeli Plans for 250,000 Future Settlers in Golan HeightsIMEMC News & Agencies - The Israeli Ministry of Housing has prepared a plan which calls for the construction of tens of thousands of settlement units to accommodate 250,000 settlers by the year 2048, in the occupied Syrian Golan, and encourages settlers to live there. The details of the plan came one week after US President Donald Trump declared Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which were occupied in 1967 along with the West Bank and Gaza.-rh2/4/2019
Israel Escalates Collective Punishment of Gazan CiviliansHASSAN JEDI - Truthout - The Guardian claims that Hamas’s rocket attack on Israel was motivated by Hamas’s desire to prevail in the upcoming election on April 9 — a show of strength against Israel might divert attention from Gaza’s miserable living conditions. Netanyahu is clearly attempting to benefit from the situation himself in the upcoming elections, exploiting this opportunity in the worst way possible in hopes of solidifying support for the extreme right- wing racist position he has charted out, partnering with the Otzma Yehudi (Jewish Strength) party.-rh2/4/2019
Israeli researchers - hundreds of fake Twitter accounts boost NetanyahuReuters - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two Israeli researchers said on Monday they had discovered a network of hundreds of fake Twitter accounts that promoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and attacked his political rivals, a week before a national election.-rh 2/4/2019
Nasty, brutish and (mercifully) short: 8 things to know for April 1 : From an underhanded social media campaign to leaks about flip-flopping to everything else, an election season marked for being unseemly hits fever pitch before drawing to a closeJOSHUA DAVIDOVICH - The Times of Israel - Fakebook campaign: A report by The New York Times and Yedioth Ahronoth shines light on a large social network campaign by Likud that reportedly uses fake profiles to artificially push the party’s message.-rh 2/4/2019
Gantz: Netanyahu using ‘info-terror’ from fake accounts to ‘steal’ electionsSTUART WINER and TOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, responding to a report about a network of bogus social media users campaigning on behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the coming elections, on Monday accused the premier of spreading fake news to sway the vote. At a press conference, the Blue and White party leader accused Netanyahu of using “info-terror” and trying to “steal the election.”- rh 2/4/2019
`Our people will not back down`: Gaza marks protests anniversaryAljazeera - Tens of thousands of Palestinians have rallied at the Israel-Gaza fence to mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests, facing off against Israeli tanks and troops massed on the fortified perimeter. Israeli forces on Saturday used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters, killing three 17-year-old boys, and wounding at least 207 people, according to Gaza`s health ministry.-rh2/4/2019
Israel praises ‘exceptionally restrained’ protests in Gaza after killing 4 Palestinians, three of them teenagersYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - At least four Palestinians were killed and over 300 were injured on Saturday during massive demonstrations marking the one year anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement that as of 10:40 pm, Israeli forces had shot and killed four Palestinians and injured 316. Three of the four slain Palestinians were identified by the ministry as 20-year-old Mohammed Jehad Sa’ad, who was killed on Saturday morning before the protests kicked off, and 17-year-olds Adham Nedal Amara and Tamer Hashim Abu al-Khair, who were both killed during demonstrations. Local Palestinian news agency Quds News Network identified the fourth Palestinian as another 17-year-old, Belal Mahmoud Najjar.-rh2/4/2019
Gaza`s `night disturbers` put Israeli border villagers on edge ahead of anniversaryReuters - "Hurling pipe bombs and setting off firecrackers, "Night Disturbance Units" have become a new phenomenon on the Gaza-Israel border in the run-up to the first anniversary of deadly border protests.Organisers say the intention of the night-time events is to fray the nerves of Israeli military lookouts and to lower morale in Israeli villages along the 30-mile frontier.With loudspeakers blaring patriotic music into the dark, the dusk-till-dawn demonstrations began small and escalated in recent days, ahead of a massive protest rally expected at sites along the frontier on Saturday." ca 30/3/2019
Israeli soldiers forcibly seize 9-year-old Yazan Idris at his elementary school, HebronB`Tselem - On 19 March 2019, at around 12:30 P.M., after school had let out, Yazan Idris (9) and his brother Tayyem (7) came running back to Ziyad Jaber Elementary School, Hebron. They reached the door to the principal’s office and stood there crying. Seconds later, a military officer and a soldier ran into the school and reached the principal’s office, saying they had come to arrest the boys for allegedly throwing stones. The officer grabbed Yazan by the hand; a teacher took Tayyem into the principal’s office and shut the door to keep the child safe. The officer responded by threatening to arrest the teachers if they kept him from taking the boys. The officer opened the door and an argument ensued between the teachers and the soldiers, four more of whom had arrived as reinforcements, with the teachers trying to extricate Yazan. The soldiers would not relent, and ultimately took him from the school by force, pushing the teachers away. After leaving the school grounds, the soldiers threw a stun grenade in the street. They then took Yazan Idris to the Worshipers’ Road Checkpoint, which the military had installed about ten meters away from the school. After an hour or so of verbal arguments with the school staff who followed them there, and with Yazan’s mother who came to the checkpoint, Yazan was let go.-rh26/3/2019
Is Trump`s `Deal of the Century` Just the Biggest Bribe in History?David Rosenberg - Axis of Logic - After two years of waiting for Trump’s Deal of the Century, it now appears that what the U.S. president and Jared Kushner have in mind is more like the Bribe of the Century. As The New York Times reported on Wednesday, the heart of the plan is showering tens of billions on economic aid on the Palestinians, as well as on Egypt, Jordan and possibly even Lebanon. How many billions we’ll only know after Israel’s elections, when the plan is unveiled, but the Times quotes sources as saying Palestinians alone will get $25 billion and the others as much as $40 billion. On the rise of a future Palestinian state, Kushner remained vague. In an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, he declined to relate to that issue directly but implied that things like national borders were a frippery.-rh26/3/2019
AIPAC annual conference to feature Israeli settler leader discussing the future of the West BankYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - For the first time in AIPAC’s history, the lobby group has invited a senior leader of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to speak at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. this month. According to the Israel Hayom newspaper, AIPAC invited Oded Ravevi, Mayor of the illegal Efrat settlement and the Yesha Council’s foreign envoy, to take part in a panel discussion on “the future of Judea and Samaria.”-rh26/3/2019
Palestine solidarity work is most effective when done within an anti-racist frameworkAlice Rothchild - Mondoweiss - The recent fury and attacks on Ilhan Omar and her forthright statements exposing and criticizing the role of the Israel lobby and the Congressional requirement of allegiance to the policies of the state of Israel come at time when issues of political framing are roiling Jewish and progressive communities. It is becoming increasingly clear at this political moment that there are major generational divisions within the Democratic Party and within the general population. More people are also willing to say out loud that antisemitism is very different from critical thinking about the continued rightward plunge of Israeli politics. For me this further clarifies my understanding that working on Israel/Palestine and doing Palestine solidarity work is most effectively accomplished within an anti-racist, anti-white supremacist framework.-rh26/3/2019
Trump’s Stance on the Golan will allow Israel to Operate with Impunity ElsewhereJonathan Cook - Dissident Voice - When President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem last year, effectively sabotaging any hope of establishing a viable Palestinian state, he tore up the international rulebook. Last week, he trampled all over its remaining tattered pages. He did so, of course, via Twitter. Referring to a large piece of territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967, Mr Trump wrote: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability.” Israel expelled 130,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights in 1967, under cover of the Six Day War, and then annexed the territory 14 years later – in violation of international law. A small population of Syrian Druze are the only survivors of that ethnic cleansing operation.-rh26/3/2019
Trump recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli territory; Pence says support for Israel combats anti-SemitisAllison Deger - Mondoweiss - Territory gained during acts of war, even defensive war, are strictly prohibited by international law. The UN Security Council voted in 1967 for Israel to return the Golan Heights. Israel officially annexed the lands by legislation in 1981. No other country has recognized Israeli control over the Golan Heigts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke alongside the president, stating Israel had “liberated the Golan” from Syria during two military campaigns, in 1967 and in 1973. Netanyahu said he personally fought in Syria for the Israeli Defense Forces after the 1973 war.-rh26/3/2019
Israeli Military Continues Bombarding Gaza Despite Egyptian Attempts to Negotiate CeasefireIMEMCnews - Israeli forces continued to pound Gaza with bombs late Monday night and into Tuesday morning, including the office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya in Gaza City. After the Israeli military began its bombardment campaign, dropping close to 100 bombs in the first three hours of Monday evening, Palestinian resistance forces retaliated, firing around 30 homemade shells across the border into Israel, causing no injuries. Israeli authorities opened public bomb shelters for Israelis living in border towns near the Gaza Strip. Palestinians living in Gaza, numbering nearly two million people, have no bomb shelters.-rh26/3/2019
In video - Gaza rocket hits central Israel, injures sevenMa`an News - The Israeli army confirmed that the rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip and that the rocket hit an Israeli home, causing a fire to erupt and destroying the house. Sources said that seven Israelis, including women and children, were injured. Their injuries were described as minor and moderate.-rh 26/3/2019
"Bab Al Rahmah" and the Israeli intimidation tacticsDaoud Kuttab - Arab Media Internet Network - The pressure, of course, is on the occupation forces, in how they will enforce this temporary decision. More arrests are unlikely to produce results. Having Israeli forces stationed within the Aqsa Mosque complex in order to carry out this decision will further escalate tensions and such forces will become the target of regular protesters. Muslims will most likely pray at the nearest location to the Bab Al Rahmah that they will be allowed to. None of the Israeli tactics will work. A more reasonable solution has to be for the occupation forces to negotiate with the Jordanian government and reach a solution that does not affect the rights of Muslims to all 144 dunums of Al Haram Al Sharif. Anything short of that is unlikely to succeed.-rh26/3/2019
Why does Israel sabotage relations with Jordan?Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - When the Jerusalem District Court decided on March 17 to extend the temporary closure order for the Muslim prayer room at the Gate of Mercy (Bab al-Rahma) on the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif to Muslims) for another 60 days, a majority of the Jordanian House of Representatives voted to call on the monarch to sever diplomatic relations with Israel and close the country`s embassy in Tel Aviv. Nothing more, nothing less.-rh 26/3/2019
The fatal four and a half minutes Amit Gilutz - B’Tselem - The time lapse between when a Palestinian car hit Israeli troops and the fatal shooting of two of the car’s passengers is what raises concern. Footage of the incident – which took place about two weeks ago near the village of Kafr Ni’ma and was streamed on Facebook Live - demonstrates that 4.5 minutes elapsed from the time the car hit the Israeli troops and the time the bulk of the gunfire at the car’s passengers began. [ak] 26/3/2019
Submarine scandal resurfaces to menace NetanyahuBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - Three weeks before the April 9 elections, crunch time for the prime minister, a disaster struck Benjamin Netanyahu: The so-called “submarine affair,” considered by many the most serious corruption case in the country’s security history, resurfaced at the worst possible time. If there was one issue that Netanyahu tried hard to keep out of the public debate in his run for a fifth term, it was the suspected corruption involving Israel’s purchase of submarines from Germany. Now, it`s all people are talking about. The result was a rare drop for Netanyahu in the polls, with some showing his rival Blue and White Party once again pulling ahead of the Likud by as many as five Knesset seats.-rh 26/3/2019
WHO: Over 97% of Gaza’s Water Below Quality StandardsIMEMC News & Agencies - "More than 97% of the water pumped from the coastal aquifer, in the besieged Gaza Strip, does not meet the water quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), leading to the depletion of groundwater reserves, with the groundwater level in the coastal aquifer reaching 19 meters below sea level, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said on Thursday, in a joint press release, on the occasion of World Water Day." ca23/3/2019
Erekat: UK voting against UNHRC resolution `gift to Israeli settlers`Ma`an News Agency - "The decision by the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to vote against a resolution on Palestine at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), on Friday, is a gift for the Israeli settlers and government, said Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization`s (PLO) Executive Committee...Erekat stressed, “The British government has consistently opposed any concrete step against the occupation.” Erekat also emphasized that by doing so “the British Government continues to strengthen Israel’s culture of impunity which is reflected on daily crimes and violations against international law, the land and the people of Palestine.” ca23/3/2019
Understanding Israel’s deception regarding citizenship vs. Jewish nationalityJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - People are often confused by the difference between citizenship and nationality when it comes to Israel. This issue most recently came up in the spat between Israeli celebrity Rotem Sela who asked, “when will anyone in this government tell the public that this is a state of all its citizens,” to which Prime Minister Netanyahu replied it wasn’t, and said that it was a nation state of Jews alone.-rh19/3/2019
March 17, 2019 Al-Hadidiya, Halat Makhul, Umm Zuqa.David Shulman, Margaret Olin - Touching Photographs - I say to Yusuf, both of us staring downhill through the grasses and flowers toward the distant blue hills, “If there were no soldiers here and no settlers, we’d be in Paradise.” It sounds a bit weird in Arabic. He turns the sentence over in his mind before he agrees. He was born into the world of the Occupation, he has never known any other world.-rh 19/3/2019
High Court bans racist from running for Knesset, while Israeli politics remain racist to the coreJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - Michael Ben Ari, the leader of Jewish Power, is now banned from running. He would have been 5th on the slate of the Union of Right-wing Parties. The ruling means that 2nd on the Jewish Power list, Itamar Ben Gvir, who has not been barred, will move up from 8th place to 7th. Ben Gvir is renowned for his adoration of Baruch Goldstein who perpetrated the Al-Ibrahimi mosque massacre in 1994, killing 29 – Ben Gvir has a poster of Goldstein in his living-room. And this leads us to the question, of whether this barring of Ben Ari is really meaningful, or whether it is cosmetic? Ben Ari is being barred for his racism – but what about the racism of the whole merged party which he would have been part of?-rh19/3/2019
`Endless Trip to Hell`: Israel Jails Hundreds of Palestinian Boys a Year. These Are Their Testimonies They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn`t commit. Every year Israel arrests alNetta Ahituv - Haaretz - It was a gloomy, typically chilly late- February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way. Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.-rh19/3/2019
Interview with Khalida Jarrar, released from Israeli prison after 20 months without chargeMichele Giorgio - Il Manifesto - Khalida Jarrar is one of the leaders in the West Bank of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a party with a Marxist orientation and the main force on the Palestinian left. Just a few days ago, she was released from 20 months’ imprisonment without charge or trial in Israel. In a central neighborhood of ​​Ramallah, Ghassan, her husband, opens the door for us.-rh19/3/2019
Gantz vows to resume targeted killings of Hamas leaders ‘if necessary’TOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said Wednesday he would consider reintroducing the policy of assassinating Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip if his centrist party forms the next Israeli government. In a campaign speech, Gantz criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his handling of the recent uptick in violence in and around the Palestinian enclave. “In the 3.5 years after [Operation] Protective Edge there was complete calm. No rockets, balloons or kites,” Gantz said, referring to the Gaza war he commanded as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces in 2014.-rh 19/3/2019
J Street launches Birthright-style trip to Israel that will include PalestiniansCATHRYN J. PRINCE - The Times of Israel - Come July, 40 American college students will participate on a 10-day trip courtesy of the progressive group. Billed as an alternative to Birthright, the trip, which will be funded by J Street donors, is part of its “Let Our People Know” campaign. Group leaders hope the trip will give American Jewish youth a more complete and nuanced picture of life in Israel. “We hope this trip will provide a model for the kind of Israel education young Jews want and need — one that engages fully with Israel’s reality, including perspectives from Palestinians living under its 52-year military occupation,” said Eva Borgwardt, president of the J Street U National Board and Stanford University senior.-rh19/3/2019
The Truth Is Out About Israel’s Lethal Actions In Gaza. Will The World Listen?Saeb Erekat - Information Clearing House - A UN investigation into the 2018 Gaza protests has concluded that Israeli officers and their leaders may have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The human rights council’s commission of inquiry found that soldiers intentionally used live ammunition against civilians, who included children, women, journalists, health workers and people with disabilities. The figures are telling: more than 6,000 people injured by Israeli bullets, with 183 killed. Renowned human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and Al-Haq had already denounced this policy, with B’Tselem calling on Israeli soldiers not to follow orders to shoot civilians. The people of Palestine still wonder whether such findings will be used by the international community to implement policy aimed at ending the Israeli occupation, or whether it will be business as usual.-rh19/3/2019
Palestinians will suffer the impacts of climate change more severely than Israelis due to the occupationZena Agha - Mondoweiss - The single greatest non-environmental risk facing Palestinians in the West Bank remains the ongoing Israeli occupation, an occupation so pervasive that the United Nations Development Program considers it an environmental “risk” in its own right. Now in its 52nd year, the occupation prevents Palestinians from accessing and managing their land and resources, particularly water. Significantly, it prevents them from pursuing measures to support climate change adaptation, which is the adjustment of human or natural systems in response to the effects of climate change. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) inability to pursue adaptation policies is a direct consequence of the occupation and will have acute human and environmental repercussions for Palestinian inhabitants.-rh19/3/2019
US calls Golan ‘Israeli-controlled,’ drops all mention of West Bank ‘occupation’ERIC CORTELLESSA - The Times of Israel - For the first time, the Trump administration referred to the Golan Heights on Wednesday as “Israeli-controlled” and ceased to refer to the West Bank as “occupied” in the State Department’s annual report on human rights around the world. While last year’s report marked a departure from years of American foreign policy by no longer calling the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights “occupied” in the section title, this year’s report went two small steps further.-rh 19/3/2019
Netanyahu quotes radical rabbi`s racist invectiveShlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - On March 9, television presenter and model Rotem Sela, angered by a minister who warned that the government’s political rivals would join forces with the Arab parties, wrote a post demanding to know when “will someone in this government convey to the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens.” Netanyahu responded: “Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the nation-state law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and not anyone else.” Two days later, during a live event on his Likud party’s propaganda webcast, Netanyahu took it up a notch. “The Arab citizens have 22 nation- states around us, they do not need another one,” he said. Netanyahu was responding to Facebook viewer Ajed Kamal Abu-Assi, a member of the Druze minority who had served in the Israeli military, who asked how the prime minister could consider him a citizen with equal rights in light of the nationality law.-rh 19/3/2019
UNRWA & Flanders renew partnership for three yearsBethlehem/PNN "Today in Brussels, the Minister-President of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, signed a three-year agreement (2019-2021) in the value of EUR 479,000 to support the core services of UNRWA. The Government of Flanders guarantees an early disbursement of the funding.This new multi-year agreement – the third one between UNRWA and the Government of Flanders since 2010 – is an important stepping stone on the path to predictable funding..." ca16/3/2019
A spike in censorship: Israel censored on average one news piece a day in 2018Haggai Matar - +972 "Israel’s military censor prohibited the publication of 363 news articles in 2018, more than six a week, while partially or fully redacting a total of 2,712 news items submitted to it for prior review. According to the data, provided in response to a freedom of information request filed by +972 Magazine, Local Call, and the Movement for Freedom of Information, the censor barred more news stories from publication in 2018 than in almost any other year this decade." ca16/3/2019
The UN fails to name and shame firms aiding Israel’s illegal settlementsJonathan Cook - Countercurrents - The United Nations postponed last week for the third time the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and international firms that profit directly from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories. The international body had come under enormous pressure to keep the database under wraps after lobbying behind the scenes from Israel, the United States and many of the 200-plus companies that were about to be named. UN officials have suggested they may go public with the list in a few months.-rh12/3/2019
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East? Netanyahu’s comments have shattered that illusionBen White - The Independent - Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was back in the headlines on Sunday, after declaring on social media that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens”. The Likud leader later doubled down, telling his cabinet that Israel is “the nation state not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people”. Netanyahu’s comments are the latest grim episode in an election season that will see Israelis going to the polls on 9 April. Just last month, the prime minister helped engineer an election merger that could see far-right party Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) enter the Knesset.-rh12/3/2019
Israel’s Central Election Committee, at the service of the right? Danny Zaken - Al-Monitor - Attorney Aner Helman, representing Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, presented the panel, comprised of lawmakers from the outgoing Knesset, with examples of Otzma Yehudit’s statements. These included a particularly egregious one from August 2018 by Otzma Yehudit Chair Michael Ben Ari, No. 5 on the United Right-Wing Parties’ Knesset slate. “We have to change the equation regarding anyone who dares to speak against a Jew. [Such a person] is a dead man. He must not come out alive. No expelling him, no stripping him of his citizenship. He does not live! A firing squad takes him out as the Arabs understand [best],” Ben Ari said.-rh 12/3/2019
How the Israeli Army Takes Palestinian Land and Hands It to SettlersAmira Hass - Haaretz - Dror Etkes, a researcher of Israel’s settlement policy, wants, as usual, to put things in order. In a new study he will be publishing this week, he focuses on the history of orders to seize Palestinian land, issued by generations of army commanders in the West Bank (not including the part that was annexed to Jerusalem). More than 1,150 seizure orders have been issued from 1969 to the present. After subtracting those that were revoked or that overlap, it turns out that this particular trick enabled Israel to take over more than 100,000 dunams (25,000 acres) of Palestinian land. More millions of dunams of Palestinian land have been stolen in other ways, which Etkes has been researching too.-rh12/3/2019
The transit to Gaza left at 14:30. She should come again tomorrowTamar Fleishman - Machsomwatch - As I crossed the checkpoint, between the metal detectors and the ID checking posts, a woman stood, her path blocked, carrying a motionless child on her shoulder. The child is 4- year old Abdallah, who until Thursday was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit and was taken by his mother to Qalandiya in order to proceed from there all the way home to Gaza. Abdallah doesn’t see nor respond. A bit like a living dead child. I didn’t mean to go to the DCO (Civil Administration office) – where they are pushed back in their misery, but meeting these two - seeing the defeated mother whom the soldiers barred from crossing – told the story and I stayed.-rh12/3/2019
Is a war with Iran on the horizon?Bob Dreyfuss - Alternet - Here’s the foreign policy question of questions in 2019: Are President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, all severely weakened at home and with few allies abroad, reckless enough to set off a war with Iran? Could military actions designed to be limited — say, a heightening of the Israeli bombing of Iranian forces inside Syria, or possible U.S. cross-border attacks from Iraq, or a clash between American and Iranian naval ships in the Persian Gulf — trigger a wider war? Worryingly, the answers are: yes and yes. Even though Western Europe has lined up in opposition to any future conflict with Iran, even though Russia and China would rail against it, even though most Washington foreign policy experts would be horrified by the outbreak of such a war, it could happen.-rh 12/3/2019
Netanyahu Now Endorses Jewish Fascism. U.S. Jews, Cut Your Ties With Him NowEtan Nechin - Information Clearing House - Netanyahu has been working hard in the last few weeks to help create a coalition between Jewish Home, the latest incarnation of the Mafdal, a venerable religious Zionist party, and a party called Otzma Yehudit, which could be called the Jewish National Front, a radical far right party whose members, like its former leader, Baruch Marzel, were followers of Meir Kahane’s Kach Party. Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 24 Palestinians at prayer in Hebron in 1994, was a Kach member at that time.-rh12/3/2019
Israeli court sentences soldiers for assault on PalestiniansAFP, Jerusalem - Al-Arabiya - “The military court sentenced three combat soldiers who were convicted as part of a plea bargain for aggravated abuse as a result of violence against Palestinian detainees,” the Israeli army said in a statement.The soldiers confessed to assaulting and injuring two Palestinian detainees shortly after an attack in which two soldiers were killed by Palestinian gunfire at a bus stop in the occupied West Bank on December 13.-rh12/3/2019
A Peek into the Horrific Findings of the UN Report on Israel’s Massacre of Gaza Protesters Robert Inlakesh - Mintpress News "The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council have released a powerful report, on the Gaza ‘Great Return March’ demonstrations, stating that they have grounds to believe Israel committed International War Crimes against demonstrators during “large-scale civilian protests”.The 22-page document has been condemned by the Israeli government, as there is talk of Israel being brought to the International Court of Justice and tried for war crimes and violations of International Law against demonstrations that “were civilian in nature”." ca 9/3/2019
Following UN commission findings: B`Tselem reiterates call on soldiers to not comply with manifestly illegal ordersB`Tselem - Press release "The UN Commission of Inquiry into the protests held along the perimeter fence in Gaza, stated today that Israel`s rules of engagement, which permit firing at unarmed protesters who are not posing a threat to anyone, are unlawful. Throughout nearly a year of demonstrations, this unlawful policy has been upheld by Israel`s government and senior military command – and backed by Israel`s High Court of Justice – despite 200 protesters killed and more than 6,300 injured by live fire. In coming weeks, the protests are set to continue. B`Tselem reiterates its call to immediately change the rules of engagement. Until such a time, soldiers are duty-bound to refuse to comply with such illegal orders." ca9/3/2019
Is Netanyahu coordinating with Trump over `deal of the century’? Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - The prevailing opinion within Israel’s highest political-security ranks is that Netanyahu is completely in the US administration’s loop regarding the “deal of the century,” and that Washington and Jerusalem were supposed to present it after the elections. “The “deal of the century,” explains a high-level Israeli Cabinet member speaking with Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “is meant to try to extricate Netanyahu from his legal troubles. After the elections, he is supposed to take a political turn to the center and announce to the public that there is no way he can turn down the best US president that Israel ever faced in the White House." The minister added, “On this basis, he will establish a coalition based only on parties willing to say ‘yes’ to Trump, on the assumption that the Palestinians would do the work for us by again rejecting any possibility of reaching an arrangement with Israel.”-rh 5/3/2019
How Netanyahu`s embrace of the Israeli far right unmasked ZionismTony Greenstein - Aljazeera - As part of his ongoing election campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly encouraged the far-right Jewish Home party to unite with smaller, even more extremist right-wing parties, including Otzma Yehudit - the party of Kahane`s disciples. The Jewish Home central committee recently approved the merger, paving the way for at least one member of Otzma Yehudit - its leader Michael Ben Ari - to secure a seat in the 21st Knesset in the upcoming April election. Ben Ari, an avowed Kahanist, was a member of the Knesset between 2009 and 2013. Apart from inciting a pogrom against African refugees in South Tel Aviv, he is famous for tearing up a copy of the New Testament and putting it in a rubbish bin and for referring to Jewish left-wingers as "germs" that need to be eradicated.-rh5/3/2019
Refusing funds will cost Palestinians, perhaps IsraelAhmad Melhem - Al-Monitor - The total amount of import taxes Israel collected for the PA in 2018 amounted to more than 8 billion shekels, according to Palestinian Ministry of Finance figures, with a monthly average of 670 million shekels. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had warned he would refuse the payment when he spoke on the sidelines of his Feb. 19 meeting in Ramallah with US congressional Democrats and a delegation from J Street, a US nonprofit, liberal advocacy group. The PA`s rejection is likely to worsen the public`s already dire financial situation and increase tension and unrest. The PA, knowing that Israel fears that possibility, could be seeking to pressure Israel into reversing its decision. The PA’s stand will cast a shadow over the government`s spending in several areas, mainly paying the salaries of its public servants. In a Facebook post Feb. 17, Hamdallah had said, “A deduction in [these funds would put] the Palestinian economy in danger, threaten our ability to pay salaries and wages, and disrupt the economic wheel.”-rh 5/3/2019
The campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-SemitismYossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - One cannot ignore the link between anti- Semitism and anti-Zionism. Sometimes, anti-Zionism is, indeed, a guise for anti-Semitism, but we are not doing anyone any favors by insisting on equating the two terms. They are partially congruent, but not identical. It would be a mistake to enshrine this in law and a mistake to consider it some sort of Israeli achievement.-rh 5/3/2019
Top prosecutor rejects Netanyahu’s claim graft charges are politically motivatedTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - Following Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s announcement Thursday that he would charge the prime minister with fraud and breach of trust in three cases, and with bribery in one case, pending a hearing, Netanyahu alleged that Nitzan and senior prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari pushed for his indictment out of political motives. “There is no basis for these claims,” Nitzan said at a conference in Haifa.-rh5/3/2019
Can we imagine a just peace for Palestine?Richard Falk - Mondoweiss - In such a binational (one state, two nations) situation, the newly created single state could offer national homelands to Jews and Palestinians, while finding a name for the new state that is congenial to both peoples. Maybe this will never happen, but it is the most just and sustainable vision of a peaceful future that responds to decades of diplomatic failure, massive Palestinian suffering and abuse. Above all, such a solution recognizes that is people that possess the moral authority and fulfill political promise of national resistance and global solidarity. Such an understanding would be tantamount to a legislative victory by that still unacknowledged, yet powerful, Parliament of Humanity.-rh5/3/2019
Israel`s fascist sideshow takes center stageNatasha Roth - +972 - The prime minister’s overtures to the Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party are not, in the context of his political character, surprising. His readiness to rely on white supremacists and ultranationalists abroad to prop him up provides ample evidence of the types of characters he’ll make common cause with. It has also long been clear that there are very few depths Netanyahu will not plumb when his perch at the top of Israeli politics is under threat. And that threat does, with the national elections in April looming, feel real. Faced with some of his current coalition partners failing to pass the electoral threshold, Netanyahu successfully lobbied the Jewish Home party to team up with Jewish Power, which brings the real prospect of an explicitly Kahanist party entering the Knesset for the first time in over 30 years.-rh5/3/2019
No Justification for Israel to Shoot Protesters with Live Ammunition: ReportUnited Nations Human Rights Council - Information Clearing House - The Commission investigated every killing at the designated demonstration sites by the Gaza separation fence on official protest days. The investigation covered the period from the start of the protests until 31 December 2018. 189 Palestinians were killed during the demonstrations inside this period. The Commission found that Israeli Security Forces killed 183 of these protesters with live ammunition. Thirty-five of these fatalities were children, while three were clearly marked paramedics, and two were clearly marked journalists. According to the Commission’s data analysis, the Israeli Security Forces injured 6,106 Palestinians with live ammunition at the protest sites during this period. Another 3,098 Palestinians were injured by bullet fragmentation, rubber-coated metal bullets or by hits from tear gas canisters. Four Israeli soldiers were injured at the demonstrations. Four Israeli soldiers were injured at the demonstrations. One Israeli soldier was killed on a protest day but outside the protest sites.-rh5/3/2019
`Change doesn’t come from the courthouses alone`Henriette Chacar - +972 - Addameer director Sahar Francis talks about the pervasiveness of incarceration in Palestinian society, how she and her organization have been targeted by Israeli forces for their work, and what it means if the international community can’t hold Israel accountable for the occupation.-rh5/3/2019
Palestine in Pictures: February 2019EI - "Israeli occupation forces killed four Palestinian children and one adult during the month of February. A sixth Palestinian, Ahmad Ghazi Abbas Abu Jabal, 30, died on 3 February from wounds sustained during protests along Gaza’s boundary with Israel the previous month" [ry] 4/3/2019
Israel releases PFLP leading member Khalida JarrarMa`an News Agency - "The Israeli authorities released leading member of the PFLP and former Palestinian lawmaker, Khalida Jarrar, early Thursday, after being held under administrative detention for 20 months.Jarrar was released at the Salem Israeli military checkpoint, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin, in the early morning hours to prevent family and activists from organizing a welcome ceremony for her." ca2/3/2019
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