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It`s over: Jewish National Fund and Israel finally agree to part waysYael Darel--JNF chief Meir Spiegler says breakaway for `purely professional` reasons, stemming from frequent state violations of agreements; split includes land swaps between the sides. dn1/2/2015
Sky News airs Gaza war images during Holocaust segmentItamar Eichner - Ynet - In a discussion on anti-Jewish sentiments, anchor Adam Boulton said that "many people would say that the behavior of the state of Israel, unfortunately, its attitude towards the Palestinians, has poured fuel on anti-Semitism." While Britain`s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was responding to Boulton`s claims, noting that anti-Semitism has existed long before Israel`s establishment and that many of the anti-Zionist sentiments are affected by anti-Semitic ones, images from the wreckage in the Gaza Strip of the summer`s war were shown. Israel`s Embassy in London lodged a complaint against Sky News. [bz] 31/1/2015
Does a French Muslim ‘community’ really exist?Nadia Henni-Moulaï - Al-Ahram Weekly "A Muslim president in the Elysée Palace: In his novel Soumission (Submission), released on 7 January, the popular novelist Michel Houllebecq imagines an “Islamist” party at the head of the French government. The fiction, of course, bears no relation to reality... In its latest study, the National Institute of Demographic Studies reported that France’s Muslim population is 4.1 million, a figure well below the often quoted five to six million.The study also found that the Muslim community, in terms of its religiosity, is not homogeneous. If 49 per cent of Muslims are strongly religious, 47 per cent define their religious practice as moderate. Four per cent, referred to as “cultural Muslims”, have a detached relationship with Islam." ca30/1/2015
Little to celebrateKhaled Dawoud - Al-Ahram Weekly "The revolution, he (Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, ca) told an audience which included President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, reiterating what now appears to be the state’s preferred narrative, began as a genuine protest by frustrated young Egyptians against Mubarak’s corrupt rule but was later “stolen” by the Brotherhood and supporters of other militant Islamic groups...Activists who took part in the 2011 uprising and returned to the streets in 2013 to protest against the Brotherhood and reclaim the original goals of the 25 January revolution feel doubly betrayed. They find themselves condemned in the media.Many are behind bars for defying the controversial protest law..."ca 30/1/2015
United Arab slate thumbs nose at Liberman`s disqualification attemptLisa Goldman - +972 - "After years of engaging in relentless, blatantly racist incitement against the Arab parties, the foreign minister may soon get his comeuppance." - id 28/1/2015
UN halts Gaza house repairs saying donors failed to pay upMa`an - "UNRWA in Gaza has so far provided over $77 million to 66,000 Palestine refugee families to repair their home or find a temporary alternative. This is wholly insufficient... Thousands of families continue to suffer through this cold winter with inadequate shelter." A Hamas official warned recently that the territory could become a breeding ground for extremism unless promised reconstruction is accelerated. Instead, it stopped... [bz] 27/1/2015
IDF commander dismisses Unit 8200 refuseniksMairav Zonszein - +972 - "Unfortunately, the unit is choosing to cope with the claims we have raised by throwing us out of the unit, as if the harsh reality will disappear together with us." (The reservists in a statement responding to their dismissal.) [bz]27/1/2015
Suspend EU-Israel treaty, 63 MEPs say AIC / ECCP - "The EU’s lack of substantial action with regards to Israel appears out of step with the speed at which it has implemented restrictive measures on Russia with regards to the Ukraine crisis in recent months, as well as the restrictive measures implemented against more than 30 other countries." [bz]27/1/2015
New Death Sentence IssuedPCHR press release - The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) renews its demand for the abolishment of the death penalty in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as Gaza courts issued a second death sentence in 2015. [bz]27/1/2015
Peri: Netanyahu endangering IDF soldiersAttila Somfalvi - Ynet - Netanyahu is destroying our relationship with our most important ally" said Yaakov Peri, till recently a minister in Netanyahu`s government and earlier a chief of Israeli Security. According to Peri, the PM`s spat with Obama over Netanyahu`s scheduled speech to Congress might eventually lead to the administration standing aside and tacitly letting Israeli officers be tried by the International Criminal Court.[ak] 27/1/2015
Syrian army base hit by IDF in response to Golan Heights rocket fireJerusalem Post - Two projectiles fired from Syria landed in the Israeli-ruled Golan Heights. There was no damage or injuries, but thousands of Israeli hikers were evacuated from Mount Hermon - developed as a popular resort since Israel captured the Golan in 1967. No one claimed responsibility for firing the projectiles, but commentators linked them to the Israeli attack on a Hezbollah convoy in the same area, nine days ago. A retaliatory IDF artillery bombardment hit a Syrian military base manned by soldiers loyal to President Assad - one more in a series of Israeli actions effectively taking the side of anti-Assad rebels in the Syrian Civil War. [ak] 27/1/2015
ICC backers defy Israeli call to cut funding to war crimes courtJerusalem Post - Last week Israel`s Foreign Minister Lieberman called upon funding states to cut off funding to "that biased political body, the International Criminal Court". Lieberman`s call was rejected out of hand by the states funding the ICC. Germany - the second-largest donor to the ICC budget - said it "couldn`t imagine" cutting off that funding. Similar statements were made by the French, British and Italians, and also by the Canadian government, which often supports the Netanyahu government on other issues. (The US, for its own reasons, did not join the ICC and does not contribute to its budget). [ak] 27/1/2015
Fatah: If two state solution fails, we`ll push for one stateAIC - If the two state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fails to materialise, the Palestinian Authority will push for a one-state solution, according to a leading figure in the ruling Fatah party [ry]26/1/2015
Has Netanyahu Finally Gone Too Far With His Contempt for Obama?Kevin Drum - Mother Jones - "I keep wondering if it`s ever possible for Benjamin Netanyahu to go too far. He`s treated President Obama with truly astonishing levels of contempt and disdain for nearly his entire tenure, and he`s done it in the apparent belief that his political support in the US is so strong and so bipartisan that he`ll never be held to account for it. And so far he hasn`t been. But what about his latest stunt?" [ry] 26/1/2015
One family, three dead, three maimed: `Black Friday` in GazaElior Levy - Ynet - Very little has been reported in the Israeli media on the hell Palestinian residents endured. Levy speaks with Wael al-Namlah, 26, a married father of two. He writes about one family`s continued urgent need of help, and about a report presented by Physicians for Human Rights - to deaf ears. [bz]24/1/2015
A story of France`s quiet surrender to Islamic ruleGilles Rozier - Haaretz "`Soumission` was published on January 7, the same day 10 workers at Charlie Hebdo were murdered by Al-Qaida-inspired terrorists. Is the fundamentalist future portrayed by author Michel Houellebecq already here?" ca23/1/2015
Obama, Kerry freeze out Bibi over impromptu Hill visitLaura Rozen - Al-Monitor "Neither President Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry will see Netanyahu on his Washington visit in March, the White House and State Department said Jan. 22, ostensibly because it is just two weeks before Israel’s elections. But US officials left little doubt the cold shoulder was also because they were incensed that Netanyahu was plotting to come to Washington to lobby against Obama’s sensitive diplomatic efforts with Iran...Pardo, in his rare statement, appeared to concede the Israeli-backed push for new congressional Iran sanctions was designed to try to collapse the current Iran nuclear negotiations, because Israel considers the deal being negotiated too weak." ca 23/1/2015
After police killings, anger simmers in Negev Bedouin villagesMa`an News Agency - "But the killings have triggered a political mobilization not seen in the South in more than a year since the defeat of the Prawer Plan, and they have re-awakened an anger against what many see as the racist policies of the Israeli state that have unified Bedouin communities with their urban and rural counterparts elsewhere." ca23/1/2015
The Strategy Behind Israel’s Attack on Iran and HizballahJonathan Cook - ICH "Iran has invested heavily in arming Hizballah with rockets and missiles to provide a deterrent against Israel launching a strike on Iran. Using that arsenal now, as one Israeli analyst surmised, would be “wasting [it] on border skirmishes that have no strategic significance for Iran”.Hizballah, meanwhile, will be reluctant to fire rockets for fear of weakening its domestic political position. It has no popular mandate – explicit or implicit – to drag Lebanon into another devastating confrontation with Israel, like the one in 2006, in retaliation for military losses it sustained on Syrian rather than Lebanese soil." ca23/1/2015
Commuters injured in Tel Aviv bus stabbingAl Jazeera - "Israeli authorities said the man was a 23-year-old from Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, and had entered Israel without a work visa." - id21/1/2015
Strawberry harvest continues in Gaza Strip, PalestineMohammed Asad - The Arab Daily News - "There were may delays in planting the product and many farmers lost anticipated revenues." - id 21/1/2015
Japanese and Israeli PMs see different hurdles to peaceBarbara Opall-Rome - Defence News - Japanese PM Shinzo Abe addressed Israeli public opinion directly, in an op-ed published in Yediot Ahronot, Israel`s largest Hebrew daily. After paying many compliments and mentioning the part Japanese diplomats played in saving European Jews during WWII, Abe wrote: "As a true friend, I want to offer advice on the matter of building in the settlements, which is considered in the world as a violation of international law. I understand that this involves ideology on the Israeli side, but I reckon it would be worthwhile for Israel to carefully consider this policy in order to create a positive climate for dialogue". [ak] 20/1/2015
Playing with fire on Israel`s northern frontAlex Fishman - Ynet - Someone threw a match into a powder keg and is now waiting to see whether it will explode or not. This is a dangerous exercise in practical chemistry conducted on the eve of the final exam: The elections in Israel. A helicopter and two missiles killed a group of Lebanese and Iranian terror activists in the Syrian Golan Heights – and now we`re all in suspense: Will Hezbollah respond or hold back? [This article reflects the widespread suspicion of Netanyahu seeking war for electoral purposes. The writer is no "peacenik."-bz] 20/1/2015
Six Hezbollah Fighters Killed by Israeli Airstrike in SyriaSaed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - “Israeli Ynet News reported that Major General (res.) Yuav Galant hinted that the assassination, especially the timing of it, was motivated by the upcoming Israeli elections. […] The Israeli army claims that the fighters were killed, allegedly, ‘while planning to attack Israel’” [ry]19/1/2015
Je Suis Charlie Chaplin - A Fetid Wind of Racism Hovers Over EuropeShlomo Sand - CounterPunch - “A bad wind, a fetid wind of dangerous racism, hovers over Europe: there exists a fundamental difference between challenging a religion or a dominant belief in a society, and that of attacking or inciting against the religion of a dominated minority. […] Now, as one well knows, Western leaders, far from encouraging the would-be disciples of Voltaire and Rousseau in the Middle East, maintain their total support to the religious regimes the most repressive” [ry]19/1/2015
Israel calls on member states to divest from ICCSergio Yahni - Aic - International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated on Friday a preliminary probe into whether the Israeli army committed war crimes during last summer`s offensive on Gaza. In addition, Bensouda indicated that Palestine should be recognized as a state following the UN General Assembly’s November 29, 2012 vote recognizing a “State of Palestine” [ry]19/1/2015
1 killed, dozens wounded in clashes with police at Rahat funeralIlana Curiel - Ynet - Clashes with police break out at funeral of man killed in police raid last week; police car pelted with stones at funeral; 22 civilians, 2 policemen wounded [ry]19/1/2015
Turkish religious thinker ponders future of IslamBarýn Kayaoðlu - Al-Monitor "Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he argued that Islam would be the panacea to Turkey’s ills. As a writer, publisher and media executive, he helped his fellow Islamists gain power to right past wrongs. Today, however, he has given up on them. He is disappointed in what his country has become and he is disheartened by his fellow Muslims’ failure to adhere to the Quranic notions of humility, honesty and justice. Meet Levent Gultekin. His latest writings and interview with Al-Monitor offer simple yet effective ideas to a world plagued with Islamophobia and Islamic extremism." ca 16/1/2015
Why Israeli call for French aliyah is so offensiveJoel Braunold - Haaretz "Some 120 years after the Dreyfus affair, French Prime Minster Manuel Valls is putting the very fate of the republic in the hands of Jews and their willingness to stay in France. Amid the tragedy and political posturing from Israeli politicians, it seems that France has come full circle from an event that sparked modern Zionism." ca16/1/2015
Palestinians in Lebanon push back against media incitementMoe Ali Nayel - Electronic Intifada "In 2007, militant Islamic fighters Fatah al-Islam, who had been employed by local Sunni sectarian politicians as potential proxy fighters, hid out in Nahr al-Bared camp. An armed confrontation with the Lebanese army ultimately led to the army destroying the camp, home to nearly 30,000 refugees.A similar threat is today looming over Ein al-Hilwe camp, near the southern city of Sidon. That camp is home to more than 80,000 Palestinian ad hoc initiative was organized by youth and civil society groups in the camp, who are keen not to be dragged into a repeat of the Nahr al-Bared tragedy. The youth initiative has staged protests and started media awareness campaigns to demonstrate that Palestinians remain neutral, and are not harboring any criminals wanted by the Lebanese state." ca16/1/2015
Turmoil and restraintHassan Al-Qashawi - Al-Ahram "Suicide bombers ended months of calm in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, on Saturday when two men wearing explosive vests blew themselves up in a cafe in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Jebel Moshin. Nine people were killed and dozens injured...Lebanon’s stoic reaction to this sectarian attack marks a shift in local politics...The longstanding confrontation now seems to be petering out, however, as the Lebanese rally to prevent their country from falling prey to the radicals of the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Nusra Front." ca16/1/2015
The real reason Bibi wants French Jews to move to IsraelOrly Noy - +972 - "By calling on France’s Jews to move to Israel, Netanyahu is promoting a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation and no Palestinian people. There are only Jews and radical Muslims." - id 14/1/2015
Paris victim Yoav Hattab died a Tunisian patriotLisa Goldman - +972 - "For young Tunisians on social media, Hattab has come to represent their hopes for their country. They are sharing and quoting a France 2 television interview with Rabbi Benjamin Hattab, the dead man’s father, in which he speaks passionately of the easy, mutually respectful relationship between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia." - id 14/1/2015
Muslim friends of Paris terror victim barred from funeral in IsraelYoav Hattab - Ynet - The friends were also angry at the silence from the Tunisian government following the murder of Hattab and the three other Jewish victims, all of Tunisian descent. In response to a post on the topic a commenter called Muhammad wrote: "You`re entirely Tunisian and no one has the right to take that from you. It`s a shame the government and our society forgot that." [bz] 13/1/2015
Provide asylum seekers with heaters, rights groups demand in courtYael Marom - +972 - Following media reports and the intervention of two members of Knesset, the Israel Prison Service provided African asylum seekers with heating pads, which one asylum seeker says are inadequate. As temperatures drop below zero, Tel Aviv residents protest conditions at the Holot detention facility [ry]12/1/2015
‘With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France`: Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper Annie Robbins - Mondoweiss - "In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week Haaretz published a daring cartoon juxtaposing journalists killed in Gaza by Israel during the brutal summer slaughter with the journalists killed at the office of the satirical magazine in Paris. This set off a chain reaction which ultimately led to calls for murdering Haaretz journalists" [ry]12/1/2015
PA: No reconstruction until we get control of GazaElhanan Miller - The Times of Israel "Following a rare government meeting in Gaza Tuesday, the government of Rami Hamdallah said Wednesday that PA civil servants who had left their positions as a result of Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 must be allowed to resume their posts, a move that would effectively put Hamas appointees out of business." ca9/1/2015
Israeli sisters of Hamas chief penalized for Gaza visitAFP - "Both women, who are the widows of Arab-Israeli men, said they made the trip to visit relatives they had not seen for several years. Israel rarely grants permits such visits, limiting them to very specific humanitarian cases concerning couples where one partner lives in Gaza and the other in Israel, East Jerusalem or the West Bank, Israeli rights group Gisha said." ca9/1/2015
Attorney General: Arab MK likely to stand trial for incitementEdo Konrad - +972 - "The decision is just one of several that have targeted the MK over the past year." - id 7/1/2015
American Arab leader urges Israeli Arabs to voteRay Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "Ziad Asali, the President of the American Task Force on Palestine, the nation’s most influential pro-Palestinian lobbying group in the United States, called it imperative that Israel’s Arab civilians participate and not boycott the next Israeli elections." - id7/1/2015
Israel to urge US Congressmen to terminate $400 mln aid to PalestiniansSputnik - The Journal of the Turkish Weekly - The key positions in both houses of the present US Congress are represented mainly by pro-Israel politicians. [bz]6/1/2015
US opposes Israeli tax freeze on PalestiniansBBC - Israeli officials said on Saturday that $127m (£82m) collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority last month would be held back. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Israeli move would raise tensions. "We call on both sides to avoid action that raises tensions and makes it difficult to return to direct negotiations. Obviously this action would qualify in that category," she said. [bz]6/1/2015
Rivlin slams gov`t decision to freeze tax money transfer to PalestiniansItamar Eichner- Ynet - "The taxes are a part of the Palestinian peoples` ability to sustain themselves and the Israeli interest is for the Palestinian people to sustain themselves", the president said at a meeting with current and future Israeli ambassadors to Europe. [bz]6/1/2015
Netanyahu: Israeli troops won’t be hauled to court in Hague Stuart Winer - The Times of Israel - PM says PA has chosen path of confrontation, and Palestinian leaders should be ‘brought to account’ at ICC over unity deal with Hamas [ry]5/1/2015
Increasing number of Israelis renouncing their citizenshipItamar Eichner - Ynet - Percentage of citizens giving up their passports rose by 65 percent in past year; most live in Germany, US, Austria; reasons include desire to hold other citizenship, work in security-sensitive job [ry]5/1/2015
Abbas to renew bid for Palestinian statehoodAlJazeera - Palestinian president says he is working on re-submission of resolution to UN that failed to win enough votes last week [ry]5/1/2015
In face of siege, displaced Gazan uses local resources to build homeMa`an - Al-Irr says the new home - built from limestone and sand - is not a permanent replacement for the one that was destroyed. "It is a place to keep out of the hot sun in summer and the cold in winter until our home is rebuilt," al-Irr told Ma`an. [bz]3/1/2015
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