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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
Bennett and Shaked might be down, but they are not outMoran Azoulay - Ynet - "The former darlings of the right made a costly mistake by splitting from their base to form a new party, and they paid the price, but they also know how to turn weakness into strength and are well-placed to stage an even more triumphant return." - id18/4/2019
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Annexation is more than just a declarationMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - "By drawing a line at formal annexation, the international community is hobbling its ability to respond to Israeli changes on the ground." - id 18/4/2019
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Let`s stop talking about a false `Jewish-Arab partnership`Rami Younis and Orly Noy - +972 - "By creating symmetry between Israelis and Arabs, Jews on the left are not only missing the bigger picture — they are actively taking part in erasing the Palestinian struggle." - id 18/4/2019
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Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Raise Israeli Aid Cut in Response to West Bank AnnexationRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - " Four pro-Israel House members offered a milquetoast warning to Netanyahu not to take any measures which would preclude a two-state solution. This statement is ludicrous because not only does Bibi oppose two-states, there isn’t a hope in hell of two-states happening regardless of who’s in power. This is the deluded figment of the liberal Zionist imagination." - id 18/4/2019
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Bennett and Shaked might be down, but they are not outMoran Azoulay - Ynet - "The former darlings of the right made a costly mistake by splitting from their base to form a new party, and they paid the price, but they also know how to turn weakness into strength and are well-placed to stage an even more triumphant return." - id18/4/2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Why was Arab voter turnout so low in Israel’s elections? Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - The low turnout in the April 9 elections is a reflection of the desperation and lack of faith among Arab citizens in Israel toward the political system, which has ignored them and passed laws that discriminate against non-Jewish residents. Botrus Mansour, director general of the Nazareth Baptist School, told Al-Monitor that even though Palestinian citizens have done well economically and their legislators have performed solidly in the Knesset, those factors have failed to boost turnout. “Nazareth had the biggest drop in voting," he said of the largest Arab city in Israel. "While some intellectuals boycotted [the elections] on an ideological basis, most stayed away out of apathy and desperation.”- rh 16/4/2019
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Euro-Med to EU: Stop funds for project serving Israeli settlementsMa`an News Agency - According to a Euro-Med press release, the EU has been labeled as one of the financiers and supporters of the project that nurtures and strengthens settlements built illegally on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a move that shows sheer disregard for international law and amounts to complicity in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. Audrey Ferdinand, Euro-Med’s legal researcher, said, “The EU must adhere to its legal obligations under international law, including by not violating its own long-held commitment to a two-state solution.” Audrey Ferdinand, Euro-Med’s legal researcher, said, “The EU must adhere to its legal obligations under international law, including by not violating its own long-held commitment to a two-state solution.”- rh agency16/4/2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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How the left also dehumanises Palestinians in GazaSusan Abulhawa - Al Jazeera - By imbuing Gazans with mythical bravery, the left is failing to recognise Palestinian humanity [ry] 15/4/2019
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Blue and White ignored Israeli Arab vote at own peril Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor "On April 3, six days before the election, a young Arab woman burst into tears at an election rally in Tel Aviv as she asked Gantz why he was refusing to sit with the Arab parties. Gantz responded generically, as Netanyahu would, “Tell your leaders not to speak out against Israel.” “Your leaders,” he said. He made no mention of partnership...They kept their distance, lost the Arab vote and will now have to sit in opposition. The same is true of the Labor Party..." ca 12/4/2019
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Unfinished Gaza War: What Netanyahu hopes to gain from attacking prisonersRamzy Baroud - Ma`an News Agency "...a poll, conducted by the Israeli TV channel, Kan on March 27, found that 53% of Israelis believe that Netanyahu’s response to the Gaza resistance is “too weak.” Unable to counter with more violence, at least for now, the Netanyahu government responded by opening another battlefront, this time in Israeli prisons.By targeting prisoners, especially those affiliated with certain Gaza factions, Netanyahu is hoping to send a message of strength, and to assure his nervous constituency of his prowess." ca12/4/2019
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Netanyahu Is King Of Israel Now — But Not King Of The Jews Jane Eisner - Forward "Netanyahu’s success at ensuring the survival of Israel as a Jewish state, at least for now, comes at the expense of its relationship with most American Jews. He doesn’t need us anymore. Now we have to figure out whether and how we relate to him." ca 12/4/2019
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Congress cannot afford to ignore Netanyahu’s embrace of the far rightChris Van Hollen&Gerald E. Connolly - Washington Post Netanyahu’s full-throated embrace of the far right’s extreme agenda has placed him on a dangerous track that is not in the interest of Israel, the Palestinians or the United States. As longtime supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we are deeply concerned about recent developments. If enacted, these policies would fundamentally change the character of Israel, undermine basic Palestinian human rights and violate long-held policies and values adopted by U.S. presidents of both parties to achieve a future two- state solution that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and dignity alongside each other. That’s why Congress cannot afford to look the other way." ca12/4/2019
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Netanyahu’s Faustian pact with the racist right is about saving his own skinGershom Gorenberg - The Washington Post "The Kahanists didn’t disappear, though. By shifting names — sometimes very slightly blurring the message — the movement lives on. Otzma Yehudit is the latest iteration. It’s running again, expecting to slip past the ban, but had no chance of meeting the current, higher threshold for entering parliament, 3.25 percent of the vote.These parties are splintered, small and in trouble. The oldest, Jewish Home, militantly nationalist and pro-settlement, was Netanyahu’s ally in the outgoing government. But its leaders, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, left to create a new party that has shed the religious label. What’s left of Jewish Home has become more extreme. At Netanyahu’s urging, it renewed a shaky alliance with the National Union, which is further right yet. National Union’s leader, Bezalel Smotrich, is known for equating homosexuality to bestiality and for defending discrimination against Arabs." ca12/4/2019
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What Netanyahu’s Win Says About Israel’s FutureBernard Avishai - The New Yorker "...if Israel’s democratic forces in Labor and Meretz have something to learn from this new setback, it is that the center left will never win another election without the votes of the fifth of the population (and growing) that is not Jewish. Their bloc will need, in addition to more people like Gantz, not another Zionist Union but a big-tent democratic party of Jews and Arabs committed to a state of citizens. If Arabs continue to stay home, more and more accomplished Israelis are likely to leave home. That would be an election that Likud cannot control." ca12/4/2019
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Netanyahu`s short-lived victorySima Kadmon - Ynet - "The prime minister might have secured a fifth term, but it appears he will not be able to put together a coalition sufficiently obsequious to pass legislation to shield him from his legal woes." - id11/4/2019
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Israeli voters await results with trepidationRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - " There are no winners in this scenario. Even if Bibi does retain the premiership, he has done so by the skin of his teeth. All Trump and Putin’s horses and all their men couldn’t guarantee put Bibi back together again on the top of the political heap." - id 11/4/2019
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Netanyahu victory torpedoes two-state solution, say analystsDAOUD KUTTAB - Arab News - "Palestinian activists believe Netanyahu has been emboldened by support from US President Donald Trump, who said the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Annexing settlements would all but end any final chances for a two-state solution with the Palestinians and potentially push the sides toward a single, binational state." - id11/4/2019
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Benjamin Netanyahu ‘the Magician’ Is Re-Elected Israel’s Prime Minister—but at What Price?Neri Zilber - The Daily Beast - "Netanyahu, facing multiple indictments, may keep himself out of jail by annexing the West Bank. But what happens to 2.5 million Palestinians there? And to Israel’s identity?" - id 11/4/2019
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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
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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
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Peace and democracy the losers in Israel’s 2019 electionsAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor/Israel Pulse - The 2019 elections will go down in history as a single-issue referendum: yes or no on Netanyahu. This phenomenon reflects a decline in the value of ideologies, disinterest in the principles of political parties and mistrust of the most important institutions of Israeli democracy. A large number of Israelis support a leader, Netanyahu, whom both the police and the attorney general strongly suspect of egregious criminal wrongdoing. [bz] 9/4/2019
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Urging Israelis to vote, Rivlin warns that ‘democracy not a given’TOI STAFF - “Elections are a celebration of democracy,” Rivlin told voters in a column carried by Hebrew-language media. “This is the day we exercise our right to determine our fate, as citizens with equal rights and as partners in the political enterprise – the State of Israel.”-rh9/4/2019
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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
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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
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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
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In Israel Normalizing Violence Takes Precedence over Targeted AssassinationsRamona Wadi - Palestine Chronicle - One outcome is certain when it comes to the forthcoming Israeli elections – Gaza will remain a top target for the new government. Amid the sparring between contenders for the elections, former IDF chief Benny Gantz declared he would implement Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations against Hamas leaders if elected, and if necessary. His comments sought to counter Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks over “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, in which the latter used derogatory language to criticize Gantz’s decisions which, according to Bennett, endangered the lives of Israeli soldiers.-rh9/4/2019
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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
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Democracy, Israeli StyleHagai El-Ad - The New York Times - An election, a peace plan and an endless occupation [ry] 8/4/2019
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‘The Essence of Being Palestinian’: What the Great March of Return is Really AboutRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “For 70 years, Palestinians have embarked on that journey of the re-creation of the self. They have resisted, and their resistance in all of its forms has molded a sense of collective unity, despite the numerous divisions that were erected amongst the people. The March of Return is the latest manifestation of the ongoing Palestinian resistance” [ry] 8/4/2019
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Netanyahu polishes security image in Moscow as vote approachesBen Caspit - Al Monitor - "Another meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a chance for Netanyahu to boast of his Russian ties with Putin and emphasize a new security threat ahead of the elections." - id 4/4/2019
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On Middle East Peace, the White House Turns to... Alan DershowitzBetsy Woodruff, Asawin Suebsaeng - The Daily Beast - "He said he has discussed the issue with Jared Kushner, special envoy Jason Greenblatt, Ambassador David Friedman, and President Trump himself." - id 4/4/2019
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Win or lose, Netanyahu has already cemented his legacyEdo Konrad - +972 - "In his 10 years in power, Netanyahu has engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, declared the occupation a permanent feature of Israeli reality, and shifted both the national and international conversation on Palestine. It is time to acknowledge that these are no mere trends — but his very legacy." - id4/4/2019
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Gazans Want to LiveYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "Interestingly, as soon as Hamas reaches an understanding with Israel, internal protests in Gaza erupt in full force. Cash infusions from Qatar through Ben-Gurion Airport and the Erez checkpoint injected directly into their coffers, damages Hamas’s prestige and credibility in the eyes of the impoverished residents of the Gaza Strip." - id4/4/2019
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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
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Netanyahu can change the equation in GazaNahum Barnea - Ynet - There is no reason to be satisfied with a reality in which both sides sit on a barrel of explosives and play with matches. What is needed is a plan to rehabilitate Gaza with the cooperation of the PA, the Arab states and global institutions. Such a plan means taking risks, but the current situation is risky too. Only Netanyahu can do it - if he only had the courage to want it. [bz]2/4/2019
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Hamas tightens grip on Gaza, fails to break Israel blockadeKARIN LAUB and FARES AKRAM - AP - For Gaza residents, open-ended Hamas rule is a bleak prospect. Gaza`s 2 million people have endured rising poverty and unemployment, undrinkable ground water and frequent electricity outages since Israel and Egypt closed Gaza`s borders after Hamas seized power in 2007. In recent weeks, hundreds dared to protest Hamas policies, such as new tax hikes, chanting "We want to live." Many were jailed and beaten. Protester Amer Balousha, a 27-year-old unemployed law school graduate, said he and others were mistreated in Hamas detention but will not be deterred. "If the situation does not improve, the protests will continue," he said. A deal with Israel would help keep Hamas in power. Hamas and Netanyahu both oppose Abbas` goal of Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, as the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [bz]2/4/2019
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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
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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
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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
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`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
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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
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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
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`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
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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
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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
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Two-state Solution: U.S. Jews Won`t Budge. Will It Cost Them Their Relationship With Israel? Allison Kaplan Sommer - Haaretz "Supporting two states was not always a given for American Jews. But once it became the preferred solution, while Israelis grew increasingly skeptical, it drove the two biggest Jewish communities in the world apart " ca 30/3/2019
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This doesn`t need to happen: Another pre-election war on GazaHaggai Matar - +972 - "We need leaders who can talk about ending the siege, about ending the occupation, about equality, freedom, and security as the only solution for both Israelis and Palestinians." - id28/3/2019
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Aipac Conference Ends Amid Dissension and Democratic Presidential No-ShowsRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "Israel is in the midst of an election campaign which is the most racist in the country’s history. Netanyahu single-handedly promoted the merger of violent Jewish supremacist parties, promising them two ministerial posts in his next government. The Knesset elections committee, with Netanyahu’s approval, rejected the participation of a Palestinian party in the elections, while endorsing an avowed Kahanist who’s advocated violence and hate against Palestinians (this decision was recently overturned by the Supreme Court)." - id28/3/2019
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Trump and Congress: Loving Israel to DeathThomas L. Friedman - NYTimes - "Everyone is getting what they want, at the expense of the Jewish state. " - id 28/3/2019
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Thomas Friedman and the one-state solutionYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "One state “between the Jordan and the sea,” as Friedman defines it, is the only means for making Israel humane and democratic. Providing the Palestinians with equal civil and economic rights will not deprive the Israelis of theirs. Israel will free itself from the curse of Occupation and from the dangers inherent in the nationalism that presently rules it." - id28/3/2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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IDF playing the same old game in Gaza - analysis by Yediot military expertAlex Fishman - Ynet - The present operation has begun sooner than Israel estimated, with elections, Eurovision and Passover looming and in inclement weather that is less convenient for achieving the IDF`s goal of destroying Hamas` military force without collateral damage. [bz]26/3/2019
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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
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A War Now Will Strengthen HamasAmira Hass - Haaretz - A new war will silence the voices criticizing it. Those critical voices have become louder over the past two to three weeks. (...) A new war would be the most efficient way to prevent new demonstrations against the horrific economic and mental distress suffered by the Strip’s residents. (...) Please, Israelis, if you believe that one shouldn’t strengthen Hamas, don’t goad Netanyahu into launching hostilities just “to show them.” We cannot let the awful nightmare that Gazans have experienced three times in 10 years repeat itself. [bz]26/3/2019
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AIPAC Is Playing The Victim, But It’s Palestinians Who Are Being SilencedPeter Beinart - Forward - AIPAC President Mort Fridman declared that, “none of us are willing to be silenced.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned of forces that seek “to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear.” But far from being silenced (though being criticized) when it comes to free speech, AIPAC is not victim but victimizer. It is a major force behind the Combatting BDS Act, which in the words of the American Civil Liberties Union, would encourage states to “require state contractors — including teachers, lawyers, newspapers and journalists, and even students who want to judge high school debate tournaments — to certify that they are not participating in politically motivated boycotts against Israel.” [bz] 26/3/2019
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This doesn`t need to happen: Another pre-election war on GazaHaggai Matar and Oren Ziv - +972 - There is another way. We can stop the bloodshed. We do not have to wage another pre-election war. We can stop speaking in empty slogans [detailed in the full article-ed] about destroying the Hamas regime. These are lies, they have always been lies. What we need is a leader who can talk about negotiations, ending the siege and the occupation, about equality, freedom, and security as the only solution for both Israelis and Palestinians. [bz]26/3/2019
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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
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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
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"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
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Israel`s elections: It`s all about the Benjamins, babyMarwan Bishara - Al Jazeera - Will General Benjamin Gantz be any different than the other generals who entered Israeli politics as would-be saviours? [ry] 25/3/2019
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In Israel`s elections, only the far right is talking about democracyDahlia Scheindlin - +972 - A new campaign ad by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked signals that this time around, only the far right is talking about democratic norms — and how to undo them. Does the opposition have a response? [ry] 25/3/2019
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‘New York Times’ reporter Bergman to speak at AIPAC– though he’s not identified as a Times reporterPhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss "AIPAC lists Bergman as “Investigative Journalist and Author, Yedioth Ahronoth.” How curious that AIPAC left the Times out. The Times is very clear itself: Bergman is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine. On twitter, Bergman states that he works for the New York Times as well as Yedioth." ca23/3/2019
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Golan Heights: Trump aims to `shore up` support for Netanyahu ahead of Israeli voteAli Harb - Middle East Eye "Statement makes `mockery of international law` to help Netanyahu in forthcoming Israeli elections, analysts say." ca 23/3/2019
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Israeli court closes holy site flashpoint, goads Jordan to respond Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor "The Israeli courts have been brought into the ongoing pre-election tensions over access to a site within Al-Haram al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli prosecution has asked the courts to help resolve the conflict that has left the Old City of Jerusalem in constant tension ever since Muslim worshipers decided they are not obliged to accept the unilateral Israeli ban on using the site.Since the newly appointed and expanded Islamic Waqf Council held prayers at Bab al- Rahmeh on Feb. 14, the issue of who has the right to use the location — which lies within the UNESCO World Heritage site — has been a source of controversy." ca 23/3/2019
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You have the power to stop apartheid: An open letter to AIPACMarzuq al-Halabi - +972 "Jewish people across the world have much influence over what is happening in Israel, a fact that to a large degree also affects my fate. Thus, as the third wheel in your relationship with the state in which I live, allow me to ask a few simple, banal questions. Ordinary questions, like those in Darwish’s poem." ca23/3/2019
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Uniting Fatah, Not Palestinians: The Dubious Role of Mohammed ShtayyehRamzy Baroud - Counter Punch - "But Shtayyeh is different from Abbas, at least in the appeal of his own persona. He hails from the First Intifada generation of 1987. He was dean of students at Birzeit University in the early 1990s. Birzeit has served as a symbol of the revolutionary class of Palestinian intellectuals in the West Bank, and even Gaza. Shtayyeh’s ability to connect with young people, as he places constant, but guarded emphasis on the resistance against Israeli Occupation, will certainly bring new blood to the aging, irrelevant PA leadership or, at least, that is what Abbas hopes." - id21/3/2019
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Zehut: The legalization of cannabis and apartheidYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "Young secular Israelis flock around Feiglin. In his lectures and interviews, he speaks about his libertarian vision for a Jews-only Israel and the freedom to use cannabis. While the Kahanists are denounced as racist thugs, and rightly so, Feiglin has become ‘cool’ and a ‘superstar’, appearing frequently in television studios and on the front pages of leading newspapers." - id 21/3/2019
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These elections are a choice between resignation and despairMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - "Four years ago, the prospect of another Netanyahu government meant perpetuating the status quo. This time, the opposition is offering the status quo — and Netanyahu something far worse." - id 21/3/2019
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Twitter Outlaws “Yid” as “Hate Speech”Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "But apparently the Twitter censor, with a boost from the pro-Israel cabal, has decided that the term “Yid” is anti-Semitic hate speech and outlawed its use. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. It is the word Jews have called each other in major quarters of the European (and U.S.) Diaspora for a thousand years (a koshereh Yid, a prosteh Yid, Yidl mitn fidl, etc.)." - id21/3/2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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`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
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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
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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
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What the candidates in Israel`s elections say about the conflictDahlia Scheindlin - +972 - On Monday night, the Geneva Initiative held an event billed as “the great debate” on policy toward the conflict, scheduled with representatives of Likud, Blue and White, Labor, The New Right (Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s far-right party), and left-wing Meretz. Likud and Blue/White cancelled last minute. It appears that the leading parties prefer not to risk losing control over any of the few words they release on this issue. The two most serious contenders for Israel’s premiership may not have shown up, but a look at their platforms shows what the parties claim to stand for. What do they actually propose? Do they differ from one another, and would they truly change current policies? (...) Precisely because Blue and White is not black and white about its vision, the positions of the hypothetical coalition partners could affect the bottom line of its policies. [bz]19/3/2019
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“How we can solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem”Video Documentary by Video Documentary by Sami Moukaddem - "“I simply got tired ofwestern mainstream media presenting the Palestinian-Israeliissue as being complex,” Includes over 35interviews, including: Noam Chomsky Hajo Meyer (Auschwitz survivor), Ilan Pappe (Israeli historian), Omar Barghouti (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) Rabbi Ahron Cohen Denis Halliday (former UN Assistant Secretary General) Brian Keenan Alastair Crooke (former MI6)" ca 16/3/2019
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JVP’s anti-Zionist statement can reach liberal Zionists, and that’s importantLiz Rose - Mondoweiss "Jewish Voice for Peace’s (JVP) recently published “Our Approach to Zionism,” a compassionate and timely stand against Zionism, has the potential to break liberal Zionist consensus within the Jewish community when it comes to Israel and widen the discussion around Zionism. In this document, the progressive organization has unapologetically stated its opposition to Zionism, declaring it a dangerous, settler-colonial movement for Jews because it continues to hurt Palestinian life and steal Palestinian land." ca 16/3/2019
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What`s so scary about a state of all its citizens?Asaf Calderon - +972 - "What sounds like a basic democratic concept is not only at odds with Israel’s founding principles, it is viewed as a direct threat." - id14/3/2019
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Israel is a Kahanist StateRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "With the Israeli public, he spoke candidly and betrayed the racism inherent in his world-view. But abroad, he would talk-the-talk: two states, we’re ready for peace…blah, blah, blah. It was all a sham." - id14/3/2019
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ADC Stands With Congresswoman Ilhan Omar!Ray Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "It is absurd that Representative Omar is being targeted for exercising her legal right to question the influence of AIPAC, one of the most influential special interest groups in the U.S. for the last twenty years." - id14/3/2019
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New wave of Arab popular revolt undermines Israel’s strategy to ally with Arab regimesAssaf Adiv - Challenge - "There is a consensus in the Israeli establishment, including the Labor Party and Benny Gantz’s new party, about Netanyahu’s efforts to recruit Saudi and Egyptian leaders for a regional summit intended to impose an autonomy-without-rights on the Palestinians." - id 14/3/2019
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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
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Defending nation-state law, PM says Israeli Arabs have 22 other countriesRAOUL WOOTLIFF - The Times of Israel - The claim that there are 22 other Arab states is often used by right-wing Israelis as an argument against Palestinian statehood, but is not generally used as an argument regarding the country’s Arab citizens, who make up almost a quarter of the population.-rh12/3/2019
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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
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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
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Gaza aid cannot wait while Israel holds elections Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - As it usually does, Hamas decided to fix its mistake by heating things up with Israel. The group went back to launching incendiary balloons and escalated violent demonstrations on the border fence. The number of Palestinian casualties has climbed after weeks of Egypt urging it to avoid escalation and wait until after Israel’s April 9 elections to complete the long-term cease-fire deal that has been months in the making. However, growing shortages have increased pressure on the Hamas leadership. How can one ask thousands of civil servants to wait for their pay until after Israel deals with its domestic political affairs?-rh 12/3/2019
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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
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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
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Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ‘not a state of all its citizens’Agence France-Presse / The Guardian - “Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” wrote PM Netanyahu on Instagram, in response to criticism from an Israeli actress, Rotem Sela. “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it. (...) There is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel. They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government, [but] Israel, a Jewish, democratic state, is the nation state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people”. Netanyahu has been accused of demonising Israeli Arabs, who make up about 17% of the population, in an attempt to boost rightwing turnout in elections due on 9 April.[ak] 12/3/2019
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
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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
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Why Benny Gantz is more dangerous than the KahanistsTom Mehager - +972 - Despite taking pride in bombing Gaza to the Stone Age, Benny Gantz is still portrayed by the Israeli media as a dove who wants to end the conflict. Nothing could be further from the truth [ry] 11/3/2019
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Trump is trying to pay his way to an annihilation of Palestinian statehood, and an erasure of Israel’s crimes This was the first time in modern Arab history that America has offered the bribes before anyone has agreed to the termsRobert Fisk - The Independent "But each new war, each new set of casualties, each new UN report has become normal. Or perhaps the word is “normalised”. None more so than the 25 February UN document. The demonstrators belonged to the “terrorist” Hamas, according to Israel. The investigation was a “theatre of the absurd”, announced Israel’s spokesman, “a report that is hostile, mendacious and biased against Israel”.But what did we expect? Ever since Israel trashed and demeaned and politically destroyed that great Jewish jurist Richard Goldstone after his devastating critique of the 2008-2009 Israeli bombardment of Gaza – the accusations by Israel and Jewish Americans of his antisemitism and his innate “evil” (the latter from Alan Dershowitz, of course) make even US Democrat Ilhan Omar’s sins look childlike – UN reports have been little more than wallpaper. Yet none of this matters." ca 9/3/2019
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Israelis’ obsession with generalsYaron London - Ynet - "The electorate ought to be more wary of the enchantment of the uniform. " - id7/3/2019
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Pompeo: If Bibi Wants a Fascist Government, Fine by UsRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "So Pompeo has just given a green light to admitting Jewish terrorists into the Israeli government. His argument that this is acceptable because the Israeli voters will have democratically approved such an arrangement is bogus. U.S. and European governments have often declared neo Nazi leaders and governments persona non grata." - id7/3/2019
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Violence is fundamental to Israel’s ‘democracy’ and always has beenRay Hanania - Middle East Monitor - "Israeli soldiers hiding behind bunkers and using long-range sniper rifles have intentionally murdered 35 children, paramedics, journalists and disabled people during its ongoing assault against Palestinian civilian protestors along the Gaza border, a report released by the United Nations concluded this week." - id7/3/2019
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Hoping to gain right-wing votes, Ganz`s program avoids mentioning a Palestinian state Yuval Karni - Y-Net - The Blue and White Party, which headed by former Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and which presents a serious challenge to PM Netanyahu, took care in its program to avoid any mention of a Palestinian state and vow "no withdrawal from four strategic areas — the West Bank settlement blocs, the Jordan Valley, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights". If taken seriously as the binding policy of a potential Ganz government, it would render such a government incapable of reaching any meaningful agreement with the Palestinians. Still, the program refers to "a regional conference to promote Israel`s separation from the Palestinians" - whatever that may mean in practice.[ak] 5/3/2019
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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
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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
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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
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`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
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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
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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
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Palestinians, Jordanians challenge Israel at Al-Aqsa over banned prayer space Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - Al-Aqsa Mosque is again causing a major rift in the once friendly relationship between Jordan and Israel. Relations turned sour in the past week when Israeli security officials conducted a humiliating arrest of Jordan’s most senior official in Jerusalem. Heavily armed Israeli security forces arrived at the East Jerusalem home of Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab at 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 24. Salhab’s deputy and a score of other employees of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf were also taken away, as were leading Palestinian activists. The Israeli police said the arrests were made because Salhab, 75, and hundreds of Muslims broke an Israeli imposed ban forbidding Palestinians from entering or praying at the Bab al-Rahmeh prayer room in the mosque. They called the protest act a “change in the status quo.”-rh 5/3/2019
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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
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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
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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
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