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Global NGOs criticise drastic US cuts of UNRWA fundingAl Jazeera News - "Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a Twitter post late on Tuesday that Washington was "holding Palestinian kids` humanitarian needs hostage to political agendas"." - id 17/1/2018
Abbas Calls Oslo Accords Dead and Blasts U.S.: ‘Damn Your Money!’DAVID M. HALBFINGER - New York Times - “Israel has killed Oslo” Mr. Abbas said. “Now we are an authority without any authority." (...) “This is a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness,” Mr. Abbas said. “The Jews were used as a tool under the concept of the promised land — call it whatever you want. Everything has been made up.” [bz]15/1/2018
UK to PA: Israel will have to share JerusalemSettler site Arutz-7 - In a statement released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it was revealed that the UK’s top diplomat, Boris Johnson, told a senior Palestinian Authority official that Jerusalem should be the “shared capital” of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. Johnson told PA foreign affairs chief Riyad al-Maliki that the UK fully endorses the “two-state solution”, and believes the future Palestinian state should have Jerusalem as its capital. “I reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting the Palestinian people and the two-state solution, the urgent need for renewed peace negotiations, and the UK’s clear and longstanding position on the status of Jerusalem,” Johnson said. [bz]9/1/2018
US projects in Palestinian territories face backlash amid calls for boycottPeter Beaumont - The Guardian - Palestinian NGOs under pressure to boycott US-funded projects after Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital [ry]8/1/2018
Palestinians attack car of Greek Patriarch in protest against land dealsReuters - Ynet - Hundreds of Palestinians smash windshields, bang on motorcade of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III in protest of his church`s sale of lands to Israelis; Palestinians call Patriarch `traitor`, pulled away from convoy by Palestinian security forces [ry]8/1/2018
Kushner’s Financial Ties to Israel Deepen Even With Mideast Diplomatic RoleJesse Drucker - The New York Times - “One issue, said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit government ethics group, is that ‘the ethics laws were not crafted by people who had the foresight to imagine a Donald Trump or a Jared Kushner.’ […] The deal with Menora is one of many financial relationships that Kushner Companies has in Israel” [ry]8/1/2018
Extra-Judicial Executions Never Stopped: New Attempts Before Israeli Knesset to Legitimize Killing of PalestiniansIMEMC - "The Israeli judiciary has applied life imprisonment instead of death penalty, constituting a stable precedent over the past decades. Those who presented this bill are attempting to cancel this precedent, bring the death penalty to life, and facilitate sentencing it without requiring the consensus of the judicial body to issue the death sentence." - id 3/1/2018
The Israeli government is paying for anti-BDS journalismItamar Benzaquen - +972 - "Alongside the paid-for articles, Ynet also published promotional videos produced by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, as well as three interviews with a ranking official at the ministry, Tzahi Gabrieli. Two of those paid-for interviews were conducted by Ynet’s senior political correspondent, Attila Somfalvi, who asked soft-ball questions that allowed him to present his talking points." - id 3/1/2018
Palestine recalls US envoy after Trump`s Jerusalem moveAl - Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Liberation Organization envoy to Washington, DC, was "recalled for consultations". In diplomatic practice, such a "recall for consultations" is a way of expressing grave displeasure while still stopping short of a complete severance of diplomatic relations. It is part of the new assertive Palestinian posture towards the US, with Palestinian officials declaring they will "no longer accept" any peace plan put forward by the Americans. It also shows the Palestinians not intimidated by threats made in Congress to altogether close down the PLO Washington office. [ak]2/1/2018
An Israeli NGO has specifically focused on the US organization, `Refuser Solidarity Network.`i24NEWS - The NGO, “Reservists On Duty,” which was established in 2015 by IDF reserve combat soldiers and officers, works to counter Israeli NGOs that assist the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement(BDS). They sent a letter to the Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, regarding 63 Israeli 12th graders who declared their refusal to serve in the IDF - a letter originally revealed by Yedioth Ahronoth. “Shockingly enough", they write, "this organization is financed by an American based organization called RSN (Refuser Solidarity Network)." They argue that RSN’s status as a 501 (C)3, allowing it to receive tax deductible donations, is illegitimate due to the special alliance between the US and Israel. [bz]2/1/2018
Likud calls for annexation of parts of West BankAl Jazeera - "Ahead of the vote, analysts told Al Jazeera that they saw the Likud central committe`s vote as a cynical political calculus to rally the party faithful" [ry]1/1/2018
Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli GovernmentsGlenn Greenwald - The Intercept - “One can create a fantasy world in one’s head, if one wishes, in which Silicon Valley executives use their power to protect marginalized peoples around the world by censoring those who wish to harm them. But in the real world, that is nothing but a sad pipe dream. Just as governments will, these companies will use their censorship power to serve, not to undermine, the world’s most powerful factions” [ry]1/1/2018
Government creates joint program for rapid BDS responseItamar Eichner - Ynet - Israeli government joins hands with Diaspora Jewry to combat delegitimization of Israel in the world; Strategic Affairs Minister Erdan promotes decision to create `PR commando unit`—similar to `Birthright Israel` project—enabling to provide rapid response to anti-Israeli attacks; `Imagine Lorde was hit with a viral campaign the same day she announced her show`s cancelation,` says source close to program [ry]1/1/2018
Probe into police slaying of Palestinian math teacher to closeMaureen Clare Murphy - EI - "Israel’s justice ministry intends to close a probe into the January killing of a Palestinian citizen by police in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel. For a second time the ministry’s police investigations unit has recommended to state prosecutors that no charges be filed against police. Israeli police assert that Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan, a 50-year- old math teacher, deliberately ran over and killed a police officer, 37-year-old Erez Levi" [ry]1/1/2018
Israel to deliver asylum seekers to the hands of human smugglersNoa Yachot - +972 - Even as it invokes the Holocaust at every turn, Israel is feeding the people who most need its protection to a brutal human smuggling industry. In doing so, it becomes an active player in the worst migration crisis since the Jewish people’s near-extinction [ry]1/1/2018
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Is Honored With a Nobel Peace PrizeAlice Slater - The Nation "Despite the nearly 50-year-old NPT promise by the nuclear-weapons states for nuclear disarmament, ICAN Executive Director Fihn, in her acceptance speech, reminded us that “at dozens of locations around the world—in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky—lie 15,000 objects of humankind’s destruction,” adding that “it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons.” ca30/12/2017
The Israeli Sports Minister Is Using the NBA to Further an Anti-Palestine PR CampaignDave Zirin - The Nation "Miri Regev, who once called African migrants “a cancer,” claims to have pressured the NBA into removing mention of Israeli occupation of Palestine from its website...according to my own sources in the NBA offices, there was no letter sent to the NBA. I don’t know where Regev thinks she sent her missive, but it wasn’t there. No one knew about it until the AP story." ca30/12/2017
Doctors urge mental health group not to meet in IsraelMiddle East Monitor - "A letter addressed to the IARPP, signed by renown Palestinian psychiatrist Samah Jabr and a number of American therapists, calls on the body to consider: the grave crisis posed by the Israeli occupation and its currently escalating attacks on the Palestinian people – attacks reflective of an overarching policy of ethnic cleansing and consequent seizure of land, restriction of freedom of movement, and control over natural resources." ca29/12/2017
Guatemalans not happy with decision to move embassy in Israel to JerusalemM.K. - WAFA - "Guatemala is the main exporter of cardamom pods that are used with coffee to Arab and Islamic countries with more than $300 million dollars of exports a year. When former President Ramiro J Leon Carpio (1993-1996) made a similar decision to move his country`s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he was forced to quickly rescind that decision when Arab and Islamic countries closed their doors to the Guatemalan market." - id27/12/2017
A Beginner’s Guide to the Unrecognized Villages of IsraelAniqa Raihan - Portside - It is commonly believed that Palestinian citizens of Israel — officially known as Arab Israelis — enjoy full equality in the Jewish State. There are Arab members of parliament, the Arab population in Israel has been growing steadily for decades, and the Arab cultural scene is thriving in places like Haifa. While all of these statements are true, Palestinians insist that occupation still exists inside the state of Israel, and nowhere is that fact more apparent than in the unrecognized Bedouin villages of the Negev desert.-rh27/12/2017
The Be`er Sheva District Court criticizes Shin Bet interrogation methodsIlana Curiel - Ynet - Khalil Nimri was arrested in 2015 after being identified by the hotel`s receptionist as the person who came to tour the hotel and asked suspicious questions. He was taken in for interrogation by the Shin Bet, during which he confessed to have planned to carry out an attack at the hotel. But a short time later, the same receptionist spotted the person who actually took the tour of the hotel. The receptionist called the police and admitted his mistake. Instead of admitting the mistake and releasing Nimri, the Shin Bet formulated a theory according to which the two planned to carry out the attack together. According to the verdict, Nimri`s alibi was not checked; there was no lineup; and the investigators did not properly examine hotel security footage, in which Nimri does not appear. [bz]26/12/2017
Terrorist organisations in Egypt 2017 Ahmed Kamel Al-Beheiri - Al-Ahram Weekly "While the number of terrorist attacks dramatically decreased in recent years, terrorist tactics have changed, and these organisations remain a vivid threat to national security." ca22/12/2017
US-outnumbered 14-to-1 as it vetoes UN vote on JerusalemThe Guardian - A UN security council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been backed by every council member except the US, which used its veto. The unanimity of the rest of the council was a stark rebuke to the Trump administration over its unilateral move earlier this month, which upended decades of international consensus.The UK and France had indicated in advance that they would back the text, which demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UNSC resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the city’s final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.[ak]18/12/2017
UN Security Council to vote on rejecting US Jerusalem decisionTimes of Israel - The Egyptian draft resolution, due to be voted on, does not explicitly mention the US or Trump`s statement on Jerusalem being the Capital of Israel. Rather, the text stresses that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations”, expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem” and states that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded”. Still, the intent is clear enough, and the US is virtually certain to veto it. The strategy of the Palestinians and their supporters is to gain as much support by other Security Council Members, so as to isolate Trump and Netanyahu, and then move the issue to the Assembly General, where the Us has no veto and where it would be passed by a huge majority. [ak] 18/12/2017
`There can be no coexistence if we do not listen to the other`
-students protest canceling of bereaved parents meeting-
Shahar Hay, Ahiya Ravad - Ynet - The student union at a Nesher high school sent a letter last week to the head of the Ministry of Education`s Haifa district to protest the cancelation of a meeting for bereaved parents—both Jewish and Palestinian—that was supposed to take place at the school last Tuesday. "Allow us to question, allow us to doubt and allow us to hear others, even if we disagree," wrote the students in the letter requesting of the Education Ministry to reschedule the meeting. The meeting has become a decade-long tradition at the school, but the Ministry of Education instructed the school administrators to cancel the event. [bz]18/12/2017
How Mike Pence`s Mideast Trip to Help Embattled Christians Evolved Into a Visit Devoid of Christians Judy Maltz - Haaretz - When Vice President Pence originally announced his visit to the Middle East, it was supposed to be a show of solidarity with Christian communities in the region suffering from persecution. Yet now, Pence will not be meeting any Christians or visiting any Churches in the Middle East. Pence’s scheduled trip to Bethlehem – birthplace of Jesus and one of the most important sites in Christianity – has been called off, as has his meeting with the leader of the Coptic Christian Church in Egypt. Pence is well- known for his links with Evangelicals in the US, and this played an important role in Pence strongly supporting President Trump`s declaring Jerusalem to be Israel`s Capital. Yet the same Jerusalem Declaration caused Pence to be highly unwelcome to Palestinian and Egyptian Christians... [ak] 18/12/2017
Meet Dr. Reem Younis: Israel’s First Arab Woman SurgeonNew Israel Fund - "As a mother of three and a full-time oral surgeon, you wouldn’t think Dr. Reem Younis would find the time for activism. Nonetheless, she is active in Shatil’s Citizens’ Forum for the Promotion of Health in the Galilee and works to convince the city council to prioritize health in Upper Nazareth." ca16/12/2017
Sisi performs balancing act in wake of Trump`s Jerusalem move Shahira Amin - Al-Monitor "The unrest witnessed in recent days may just be the tip of the iceberg. Realizing that he is walking on thin ice, Sisi is treading cautiously: He has publicly condemned the move and is allowing the Egyptian public to vent some of their anger. His supporters, meanwhile, exhort fellow Egyptians to focus on domestic issues. “Egypt’s interests must come first; we have enough problems of our own,” tweeted Ahmed Wagih, who describes himself as “a fascist against the enemies of the state.” ca 16/12/2017
Israelis, Defy the Boycott of Arabs and Go Shopping in Wadi Ara : Lieberman’s statement that residents of Wadi Ara are `formally citizens of Israel, but they are not part of Israel,` reflects worse on the state than residents of Wadi Ara Haaretz Editorial - Singling out citizens on national and religious grounds and calling for a boycott against them are familiar characteristics of dark regimes, and they are always presented as a response to a threat. Lieberman’s comment that residents of Wadi Ara are “formally citizens of Israel, but they are not part of Israel,” reflects more on the State of Israel, in whose cabinet Lieberman is a senior member, than on the residents of Wadi Ara.-rh 13/12/2017
Congress Member McCollum: US Tax Dollars Must Not Be Used to Detain Palestinian ChildrenCongress Member Betty McCollum - The Nation - Israel is the single greatest beneficiary of American military assistance, receiving $3.8 billion, some 25 percent of its defense budget, from American taxpayers each year. Of this, Israel is allowed to spend as much as $800 million a year with little transparency, accountability, or oversight by US officials. Some of this money almost certainly flows to Israel’s abusive military detention of Palestinian children.To help sustain the occupation, Israel’s military and police forces have arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned thousands of Palestinian children, mostly for throwing stones.Israel’s military court and detention system is unique in the world in its systematic incarceration of children, in this case Palestinian children. It is a system that denies basic due-process rights and is cruel, inhumane, and degrading.[ak]12/12/2017
Wadi Ara residents angered over Lieberman`s call for their boycottHassan Shaalan - Ynet - Husam Abbas, one of the owners of the Al-Babor restaurant in Umm al-Fahm: "His statements are appropriate for a punk and not for the defense minister. I do not believe a statement by him will succeed in influencing our customers, it will only influence the extreme right. (...)" [bz] 12/12/2017
Pence Prepares Mideast Visit, but neither Palestinian leaders nor Christian groups want him Jack Khoury - Haaretz - "The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision" said President Abbas` diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khaldi. Therefore, Abbas is not going to meet U.S. Vice President Pence who arrives in the region next week. Originally, Palestinian Christians intended to meet Pence, who is close to American Christian Evangelical groups, and present to him their views as being "the original Christians, the first ones". However, these Palestinian Christians were also offended by Pence supporting Trump`s "Jerusalem Declaration". "We see Pence standing behind Trump as he announced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and saying this not political, or legal or even security based, but this is Biblical and this about the ordain of God . If you believe you know His will then it shuts the discussion" said Palestinian adviser Husam Zomlot. Now, there will be no Pence meeting with Christians in Bethlehem, either. [ak] 12/12/2017
Did Trump kill a Two-State Solution? He says no, Palestinians say yesMark Landler, David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner - New York Times - President Trump, in formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, declared that the US still supported a two-state solution, provided it was “agreed to by both sides.” For the first time in his 26 years as a peacemaker Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinians did not agree. Hitherto a steadfast advocate for a Palestinian state, Erekat said that Trump and Netanyahu “have managed to destroy that hope.” He embraced a radical shift in the P.L.O.’s goals — to a single state, but with Palestinians enjoying the same civil rights as Israelis, including the vote. “They’ve left us with no option,” he said. “This is the reality. We live here. Our struggle should focus on one thing: equal rights.” [ak] 12/12/2017
Interview with the filmmakers of “Holy Air”Ray Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "Movie review of “Holy Air” by writer and producer Shady Srour and Director Ilan Moskovitch. Arabic, English and Hebrew.Holy Air is a satirically sad and humorous look at Christian life in Israel." - id 6/12/2017
Trump tells Abbas of plans to move embassy as world leaders warn of consequencesMa`an - American President Donald Trump called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and confirmed his intentions to move the embassy. Abbas reiterated the Palestinian position that without what is now occupied East Jerusalem as its capital, there is no future of a Palestinian state. Abu Rudeineh stressed that Abbas “will continue to contact world leaders in order to prevent this unacceptable move.” Trump also phoned Jordanian King Abdullah II, who told Trump over the phone that he pledged to “thwart any American initiative to renew the peace process and would encourage rage and resistance among Muslims and Christians alike,” if the embassy was moved. Trump’s decision has drawn condemnation from leaders across the globe, including Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, and the EU. [ak] 5/12/2017
John Kerry: `What would Israel do if 40,000 Palestinian kids march up to the Wall?` Carlos Ballesteros - Newsweek/Israeli CH.10 TV - At the very end of his term, a hitherto unpublished statement of John Kerry says: "The Palestinian [Authority] has done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence. When the intifada took place [in 2015] they delivered non-violence in the West Bank. This is overlooked by the general [Israeli] populations because it is not a topic of discussion. Why? Because the majority of the cabinet currently in the Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state(...). If you see 40,000 kids marching up to the wall every day with signs saying, ¡¥Give us our rights,¡¦ I mean I don¡¦t think Palestine is going to be immune forever to the civil rights movements that have swept other nations in the world. Somehow Israel is ignoring this. That¡¦s not leadership." [ak] 5/12/2017
Tensions mount over Trump`s Jerusalem brinkmanship The Guardian - In an act of brinkmanship over one of the Middle East’s most fraught issues, President Trump appears to have missed a deadline for signing a waiver on a US law requiring its embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. This does not automatically mean that the Embassy would now be moved, but it does increase the tension and uncertainty. Either moving the Embassy or declaring a US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel`s capital would have serious repercussions in the Middle East and likely abort altogether the Middle East diplomatic initiative which Trump was supposed to launch in the near future. The Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, The Arab League, Turkey, the EU and French President Macron have all warned Trump against unilaterally determining the status of Jerusalem. However, as usual with this President, no one - not even Trump himself - knows what he is going to do. [ak]5/12/2017
Government angered by EU visit to B’Tselem eventAFP/Times of Israel - Next week, PM Netanyahu is due to visit Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers. But just ahead of this event, officials and ministers of the Netanyahu government are strongly attacking the European Union, angered at the news that the EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret will visit an exhibition on “50 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank”, held at the Port of Jaffa by the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nahshon said it constituted "spitting in the faces of Israelis”. However, the EU reiterated that visiting an event by a Human Rights organization was an appropriate way of marking Human Rights Day [ak]. 5/12/2017
In Generational Shift, Millennial Evangelicals Not as Supportive of IsraelAmir Tibon - Haaretz - According to the survey, American evangelicals under 35 are less likely than their older counterparts to offer unquestionable support for Israel, and are more likely to hold positive views of the Palestinians.  The survey was conducted by a firm called Life Way Research and commissioned by the Chosen People Ministries, a group that proselytizes, and Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical author and activist based in Jerusalem whose father was Jewish. [bz]5/12/2017
Talk of a Peace Plan That Snubs Palestinians Roils Middle EastAnne Barnard, David M. Halbfinger and Peter Baker - NYT - Prince Mohammed, 32, is very close to Mr. Kushner, 36, both young men without much foreign policy experience who see themselves as creative reformers able to break with the ossified thinking of the past. And the Saudi prince has made clear that his top priority in the region is not the Palestinian-Israeli issue, the fulcrum of Arab politics for generations, but confronting Iran. Regional officials and analysts say they believe he might be willing to try to force a settlement on Palestinians in order to cement Israeli cooperation. Alarms began to go off across the region last month, when Mr. Abbas started making phone calls to political leaders in the region after he had left Riyadh in which he spoke of a Saudi suggestion that the Palestinians could have Abu Dis, a suburb of East Jerusalem, as their capital. [bz]5/12/2017
Israel Has A Robot Army - And It Should Scare The Sh*t Out Of YouDarius Shahtahmasebi - Information Clearing House "Israel is the first country in the world to use unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to not only patrol its borders but also to replace soldiers on missions, as well. The new Border Patroller model can be armed with remote-controlled weapons, reconnaissance means, and additional components that cannot be fitted on the traditional Guardium model it had been using for years prior.The robot is also able to patrol underground and gather information for units that are present on the surface. For example, it can help soldiers avoid booby-trapped tunnels. These robots can be given pre-designated routes for their patrol, making them more or less autonomous." ca 3/12/2017
BREAKING: Two Israeli Bedouin Arrested for Murder of IDF SoldierRichard Silverstein — Tikun Olam "This is a very unusual terror attack for a number of reasons. First, because Arad is a town that is wholly unassociated with security threats or ethnic tension. Second, while Israeli Bedouin are deeply disaffected from Israeli society and the state routinely destroys their homes and their communities and sometimes murders them in cold blood, this has almost never led to such terror attacks. It may indicate that Negev Bedouin have been recruited by Islamist terror groups. Or it may indicate a new level of anger and violence which the younger generation is prepared to use to protest treatment of the Bedouin in Israel. It also could indicate a new domestic terror threat facing the Israeli regime from its own Arab- Palestinian community." ca3/12/2017
Hopes for solving Israeli-Palestinian conflict fall across the Mideast, poll findsJames J. Zogby - +972 "Many Arabs appear to have lost faith in finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are majorities still inclined to support a two-state solution, while more than 40 percent of Lebanese, Jordanians, and Palestinians now say they no longer believe any solution is possible." ca2/12/2017
Will Israel launch pre-emptive strike against Assad?Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor "What disturbs the Israeli officers more is the Iranian "Precision [Missile] Project," intended to provide Assad and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah with the capability to manufacture their own rockets and missiles, which could strike within dozens of meters of strategic targets. As one top Israeli minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "For that, we would need to consider going to war." ca 2/12/2017
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