• Israel, a state unencumbered by democracy

    The Knesset presidium has excised the principle of equality from the definition of democracy. Instead of dealing with the Balad party’s vision, they have chosen to kill the messenger.

    Haneen Zoabi member of the Parliament
    Jun 18, 2018 1:01 AM


    In a rare move, the Knesset presidium last week refused Balad’s request to bring the party’s proposal for a Basic Law: Israel as a State of All Its Citizens before the Knesset for discussion and a vote in the plenum. The proposal reflects the party’s values, vision and platform. In a democratic country, the vision of “a state of all its citizens” should have been an existing reality that is taken for granted because it is one of the core principles of a democracy.
    A democracy does not exist without equality among its citizens and if there does exist a certain deviation from this, then the principle of equality should be what directs it. That is, any deviation from equality should be done for purposes of “compensating” some weakened group (and not to grant privileges to the strong group), the aim of which is to enable that weakened group to achieve fundamental equality with the others.
    A selective democracy is not a democracy. The granting of privileges to a strong group does not accord at all with the democratic principle. An egalitarian state is supposed to grant its citizens rights at the individual and collective levels in an equal way and therefore it cannot be identified with a specific national group.
    However, the Knesset presidium believed otherwise. It excised the principle of equality from the fundamental definition of democracy and reduced it to the individual plane only. (What else is left?) However, when the state expropriates lands from us, the Palestinians, to benefit the Jews, or when it damages our national rights – does this not damage us as “individuals”? Is it possible for an individual to exist when cut off from his historical affiliation, identity or culture?
    The difficulty with dealing with Balad’s vision has always been a key characteristic of the relations between the party and most of the elements in the political arena. The repeated attempts to prevent the party from participating in elections and the campaign to delegitimize its Knesset members reflect the difficulty the state and its political elite have in dealing with its messages. Instead, they have chosen to kill the messenger.
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    Second shoe drops
    And if the stupidity of denying a discussion of the proposal for the law were not enough – it has been barred from public discourse because of the excess of democracy inherent in it – less than two weeks after its rejection came the draft law on party funding proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kish. This bill limits the number of parties that can receive funding in a union of parties such as the Joint List. The aim of the law, as explicitly stated, is to eject Balad, which has been defined as its most “extreme” element, from the Joint List.
    If we are “extreme” from a nationalist perspective, go ahead and rein us in by means of the vision of equal citizenship we proposed to you two weeks ago. But no, it turns out that accusing us of “extremism” is only an excuse. The truth is that we are “extreme” because we are not even granted any partial, distorted or demagogic definition of democracy, and because of our insistence on realizing a democratic vision, even when it collides head-on with the privileged status of the dominant group.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702659 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • New Amnesty leader calls BDS a tested «tool of resistance» | The Electronic Intifada

    It will be interesting to see if Naidoo pushes Amnesty to take stronger positions on holding Israel accountable.

    “Excessive force”
    Last week, Amnesty urged Israel to avoid “excessive force” against Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return rallies in the occupied Gaza Strip.

    Israel has killed dozens and injured thousands of unarmed protesters since 30 March.

    “The Israeli authorities must respect the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest and, in the event that there is violence, use only the force necessary to address it,” the group’s Magdalena Mughrabi stated. “Under international law, lethal force can only be used when unavoidable to protect against imminent threats to life.”

    Amnesty relies on international law to defend Israel’s “right” to violence against an occupied people.

    But while encouraging Israel to use less force against Palestinians, Amnesty acknowledges no Palestinian right to self-defense or resistance to occupation, only the right to “peaceful protest.”

    Regardless of the intention, this effectively privileges and endorses Israeli violence – a perverse position for a human rights organization in the overall context of Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over Palestinians.

    Yet the Palestinian right to self-defense and resistance – should Palestinians choose to exercise it – is clearly recognized by international law, if not by Amnesty International.

    #droits_humains #contadictions

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702607 via Kassem

  • Très bon texte de ce blog de critique d’art sur le site du Monde :

    « Saison France Israël »
    Lunettes Rouges, Le Monde, le 4 juin 2018

    Sous couvert d’événements culturels, cette « Saison » est une manifestation de propagande de la part du gouvernement de l’état d’Israël, tentant par tous les moyens (« greenwashing » écologique, « pinkwashing » homophile, « techwashing » de la « start-up nation », etc.) de faire oublier sa nature violente, belliqueuse et coloniale, et espérant que quelques manifestations culturelles effaceront dans l’esprit des Français l’évidence que ce gouvernement d’extrême-droite refuse toute solution autre que la colonisation. Au lendemain des tueries de Gaza, l’inauguration de cette « Saison » est une infâmie dont se rendent coupables nos gouvernants, les institutions culturelles et les artistes qui y participent.

    J’invite tous les critiques d’art à refuser d’écrire sur ces manifestations. Et s’ils sont contraints de le faire, qu’au moins ils remettent cette « Saison » dans son contexte, celui d’un effort de propagande visant à dissimuler des crimes.

    Au passage, je découvre son démontage passionnant de Robert Capa ici :

    Robert Capa au service des mythes fondateurs de l’état d’Israël
    Lunettes Rouges, Le Monde, le 13 octobre 2015

    Premier mythe : Israël est un défenseur de la civilisation (occidentale, bien sûr), les Arabes sont des attaquants non civilisés. Cette fiction néo-colonialiste est bien connue et toujours active. Dans les photographies de Capa, il n’y a pratiquement pas d’Arabes (ils représentaient quand même la majorité de la population), les rares spécimens (seuls quatre identifiés apparemment) montrés sont défaits, prisonniers, blessés, vus de loin, stéréotypés. Les seuls Arabes qui, photographiquement, sont traités comme les Juifs (portraits « nobles ») sont des Druzes de Galilée, lesquels se battaient aux côtés des Juifs. Aucun village arabe détruit ou vidé de ses habitants n’est photographié, aucune victime des massacres ou des viols n’est visible, aucun signe de l’épuration ethnique en cours n’est présent.

    #Palestine #Saison_France_Israël #Boycott_Culturel #BDS #Robert_Capa #Photographie #Histoire #Falsification #Mythologie

    https://seenthis.net/messages/699822 via Dror@sinehebdo

  • Israel adopts abandoned Saudi sectarian logic - Modern Diplomacy


    Amid ever closer cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Israel’s military appears to be adopting the kind of sectarian anti-Shiite rhetoric that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is abandoning as part of a bid to develop a national rather than a religious ethos and promote his yet to be defined form of moderate Islam.

    The Israeli rhetoric in Arabic-language video clips that target a broad audience across the Middle East and North Africa emerged against the backdrop of a growing influence of conservative religious conscripts and officers in all branches of the Israeli armed forces.

    The clips featuring army spokesman Major Avichay Adraee were also designed to undermine support for Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and backed recent mass anti-Israeli protests along the border with Israel, in advance of a visit to the Middle East by US peace negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

    The visit could determine when US President Donald J. Trump publishes his long-awaited ‘art of the deal’ proposal for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that despite Israeli and tacit Saudi and United Arab Emirates backing is likely to be rejected by the Palestinians as well as those Arab states that have so far refused to tow the Saudi line.

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in tacit cooperation with the Palestine Authority on the West Bank, have adopted a carrot-and-stick approach in an as yet failed bid to weaken Hamas’ control of Gaza in advance of the announcement of Mr. Trump’s plan.

    Citing a saying of the Prophet Mohammed, Major Adraee, painting Hamas as an Iranian stooge, asserted that “whoever acts like a people is one of them… You (Hamas) have officially become Shiites in line with the Prophet’s saying… Have you not read the works of the classical jurists, scholars…who have clearly warned you about the threat Iranian Shiism poses to you and your peoples?”

    In a twist of irony, Major Adraee quoted the very scholars Prince Mohammed appears to be downplaying. They include 18th century preacher Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, whose ultra-conservative anti-Shiite interpretation of Islam shaped Saudi Arabia for much of its history; Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, a 14th century theologist and jurist, whose worldview, like that of Wahhabism, inspires militant Islam; and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian-born, Qatar-based scholar, who was designated a terrorist by Saudi Arabia and the UAE because he is believed to be the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702462 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt : Government hikes fuel prices by up to 66.7% | MadaMasr

    The government raised fuel prices at 9 am on Saturday morning by as much as 66.67 percent, according to Saturday’s edition of the Official Gazette. The move comes as part of the 2016 structural readjustment program agreed on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and amid rising international oil prices.

    Among the hikes introduced on Saturday morning, the second largest increases were levied on diesel and 80 octane fuel prices, which are used in microbuses and trucks. This will have a pronounced impact on low-income groups and overall inflation levels.

    The greatest increase comes with the rise in prices of LPG cylinders used in households and some commercial outlets as an alternative to gas. The price of 95 octane and 92 octane fuel — used by private car owners — saw the lowest increase.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702467 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israeli plan to jail anyone filming soldiers in the West Bank hits legal wall
    Attorney general says new legislation that outlaws documenting soldiers is unconstitutional; government to vote on bill anyway

    Jonathan LisSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 17, 2018 12:51 PM


    The present version of the proposed law to ban the filming of Israeli soldiers carrying out their duties is problematic from a constitutional standpoint, so much so that it may not be able to be enacted into law, said Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
    The bill will be brought on Sunday for approval of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which would give it official government backing.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The committee is expected to approve the bill in its present form, after which it will go to the full Knesset for its preliminary vote. The bill is expected to pass this reading too.
    But a senior politician in the government coalition told Haaretz that an agreement has been reached with MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), the sponsor of the bill, that after the bill passes its preliminary vote in the Knesset, it will be changed significantly in committee. The new version will ban interfering with IDF soldiers carrying out their duties and not a full ban on filming and documentation, a change that could pass constitutional muster.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702463 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Killing a child is ’not right’, but not wrong enough for an indictment -

    Israeli prosecutors concluded that the two soldiers acted properly when they shot and killed an unarmed teenager 10 meters away as he ran away from them

    Gideon LevySendSend me email alerts
    Jun 14, 2018


    A.G. and A.D. presumably celebrated. Maybe they raised a toast with their lawyers at some fashionable pub, or perhaps they just basked in the good news with their families. It was the relief of their lives. The poor souls’ nightmare is over. How they harassed them when the teenager was killed, but all’s well that ends well: The central district prosecution decided last week to withdraw the indictment against them, two-and-a-half years after it was filed.
    True, it was sickeningly ridiculous that they were charged with “an act of haste and negligence” for shooting an unarmed, already wounded teenager in the back as he was running or his life. Still, it was an indictment, which itself was only filed after the deceased’s family and B’Tselem petitioned the High Court of Justice.
    For a moment it seemed as if the two would be given a suspended sentence of maybe a day, or even a one-penny fine for killing a boy who had not yet turned 16, even though he didn’t pose any danger or threat to them. But even this faint hope for a remnant of delayed and symbolic justice – for even the faintest likeness of justice – was dashed, and what could be more predictable than that?
    The indictment was withdrawn. A.G. and A.D. acted properly when they shot an unarmed teenager from a range of 10 meters as he ran from them. They violated nothing. Their act of killing wasn’t even hasty or negligent. They are good soldiers, excellent ones, even though the day after the killing a senior officer said, “Something that wasn’t right happened there.” Not right, but apparently not wrong enough. So go ahead, dear soldiers; continue to kill Palestinian teenagers who don’t endanger you. You can even kill them as they run away, because no harm will come to you.
    A.G. and A.D. were a platoon commander and a soldier from the 71st Battalion of the Armored Corps. They shot from behind and killed Samir Awad, who tried to cross the fence that constricts his village, as he ran from an ambush the soldiers had set up in the prickly-pear bushes. They shot him in the back and will never be punished for their act. They shot him in the leg first, and after he fell wounded and got back on his feet they managed to grab him by the arm, but he got away from them. Then they shot him twice from behind, a bullet to the back of his neck and a bullet in his back, killing him. So now they can calmly fly off to India or Costa Rica for their post-army trip – perhaps they’ve already done so – and forget everything. But the home of the boy they killed in Budrus will never be the same again.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702464 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Ce n’est pas la première fois, mais c’est toujours aussi scandaleux :

    Israël arrête un groupe de musique palestinien pour « création de sons qui incitent à la résistance »
    MEMO, le 12 juin 2018

    #Palestine #Resistance #Musique #Musique_et_politique #censure #criminalisation #BDS #Boycott_culturel

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702388 via Dror@sinehebdo

  • Un député israélien proclame la suprématie de la « race juive » | The Times of Israël

    Miki Zohar, affilié au Likud, affirme que les Juifs, étant « les plus intelligents au monde », savent que Netanyhau n’est pas corrompu



    Un député du parti au pouvoir du Likud a déclaré mercredi que « la race juive » était la plus intelligente au monde et possédait le « plus grand capital humain », et c’est pour cela, a-t-il dit, que le public israélien ne se laisse pas berner par les accusations portées contre le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Miki Zohar a tenu ces propos durant un débat à la radio avec le journaliste Dan Margalit, au sujet des enquêtes pour corruption, dans lesquelles Netanyahu est suspect, ou au sujet desquelles il a été interrogé.

    Recevez gratuitement notre édition quotidienne par mail pour ne rien manquer du meilleur de l’info INSCRIPTION GRATUITE !
    Ses affirmations ont déclenché une querelle avec le député de la Liste arabe unie Ahmad Tibi, qui a fait remarquer que les nazis traitaient les Juifs comme une race pendant la Shoah.

    Selon un récent sondage d’opinion, Netanyahu bénéficie d’un soutien important, en dépit du fait qu’il soit suspect dans trois enquêtes pour corruption, a déclaré Zohar, ajoutant que la focalisation des médias sur les enquêtes n’a pas permis de convaincre le public israélien que Netanyahu est inapte à gouverner.

    « Je peux vous dire quelque chose de fondamental », a dit Zohar durant un débat sur la station 103FM.

    « Vous ne pouvez pas berner les Juifs, quoi qu’en disent les médias. Le public israélien est un public qui appartient à la race juive, et l’ensemble de la race juive a le plus haut capital humain, le plus intelligent, le plus apte à comprendre. Le public sait ce que le Premier ministre fait pour le pays, et qu’il excelle dans ses fonctions. »

    Tibi a répondu en publiant sur Twitter une photo de Zohar avec le message : « Un élu officiel dans ‘l’état juif’ présente : la théorie de la race ».

    Tibi, dont le parti et ses membres ont déjà suscité la colère de ses confrères juifs, pour son soutien ouvert à la cause palestinienne, a ensuite publié une photo de lui en train de lire Requiem allemand, un livre d’Amos Elon qui se penche sur les effets de la Shoah sur le judaïsme allemand.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702119 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Dans les archives 2008

    Les héritiers de Marek Edelman solidaires du peuple palestinien


    Le 2 mai 2008, « les filles et fils de Marek Edelman... » publiaient un communiqué sur l’anniversaire de la révolte du ghetto de Varsovie et la solidarité aujourd’hui avec les Palestiniens.

    « Les filles et fils de Marek Edelman... et d’Henri Curiel, Schmerke Kaczerginski, Lucien David Fayman, Jacov Stambul, Dvoira Vainberg… »

    « A 65 ans du soulèvement du Ghetto de Varsovie, nous rendons hommage a tous ceux, modestes héros et héroïnes, qui ont engagé leur vie dans une bataille face à l’armée d’un pouvoir qui contrôlait presque toute l’Europe. Face à l’oppression, il y a toujours résistance : contre le nazisme en France, à Vilnius, en Allemagne même et, des années après, en Egypte et en Algérie contre le pouvoir colonial aussi bien qu’en Afrique du Sud contre l’apartheid. »

    « Il en est de même aujourd’hui : les masques changent mais c’est toujours le même combat. Nous, filles et fils de résistants au nazisme, affirmons notre soutien a la résistance palestinienne, car le pouvoir sioniste en Israël, a usurpé notre nom collectif (juifs), pour en notre nom disent-ils, mener une politique de répression coloniale féroce et d’apartheid. »

    « L’hommage à nos parents, martyrs ou survivants, est à l’unisson de l’hommage aux résistants du peuple palestinien dont les droits fondamentaux, humains et nationaux sont bafoués, jour après jour depuis 60 ans. »

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702092 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Erdoğan’s Persistent Popularity - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    On the eve of early parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appears poised to claim yet another victory, with enduring popularity even beyond Turkey’s borders. What is more surprising is that Erdoğan managed to sustain his appeal in the face of Turkey’s growing authoritarianism and rapidly deteriorating human rights record.

    A recent survey sheds some empirical light on the various dynamics that underlie Erdoğan’s regional popularity, with notable implications for the relationship between religion and politics.1 The survey data show Erdoğan’s popularity is particularly strong among some segments of the population. Respondents who ideologically self-identified as Islamist, favored a prominent role for religious leaders in politics, and considered religion to be important in their lives trusted Erdoğan the most as an authority on religious matters. By contrast, respondents with a college education or who had a monthly income over $1,000 were less likely to trust Erdoğan.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702044 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypte, Palestine, Gaza
    At the terminal: Stories from the Rafah Border Crossing

    | MadaMasr

    It has been one month since the Rafah Border Crossing was opened, marking the longest window in which Gazans have been permitted to leave and reenter the besieged Gaza Strip since 2013.

    What was initially purported to be a four-day opening was extended on May 17, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that travel across the Egypt-Gaza border would be permitted throughout the month of Ramadan.

    From Gaza to the outside world
    Mada Masr spoke to several travelers waiting at the on the Palestinian side of the crossing.

    Zuheir al-Qashash, 44, was there with his family, which includes four children. “I sold my apartment, man,” he says. “I registered my entire family for crossing, and we are going to live with my mother in Egypt. To live in Gaza is to die slowly. I will not have my children [continue to] suffer through what we have been experiencing for the past 10 years.”

    Qashash tells Mada Masr that he paid nearly US$7,000 for registration and “coordination in order to cross through Rafah.”

    “It’s a big gamble,” he says. “But the biggest gamble of all is to patiently wait in Gaza, in hopes that the conditions will improve.”

    To travel across the Rafah crossing, Palestinians must board special busses and pay large sums of money to register through travel agencies in Gaza. These agencies then submit applications to officers on the Egyptian side, according to several people who attempted the trip. Once officials in Palestine receive a select list of names approved by the Egyptians, they notify those selected to prepare to cross. The list, however, is always handwritten and never bears the official mark of Egypt’s Interior Ministry or any other government agency.

    Palestinians have left the Gaza Strip in increasing numbers since the 2014 war with Israel. It is not unusual for entire families to leave at the same time, according to copies of the lists of travelers obtained by Mada Masr. Some of these families have since relocated to Europe.

    The sight of entire families waiting at the Palestinian terminal for their passage to be approved has become increasingly common, following Sisi’s Ramadan announcement.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701970 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Journalists beaten, cameras destroyed: Palestinian police break up anti-Abbas protest in Ramallah

    Dozens beaten and arrested, including foreign journalists, in breakup of demonstration against Abbas’s economic sanctions on Gaza

    Amira Hass and Jack Khoury Jun 14, 2018


    Palestinian Authority riot police forcefully broke up a demonstration in Ramallah Wednesday evening, enforcing a ban on protests citing the Id al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Ramadan month of fasting.
    The police arrested journalist and dozens of protesters, busted cameras and beat many of the demonstrators.
    The protesters called for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to remove sanctions he has imposed against Hamas and residents of the Gaza Strip, for Hamas’s failure to follow through on a power share deal.
    Palestinian security forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and shot bullets into the air. They confiscated cameras and smartphones, breaking a few of them and ordered journalists not to interview demonstrators. The police arrested foreign and Palestinian journalists and beat a large number of protesters. A number of Israeli citizens participated in the protest, too.
    In spite of the violent repression of the protest, a small group of demonstrators managed to evade the police and gathered on side streets, chanting slogans such as: “Woe to the disgrace and woe to the shame,” and “With spirit and blood we will redeem you, Gaza.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701967 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • La question de l’antisionisme et de l’antisémitisme | L’Actualité des luttes

    Dans l’ émission de ce jour ,nous vous proposons une rencontre croisée avec Ivan Segré et Dominique Vidal pour leurs livres respectifs : « Les pingouins de l’universel . Antijudaïsme, antisémitisme, antisionisme » (Lignes, 2017) et « Antisionisme = antisémitisme ? Réponse à Emmanuel Macron », paru en janvier dernier aux éditions Libertalia. Cette rencontre se tenait le 31 mai dernier à la librairie scop Envie de lire à Ivry-sur-Seine. Durée : 1h. Source : Fréquence Paris Plurielle


    https://seenthis.net/messages/701944 via Rezo

  • Top U.S. officials to Haaretz: Peace plan will be basis for talks, not ’take it or leave it’ document

    Senior officials say the plan will be revealed soon and stress that Trump sees Palestinian President Abbas as the only ’relevant address’

    Amir Tibon
    Jun 13, 2018


    WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East won’t be a “take it or leave it” proposal, but rather a basis for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, administration officials told Haaretz this week. They said the plan will be revealed soon, and that the White House hopes to share it not only with the leaders in the region, but also with the general public.
    The officials said previous reports that the plan would be released immediately at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan were incorrect. “We hope to release it in the near future, but not immediately after Ramadan,” one official explained. “Our top priority is to put it out at the right moment, so that the various spoilers who don’t want us to succeed have less of a chance to cause damage.” 
    >> Palestinians to U.S.: No ’Deal of the Century’ if Jerusalem Not Addressed ■ U.S. Hopes to Unveil Breakthrough in Gaza Cease-fire Alongside Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan
    While there have been some reports asserting that the plan will be a blueprint for a final peace agreement that the two sides will have to either accept or reject, the officials who spoke with Haaretz said those reports, too, were inaccurate.
    “We have said all along that we don’t want to impose an agreement. So presenting the plan as a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of document would be inconsistent with that,” one official explained. “We are a facilitator. It would be arrogant to assume we know better than anyone else,” said a second official. “At the end of the day, the two sides need to negotiate and reach an agreement. We want to help them reach that point, but we can’t structure the agreement for them.”
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    The officials criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to engage with the administration, a position he has held to ever since Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. “We assume there will be fair and substantial criticism of the plan, but we are astonished that Abbas won’t even see it,” one official said. “It would be a shame for the Palestinian people if the Palestinian leadership refuses to engage with this plan.”
    At the same time, the officials stressed that the Trump administration is not looking for a way to bypass Abbas, and is not speaking to any other Palestinian political figures. “We are not trying to engage with any Palestinian politicians except President Abbas. He is the relevant address, and he is the one we hope to work with,” one official said. 
    >> Trump Mideast envoy: The Palestinians deserve so much more than Saeb Erekat ■ Erekat fires back: Trump administration is killing the peace process, not me
    Last month Haaretz reported that the only recent contact between high-ranking Palestinian and American officials was a meeting between Abbas’ security chief, Majid Faraj, and Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State and headed the CIA at the time of the meeting. Palestinian officials explained that the meeting focused only on security and intelligence issues, which are not included in the Palestinian Authority’s political and diplomatic boycott of the administration.

    The administration officials emphasized that they are encouraged by signs that Arab countries are getting closer to Israel, but added that they have no illusions about the Arab world “abandoning” the Palestinians as part of an alliance with Israel. “It’s not realistic to expect that the Arabs would abandon the Palestinians. That’s not going to happen,” one of the officials stated. The Arab states, in the administration’s view, can help encourage the two sides to move forward with negotiations – but aren’t expected to force anything on either side.
    Under previous administrations, there were different approaches with regard to public exposure of detailed plans for Middle East peace. The George W. Bush administration released its “Road Map for Peace” in a speech by the president. The peace plan of former Secretary of State John Kerry, by contrast, was never made public (although drafts of it were published by Haaretz last June.)
    The current administration is considering making its peace plan available to the public, but only after its final version is shared with the leaders in the region. “We want the public to know what is in it, at the right time, because the public needs to support it, not just the leaders,” said one official. “At the end of the day, the public is part of the process. The leaders need to have public support for going forward with this.” 
    The officials who spoke with Haaretz could not share specific details about the plan, which they said is close to being finalized. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will travel to the region next week with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, to discuss the plan with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and possibly also other countries.
    The Trump administration’s main foreign policy focus this week, of course, was the summit in Singapore in which Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The officials who spoke with Haaretz said the summit proves that Trump’s unusual approach to foreign policy is working, adding that “this event should give hope to people in the Middle East that things can get better.”
    One official contended that “this event shows how suddenly and unexpectedly things can change, and how intractable positions can potentially be softened and modified. The members of our peace team have a lot of experience as negotiators. We know that positions can change. We know that views can be morphed.”
    The officials said a Middle East peace deal is still a top priority for Trump. “The president has the same level of dedication on this issue as he does on the Korean issue,” they maintained. 
    When asked if it is possible that following his summit with Kim, Trump will lose interest in an Israeli-Palestinian deal since he no longer needs a foreign policy achievement to present to the American public, one official used a metaphor from Trump’s real estate career to explain why he’s convinced that that’s not going to happen.
    “The president built Trump Tower, and then what did he do after that? He went and he built another five Trump Towers,” the official said.
    “He didn’t just stop with one.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701969 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Ethiopie : vers une paix sous influence saoudienne

    Depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Abiy Ahmed, Addis-Abeba s’est rapproché de ses ennemis historiques, l’Egypte et l’Erythrée, grâce aux bons offices de Riyad.

    Par Jean-Philippe Rémy (Johannesburg, correspondant régional)

    LE MONDE Le 13.06.2018 à 17h58

    Il y a quelques mois, Abiy Ahmed, le nouveau premier ministre éthiopien, était à peu près inconnu du grand public et pouvait encore se rendre à la gym. Retrouvant une connaissance sur les appareils de cardio pour transpirer et débattre, l’ancien lieutenant-colonel, un temps ministre des sciences et des technologies, pronostiquait un grand avenir à la Corne de l’Afrique mais avertissait : « Si on veut que notre région décolle, il faut en finir avec les crises et, pour cela, il faut tout bouleverser. »

    Le bouleversement, dans l’immédiat, a pris son visage. Mais derrière, c’est tout l’équilibre des forces, dans cette partie du monde à cheval entre Afrique et péninsule arabique, qui vient de subir une inflexion majeure.

    Lire aussi : En Ethiopie, Abiy Ahmed, premier ministre en mission d’apaisement

    Depuis qu’il est arrivé à la tête de l’Ethiopie, le 2 avril, Abiy Ahmed s’emploie à jouer le rôle de faiseur de paix à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de son pays de 104 millions d’habitants, menacé par les prémices d’une série d’insurrections. Il libère des opposants, enthousiasme la rue, loue le travail des médias. Il enchaîne aussi les visites dans la région pour y nouer des relations qui répondent à deux priorités complémentaires : créer ou raviver des alliances politiques, faciliter de futurs échanges.

    Il a par exemple jeté les bases d’une participation éthiopienne dans le futur port de Lamu, au Kenya. Si le projet voit le jour, cela signifie que l’Ethiopie aura un nouvel accès maritime, en plus de Djibouti, Berbera (Somaliland) et Port-Soudan (Soudan). On voit le dessein. Il s’inscrit dans le développement de grandes infrastructures sur la façade orientale de l’Afrique, dont une partie est liée au projet chinois des « nouvelles routes de la soie ». Mais tout cet ensemble marque le pas, essentiellement en raison de conflits locaux aux implications régionales.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701811 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Silwan, a model for oppression - Haaretz Editorial
    The state and a right-wing group are shamefully fighting to evict Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood, citing technical grounds

    Haaretz EditorialSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 11, 2018 4:42 AM


    Even given the corruption and legal chicanery typical of the settlement enterprise, the case of the Silwan neighborhood’s Batan al-Hawa section stands out. In this case, the state, through the Justice Ministry’s administrator general, transferred an entire neighborhood of 700 people to right-wing group Ateret Cohanim without bothering to inform the Palestinians living in this part of Jerusalem.
    To be more precise, in 2002 the administrator general released the land in the center of Silwan to a trust established way back in 1899. A year earlier, with the administrator’s approval, three Ateret Cohanim activists were appointed trustees. Since then, the organization has invested considerable efforts to get rid of the Palestinian families; to date a number of families have been evicted and dozens are conducting legal battles to fight eviction.
    On Sunday, around 100 Silwan residents came to the Supreme Court building for a hearing on their petition to the High Court of Justice against the original decision to release the land to the trust. The petition addresses the question of whether the original trust was for the land or for the buildings on it, all but one of which was demolished in the 1940s.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701275 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Finale de Roland-Garros : Roger Waters avait un message politique à faire passer dans les tribunes
    10/06/2018 16:17 CEST

    (...) Le musicien britannique avait d’ailleurs un message politique à faire passer. Et ce, via sa tenu. L’ancien bassiste des Pink Floyd arborait en effet le Keffieh palestinien, comme vous pouvez le voir ci-dessous. Il faut dire que Roger Waters est un des plus fervents soutiens à la cause palestinienne. « Que la police vienne m’arrêter ! Parce que je milite pour les Palestiniens qui sont tués comme des chiens. Personne n’élève la voix en Occident. Dites à Monsieur Macron qu’il est temps que ça cesse ! Beaucoup ont oublié 1789, mais moi je m’en souviens. C’est dans votre grand pays qu’est née l’idée que tous les hommes sont égaux », avait par exemple lancé le musicien en mai dernier à Lyon.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701090 via Loutre

  • Poll shows deep divisions between Israeli and US Jews on Trump, peace, religion | The Times of Israel


    An opinion poll published Sunday shows deep divisions between Israeli and American Jews, particularly in relation to US President Donald Trump, highlighting the growing rift between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.

    The survey by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) showed 77 percent of Israeli Jews approved of the president’s handling of US-Israel relations, while only 34 percent of American Jews did. Fifty-seven percent of US Jews disapproved, while only 10 percent of Israeli Jews did.

    Concerning the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the relocation of the US embassy to the city, 85% of Israeli Jews support the decision, compared to just 46% of US Jews. Forty-seven percent of American Jews opposed the move, a position held by only 7% of Israelis.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701083 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • ’Riyadhology’ and Muhammad bin Salman’s Telltale Succession - Lawfare

    By Chibli Mallat Friday, June 8, 2018,


    Saudi Arabia’s monarchy entered a new era last June when King Salman’s ambitious son Muhammad bin Salman, then just shy of 32, was made crown prince by royal order. MBS, as he is widely known, displaced Muhammad bin Nayef, an influential prince with deep ties to Washington, as next in line to the throne, marking a shift from the aging sons of the country’s founder, ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, to a younger coterie of royals—and skipping the generation in between. Since even before his accession to crown prince, MBS promoted a dynamic agenda of economic and social reforms—with plans to diversify the country’s economy, expand women’s rights and grant greater openness to Western culture—while also cracking down on political dissent.

    There are different ways to try to decipher the political intrigue among the Saudi royal family. Among the best available tea leaves are the Saudis’ own legal pronouncements, and the royal orders that brought MBS to his current position are telling. Clearly rushed and poorly vetted, they suggest that King Salman and MBS were working outside the normal process for consensus within the royal family and that there is significant opposition to MBS’s rule waiting in the wings. 

    Otherwise dry Saudi legal texts tell us much about “Riyadhology”—the Saudi equivalent of Kremlinology in the days of Soviet signal opacity. Laws of social science are more elusive, but I have defended the concept of “constitutional science” against skeptical editors, and sometimes prevailed. If one looks closely enough at key constitutional clauses, the wording reveals a compromise of political powers, each trying to push the language to his advantage. This is trite. More daring is the proposal that the fractured logic of these texts can give clues about a coming crisis.

    When MBS was appointed crown prince in June 2017, the irregularities in the official process portended trouble. At stake is the transition of power from King Salman to his son.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701082 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Islam’s New ‘Native Informants’ | by Nesrine Malik | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books


    Returning from Lebanon and Egypt in 2003, Edward Said wrote an angry dispatch in the London Review of Books on how the Iraq War as reported on Arabic TV channels portrayed a different conflict from the one reported by the American media, in which journalists were “as lost as the English-speaking soldiers they have been living with.” He argued that the stream of Western commentary “has obscured the negligence of the military and policy experts who planned it and now justify it.” The misguided belief that the Iraqis would welcome the Americans with glee after a period of aerial bombardment, a fundamental flaw in the planning of the military mission, he pinned squarely on the out-of-touch exiled Iraqi opposition and the two Middle East experts who, at the time, held the most sway over US foreign policy in the region: Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami.

    Said dismissed Bernard Lewis as an Orientalist, a generalist, and an ideologue. But the Lebanese-born Fouad Ajami was damned in fewer words: he was a “native informant.” By that was meant one who deploys “we,” Said wrote, “as an imperial collectivity which, along with Israel, never does anything wrong. Arabs are to blame for everything and therefore deserve ‘our’ contempt and hostility.” In a profile of Ajami written for The Nation that appeared at almost the same time, Adam Shatz observed that Ajami’s failure to predict the Saudi conveyor-belt of radicalization that brought about 9/11 (so focused was he on “the menace of Saddam and the treachery of Arafat) still had not dented his Middle East expert credentials as far as the US media were concerned. “America was going to war with Muslims,” Shatz wrote, “and a trusted native informant was needed.”

    Fifteen calamitous years later, the scorn that the late Ajami received at the time has been vindicated. But the term “native informant” has become a troubling one. As a derogatory description of an indigenous person considered a collaborator with the colonial or invading power, it sits too closely for comfort to slurs such as “house slave” and its derivatives. In the discipline of postcolonial studies, “native informant” was once useful in understanding the way certain cultural brokers from former colonies could benefit from helping more powerful Western authorities objectify their people. In an essay on the Lebanese-American academic Evelyne Accad, the scholar Dorothy Figueira described native informants as “disciplinary gatekeepers providing an authoritative version of history for the upper classes (reformers or nationalists), and the West.” But in a world where these “authoritative versions” are not simply academic, but can also be the ideological underpinnings of military aggression, the native informant’s role is that of enabler.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701066 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • After killing Razan al-Najjar, IDF assassinates her character Haaretz.com - Gideon Levy | Jun. 10, 2018 | 12:47 AM

    A few short words – “Razan al-Najjar isn’t an angel of mercy” – sum up the depths of Israeli propaganda. Avichay Edraee, the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesman, who also speaks in my name, is a representative of an army of mercy that has also now appointed itself the judge of the measure of mercy in a medic treating Palestinian wounded on Gaza’s border with Israel, and who Israeli army soldiers mercilessly killed. After killing her, it was also necessary to assassinate her character.

    Propaganda is a tool that serves many countries. The less just their policies are, the more they expand their propaganda efforts. Sweden doesn’t need propaganda. North Korea does. In Israel, it’s called hasbara – public diplomacy – because why would it need propaganda? Recently its propaganda has sunk to such despicable lows that nothing can better prove that its justifications have run out, its excuses gone, that truth is the enemy and that all that’s left are lies and slander.

    It is directed mostly for domestic consumption. Around the world, few gaza people would buy it in any event. But as part of the desperate effort to persist in the psychological repression and denial, in the failure to tell ourselves the truth and the evasion of any responsibility – everything is acceptable when it comes to these efforts.

    A medic in a nursing uniform has been shot to death by Israeli army snipers – as have journalists with press vests and an amputee in a wheelchair. If we rely on Israeli army snipers to know what they are doing, counting on them to be the most accurate in the world, then these people have been shot deliberately. Surely if the army had believed in the justice of the military campaign that it is waging in Gaza, it would have taken responsibility for these killings, apologizing, expressing regret and offering compensation.

    But when the earth is burning under our feet, when we know the truth and understand that shooting at demonstrators and killing more than 120 of them and rendering hundreds of others disabled is more akin to a massacre, one cannot apologize or express regret. And then the army spokesman’s aggressive, clumsy, embarrassing and shameful propaganda machine springs into action – a thunderous voice from the Defense Ministry that only compounds what has been done.

    Maj. Edraee released a video on Thursday in which a nurse, perhaps Najjar, is seen from the back, flinging away a smoke grenade that soldiers had thrown at her. Edraee would have done the same himself, but when it comes to desperate propaganda, it’s a smoking gun: Najjar is a terrorist. She had also said that she was a human shield. Certainly a medic is a human defender.

    An Israeli army investigation, based only on the testimony of the soldiers of course, showed that she had not been deliberately shot. Clearly. The propaganda machine went further and hinted that she may have been killed by Palestinian weapons fire, which has rarely been used over the past two months.

    Maybe she shot herself? Anything is possible. And do we remember any Israeli army investigation showing otherwise? Israel’s ambassador in London, Mark Regev, who is another top, polished propagandist, was quick to tweet about the “medical volunteer” in quotation marks, as if a Palestinian could be a medical volunteer. Instead, he wrote, her death is “yet another reminder of Hamas’ brutality.”

    The Israeli army kills a medic in a white uniform, in an outrageous violation of international law, which provides protection for medical personnel in combat zones. And that’s despite the fact that the Gaza border does not constitute a combat zone. But it’s Hamas that is the brutal one.

    Kill me, Mr. Ambassador, but who could possibly follow this twisted, sick logic? And who would buy such cheap propaganda other than some of the members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — the largest representative organization of U.K. Jewry – along with Merav Ben Ari, the Knesset member who was quick to take advantage of the opportunity and state: “It turns out that the medic, yes that one, wasn’t just a medic, as you see.” Yes, that one. As you see.

    Israel should have been shocked by the killing of the medic. Najjar’s innocent face should have touched every Israeli’s heart. Medical organizations should have spoken out. Israelis should have hidden their faces in embarrassment. But that only could have happened if Israel had believed in the justice of its cause. When fairness is gone, all that is left is propaganda. And from that standpoint, maybe this new low is a herald of good news.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701063 via Loutre

  • Egypt : Labor union elections are back, but with few promises | MadaMasr

    Labor union representatives voiced their concerns over political exclusion from union elections, which kicked off on May 23 and concluded this week.

    After being postponed for 12 years, labour union elections for the period 2018-2022 were finally held under a new law passed in 2017, ending, at least on paper, 61 years of monopoly by the state-affiliated Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), and allowing for the formal creation of independent unions.

    Members and leaders of independent unions, however, cite many obstacles to free and fair elections, among them the law itself governing the work of labor unions. “It was the worst labor elections Egypt has witnessed,” says Kamal Abbas, head of the Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS), which organized a press conference on June 3 to raise election violations.

    One of the violations highlighted pertains to the ability of independent unions to regulate their legal status. While some independent unions have existed, predating the law for years, all of them now have to adhere to executive regulations in order to be recognized and ensure their members are eligible for elections.

    CTUWS described the process of standardizing independent unions as “intransigent and bureaucratic practices from Ministry of Manpower directorates to prevent a right backed by law,” in a report titled, “Union freedoms — Between limited leeway and purposeful restrictions.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701067 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt : State budget favors wealthy as lower-income groups continue to disproportionately shoulder tax burden | MadaMasr

    Parliament passed Egypt’s state budget for the fiscal year 2018/9, which will begin in July, on Tuesday. The budget targets a deficit of 8.4 percent of GDP, down from an estimated 9.8 percent at the end of the current fiscal year.

    The tax structure in the 2018/19 state budget represents an imbalance in favor of the wealthiest and at the expense of the lower-income citizens, amid an ongoing austerity program that has included the implementation of new taxes in recent years.

    A real estate tax, which functions as a tax on the wealthiest, was implemented starting July 2014, and a few years later the government introduced the value-added tax, a regressive tax that weighs more on lower income earners, who tend to use the bulk of their income on consumption-related purchases, than on wealthier individuals who have a larger capacity to save. In spite of this, this year’s state budget shows that the real estate tax and other property taxes remain a limited source of income for the government, while the share of VAT from total tax collections has grown.

    This reflects an imbalance in tax justice, as the burden of financing government spending falls increasingly on lower-income earners. Property taxes, meanwhile, increased marginally as a share of total tax collection. Egypt’s state budget classifies land, building, t-bill and t-bond revenue taxes, property transfer fees and car fees as property taxes. The real estate wealth tax is classified under income tax.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701068 via Nouvelles d’Orient