• Egypt Sami Anan’s whereabouts unknown: Son | MadaMasr


    The whereabouts of former Chief of Staff Sami Anan, who was arrested and brought before the military prosecution after announcing his presidential bid, remain unknown, his son Samir Anan told Mada Masr on Wednesday.

    After attending a six-hour interrogation with Anan on Tuesday, his lawyer from the Dina Hussein Law Firm was told that he would be released and sent home. However, Anan’s family has been unable to reach him since, according to Samir.

    The former chief of staff was arrested from his car and brought before the military prosecution early on Tuesday, right before the Armed Forces’ statement on Anan’s “violations and crimes” was broadcast, Mostafa al-Shal, the head of his personal office, previously told Mada Masr.

    Samir’s comments follow Tuesday evening media reports that the National Elections Authority (NEA) removed Anan’s name from the national electoral register due to his contested military status, citing an NEA statement, rendering the former chief of staff ineligible to participate in the 2018 electoral process as a candidate or as a voter. The NEA spokesperson confirmed in statements to the media that Anan’s name had been removed from the register, adding that copes of the statement in question were not available to the press.

    In its televised statement broadcast on Tuesday afternoon, the Armed Forces accused the presidential candidate of announcing his bid for office without first acquiring a permit from the military, aiming to incite a rift between the Armed Forces and the public, as well as forging his end of service documents. A few hours after the statement was aired, Anan’s official campaign Facebook page announced that the campaign was suspended until further notice. 

    The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters ruled on Tuesday in favor of lawsuit filed by lawyer Samir Sabry requesting the release of documents proving that Anan is enlisted as a military reserve officer, according to the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper.

    Anan formally announced his intent to run for presidency via an online video on Friday night, released on the heels of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s announcement that he intends to seek a second term in office. In the video, Anan demanded that civilian and military state institutions refrain from showing an “unconstitutional bias toward a president who might leave his chair in a few months.”

    Ousted President Mohamed Morsi forcibly retired Anan from his position as chief of staff of the Armed Forces in August 2012, using the same decree which saw Sisi replace former Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi.

    Presidential candidates have until 2 pm on January 29 to submit the necessary paperwork to be officially recognized as candidates by the NEA. To be eligible to run in the 2018 presidential election, Egypt’s Constitution and presidential elections law stipulate that candidates must collect endorsements from at least 20 members of Parliament, or from 25,000 eligible voters from 15 different governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

    Tags: 2018 presidential electionsArmed Forces statements

    https://seenthis.net/messages/662855 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel secretly probed whether family members of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi are non-related ’light-skinned’ actors

    Deputy minister Michael Oren says the probe never reached a definitive conclusion, but calls the family ’actors,’ and ’what’s known as Pallywood’

    Yotam Berger and Jonathan Lis Jan 24, 2018

    The Tamimi family, whose imprisoned teenage daughter Ahed has become a Palestinian cause celebre, was the subject two years ago of a classified investigation that included checking whether they were “a real family,” Michael Oren, an Israeli deputy minister and former ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday.
    The inquiry by a Knesset subcommittee “didn’t reach unequivocal conclusions,” and was prompted by suspicions that the family from the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh was “not genuine, and was specially put together for propaganda” purposes by the Palestinians, a statement issued by Oren’s office said. In wake of the Haaretz report, Arab lawmakers demanded Wednesday that the subcommittee’s minutes be made public.
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    Ahed Tamimi, 16, was arrested last month together with her mother and cousin and charged with assaulting soldiers over an incident in which she and her cousin repeatedly slapped soldiers while her mother filmed it. The video of the incident outraged many Israelis, leading to her arrest, but was also seen as a symbol of hope and resistance by Palestinians. As the teen remains in custody while awaiting trial, her cause has been taken up by international rights groups and pro-Palestinians activists, who have been clamoring for her release.
    The statement said that Oren, now the deputy minister responsible for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, headed the “classified subcommittee” of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that investigated the Tamimis two years ago. The subcommittee heard testimony from the Shin Bet security service, the National Security Council and nongovernmental organizations, and one issue discussed was “the genuineness of the family and whether it was really a real family.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/662852 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egyptians online angry over arrest of presidential hopeful Anan


    Egyptians online have expressed their anger at the army’s arrest of former military Chief of Staff and presidential hopeful Sami Anan.

    Several Twitter users said the arrest was a sign that the regime of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was “panicked” by Anan’s candidature, describing the arrest as an act of “thuggery”. Users also urged another hopeful to withdraw from the race.

    Earlier on 23 January, the army announced in a statement that Anan will be referred to investigation for “clearly violating” army laws and codes.

    The army said that Anan “committed the crime of forgery in official documents” and announced his presidential bid without receiving prior approval from the armed forces.

    “Freedom for Sami Anan”

    Shortly after the arrest of Anan, the Arabic hashtags #Sami_Anan, #Khaled_ Ali, #the_presidential_polls and #the_armed_forces have become trending in Egypt, garnering about 20,000 comments over the past couple of hours.

    User @mnjjdddopp said that the arrest of Sami Anan “condemns Sisi in front of the world”. (http://bit.ly/2DCdOfW)

    “Freedom for Sami Anan, Sisi and his gang do not want [fair] elections. This is unprecedented thuggery,” Pro-Muslim Brotherhood rights activist Haytham Abokhalil tweeted to his 218k followers. (http://bit.ly/2DyGlTR)

    “It seems plausible now to believe that the regime was panicked by Sami Anan’s candidacy,” User @karimeltaki said in English. (http://bit.ly/2DtSoyr)

    “Withdrawal is not weakness”

    Meanwhile, thousands others called on the leftist rights lawyer Khaled Ali to withdraw from the presidential race.

    “I hope that Khaled Ali will withdraw from the presidential polls after the arrest of Sami Anan,” User @a_aboufaddan tweeted. (http://bit.ly/2DumrWE)

    “At present, withdrawal is not weakness, it is [a sort of] objection and rejection of the farce taking place. Khaled Ali must withdraw,” user @bassuma_tarek tweeted. (http://bit.ly/2n594VJ)

    “I’m certainly with the withdrawal of Khaled Ali,” User @Dokansalah tweeted. (http://bit.ly/2Dz396A)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/662485 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Why you should be skeptical of Israeli government’s anti-Semitism reports -

    It’s important to monitor hate crimes, but the reports illustrate the difficulty of measuring incidents on social media and the findings seem to reflect interests, not reality

    Ofer Aderet Jan 22, 2018

    Yaakov Haguel, acting director of the World Zionist Organization, offered cabinet members Sunday a harsh and emotive assesment as he presented them what he called “an important and comprehensive survey on anti-Semitism”
    That it was a report thin on methodology and data, did not stop him from declaring, according to a press release: “The Jewish people and the state of Israel will lose contact with millions of Jews around the world if something isn’t done with regard to European governments and the world.”
    “Jews are afraid; they are assimilating and taking cover,” he said “Anti-Semitism is on the rise and European governments and the world is ignoring this. Israel’s government is also responsible for world Jewry.”
    And then came the presentation of antother report on anti—Semitism to the Cabinet: this time presented by Naftali Bennet, speaking in his capacity as Minister for Diaspora Affairs. The report is entitled “Report on anti-Semitic Trends and Incidents for 2017.”
    According to Bennett’s report, 2017 was a record year in terms of the number of anti—semitic incidents in Great Britain, with Germany also seeing a number of “serious incidents.” His ministry’s official website, which posted the report, sends readers to a more extensive write-up on the topic on the website of the Arutz Sheva (also known as Israel National News), a network associated with religious Zionism.
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    The post there claimed, citing unnamed surveys, “more than 50 percent of refugees in Western Europe hold anti-Semitic views.”
    There are now numerous reports of “spiking anti-Semitism in Europe”, “a record number of incidents” and “a new rise in anti-Semitism.” However, an even cursory review of the “data” on which these reports are based and their comparison to other reports in order to raise some questions or the suspicion that the two documents - which were presented ahead of Saturday’s commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day – are less scientific reports but are appear to be more public relations tools meant to justify agencies whose existence is arguably questionable – the ministry for Diaspora affairs and the World Zionist Organization.

    Consider the statements attached to their pubilcation. Two of Haguel’s statements are particularly noteworthy. “Israel is responsible for world Jewry”. Is it? Shouldn’t Jews around the world be asked if they agree with this statement? He then said that “Jews are assimilating.” One only need ask if this is a result of anti-Semitism, which he warns against, or a natural corollary of life outside Israel, where the majority populations are not Jewish.
    Even the most significant words of the acting director of the WZO, according to which anti-Semitism is on the rise, can be disputed. To do this one should look at another report, the one published on the last Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University. This report showed a 12 percent decline in the number of violent attacks committed in Europe with an anti-Semitic basis. The report notes that this decline reflects a continuing trend, mainly in the decline in violent incidents which were registered in key countries, in terms of the size of their Jewish populations and their international standing.
    On the other hand, the Kantor Center’s report notes a “continuing rise, often dramatic, in visual and verbal expressions [of anti-Semitism], mainly on social networks and at demonstrations.” It notes that this cannot be quantified, concluding that “even though the number of incidents has declined, the prevailing sense among Jews is that things are bad, and that’s the most worrisome feature.”
    Indeed, it’s hard to argue with feelings, but the professional integrity of the Kantor Center prevented it from providing the media with dramatic headlines indicating a “sharp rise” in anti-Semitism. One doesn’t need to look far in order to find contradictions in the current furor. While Haguel’s report showed one thing, Bennett’s presented the opposite. His report states that in France the government is taking determined steps to prevent expressions of anti-Semitism, including a government-sanctioned program to combat racism and anti-Semitism. This has borne fruit, with a drop last year in the number of incidents.
    So what’s going on here? A drop? A rise? Are governments ignoring the phenomenon or combating it? It depends how you count an “anti-Semitic incident”, who’s counting, who is presenting it and what his interests are.
    Looking again at the WZO report, the data raises the suspicion that someone was looking hard for ways to present the numbers in a manner that migtht sound alarm bells, as is worthy of a week ending in Holocaust Remembrance Day. Eighty percent of people surveyed around the world “were exposed to incitement against Jews in the media or on social networks”; 70 percent were affected by anti-Semitic events last year” and “78 percent experienced anti-Semitism in recent years.”
    It’s hard to argue with such superficial, general and unscientific statements.
    But it’s surprising that only 80 percent were exposed to incitement – anyone with access to Facebook could be considered someone exposed to incitement, not only of the anti-Semitic kind.
    Secondly, one could ask if every anti-Semitic response by some wooly-headed ultra-nationalist is necessarily an anti-Semitic “incident” and every exposure to it an anti-Semitic “experience”. If so, then the more hours one spends in front of a computer screen, particularly reading anonymous talkbacks, the more one can be considered someone deeply affected by anti-Semitic content. How should one relate to the data indicating that 59 percent of respondents across the world thought that politicians in their countries were somewhat anti-Semitic?
    This is certainly not scientific research.
    “The situation is deteriorating daily, spreading to new countries,” Haguel wrote in his dramatic summarizaton of the report’s findings. “We see the WZO playing a key role in preserving Jews and their identity around the world and in helping welcome and acclimitize [immigrants] to this country.”
    Herein lies the not so covert vested interest lurking behind the current round of cries bemoaning anti-Semitism. The WZO needs to show that it is still needed in 2018. Who if not this organization will work to preserve Jewish identity and settle Jews from around the world in Israel?
    It’s regrettable that state agencies belittle the public’s intelligence. It’s also lamentable that they contribute to producing fake news, confusion and deceptions such as these.
    The topic is too important to be left in the hands of politicians and public relations officers.
    It’s certainly important to follow with concern data that is not based on telephone interviews or social media. It’s preferable to rely on police reports, public security or internal affairs departments in different countries, as well as interviews with local Jewish community leaders and people who are more connected to events on the ground.
    But still, let there be no doubt. Even without these surveys there is no room for optimism. Anyone visiting Jewish communities in Europe knows that in 2018 there are places where it’s uncomfortable for Jews to wear a kippah. Traditional hatred of Jews has been joined in recent years by threats coming from extremist elements among Arab migrants, whose hatred towards Israel because of conflict in the Middle East is morphing into anti-Semitism.
    One shouldn’t take an extreme stance and shut one’s eyes to these reports. But the worrisome situation requires serious analysis, thorough and based in accurately collected data. It should be done by independent researchers using scientific tools and accepted methodology.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    https://seenthis.net/messages/662036 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Scoop : Macron sent aide to lobby Palestinians over Trump peace plan - Axios


    French President Emanuel Macron sent his deputy national security adviser Aurélien Lechevallier for a secret visit in Ramallah earlier this week to convey reassuring messages to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, French and Palestinian officials told me.

    Their main message was that the Palestinians must give a chance to the Trump peace plan, which could be unveiled in the coming months.

    Lechevallier met in Ramallah with the head of the Palestinian general intelligence service Majed Faraj, PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat and several other senior officials. According to French and Palestinian officials, Lechevallier emphasized that President Macron expects the Palestinian leadership to stay committed to non-violence and to the two state solution. But the main message, they said, had to do with the Trump peace plan.

    According to the officials, Lechevallier told his Palestinian counterparts, “You might be right and the plan might turn out to be bad but don’t blow it up right now. The plan might have things you don’t like but maybe it will also contain interesting and positive things for you. It will be a shame if you throw the plan to the trash even before you received it. Read it first and then decide if you want to say no”.
    The bigger picture

    Lechevallier’s visit to Ramallah was part of a broader move by the French which started on December 22nd when Abbas visited the Elysee palace to see Macron — two weeks after Trump’s Jerusalem announcement. French officials said Macron found Abbas frustrated and angry over Trump’s announcement and over his upcoming peace plan.

    According to French officials, Abbas told Macron in the December 22nd meeting that the leaders of the Arab world are totally consumed in their own domestic crisis and are not interested anymore in the Palestinian issue or in Jerusalem. Abbas added that for this reason Israel can do whatever it wants and create facts on the ground.

    “I don’t want violence but it is hard for me to control the situation inside Fatah (Abbas’s party) and the PLO”, Abbas told Macron.
    The French President tried to calm Abbas down, promised him to give him international support but demanded he avoid radical moves.

    On January 5th, in another attempt to calm down the Palestinians, Macron invited a senior delegation of the Fatah party to the Elysee. French officials said that during one of the meetings Macron popped-in and told the members of the Palestinian delegation that he requests two things — commitments to prevent violent escalation in the West Bank and to keep the two state solution as the Fatah policy.

    French diplomats told me Macron and his advisers coordinated their moves with Trump and the White House. They said that during the last few weeks Macron and Trump had frequent phone calls which among other foreign policy issue also dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The White House declined comment.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661590 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Assassinat d’Henri Curiel : la « piste algérienne » sera-t-elle confirmée ? – JeuneAfrique.com


    Alors que l’enquête sur le meurtre du militant franco-égyptien, tué à Paris le 4 mai 1978, a été rouverte en France. Ses proches continuent de considérer que c’est au soutien du FLN algérien que le commando d’assassins s’en est pris.

    Henri Curiel, juif franco-égyptien, né au Caire en 1914, un temps proche du Parti communiste, a animé un réseau de « porteurs de valises » en soutien au Front de libération national algérien (FLN) et fondé Solidarité, un réseau d’appui aux luttes de libération nationale, notamment à l’ANC sud-africaine, possiblement financé en partie par Alger. Le militant tiers-mondiste a été tué à Paris le 4 mai 1978, dans des circonstances encore non élucidées.

    inRead invented by Teads

    L’affaire avait été classée en 1992, puis le dossier rouvert et refermé en 2000 et en 2008 à la suite de nouvelles révélations. Le 9 janvier, l’enquête a été rouverte. La juge d’instruction Laurence Lazerges a été désigné pour rouvrir ce « dossier non résolu », comme le révélait Médiapart le 16 janvier. Fils du militant assassiné, Alain Gresh, directeur du journal en ligne OrientXXI, espère que l’annonce permettra de relancer l’intérêt de l’opinion publique pour une affaire dont il dit qu’elle est « avant tout politique ».

    Des zones d’ombres sur les commanditaires

    La famille de Curiel a saisi la justice en octobre 2015, forte de nouveaux éléments : les aveux posthumes du militant d’extrême-droite René Resciniti de Says, contenus dans un livre paru en avril de la même année, Le roman vrai d’un fasciste français (La Manufacture) de Christian Rol.

    L’auteur, qui a recueilli les propos de Resciniti de Says, assure que ce dernier a abattu Curiel de trois balles à bout portant en compagnie d’un complice, alors que le militant franco-égyptien sortait tout juste de l’immeuble où il vivait, rue Rollin, à Paris.

    « Les discussions avec le parquet ont duré un certain temps », concède Me William Bourdon, avocat de la famille Curiel depuis plusieurs années et qui préfère rester discret pour le moment, comme il l’explique à Jeune Afrique, à propos d’une affaire « très sensible ».

    L’avocat reste confiant, persuadé que cette nouvelle enquête « permettra de faire avancer la vérité sur les circonstances de l’assassinat ainsi que les donneurs d’ordre. »

    Car la zone d’ombre de l’affaire Curiel est bien le commanditaire de son assassinat. Dans le livre de Rol, Resciniti de Says confesse aussi sa proximité avec Pierre Debizet, dirigeant du Service d’action civique (SAC), organisation et service d’ordre gaulliste qui entretenait des accointances avec le pouvoir.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661559 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Maroc et corruption médiatique : deux absents obsédants au tribunal de Paris
    Par Daniel Schneidermann

    | Arrêt sur images


    Ni la journaliste Mireille Duteil, ni le directeur du Point Etienne Gernelle, ne sont venus assister au procès en diffamation à propos du Maroc, intenté à Arrêt sur images et Orient XXI.
    Pourquoi ? Mais pourquoi diable Mireille Duteil, journaliste retraitée du Point, et son ex-journal, ont-ils décidé de nous poursuivre pour diffamation ? C’est la question qui m’a poursuivi, toute l’après-midi d’hier, sur le banc inconfortable de la 17e chambre du tribunal correctionnel de Paris, où je comparaissais, en compagnie de mes confrères Alain Gresh et Olivier Quarante, poursuivis par la même Mireille Duteil, et le même Le Point, pour la même affaire de corruption présumée de journalistes français par le Maroc.

    Et si Mireille Duteil et Le Point se sont sentis diffamés, pourquoi eux seuls ? Pourquoi pas les trois autres journalistes français également cités dans cette affaire dite des #marocleaks, Dominique Lagarde (L’Express), José Garçon (Libération) et Vincent Hervouët (LCI) ? Mireille Duteil s’est-elle sentie davantage diffamée que ses confrères ? Le Point est-il un journal particulièrement sensible ? Il est vrai que Etienne Gernelle, directeur du Point, semble avoir un désir irrépressible de trainer en Justice notre petite équipe. Je vous avais raconté l’an dernier le procès ahurissant qu’il nous avait fait à propos d’une chronique d’Alain Korkos, affaire dans laquelle, bien entendu, nous avons été relaxés, et Gernelle débouté.

    Toutes ces questions torturantes se doublaient d’une autre. Si Mireille Duteil et Etienne Gernelle se sont sentis à ce point diffamés par ma chronique, titrée « Maroc : le retour de l’abominable vénalité de la presse française ? », pourquoi aucun des deux n’a-t-il eu le courage de venir affronter à la barre les odieux diffamateurs que nous sommes ? Pourquoi Mireille Duteil n’est-elle pas venue clarifier le statut de sa collaboration avec L’Observateur du Maroc , publication confidentielle dont le directeur, Ahmed Charai, est un proche du pouvoir marocain ? Pourquoi n’est-elle pas simplement venue dire si elle était payée pour cette abondante collaboration, et si oui, combien ? Pourquoi Gernelle (ou son prédecesseur Franz-Olivier Giesbert) ne sont-ils pas venus dire s’ils connaissaient l’existence de cette pige, et si cela ne constituait pas, à leurs yeux, un conflit d’intérêt dans sa couverture du Maghreb pour un grand hebdomadaire indépendant comme Le Point ? Pourquoi ne sont-ils pas venus expliquer les raisons du black out, dans Le Point, hebdomadaire indépendant, sur le conflit du Sahara occidental, à enjeu stratégique pour le pouvoir marocain ?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661363 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Une importante tribune de l’histoirien Zeev Sternehll
    In Israel, growing fascism and a racism akin to early Nazism

    They don’t wish to physically harm Palestinians. They only wish to deprive them of their basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state and freedom from oppression

    Zeev Sternhell 19.01.2018

    I frequently ask myself how a historian in 50 or 100 years will interpret our period. When, he will ask, did people in Israel start to realize that the state that was established in the War of Independence, on the ruins of European Jewry and at the cost of the blood of combatants some of whom were Holocaust survivors, had devolved into a true monstrosity for its non-Jewish inhabitants. When did some Israelis understand that their cruelty and ability to bully others, Palestinians or Africans, began eroding the moral legitimacy of their existence as a sovereign entity?
    The answer, that historian might say, was embedded in the actions of Knesset members such as Miki Zohar and Bezalel Smotrich and the bills proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. The nation-state law, which looks like it was formulated by the worst of Europe’s ultra-nationalists, was only the beginning. Since the left did not protest against it in its Rothschild Boulevard demonstrations, it served as a first nail in the coffin of the old Israel, the one whose Declaration of Independence will remain as a museum showpiece. This archaeological relic will teach people what Israel could have become if its society hadn’t disintegrated from the moral devastation brought on by the occupation and apartheid in the territories.
    The left is no longer capable of overcoming the toxic ultra-nationalism that has evolved here, the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a majority of the Jewish people. The interviews Haaretz’s Ravit Hecht held with Smotrich and Zohar (December 3, 2016 and October 28, 2017) should be widely disseminated on all media outlets in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. In both of them we see not just a growing Israeli fascism but racism akin to Nazism in its early stages.
    Like every ideology, the Nazi race theory developed over the years. At first it only deprived Jews of their civil and human rights. It’s possible that without World War II the “Jewish problem” would have ended only with the “voluntary” expulsion of Jews from Reich lands. After all, most of Austria and Germany’s Jews made it out in time. It’s possible that this is the future facing Palestinians.
    Indeed, Smotrich and Zohar don’t wish to physically harm Palestinians, on condition that they don’t rise against their Jewish masters. They only wish to deprive them of their basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state and freedom from oppression, or equal rights in case the territories are officially annexed to Israel. For these two representatives of the Knesset majority, the Palestinians are doomed to remain under occupation forever. It’s likely that the Likud’s Central Committee also thinks this way. The reasoning is simple: The Arabs aren’t Jews, so they cannot demand ownership over any part of the land that was promised to the Jewish people.
    According to the concepts of Smotrich, Zohar and Shaked, a Jew from Brooklyn who has never set foot in this country is the legitimate owner of this land, while a Palestinian whose family has lived here for generations is a stranger, living here only by the grace of the Jews. “A Palestinian,” Zohar tells Hecht, “has no right to national self-determination since he doesn’t own the land in this country. Out of decency I want him here as a resident, since he was born here and lives here – I won’t tell him to leave. I’m sorry to say this but they have one major disadvantage – they weren’t born as Jews.”

    From this one may assume that even if they all converted, grew side-curls and studied Torah, it would not help. This is the situation with regard to Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers and their children, who are Israeli for all intents and purposes. This is how it was with the Nazis. Later comes apartheid, which could apply under certain circumstances to Arabs who are citizens of Israel. Most Israelis don’t seem worried.

    Zeev Sternhell
    Haaretz Contributor

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661231 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Des victimes du hacker Ulcan interpellent un festival à propos d’un documentaire

    « Diffamation infamante ».

    Le Festival international des programmes audiovisuels (Fipa), qui se tiendra fin janvier à Biarritz, projettera un film intitulé The Patriot, ainsi résumé sur le site du festival : « Ulcan, un hacker sioniste militant, livre une guerre virtuelle et sans merci aux leaders du mouvement antisémite français. » Cette présentation a fait « frémir » les journalistes Pierre Haski, Daniel Schneidermann et Denis Sieffert, qui l’expriment dans une lettre ouverte publiée sur le site de Politis. En effet, tous trois comptent parmi les victimes d’Ulcan, dont l’une des méthodes est de faire intervenir la police chez les personnes qu’il a prises pour cibles. « Ces quelques lignes contiennent une diffamation infamante contre toutes les victimes d’Ulcan présentées comme "antisémites" », relèvent les journalistes, en rappelant qu’en France, Ulcan est visé par un mandat d’arrêt pour « action criminelle ayant entraîné une mort » (en l’occurrence, celle du père d’un journaliste de Rue89).

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661120 via Loutre

  • SyrianObserver.com: Battle for Idleb: Is the Armed Opposition Losing its Popular Base?

    The notable military decline and the failure of the opposition to halt the advance of Assad’s forces, coinciding with a near-permanent internal conflict between rebel groups at the expense of others, has affected the opinion of the popular base and resulted in a backlash against them in the villages which have seen internal conflicts, with HTS a main component in most of them.

    Activist Khalil al-Sameh told Enab Baladi that the obstacles and crises the revolution is enduring, alongside the rebel groups ignoring the concerns of locals, has impacted relations between civilians and the armed opposition. He added that “withdrawals and so on that may be outside the control of the groups have contributed significantly to the people’s alienation and their constant blame in light of the continuing mistakes.”

    Kamal Abu al-Majid, a military commander in Ahrar al-Sham, said that “we have come to see fighting between the rebel groups which claim to protect residents from the regime’s brutality, in an effort to impose influence on liberated areas and exploit people’s resources and ruling by strength. The issue has come to include intervention in civilian and education affairs, while some who distance themselves from that do not hide their allegiance to foreign countries and their implementation of agendas at the people’s expense.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/661130 via assalam12

  • With Bannon banished from Trump World, pro-Israel hard-liners pin their hopes on Pence

    Far-right U.S. Jewish Republicans believed the one-time Breitbart supremo had their back, but his fall from grace shifts their focus to the vice president and a very unlikely blast from the recent past

    Allison Kaplan Sommer Jan 16, 2018

    Few American Jews shed tears at the downfall of Steve Bannon, whose humiliation was made complete Tuesday when he stepped down from Breitbart News following his ugly estrangement from President Donald Trump – confirmed by the insulting new nickname of Sloppy Steve.
    skip - Donald Trump tweet
    The catalyst for his fate were his uncensored remarks in Michael Wolffs White House tell-all book, Fire and Fury, alienating Trump and then, fatally, the Mercers (Bannons arch-conservative financial backers who bankrolled both Breitbart and his endeavors to become a renegade Republican kingmaker.)
    The vast majority of Americas overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic Jews viewed Bannon as either an anti-Semite or an anti-Semite enabler whose conspiratorial references to demonic global financiers awakened and emboldened white supremacists. His oft-quoted description of Breitbart as the platform for the alt-right white nationalist movement confirmed such views.
    But for the minority of staunchly hard-line, pro-Israel Jews (and evangelical Christians) who support Israels settlement enterprise, oppose a Palestinian state and any form of territorial compromise, Bannon was an important force in the White House.
    For this group, his out-of-the-box positions on Israel far outweighed any threats the views of the Trump-voting, alt-right fan base from which he drew his influence might pose.
    Notably, it was Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America – who invited Bannon to address his organizations annual gala last November – who was the sole loyalist quoted as willing to speak up for Bannon in a lengthy Politico piece on Sunday. Klein said: If there is anyone, like Bannon, who is a strong supporter of Israel and a strong fighter against anti-Semitism and that person ends up having less influence on the administration, that is something that would sadden me.

    In Fire and Fury, the extent to which Bannons position on Israel matched hard-liners like Klein was described in detail. The book not only revealed that Trumps then-strategic adviser planned to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Day One after entering the White House, but, moreover, had an extreme and highly unorthodox approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza, says Bannon in the book. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying.
    He then claimed that both GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were all in on his plans.
    Taken as a whole, it is a depiction of an extreme right-wing cabal, one that could find its place on the right fringes of Likud, that has been guiding if not running [President Donald] Trumps Middle East policies, Haaretzs Chemi Shalev wrote. Shalev described it as an axis that dominated Trumps Middle East policies during his first year in office. It is an alliance that Netanyahu appears to have cultivated, with the assistance, or at the direction, of his Las Vegas benefactor, Adelson. All three operate under the premise ascribed to Bannon that the further right you were, the more correct you were on Israel.
    This hard-line trio of influence presumably acted as a counterweight against the more pragmatic former military men in the White House – most prominently National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, but also former Secretary of Homeland Security and current Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis – whom, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the far right privately scorn as Arabists who are soft on Israel. It was also a bulwark against Trumps fantasies of making the ultimate deal, which they believed were being cultivated by Bannons nemesis – Trumps son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner.
    Bannons banishment from the White House, and now his political self-immolation and disappearance from Trumps circle of influence, comes as a deep disappointment to those who embraced and celebrated his outlook and that of satellite foreign policy Bannonites like Sebastian Gorka.
    Sad, tragic and disappointing, one pro-Trump Republican on the Jewish far right told me, asking not to be identified by name. Israels lost a really important voice.
    With that sadness comes concern over the increased influence of the generals, as well as Javanka (Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump), on Middle East policy. The Jewish Trump supporter said he believes the presidents son-in-law has got his head in a very dark place when it comes to this peace thing. I think Jared is really wrong on this whole peace plan and can only do damage, he noted.
    But the hard-liners are still hopeful, attributing their optimism that the Trump administration will avoid any Kushner-fueled peace attempts to three factors.
    First, and most prominently, their hopes are pinned on Vice President Mike Pence – who will visit Israel on January 22-23 – and the evangelical Christian base he represents. Rejecting the portrayal of a sidelined Pence in Wolffs book, they call him a powerful player, particularly on Israel.

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, January 9, 2018. JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS
    Clear evidence for this, they argue, lies in the fact that last months declaration of recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital and the plan for an embassy move came after Bannon left the White House. It was Pence and the evangelicals – not Adelson, Netanyahu and Bannon – who ultimately got something done, and they are the ones who will have Israels back in the post-Bannon era.
    Secondly, there are the Palestinians themselves, who called the Jerusalem declaration a kiss of death to the two-state solution.
    Third, there is Trump himself. Much as the president is portrayed as an utterly transactional empty vessel, his Jewish supporters dont believe his views were artificially foisted on him by Bannon, but instead come from his own core beliefs. It was the president himself who wanted to move the embassy at the very beginning of his administration, they say, and it was Netanyahu himself who told Trump it would be better to wait.
    skip - Conor Powell tweet
    Return of the Mooch?
    If there is now a vacuum in the conduit between the far-right Klein/Adelson crowd and the Trump White House, one figure is clearly eager to fill it. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is not only different from Bannon – as slick and public as Bannon is unkempt and secretive – but he is also Bannons nemesis.

    In this July 2017 file photo, Anthony Scaramucci blows a kiss after answering questions during the press briefing.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
    Call it a coincidence, but on the same day Bannon departed from Breitbart, it was also announced that Scaramucci – who spent the day dancing on his grave – would be a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. The RJC confab is set for early February at Adelsons Venetian hotel and casino. In the past, ZOAs Klein has described Scaramucci as being supportive of Israel in the ZOA way, not in the mainstream Jewish way.
    Scaramucci has made a point of cozying up to the Adelson-backed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. It was at a Boteach Hanukkah party that Scaramucci reportedly took a verbal detour from recounting his trip to Israel to insult Bannon, allegedly calling the former Trump aide messianic and a loser, warning that Hell be a stalwart defender of Israel until hes not. Thats how this guy operates. Ive seen this guy operate. He was a stalwart defender of me until it became better for him not to be.
    In the end, it was not his failure to defend Israel that proved to be Bannons undoing. It was his failure to defend Donald Trump.

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • At least let us hate ’Fauda’ -

    In the Israeli TV series there are no rulers or ruled, no occupation, no historical background, no checkpoints, no poverty, no home demolitions, no expulsions, settlers or violent soldiers

    Sayed Kashua Jan 12, 2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.834416

    This is neither a television review nor an attempt to criticize the morality of the television series “Fauda” and the feeling of superiority that accompanies every Israeli producer who is convinced that he can speak in the name of Arabs as easily as he can impersonate an Arab by wearing cheap clothes, growing a beard and dyeing it black. In general, Israeli movies and television, whether highbrow or for the masses, have always served the ruling Israeli discourse.
    With few exceptions (mainly documentaries), the greatest protests of the creative culture have been those with the theme of “shooting and crying,” with the main concern being Jewish ethics. Since the second intifada, the motif of “there is no one to talk to” on the other side, championed by Ehud Barak, has dominated the treatment in Israeli culture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (always “conflict,” never “occupation”).
    Thus if in the wake of the first Lebanon war, the main theme of political statements in Israeli art was that there are partners on the Palestinian side but negotiations will always fail on account of extremists from both sides (what could we do, Likud was in power), since October 2000 the main theme has been that there are no partners, they’re all extremists. (What could we do, Labor was in power.)
    >> New season of hit series Fauda sets out to keep the Israeli-Palestinian conflict real <<
    So there’s no point in a political critique of “Fauda.” First, its political statement is not unique, and it is not so different from the landscape of “Bethlehem,” “The Bubble” and “For My Father” (“Sof Shavua B’Tel Aviv) nor is it different from the tenor of Israel’s main nightly news programs. Second, there is no point in criticizing the culture and the representation of “the conflict” by Israeli creative artists in the current political atmosphere. The arrogance and the assumption of ownership over the Palestinian story are the necessary consequence of military rule of Palestinian lives. Like the soldiers, many Israeli creative artists not respect borders. Some people expropriate land, others expropriate a story.
    Still, I write about “Fauda” because of the many statements, writings and quotes that have become a kind of received wisdom in Israel, according to which Arabs, Hamas members, senior Palestinian Authority officials or “the other side,” as one newspaper put it, “are convinced that the series serves them.”

    A still from the second season of “Fauda.”Ronen Akerman/YES
    You already have military victories and cultural control in marketing the Israeli occupation policy: At least give the Palestinians the option of hating “Fauda.” Are Netflix, worldwide success, economic growth and serving Israeli PR not enough for them?

    Do the creators of “Fauda” really need to market their show as a balanced series that shows the reality in the territories? And if it is being sold as such to the world, is it so important to them for the Palestinians to admit that it’s high art that helps Palestinians interpret correctly the reality in which they live?
    How dumb do the creators of “Fauda” and the Israeli critics who adopted the line that the Arabs are crazy about “Fauda” think Arabs are?
    The Israeli sits in front of the screen and sees, in the second season’s opening scene, a bloodthirsty, bearded Arab who sends his friend to a bus station that is filled mainly with women and young soldiers. And when the “terrorist” has regrets and seeks to return to the car without planting the bomb in the bus station, Nidal “El Makdessi” — the main Palestinian character — pushes a button to detonate the bomb, killing his friend in cold blood as long as he can take a few Jews with him.
    What the hell does the Israeli critic think the Palestinian viewer sitting in front of the screen feels? What? Does he shout “Allahu Akbar” at the explosion and think that El Makdessi, who came from Syria and was trained by the Islamic State organization, is a cool guy, and sometimes you have no choice but to betray your friend as long as you kill Jews, no matter whether they are civilians, children or soldiers?
    What does the Hamas militant (according to “Fauda” co-creator Avi Issacharoff, the group put a link to the series on its home page) think at that moment? He’s thinking: “Wow, I’ve got to see this El Makdessi. First of all, he has a cool name, both frightening and charming, and we’ve got to watch this series, because in Hollywood, the good guys always win.”

    A still from the second season of “Fauda.”Ronen Akerman/YES
    Is it possible the Israeli creators think Arabs are so stupid they consider El Makdessi a “good guy” in the series, which is based entirely on good guys versus bad guys? Or perhaps Hamas members will be so happy about the fact that their people, as they are presented in their beloved Israeli program, love their mother? Okay, so they murder Arabs sometimes because there is no choice, sending a friend with a bomb or a rocket propelled grenade into a café in Nablus, who wipes out some Arabs playing cards.
    The Israelis in “Fauda,” by the way, are very sensitive to human life. “There are too many noncombatants,” says an Israeli officer in fatigues, when someone even dares raise the idea of taking out El Makdessi with a drone. “Let’s wait until he reaches an open space,” orders the Israeli commander, who cares so much for Palestinian lives that he endangers his dedicated soldiers.
    “It’s clearly an Israeli and not a Palestinian narrative,” the series’ creators said in one interview, again using the deceptive word “narrative,” which on one hand turns baseless lies in an action series into a legitimate narrative of moral superiority that Israelis tell about themselves, and on the other hand the narrative — the “N-word” — reduces the lives of Palestinians under the shadow of military oppression into another story that they tell themselves, as if they live in an Israeli prime-time series.

    Rona-Lee Shim’on in “Fauda.” Ronen Akerman/YES
    So, no: Arabs, Palestinians, Hamas members — those from the other side — do not love “Fauda,” and to be honest I’m not sure how many of them even watch it or have heard of it. And no, there is nothing in “Fauda” that addresses the reality in the territories. In “Fauda,” there are no rulers or ruled, no occupation, no historical background, no checkpoints, poverty, home demolitions, expulsions, settlers or violent soldiers. Nor are there courts that jail politicians without a trial and pass judgment on children and teens who are trying to push away armed soldiers.
    According to “Fauda,” the Palestinians are driven by a longing for vengeance, a strong Arab urge that explains the murderousness of the main characters. It is personal revenge and nothing more. Indeed, the Palestinians have no other reason to rise up against the Israelis. To be honest, their lives as reflected in the series are pretty good.
    So what in the hell is the Israeli critic, creative artist or newspaper reader thinking when he asserts that Arabs love “Fauda”? Is there a way to explain this claim without assuming total Arab stupidity? Or perhaps a Palestinian family is sitting somewhere in a refugee camp in Jenin, declaring: “Gentlemen, this is art for art’s sake. Forget about Israelis and Palestinians. Let’s encourage Doron [Kavillio, the lead Israeli character, played by Lior Raz] and the guys disguised as Arabs because after all they’re really cute, brave and look out for their country and their people.”
    And Doron, what a soul he has, so concerned for his children in the first episode, they sleep like two angels in his embrace while he thinks about the danger that lurks for them from El Makdessi. “If he got to my father, he’ll get to my children, too,” he tells the commander of the elite unit, because that’s how it is. The Palestinians are the ones who know how to get to the children of armed Israelis.
    If the Palestinian is already watching “Fauda,” his main thought will be: How is it that the people of Nablus don’t identify the Israeli-accented Arabic of the soldiers dressed as Arabs the moment they open their mouths? And really, how can El Makdessi be on a motorcycle in Nablus one time and on a motorcycle somewhere in the Negev another? If such mobility were possible, half of our troubles would be behind us. And perhaps he’ll wonder, where are the actors from? Where did they film? Why the hell does no soldier disguised as an Arab dress up as an educated Arab?
    The Arab viewer hopes the international viewer is not dumb enough to attribute any credibility to a commercial series, and wonders if anyone in Israel really thinks this series is leftist because the murderers hug their siblings from time to time. If so, then there really isn’t anyone to talk with over there.

    Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, center, flanked by “Fauda” co-creators Lior Raz, left, and Avi Issacharoff. Rafi Delouya

    Sayed Kashua
    Haaretz Contributor

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  • ’I’m not sorry’: Nur Tamimi explains why she slapped an Israeli soldier
    By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | Jan. 12, 2018 | 9:59 AM

    A not-unexpected guest arrived at Nur Tamimi’s house last weekend: Mohammed Tamimi, the 15-year-old cousin and neighbor, who was shot in the head. He came over to congratulate Nur on her release on bail from an Israeli prison. She was delighted to see him standing there, despite his serious head wound. Last week, when we visited Mohammed, he hadn’t yet been told that Nur, 21, and their 16-year-old cousin Ahed, had been detained. Nor did he know that it was the bullet fired into his head from short range that had prompted the two cousins to go outside and attack two trespassing soldiers.

    Now, at home, surrounded by television cameras, Nur confirms that the assault on the two soldiers was partly motivated by the fact that they invaded Ahed’s yard on December 15 – but the main reason was that they had just then read on Facebook that Mohammed had suffered an apparently mortal wound. He was shot a few dozen meters from Nur’s home. Ahed’s home is also a few steps away – all of the cousins live close to the entrance of the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.

    Ahed and her mother, Nariman, have now been in prison for three weeks, Mohammed is recovering from his wound and Nur is back home after 16 days in detention – an ordeal she would never have had to endure if she weren’t a Palestinian. Nur was involved in the incident with the soldiers, but the video of it shows clearly that she was far less aggressive than Ahed: She barely touched the soldiers.

    Monday evening in Nabi Saleh. A personable, bespectacled young woman in skinny pants and a jacket strides in confidently, apologizes for being late and is not taken aback by the battery of cameras awaiting her in her parents’ living room. Since being released she has been interviewed nonstop by the world’s media. She’s less iconic than Ahed, but she’s free.

    Nur, who is now awaiting trial, has just come back from Al-Quds University, the school she attends outside Jerusalem – she’s a second-year journalism student – where she had gone to explain her absence from a recent exam. Reason: prior commitments in the Sharon Prison. But she was late getting home, and her parents, Bushra and Naji, were worried. She wasn’t answering her phone.

    In fact, people here seemed to be more upset by her lateness than they had been by her arrest. Her parents and siblings have plenty of experience with Israeli lockups. This is the village of civil revolt, Nabi Saleh, and this is the Tamimi family. They’re used to being taken into custody. While we waited for Nur, her father told us about the family.

    Naji is 55 and speaks Hebrew quite well, having picked up the language in the 1980s when he worked in Israel polishing floor tiles. You have to spend time with Naji and Bushra – and also Ahed’s parents, Bassem and Nariman – to grasp how degrading, inflammatory and ignorant the Israeli right-wing propaganda is that has labeled these impressive people a “family of murderers.”

    Naji works in the Palestinian Authority’s Coordination and Liaison Office, but stresses that has no direct contact with Israelis. A pleasant, sociable individual and a veteran member of Fatah, he’s the father of three daughters and two sons. The text on the newly coined poster above his head in the spacious living room states: “No one will turn off the light [nur, in Arabic]. #FreeNur.”

    Naji is an uncle of Nariman and a cousin of Bassem – Ahed’s parents. The two families are very close; the children grew up in these adjacent houses.

    Nur had never been arrested, but her father spent five years in Israeli jails. He was brought to trial four times for various offenses, most of them minor or political in nature. Naji’s brother was killed in 1973, in an Israel Air Force attack on Tripoli, in Lebanon, and the dead brother’s son spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons. Bushra has been arrested three times for short periods. Their son Anan has been arrested four times, including one seven-month stint in prison.

    About half a year ago, the regular demonstrations in Nabi Saleh protesting both the taking of land for the building of the settlement of Halamish and the plundering of a local spring plundered by settlers, when the army started to use live fire to disperse them. This is a small village, of 500 or 600 residents who weren’t able to cope with the resulting injuries and, in a few cases, fatalities. But U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech last month about Jerusalem reignited the protest.

    A few days ago, a young villager, Abdel Karim Ayyub, was arrested (for unknown reasons), and has been in the Shin Bet security service’s interrogations facility in Petah Tikva since. The locals are certain that in the wake of his detention, there will be another large-scale army raid and extensive arrests.

    On that Friday, December 15, Nur and Ahed were going back and forth between their two houses as usual. They were at Ahed’s house in the afternoon when they heard that Mohammed had been shot. In the yard, an officer and a soldier were, she recounts, acting as if this were their own house. These daily incursions drive the villagers crazy. It’s not just the brazen invasion of privacy, it’s also the fact that sometimes local young people throw stones at the soldiers. Sometimes, the stones hit the houses, and sometimes the soldiers open fire from the yards of the homes. “We aren’t going to accept a situation in which our homes become Israeli army posts,” says Naji.

    His daughter holds the same opinion. She and Ahed, distraught at the news of Mohammed’s shooting, went out that day and started to taunt the two soldiers, so they would leave. According to Naji, the incident was quite routine and none of the soldiers got upset over it. He’s also convinced that the soldiers reacted with such restraint because they realized the scene was being filmed.

    “This is only a small part of the overall picture,” he explains. “For the soldiers it was also something completely ordinary. They didn’t think they were in danger, either.”

    Nur then went home and barely mentioned the incident; both for her and Ahed, it was indeed routine. Before dawn on Tuesday, four days after the incident and two days after the video clip had been posted online and stirred members of the Israeli right to assail the soldiers’ passivity – the army arrested Ahed. This took place in the dead of night and involved a large force; that’s the usual MO for arrests, even of minors such as Ahed. Twenty-four hours later, also at 3:30 A.M., the troops raided Nur’s house. Nariman was arrested when she arrived at the police station that day, for her involvement in the assault on the soldiers.

    In the case of Nur, the soldiers burst into the house, went upstairs and demanded to see the IDs of all the sisters. Naji says that, once Ahed had been arrested, the family knew the soldiers would come for Nur, too. No one, including Nur, was afraid; no one tried to resist. About 15 soldiers entered the house, and seven or eight vehicles waited outside. Nur got dressed, was handcuffed and went out into the cold, dark night.

    “It’s impossible to stand up to the army,” Naji says now, “and because this was Nur’s first time, we didn’t want violence.” In the jeep, she was blindfolded. She got no sleep for the next 22 hours, between the interrogations and the brusque transfers between detention facilities and interrogation rooms.

    Two days later, soldiers again came to the family’s home, to carry out a search. They took nothing. Of this procedure, too, Naji says drily, “We’re used to it.” Meanwhile, in Ahed’s house, all the computers and cellular phones had been confiscated.

    Two days after Nur’s arrest, her parents saw her in the military court in Ofer Prison, near Ramallah. She looked resilient, in terms of her state of mind, but physically exhausted, they say.

    Ahed is in the minors’ section of Sharon Prison, in the center of the country; Nur was held in the wing for female security prisoners, where Nariman is, too. The three of them sometimes met in the courtyard during exercise periods.

    Nur says she was appalled by her first encounter with an Israeli prison. The fates of the other prisoners – the suffering they endure and the physical conditions – are giving her sleepless nights. She now wants to serve as the voice for female Palestinian prisoners. She’s a bit tense and inhibited during our conversation, maybe because of the language (she doesn’t speak Hebrew, and her English is limited), maybe because we’re Israelis. What she found hardest, she tells us, was being deprived of sleep during all the interrogations, which went on for 22 hours straight, during which she wasn’t permitted to close her eyes. The aim of her captors, she says, was to pressure her to confess and to name village activists.

    What did you want to achieve in the attack on the soldiers?

    “We want to drive them out.”

    Were you surprised that they didn’t react?

    “There was something strange about their behavior. Something suspicious. They put on an act for the camera.”

    Did you deserve to be punished?

    “No, and I’m not sorry for what I did. They invaded our home. This is our home, not theirs.”

    Would you do it again?

    “I will react in the same way if they behave like that – if they invade the house and hurt my family.”

    Ahed is strong, her cousin says. She knows she’s become a heroine from the Palestinian television broadcasts she sees in prison. Dozens of songs have already been written about her, says Nur, adding that it’s not because of Ahed that she is so upset now – what appalls Nur most is the lot of the other prisoners, above all the condition of Israa Jaabis, whose car, according to the record of her conviction, caught fire during an attempted terrorist attack in 2015, when she was 31. Jaabis was sentenced to 11 years prison, and suffers terribly from her burns, especially at night, according to Nur.

    Other than the mission she has undertaken of speaking out for the prisoners, the arrest did not change her life, Nur says. She was released by the military appeals court last Thursday, pending trial, on four relatively lenient conditions, despite the prosecution’s insistence to the contrary. The judge ordered her to be freed that same day, and the prison authorities complied, but held off until just before midnight, as though in spite. Her father waited for her at the Jabara checkpoint. It was the eve of the huge storm that lashed the country, and the two hurried home.

    No celebration awaited them there. Nur is still awaiting trial on assault charges, and last week, in the neighboring village of Deir Nizam, most of whose population is related to the Tamimi family, a 16-year-old boy was killed. During the funeral a friend of the victim was shot in the head and critically wounded.

    This is not a time for celebrations.

    #Nabi_Saleh #Tamimi

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  • The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer: Salafi mission calls into question Saudi concept of moderation and policy in Yemen

    Plans to open a Salafi missionary centre in the Yemeni province of Al Mahrah on the border with Oman and Saudi Arabia raise questions about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salah’s concept of a moderate form of Islam.

    The questions are prompted by the fact that Prince Mohammed has so far put little, if any, flesh on his skeletal vow last October to return his ultra-conservative kingdom to “moderate Islam.”


    https://seenthis.net/messages/659689 via gonzo

  • Turkish government blasts Constitutional Court’s ruling on jailed journalists

    The Constitutional Court’s ruling that the jailing of journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan during the trial violates their constitutional rights “is not the final decision,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.

    Yıldırım told reporters on Jan. 12 that the local court will “give the right decision as it has the full knowledge about the case.”

    According to the Turkish Constitution, the Constitutional Court is legally superior to lower courts and its rulings are binding, but its Dec. 11 decision on Alpay and Altan drew the ire of some ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members.

    Yıldırım, however, said debating the Constitutional Court’s ruling would not be in line with the principles of a state of law.

    “Rushing to comment would be unfair to the court,” he added, noting that the top court merely ruled against the grounds for arrest during the trial.

    The Constitutional Court’s decision covers the pre-trial detention period, before the preparation of the prosecutor’s indictment, and the process after the indictment should be left to the local court’s decision, Yıldırım said.

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  • Israeli army warns: Danger of violence escalating into war is growing -

    With eye on recent events, military intel warn of potential war ■ Abbas may have backed himself into a corner ■ Gaza threat looms over Israelis

    Amos Harel 13.01.2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834343

    The odds of a neighboring country, or one of the terrorist organizations operating inside of it, launching a war against Israel this year are almost nonexistent, according to the Israeli army’s intelligence assessment for 2018.
    Sounding remarkably similar to the 2017 assessment provided to the defense minister, the military noted there is not much left of the Arab armies, and Israel’s neighbors are mostly preoccupied with themselves, while internal problems are distracting Hezbollah and Hamas.
    Is there any difference from 2017? Well, the danger of deterioration – perhaps even to the point of war – has grown significantly, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot stated. The intelligence branch and the chief of staff, who is beginning his fourth and final year at the helm of the army, are concerned about two possible scenarios. 
    The first would be the result of a reaction by one of Israel’s enemies to an Israeli show of force. The second would stem from a flare-up on the Palestinian front. When the terrorism genie gets out of the Palestinian bottle, it takes many months or even years to put it back.
    The first scenario, which the army terms “the campaign between the wars,” might happen when Israel tries to prevent rivals from obtaining advance weaponry they might want to use during a future war, according to Eisenkot.

    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, center, being briefed by Col. Gilad Amit, commander of the Samaria Brigade, following the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, January 18, 2018.IDF Spokesperson’s Unit
    Most of these operations occur under the radar, far from Israel’s borders. Usually, such operations draw little media attention and Israel invariably dodges the question of responsibility. The previous Israel Air Force commander, Gen. Amir Eshel, told Haaretz last August there were nearly 100 such attacks under his five-year command, mostly on Syrian and Hezbollah arms convoys on the northern front.

    However, the more Israel carries out such attacks, and the more it does so on increasingly sophisticated systems (according to foreign media reports), the higher the chances of a confrontation with other countries and organizations, increasing the danger of a significant retaliation.
    A similar thing is happening on the Gaza border. Work on the defense barrier against cross-border attack tunnels is advancing, while Israel is simultaneously developing and implementing more sophisticated methods to locate these tunnels.
    At least three tunnels were seemingly located and destroyed near the Gaza border in recent months. However, this success could exact a price if Hamas or Islamic Jihad decide to try and use the remaining attack tunnels before they are completely destroyed or redundant.

    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, accompanied by Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot during a visit to a military exercise in the Golan Heights in 2017.Ministry of Defense
    It is usually accepted practice to call out intelligence officials over mistaken forecasts. But we received a small example of all these trends on various fronts over the past two weeks. The cabinet convened for a long meeting about the northern front last Sunday. Arab media reported early Tuesday morning about an Israeli attack on Syrian army weapons depots near Damascus. A base in the same area, which Iran had reportedly built for one of the Shi’ite militia groups, was bombed from the air in early December. In most of the recent attacks, the Syrians fired at the reportedly Israeli aircraft. The Syrians also claimed recently that the attacks have become more sophisticated, made in multiple waves and even included surface-to-surface missiles.
    A few days beforehand, there was a report about an Israeli aerial attack – apparently on a cross-border attack tunnel – next to the Gaza border. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the demonstrations to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital were dying down, out of a seeming lack of public interest. Then, on Tuesday evening, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, was killed in a drive-by shooting attack near Nablus. The army responded by surrounding villages and erecting roadblocks around Nablus, for the first time in two years. The IDF moves were acts of collective punishment the chief of staff would normally rather avoid, but they were approved on a limited basis due to the murder of an Israeli.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that the Shin Bet security service is close to solving the murder, but at the time of writing it was still unclear who did it. Hamas and Islamic Jihad released statements praising the deed, while, in a rare move, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – which has been virtually inactive for a decade – took responsibility for the attack.
    Its statement, which was posted on several Facebook pages, attributed the attack to the “Raed Karmi cell,” marking the anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader’s death. Israel assassinated Karmi – the military leader in Tul Karm responsible for the killing of many Israeli civilians and soldiers during the second intifada – on January 14, 2002.

    U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a more amicable time, May 3, 2017Carlos Barria, Reuters
    Woe to Abbas
    The Palestinian Authority, whose leadership has avoided condemning the murder of an Israeli citizen, is making an effort nonetheless to capture terrorists in designated areas in Nablus under its jurisdiction. The Israeli moves in the area added to the humiliation of the PA, which looks like it has navigated itself into a dead end. 
    President Mahmoud Abbas is in trouble. The Trump declaration on Jerusalem provided him with a temporary escape. Last November the Palestinians received worrisome information that the Trump administration’s brewing peace plan was leaning in Israel’s favor. Trump’s so-called deal of the century would likely include leaving settlements in the West Bank in place, and declaring Abu Dis the Palestinian Jerusalem, capital of a prospective state.
    These planks are unacceptable to Abbas. However, the Trump declaration allowed the PA leader to accuse the Americans of giving up any pretense to being an honest broker. He found refuge in the embrace of attendees at the Islamic Conference in Turkey, and in halting all discussion of renewing negotiations.
    Abbas soon discovered that rejecting a reopening of talks with Israel didn’t stop the drumbeat of bad news coming his way. UNRWA was facing a severe financial crisis well before the Trump administration threatened to freeze the U.S. share of funding for the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugee assistance. The crisis, incidentally, also worries Jordan, which hosts at least 3 million Palestinian refugees and descendants. The flow of funds from the donor nations to the territories is dissipating, at a time that the reconciliation process between the PA and Hamas has ground to a halt, with Abbas saying he doesn’t see any benefit that can come of it.
    Meanwhile, Fatah members from activists in the field to the aging leadership are despairing of the chance of realizing the two-state solution. Israel protests the statements of senior Fatah officials about the right to wage armed struggle. It recently arrested a retired Palestinian general on the charge that he had organized protests in East Jerusalem. Fatah plans a council meeting next week, in which participants are expected to adopt a militant line.
    Abbas, who turns 83 in March, is increasingly feeling his years. His health has deteriorated and so has his patience and fitness to work, although it seems his love for travel has not faded. Claims of widespread corruption, some of which allegedly involve his family, are increasing. Other forces in the West Bank are aware of his weakened physical and political condition. Hamas is vigorously encouraging attacks against Israel, probably in expectation of humiliating the PA. Last week the Shin Bet asserted that for the first time, an Iranian agent was operating a Palestinian terror cell in Hebron.
    Meanwhile, a multiparty effort is being made to halt the violence and prevent a sliding into a military confrontation. Under the shadow of rockets by Salafi groups in Gaza, Israel and the PA announced the transfer of additional funds from the PA to pay for increasing the electricity supply from Israel to the Strip. There has not been a single rocket fired this week, but the situation remains fragile. The army increased security around communities close to the border and has stepped up exercises that simulate terrorists using tunnels to infiltrate under the border to kidnap and kill Israelis. The chief of staff watched the elite Shaldag unit going into action in such a scenario this week.

    Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants take part in the funeral of their comrade in the central Gaza Strip October 31, 2017. SUHAIB SALEM/REUTERS
    The army has to stay alert because Islamic Jihad has yet to avenge the killing of its people together with Hamas operatives in a tunnel explosion on the border last October. In November, Jihad militants fired over 20 mortar shells in a four-minute span at an army outpost near Sderot (no one was injured).
    Shells were fired a month after that, probably by Islamic Jihad, at Kibbutz Kfar Aza during a memorial ceremony for Oron Shaul, who was killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge and whose body is being held in Gaza. Army officials expect more attempts.
    The large number of gliders the Palestinians have launched near the border recently likely attests to intelligence gathering ahead of attacks. Israeli officials are also kept awake by recent reports from Syria of a mysterious glider attack against a Russian air force base in the country’s north. Organizations in Gaza are in arm’s reach of this technology.

    An opposition fighter fires a gun from a village near al-Tamanah during ongoing battles with government forces in Syria’s Idlib province on January 11, 2018.OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
    Syria war still isn’t over 
    The civil war in Syria, which enters its eighth year in March, has not completely died out. The Assad regime, which has restored its rule over most of the country’s population, is still clashing with rebels in the Idlib enclave in northern Syria and is preparing for an eventual attack to chase the rebels out of the border area with Israel, along the Golan. The two attacks on the Russian base in Khmeimim (artillery shelling, which damaged a number of planes and helicopters, preceded the glider attack) indicate that some of the groups are determined to keep fighting Assad and his allies.
    The war in Syria started with a protest by residents of Daraa, a town in the south, against a backdrop of economic difficulties for farmers whose incomes were suffering from desertification. The regime’s brutal methods of oppression led to the spread of protest, and things quickly descended into civil war, in which several countries have meddled until today. The war often has consequences on nature. There has been a rise in the number of rabies cases in Israel in recent months, mainly in the north. One of the possible explanations involves the migration of rabies-infested jackals from Jordan and Syria. During the war Syria has suffered a total collapse of civilian authority, and certainly of veterinary services. When there are no regular vaccinations, neighboring countries suffer as well.
    The Middle Eastern country suffering the second bloodiest civil war, Yemen, gets only a tenth as much attention as Syria. The war in Yemen has raged for three years. Some 3 million residents out of a total of 28 million have fled the country as refugees. Over half of those remaining suffer from food insecurity. The UN recently estimated that about a million residents have contracted cholera from contaminated water or food.
    Such outbreaks can erupt easily, even closer to home. The European Union is expected to hold an emergency session in Brussels about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Israeli defense establishment has confirmed the frequent reports by humanitarian organizations of the continued collapse of civilian infrastructure, mainly water and sanitation, in Gaza. Wastewater from Gaza, flowing straight into the sea, is reaching the beaches of Ashkelon and Ashdod. I recently asked a senior Israeli official if he doesn’t fear an outbreak of an epidemic like cholera in Gaza.
    “Every morning, I am surprised anew that it still hasn’t happened,” he replied.

    Amos Harel

    https://seenthis.net/messages/659498 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • ’We look at them like donkeys’: What Israel’s first ruling party thought about Palestinian citizens -

    Quand Ben Gourion et le parti travailliste israélien (la “gauche”) qualifiaient des Palestiniens d’Israël d’ “ânes” et réfléchissait sur la manière de les expulser

    Israel’s first ruling party, Mapai, was torn about the status of Arabs who remained in the country after the War of Independence; almost 70 years later, the ’Arab question’ has yet to be answered
    By Adam Raz Jan 13, 2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834355

    “The Arab question in Israel” was the term used in the top ranks of Mapai, the ruling party in the young State of Israel – and forerunner of Labor – to encapsulate the complex issue that arose after the War of Independence of 1948-49. In the wake of the fighting, and the armistice agreements that concluded the war, about 156,000 Arabs remained within Israel (out of an estimated 700,000 before the war), accounting for 14 percent of the nascent state’s population. So it was with some justification that Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett stated in a meeting of Mapai Knesset members and the party’s senior leadership, on June 18, 1950, that “this is one of the fundamental questions of our policy and of the future of our country.” He added that the issue was one “that will determine the direction of the country’s morality,” for “our entire moral stature depends on this test – on whether we pass it or not.”
    Almost 70 years later, the “Arab question in Israel” continues to pose a conundrum for politicians when they address the issue of the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel (or, as they are often imprecisely called, “Israeli Arabs”).
    The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration.

    The disagreement between Ben-Gurion and Sharett mirrored the respective approaches held by the two regarding the Arab world in general. Sharett was critical of Ben-Gurion’s policy, which he said, held that “the only language the Arabs understand is force,” and called for an approach that preferred the “matter of peace.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, then a Knesset member, and later Israel’s second president (1952-1963), summed up succinctly the alternatives in a meeting of the Mapai MKs several weeks later, on July 9, 1950: “The question is the attitude the state takes toward the minorities. Do we want them to remain in the country, to be integrated in the country, or to get out of the country We declared civic equality irrespective of race difference. Does this refer to a time when there will be no Arabs in the country? If so, it’s fraud.”
    ’Transfer’ option
    The discussions within the party were quite freewheeling, even if speakers frequently expressed concern of leaks to the press, which could have lead to international pressure on Israel to improve the treatment of its Arab citizens. Indeed, the future of the relations between the peoples who inhabited the country demanded weighty political decisions. Among the issues in question: the right to vote, the Absentees’ Property Law, the status of the Arab education system, membership of Arab workers in the Mapai-affiliated Histadrut federation of labor, and more.

    One proposition that arose frequently in the discussions was that of a “transfer” – the expulsion of the Arabs who continued to reside in Israel – a term that some found grating already then. In the June 1950 meeting, Sharett took issue with the allegation, voiced by Ben-Gurion and his supporters, that the Arabs in Israel were a “fifth column.” That was a simplistic assumption, Sharett said, “which needs to be examined.” As he saw it, the fate of the relations between the two peoples depended overwhelmingly on the Jews. “Will we continue to fan the flames?” Sharett asked, or try to douse them? Even though a high-school education was not yet mandatory under law (and the state was not obligated to offer one), a large number of the Jewish youth in the country attended high school, and Sharett thought that the state should establish high schools for the Arabs as well. Israel needs “to guarantee them their cultural minimum,” he added.
    For political reasons, the segregationists tended to ignore the difference between the Arabs living in Israel and those who were left on the other side of the border following the war, many of whom made attempts to “infiltrate” and return to their homes. Sharett took the opposite view: “A distinction must be made between vigorous action against Arab infiltration” and “discrimination against Arabs within the country.”

    David Ben-Gurion. Fritz Cohen / GPO
    Ranking figures such as Sharett and Lavon, who was defense minister in 1954-55, viewed positively a further exodus of Arabs from the country, but only “by peaceful means.” Sharett vehemently objected to the position taken by Dayan, who not only wanted to bring about a situation in which there would be fewer Arabs in Israel, but sought to achieve this through active expulsion. In Sharett’s view, “We must not strive to do this by a wholesale policy of persecution and discrimination.” Sharett spoke of “distinctly unnecessary forms of cruelty, which are tantamount to an indescribable desecration of God’s name.”
    Dayan, notwithstanding the fact that he was serving in the army at the time – as head of Southern Command – participated in Mapai’s political meetings and helped set public policy. He was one of the leaders of the aggressive stance against the country’s Arabs and was against a proposal that they should serve in the army (an idea that came up but was shelved). He opposed granting the Arabs “permanent-citizenship certificates,” opposed compensating those who had been dispossessed of their land, and in fact opposed every constructive action that could contribute to bridge-building between the peoples. “Let’s say that we help them live in the situation they are in today” and no more, he proposed.
    Dayan’s approach remained consistent over the years, and conflicted with the view taken by Sharett and the stream in Mapai that he represented. Speaking in the same June 1950 meeting, Dayan asserted, “I want to say that in my opinion, the policy of this party should be geared to see this public, of 170,000 Arabs, as though their fate has not yet been sealed. I hope that in the years to come there will perhaps be another possibility to implement a transfer of these Arabs from the Land of Israel, and as long as a possibility of this sort is feasible, we should not do anything that conflicts with this.”
    Dayan also objected to Sharett’s proposals to improve the level of education among the country’s Arabs. “It is not in our interest to do that,” he said. “This is not the only question on which the time for a final solution has not yet arrived.”
    Zalman Aran, a future education minister, objected to the military government that had been imposed on Israel’s Arabs at the time of statehood and remained in effect until 1966. Under its terms, Arabs had to be equipped with permits both to work and to travel outside their hometowns, which were also under curfew at night. “As long as we keep them in ghettos,” Aran said, no constructive activity will help. Lavon, too, urged the dismantlement of the military government. In 1955, a few months after resigning as defense minister, he savaged the concept at a meeting in Beit Berl. “The State of Israel cannot solve the question of the Arabs who are in the country by Nazi means,” he stated, adding, “Nazism is Nazism, even if carried out by Jews.”
    Even earlier, Lavon was a sharp critic of the line taken by Dayan and other advocates of transfer. At a meeting of another Mapai leadership forum, on May 21, 1949, he said acidly, “It’s well known that we socialists are the best in the world even when we rob Arabs.” A few months later, on January 1, 1950, in another meeting, he warned, “It is impossible to take action among the Arabs when the policy is one of transfer. It is impossible to work among them if the policy is to oppress Arabs – that prevents concrete action. What is being carried out is a dramatic and brutal suppression of the Arabs in Israel... Transfer is not on the cards. If there is not a war, they will not go. Two-hundred thousand Arabs will be citizens in terms of voting... As the state party, we must set for ourselves a constructive policy in the Arab realm.”
    Back in December 1948, during the discussions on granting the right to vote for the Constituent Assembly – Israel’s first parliamentary institution, which was elected in January 1949, and a month later became the “Israel Knesset” – Ben-Gurion agreed to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who had been in the country when a census was taken, a month earlier. About 37,000 Arabs were registered in the census. The decision to enfranchise them apparently stemmed from party-political considerations. The thinking was that most of them would vote for Mapai.
    This assessment was voiced in the discussions on the Citizenship Law in early 1951, when Ben-Gurion expressed the most assertive opinion. He refused to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who were living in the country lawfully (as Sharett demanded) but who had been elsewhere during the census (because they had fled or had been expelled in the wake of the war); or to those Arabs who resided in the “Triangle” (an area of Arab towns and villages on the Sharon plain), which was annexed to Israel only in April 1949, under the armistice agreement with Jordan. “Is there no country in the world that has two types of citizens in elections [meaning voting and non-voting],” Ben-Gurion asked rhetorically in a meeting of Mapai MKs on February 20, 1951.

    Moshe Dayan. Fritz Cohen / GPO
    In the view of Sharett, who submitted a conflicting draft resolution, it would not be possible to defend “this situation in regard to ourselves and in regard to these Arabs, and in regard to the Arabs in Israel as a whole and in terms of world public opinion. Accordingly, I suggest granting them the right to vote... Discriminate only against the Arabs who entered Israel without permission.”
    Sharett maintained that Ben-Gurion had not given consideration to the root of the problem. “Terrible things” were being done against Arabs in the country, he warned. “Until a Jew is hanged for murdering an Arab for no reason, in cold blood, the Jews will not understand that Arabs are not dogs but human beings.” Sharett’s view carried the day in the vote, and the Arabs in the Triangle voted in the elections.
    In the July 9, 1950, meeting, MK David Hacohen disputed the argument that discrimination against the Arabs and the institution of the military government were essential for the country’s security. Assailing the Absentees’ Property Law – a series of measures that allowed the state to expropriate land and homes abandoned by Palestinians who were displaced during the war, even if they subsequently returned to the country – he said, “I don’t know whether it was clear to us all, when we voted, how grave it is.” He noted that, “According to the law, when an Arab dies, his property does not go to his wife but to the Custodian of Absentees’ Property It is inconceivable for us to declare equality of all citizens and at the same time have a law like this on the books.”
    Apparently, no one took issue with the next comparison Hacohen drew: “These laws that we are coming up with in regard to Israel’s Arab residents cannot even be likened to the laws that were promulgated against the Jews in the Middle Ages, when they were deprived of all rights. After all, this is a total contrast between our declarations and our deeds.”
    A similar approach was voiced during the same meeting by Zalman Aran, who viewed Mapai’s handling of the Arabs as a “process of despair” that must be rejected instead of finding excuses for it.
    “Morally, if we are a movement that does not lie, and we do not want to lie, we are here living a total lie,” he said. “All the books and articles that have been written, and the speeches made internally and for external consumption, are groundless when it comes to implementation. I am not talking about the attitude of individuals in the country toward the Arabs. I am talking about a [policy] line. I reject this line, which has emerged within society and has a thousand-and-one manifestations. I do not accept all the excuses that have been put forward.”
    Taking issue with Dayan’s approach, Aran compared the situation of the Arabs in Israel with the situation of Jews in other countries. “On the basis of what we are doing here to the Arabs, there is no justification for demanding a different attitude toward Jewish minorities in other countries I would be contemptuous of Arabs who would want to form ties with us on the basis of this policy. We would be lying in the [Socialist] Internationale, we are lying to ourselves and we are lying to the nations of the world.”
    Dayan – still an officer in uniform, it must be remembered – objected to the opinions voiced by Hacohen and Aran, and saw no reason to draw a distinction between the Arab public in Israel and Arabs in enemy countries. “I am far more pessimistic about the prospect of viewing these Arabs as loyal,” he countered.

    Moshe Sharett. Frank Scherschel
    Flawed democracy
    During the same period of a decade-plus when Ben-Gurion was premier, a political battle raged in Mapai over the continued existence of the military government. Ben-Gurion persistently defended the military government, which he saw as a “deterrent force” against the Arabs in Israel. In a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 1, 1962, he railed against the “dominant naivete” of those, such as Sharett and Aran, who do not understand the Arabs, and warned of the possible consequences: “There are people living under the illusion that we are like all the nations, that the Arabs are loyal to Israel and that what happened in Algeria cannot happen here.”
    He added, “We view them like donkeys. They don’t care. They accept it with love...” To loosen the reins on the Arabs would be a great danger, he added: “You and your ilk” – those who support the abolition of the military government or making it less stringent – “will be responsible for the perdition of Israel.” A decade earlier, on January 15, 1951, Shmuel Dayan, Moshe Dayan’s father, a Mapai leader and longtime Knesset member, had voiced similar sentiments in a meeting of Mapai MKs. The Arabs, he said, “could be good citizens, but it’s clear that at the moment they become an obstacle, they will constitute a terrible danger.”
    A decade later, Aran offered an opposite assessment of the situation. Speaking at a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat in January 1962, he maintained that it was the military government that “is exacerbating the situation.” He also rejected the Algeria analogy. On the contrary, he thought, the existence of the military government would not delay an Arab uprising but would only spur it. He reiterated his critique of the early 1950s a decade later. He was against a situation in which the Arabs are “second-class” citizens who lack rights like the Jews, and he was critical of both himself and his colleagues: “We accepted this thing, we became accustomed to it... We took it in stride... It’s hard to swallow... No Arab in the State of Israel is able, needs to, is capable of – whatever you give him economically, educationally – accepting that he is a second-class citizen in this country. I think that the world does not know the true situation. If it did, it would not let us keep going on this way.”
    Already then, Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, under whose term as prime minister the military government would be abolished, foresaw the dire consequences: “It would not surprise me if something new suddenly emerges, that people will not want to rent a stable – or a room – to an Arab in some locale, which is the [logical] continuation of this situation. Will we be able to bear that?”
    One person who was not impressed by such arguments was the deputy defense minister, Shimon Peres. In a Mapai Secretariat meeting on January 5, 1962, he maintained that in practice, the military government “is not a strain on the Arabs.” The military government, he added, was [effectively] created by the Arabs, “who endanger Israel and as long as that danger exists, we must meet it with understanding.” In contrast, Isser Harel, head of the Shin Bet security service (1948-1952) and the Mossad (1952-1963), stated in 1966, days after resigning as Eshkol’s adviser for intelligence and security, that “the military government is not a security necessity, and therefore there is no need for its existence. The army should not be dealing with the Arab citizens. That is a flaw in terms of our democracy” (quoted in the daily Maariv, July 10, 1966). That had been the view of the security hawks, including Yigal Allon, since the early 1950s.
    Over the years, it was claimed that the military government had served as a tool in Mapai’s hands for reinforcing its rule, both by giving out jobs and by distributing benefits, and also by intervening in election campaigns through the creation of Arab factions within existing parties that were convenient for the ruling party (and suppressing opponents on the other side). This is not the venue to discuss that allegation – for which evidence exists – but it’s worth noting one of the motifs of the hard-hand policy, which preserved the segregation between Arabs and Jews, as expressed candidly by Ben-Gurion in the meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 5, 1962: “The moment that the difference between Jews and Arabs is eliminated, and they are at the same level If on that day there does not exist a regime in a world where there are no more wars, I do not have the shadow of a doubt that Israel will be eradicated and no trace will remain of the Jewish people.”

    Adam Raz
    Haaretz Contributor

    https://seenthis.net/messages/659504 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • EU, Norway to convene emergency meeting of donor groups providing Palestinians financial aid - Europe -

    The conference, to be held on January 31, is being held against the backdrop of a U.S. threat to cut funding to the Palestinians and a stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

    Noa Landau Jan 10, 2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/1.834111

    The European Union and Norway will be convening an emergency meeting of donor groups that provide funding for the Palestinians.
    >>Why a big wave of European countries recognizing Palestine is fast approaching | David Makovsky, Opinion
    The gathering is being held against the backdrop of the crisis in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the American threat to cut financial assistance to the Palestinians and the stalled reconciliation process between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. The gathering will also examine the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
    Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai will be representing Israel at the conference, which will take place on January 31 at the initiative of Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut funding to the Palestinians if they don’t return to the negotiating table. Among the possibilities is cutting U.S. funding to UNRWA, which is more than $300 million a year – about a third of the agency’s budget.
    A senior Israeli official has told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only supports a gradual cut. This comes in the context of Israeli security officials’ position that a collapse of humanitarian aid in Gaza could worsen the security situation.

    Noa Landau
    Haaretz Correspondent

    https://seenthis.net/messages/658926 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel Faces Possible ICC Probe over 2014 Assault on Gaza & Expansion of Settlements
    Democracy Now ! | Headline Jan 10, 2018

    Israel is facing a possible International Criminal Court probe over its 2014 assault on Gaza and continued expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli TV station Channel 10, Israel’s National Security Council recently warned Israeli lawmakers that the ICC could open an investigation at some point this year.

    This comes as the Israeli defense minister said Israel will approve the construction of hundreds of new settlement homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

    Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a domestic political controversy after an Israeli TV station aired a secret audio recording of his son from outside a strip club in 2015. In the recording, Yair Netanyahu can be heard talking about prostitutes and demanding money from the son of an Israeli gas tycoon. Yair implies his father, Prime Minister Netanyahu, helped push through a $20 billion deal to benefit the businessman, saying, “My dad arranged $20 billion for your dad, and you’re whining with me about 400 shekels.” This comes at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu is facing multiple corruption investigations.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/658893 via Loutre

  • Israel sets up secret firm with top ex-generals, envoys for online ’mass awareness’ campaign ’to fight delegitimization’

    Among the shareholders are former UN ambassador Dore Gold and ex-generals Amos Yadlin and Yaakov Amidror. The new initiative will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law

    Noa Landau Jan 09, 2018 3:26 PM
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.833817

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry has set up a public-benefit corporation to engage in what it calls “mass awareness activities” as part of “the struggle against the delegitimization campaign” against Israel internationally.
    Haaretz has obtained a list of the shareholders and directors of the company, Kella Shlomo, who include former Israeli ambassadors to the United Nations.
    The government recently allocated 128 million shekels ($37 million) to the initiative, in addition to the 128 million shekels it will raise from private donors around the world.
    The new initiative will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law, in accordance with the secrecy policy of the ministry, which refuses to release detailed information about its activities.
    The shareholders and directors include former ministry director general Yossi Kuperwasser; former UN ambassador Dore Gold, who is also a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and former UN ambassador Ron Prosor.

    Reuven Rivlin with Amos Yadlin. Mark Neiman

    FILE PHOTO: Protestors march behind a banner of the BDS organization in Marseille, southern France, on June 13, 2015George Robert / AP
    They also include businessman Micah Avni, whose father, Richard Lakin, was killed in a 2015 terror attack in Jerusalem; Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, who heads the Institute for National Security Studies; and Col. (res.) Miri Eisin, who served as the prime minister’s adviser on the foreign press during the Second Lebanon War.
    skip - Israel Publishes BDS Blacklist

    Also on the list are a former National Security Council chief, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, and Sagi Balasha, a former CEO of the Israeli-American Council, which has casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as a major supporter.

    Most refused to discuss the initiative and referred questions to the office of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.
    The most recent data from the Companies Authority shows that the last report the company submitted to the authority came this past October. On December 28, the cabinet approved an allocation of 128 million shekels to the company over three years. The decision to provide the funding was made by the special procedure under which a government resolution is distributed to the ministers and goes into effect automatically if no one objects or demands a discussion.
    According to the government resolution, the funding was granted “to implement part of the ministry’s activities related to the struggle against the phenomena of delegitimization and boycotts against the State of Israel.” It says the agency will work to raise its portion of the financing for the initiative (around half) from “philanthropic sources” or “pro-Israel organizations.” A steering committee will be appointed for the initiative to comprise government representatives and representatives of the other funding partners.

    Ron Prosor at the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon oath ceremony forr his appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for second termShachar Ezran
    Itamar Baz of the media watchdog website The Seventh Eye has been covering the Strategic Affairs Ministry, most of whose activities are concealed from the public. He reported Monday that while ministry officials have for months been advancing legislation that would exclude the company from being subject to the Freedom of Information Law, the law in any case does not apply to this new agency so its activities will be easy to hide.
    He also revealed that Liat Glazer, the ministry’s legal adviser, wrote in a legal opinion that the activities conducted through the company would be “those that require ‘non-governmental’ discussions with various target audiences.”
    According to a ministry document, Kella Shlomo people would work via social networks because “the enemy directs most of its awareness and motivating efforts to this area.” Similarly, the document, published by The Seventh Eye, says the organization was expected to carry out “mass awareness activities” and work to “exploit the wisdom of crowds,” an activity defined as “making new ideas accessible to decision-makers and donors in the Jewish world, and developing new tools to combat the delegitimization of Israel.”
    A report in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth the day after the cabinet approved the funding described the initiative positively, saying it would “raise the level of efforts in the struggle against BDS” — the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Yedioth said the new company would “provide a speedy and coordinated response to efforts to stain Israel’s image around the world,” for example, in the event of a military operation, terror attacks or UN votes against government policies.
    This would be done by launching online campaigns, lobbying, engaging organizations abroad and bringing delegations to Israel.
    The Strategic Affairs Ministry declined to clarify whether the company would act in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Information Law.
    “This is a joint initiative that meets all the requirements of the law for this type of engagement and is similar to other government initiatives like Taglit [Birthright] and Masa,” the ministry said.
    “In the agreement with [the company] there are distinct control procedures, as defined by the Finance Ministry and the Justice Ministry during the joint work with them on setting up the project. It will be subject to auditing by the state comptroller,” it added.
    “In addition, as the ministry leading the initiative, one that attributes great importance to it as part of the campaign against the delegitimization of Israel, the ministry has allocated additional control tools and functions to what is required. Both the ministry’s legal adviser and its controller will sit on the steering committee managing the project.”
    skip - WTF is BDS?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/658416 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • « Je suis arabe car je parle arabe. Quant à mon appartenance à la nation arabe, quant à savoir si elle est fondée d’aspirer à l’unité, c’est une tout autre question. Je suis arabe, et ma langue a connu son plus grand épanouissement lorsqu’elle était ouverte sur les autres, sur l’humanité tout entière. Parmi les éléments de son développement, il y a le pluralisme. C’est ainsi que je lis les siècles d’or de la culture arabe. A aucune période de l’Histoire nous n’avons été totalement repliés sur nous-mêmes, comme certains voudraient nous voir aujourd’hui. Il n’y a pas de ghetto dans mon identité. Mon problème réside dans ce que l’Autre a décidé de voir dans mon identité. Je lui dis pourtant : voici mon identité, partage-la avec moi, elle est suffisamment large pour t’accueillir ; et nous, les Arabes, nous n’avons eu de vraies civilisations que lorsque nous sommes sortis de nos tentes pour nous ouvrir au multiple et au différent. Je ne fais pas partie de ceux qui souffrent d’une crise d’identité, ni de ceux qui ne cessent de se demander : qui est arabe ? Qu’est-ce que la nation arabe ? Je suis arabe parce que l’arabe est ma langue, et, dans le débat en cours, je mène une défense acharnée de la langue arabe, non pour sauvegarder mon identité, mais pour mon existence, ma poésie, mon droit de chanter. »

    Mahmoud Darwich, "Qui impose son récit hérite la Terre du Récit", Entretien avec le poète libanais Abbas Beydoun, Al-Wasat (Londres), N° 191, 192, 193, septembre-octobre 1995. Repris dans Mashârif (Haïfa-Jérusalem), n° 3, octobre 1995, traduit en français par Elias Sanbar pour le recueil La Palestine comme métaphore, Actes Sud, coll. Babel, 2002, p. 36.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/657435 via Palestine | فلسطين

  • Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move - The New York Times


    As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

    “Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.

    But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that currently houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

    “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.

    “Exactly that,” agreed one host, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

    For decades, powerful Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while privately acquiescing to Israel’s continued occupation of territory the Palestinians claim as their homeland.

    Continue reading the main story

    Rallying Cry of Jerusalem May Have Lost Force in Arab World DEC. 6, 2017

    Defying Trump, U.N. General Assembly Condemns U.S. Decree on Jerusalem DEC. 21, 2017

    U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Move on Jerusalem DEC. 18, 2017

    Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and Orders U.S. Embassy to Move DEC. 6, 2017
    But now a de facto alliance against shared foes such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State militants and the Arab Spring uprisings is drawing the Arab leaders into an ever-closer collaboration with their one-time nemesis, Israel — producing especially stark juxtapositions between their posturing in public and private.

    Mr. Trump’s decision broke with a central premise of 50 years of American-sponsored peace talks, defied decades of Arab demands that East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, and stoked fears of a violent backlash across the Middle East.

    Arab governments, mindful of the popular sympathy for the Palestinian cause, rushed to publicly condemn it.

    Egyptian state media reported that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had personally protested to Mr. Trump. Egyptian religious leaders close to the government refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, and Egypt submitted a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of Mr. Trump’s decision. (The United States vetoed the resolution, although the General Assembly adopted a similar one, over American objections, days later.)

    King Salman of Saudi Arabia, arguably the most influential Arab state, also publicly denounced Mr. Trump’s decision.

    At the same time, though, the kingdom had already quietly signaled its acquiescence or even tacit approval of the Israeli claim to Jerusalem. Days before Mr. Trump’s announcement, the Saudi crown prince, Mohamed bin Salman, privately urged the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to accept a radically curtailed vision of statehood without a capital in East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of events.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/657505 via Nouvelles d’Orient