• Botched Israeli operation in Gaza endangers human rights groups - Palestinians

    If it turns out that the IDF invented a fictitious aid group for the operation, from now on it can be expected that every real new organization will find it difficult to be trusted by the authorities and residents in the Gaza Strip

    Amira Hass
    Nov 25, 2018


    If members of the Israeli special operations force that Hamas exposed in the Gaza Strip this month indeed impersonated aid workers, as Walla news and the Israel Television News Company reported, it will reinforce and even retroactively justify Hamas’ longtime suspicions.
    Hamas has in the past claimed that, consciously or not, international humanitarian organizations assist Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the Israeli military.
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    This is exactly what the employees of foreign aid organizations, as well as Palestinian ones with some foreign staff, fear. A senior employee in one of these organizations told Haaretz that if Israel has abused the network of international or local aid groups, it could undermine the critical activities of organizations large and small: The Hamas government that controls the Gaza Strip might take precautions that will interfere with their entry into the Strip and their work.
    “No one will listen to the protest of a small organization on the exploitation of humanitarian activity,” he said. “Large organizations need to make their voices heard.”

    The bodies of four of the six men killed during an Israeli raid on Khan Younis in a hospital morgue in Gaza, on Sunday, November 11, 2018AFP
    Foreigners who entered the Gaza Strip last week reported more exacting questioning than usual at Hamas’ border control position and strict identity checks of passengers at checkpoints within the Strip.

    A Westerner who visits the Strip frequently told Haaretz they sense some suspicion on the part of ordinary Gazans toward foreigners — and not for the first time.
    What is interesting is that Palestinian media outlets did not publish the suspicions about the Israel special force impersonating aid workers: In other words, Hamas did not raise this claim publicly.
    According to versions heard in the Gaza Strip, the members of the unit carried forged Palestinian ID cards, presumably of Gazans, and said they had food distribution coupons. It also seems they spent a number of days in the Strip before they were exposed.
    Working for an aid organization is a logical and convenient cover story. As part of the strict limits on movement by Israel, foreigners and Palestinians who are not residents of the Strip, who work for international aid organizations (and foreign journalists) are among the few who receive entry permits into the Gaza Strip.

    Palestinian militants of Hamas’ military wing attend the funeral of seven Palestinians, killed during an Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza, in Khan Younis, on November 12, 2018.AFP
    Hamas senior official Moussa Abu Marzouk was quoted as hinting that the entry of the unit was made possible through a checkpoint of the Palestinian Authority, at the Erez border crossing.
    His statement fed the constant suspicions against the PA’s security services of cooperation and help for the Israeli security forces. But knowing how the official entry process into the Gaza Strip from Israel works raises doubts about the feasibility of this scenario.
    In addition to navigating the bureaucracy of Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to obtain an entry permit from Israel, foreigners seeking to enter the Gaza Strip must also coordinate their travel in advance with the Hamas authorities.
    To enter officially through the Erez crossing, you must submit full identification details, including details on the purpose of the visit and the organization and identity of contact persons inside the Gaza Strip.
    >> How Hamas sold out Gaza for cash from Qatar and collaboration with Israel | Opinion
    The military unit’s entry through Erez would have required Israel to use the name of a well-known aid organization, which would not raise any suspicions. Did the Israel Defense Forces use the name of an organization such as UNRWA or an Italian aid group funded by the European Union, for example?
    And if it turns out that to carry out the mission, the IDF invented a fictitious aid group a long time ago, and in doing so received the help of COGAT, from now on it can be expected that every real new organization will find it difficult to be trusted by the authorities and residents in the Gaza Strip.
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    On entry to the Gaza Strip, those who receive permits go through four checkpoints: On the Israel side of the crossing, at the first registration position of the PA on the other side of the crossing, at the checkpoint of the PA police, which was once the Hamas checkpoint and was handed over to the PA about a year ago when it was attempted to establish a reconciliation government, and at the new registration position of Hamas, which has restarted operations these last few months.
    Even those bearing Palestinian identity cards — which according to reports the members of the unit carried — must pass through the posts of the PA and Hamas and answer questions. At the Hamas position, suitcases are not always checked, but a person who often enters the Gaza Strip told Haaretz that the check — even if only to search for alcohol — is always a risk to be taken into account.
    It is hard to believe that the members of the Israeli military unit would have entered Gaza without weapons, on one hand, or would have risked exposure, on the other, he said. 
    One gets the impression from media reports that Hamas and the IDF are both busy competing over who was humiliated more by the exposure of the unit’s operations. What is certain is that making humanitarian aid into a tool in the service of Israeli military intelligence contributes to the feeling of vulnerability and isolation of the Strip.

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  • Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia | The Times of Israel

    US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Israel would face major regional difficulties in the Middle East if it were not for the stabilizing presence of Saudi Arabia.

    “Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.

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  • How Hamas sold out Gaza for cash from Qatar and collaboration with Israel

    Israel’s botched military incursion saved Hamas from the nightmare of being branded as ’sell-outs’. Now feted as resistance heroes, it won’t be long before Hamas’ betrayal of the Palestinian national movement is exposed again

    Muhammad Shehada
    Nov 22, 2018 7:04 PM


    Earlier this month, Hamas was confronted by one of its worst nightmares. The Palestinian mainstream began to brand Hamas with the same slurs that Hamas itself uses to delegitimize the Palestinian Authority. 
    "They sold us out!” Gazans began to whisper, after Hamas reached a limited set of understandings with Israel in early November. Its conditions required Hamas to distance Gazan protesters hundreds of meters away from the separation fence with Israel and actively prevent the weekly tire-burning and incendiary kite-flying associated with what have become weekly protests.
    In return for this calm, Israel allowed a restoration of the status quo ante – an inherently unstable and destabilizing situation that had led to the outbreak of popular rage in the first place. 

    Other “benefits” of the agreement included a meaningless expansion of the fishing zone for few months, restoring the heavily-restricted entry of relief aid and commercial merchandise to Gaza, instead of the full-on closure of previous months, and a tentative six-month supply of Qatari fuel and money to pay Hamas’ government employees. Basically, a return to square one. 
    skip - Qatari ambassador has stones thrown at him in Gaza
    Qatari ambassador has stones thrown at him in Gaza - דלג

    The disaffected whispers quickly became a popular current, which took overt form when the Qatari ambassador visited Gaza. He was met with angry cries of “collaborator,” as young Gazans threw stones at his vehicle after the ambassador was seen instructing a senior Hamas leader with the words: “We want calm today...we want calm.”
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    Hamas leaders didn’t dare show their faces to the people for several days following, and the movement’s popular base had a very hard time arguing that the agreement with Israel - which offered no fundamental improvement of condition – and sweetened by Qatari cash wasn’t a complete sell-out by Hamas. 
    Inside Hamas, there was evident anxiety about public outrage, not least in the form of social media activism, using Arabic hashtags equivalents to #sell-outs. One typical message reads: “[Suddenly] burning tires have became ‘unhealthy’ and [approaching] the electronic fence is suicide! #sell-outs.”

    Social media is clearly less easy to police than street protests. Even so, there was a small protest by young Gazans in Khan Younis where this “sell-out” hashtag became a shouted slogan; the demonstrators accused Hamas of betrayal.
    But relief for Hamas was at hand – and it was Israel who handed the movement an easy victory on a gold plate last week. That was the botched operation by Israel thwarted by Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam brigade, which cost the life of a lieutenant colonel from an IDF elite unit.
    The ensuing retaliation for Israel’s incursion, led by the Islamic Jihad (prodded into action by Iran), who launched 400 improvised rockets into Israel, was intended to draw a bold red line of deterrence, signaling that the Israeli army cannot do as it pleases in Gaza. 
    For days after this last escalation, Hamas leaders rejoiced: that exhibition of muscle power proved their moral superiority over the “collaborationist” Palestinian Authority. Boasting about its heroic engagement in the last escalation, Hamas easily managed to silence its critics by showing that the “armed resistance” is still working actively to keep Gaza safe and victorious. Those are of course mostly nominal “victories.”

    But their campaign was effective in terms of changing the political atmosphere. Now that the apparatus of the Muqawama had “restored our dignity,” further criticism of Hamas’ political and administrative conduct in Gaza was delegitimized again. Criticism of Hamas became equivalent to undermining the overall Palestinian national struggle for liberation.

    Unsurprisingly that silenced the popular outrage about Hamas’ initial agreement of trading Gaza’s sacrifices over the last seven months for a meager supply of aid and money. The few who continued to accuse Hamas of selling out were promptly showered by footage of the resistance’s attacks on Israel, or reports about Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation, for which Hamas claimed credit, coming as it did a day after a Hamas leader demanded he resigned. 
    Mission accomplished, a piece of cake. Now it was time for Hamas to return to business, strengthened by a renewed shield of resistance-immunity that branded criticism as betrayal.
    Although Hamas leaders have admitted the reality: no more fundamental cease-fire is being negotiated, and so no fundamental improvements for Gaza can be expected - it continues to sell Gazans the delusion that their decade of endurance is finally bearing fruit and soon, more prosperity, employment and hope will trickle down to the masses.
    What has actually trickled down so far are temporary and symbolic painkillers, not an actual end to Gaza’s pain.

    Hamas agreed to give a small share of the Qatari spoils to 50,000 poor Gazan families; $100 for each household. They agreed to creating temporary employment programs for 5,000 young university graduates with the aspirational title of Tomoh ("Ambition"). They promised to keep up the fight until Gaza is no longer unlivable, and Hamas leaders pledged with their honor to continue the Gaza Great Return March until the protests’ main goal - lifting the blockade - was achieved.
    But does that really mean anything when the protests are kept at hundreds of meters’ distance from the fence, essentially providing the “Gazan silence” Netanyahu wants? When no pressure is applied anymore on the Israeli government to create a sense of urgency for action to end the disastrous situation in Gaza? And when Hamas continues to avoid any compromises about administering the Gaza Strip to the PA in order to conclude a decade of Palestinian division, and consecutive failures?
    That Hamas is desperately avoiding war is indeed both notable and worthy, as well as its keenness to prevent further causalities amongst protesters, having already suffered 200 deaths and more than 20,000 wounded by the IDF. That genuine motivation though is mixed with more cynical ones – the protests are now politically more inconvenient for Hamas, and the casualty rate is becoming too expensive to sustain.
    Yet one must think, at what price is Hamas doing this? And for what purpose? If the price of Gaza’s sacrifices is solely to maintain Hamas’ rule, and the motive of working to alleviate pressure on Gaza is to consolidate its authority, then every Gazan has been sold out, and in broad daylight.

    Only if Hamas resumes the process of Palestinian reconciliation and a democratic process in Gaza would those actions be meaningful. Otherwise, demanding that the world accepts Hamas’ rule over Gaza as a fait accompli – while what a Hamas-controlled Gaza cannot achieve, most critically lifting the blockade, is a blunt betrayal of Palestinian martyrdom.
    It means compromising Palestinian statehood in return for creating an autonomous non-sovereign enclave in which Hamas could freely exercise its autocratic rule indefinitely over an immiserated and starving population.
    Which, according to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is what Hamas has always wanted since rising to power in 2009: an interim Palestinian state in Gaza under permanent Hamas rule, not solving the wider conflict but rather obliterating in practice the prospect of a two state solution.
    It remains to be seen if the calls of “sell-outs” will return to Gaza’s social networks and streets, not least if Hamas’ obduracy and appetite for power end up selling out any prospect of a formally recognized State of Palestine.
    Muhammad Shehada is a writer and civil society activist from the Gaza Strip and a student of Development Studies at Lund University, Sweden. He was the PR officer for the Gaza office of the Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights. Twitter: @muhammadshehad2

    Muhammad Shehada

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  • Israeli navy detains 3 Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
    Nov. 23, 2018 12:09 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 23, 2018 1:34 P.M.)

    GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli naval forces detained three Palestinian fishermen, while working less than three nautical miles off the northern besieged Gaza Strip’s coast, on Friday morning.

    Head of the Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria Bakr, said Israeli naval forces detained three Palestinian fishermen, who were identified as Muhammad Ghaleb al-Sultan, 27, Yousef Farid Saedallah, 35, and Fares Ahmad Saedallah, 25.

    The reason for their detention remained unknown.


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  • Opération secrète ratée à Gaza : la rare mise en garde de l’armée israélienne - Moyen-Orient - RFI

    La mise en garde est suffisamment rare pour être soulignée. Ce 22 novembre, l’armée israélienne a lancé une mise en garde aux médias et au public au sujet de la diffusion d’informations sur une opération secrète de l’armée israélienne menée le 11 novembre dernier. L’opération avait mal tourné. Sept Palestiniens avaient perdu la vie ainsi qu’un lieutenant-colonel israélien, ce qui aurait pu causer une nouvelle guerre à Gaza.

    Le censeur de l’armée israélienne adresse une mise en garde à l’attention des médias et du public. « Toute information, aussi inoffensive qu’elle puisse paraître à celui qui la diffuserait, peut mettre en danger des vies et menacer la sécurité de l’Etat » explique-t-il dans un communiqué.

    Les autorités israéliennes pointent ainsi du doigt les brigades Ezzedine al-Qassam, la branche armée du Hamas, qui ont diffusé ce 22 novembre les photos de huit personnes, dont deux femmes, qui auraient participé à une opération secrète. En plus de ces portraits, des photos d’un minibus et d’un camion utilisé par l’armée israélienne ont également été diffusées.

    Sans préciser si le matériel publié par le Hamas, le mouvement qui contrôle Gaza, est vrai ou faux, le censeur de l’armée israélienne demande que cesse autant que possible la diffusion de ces images.

    Nouveau rapport de force entre Gaza et Israël ? La résistance palestinienne marque également des points sur le plan de la guerre de communication... Un petit jeu amusant consiste à regarder qui obéit ou non, dans la presse internationale, à cette injonction à ne pas diffuser les images des brigades Izeddine al-Qassam. Par exemple, Al-Jazeera en anglais s’abstient, mais pas en arabe ! http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/11/22/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%BA%D8%B)

    #gaza #palestine #clichés_arabes #israël

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  • Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

    Ofer Aderet
    Nov 20, 2018


    An open letter from 35 prominent Israelis, including Jewish-history scholars and Israel Prize laureates, was published Tuesday in the Austrian media calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, “harsh as it may be,” and anti-Semitism.
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    The letter was released before an international gathering in Vienna on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe.
    The event this week, “Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism: Securing Jewish life in Europe,” is being held under the auspices of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been due to take part but stayed in Israel to deal with the crisis in his coalition government. 
    “We fully embrace and support the [European Union’s] uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism worries us. As we know from history, it has often signaled future disasters to all mankind,” the letter states. 
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    “However, the EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights.” 

    The signatories accuse Netanyahu of suggesting an equivalence between anti-Israel criticism and anti-Semitism. The official declaration by the conference also notes that anti-Semitism is often expressed through disproportionate criticism of Israel, but the letter warns that such an approach could “afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.”
    The signatories object to the declaration’s alleged “identifying” of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. “Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic,” they write. “Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”
    Among the signatories are Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; sculptor Dani Karavan; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and graphic designer David Tartakover.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • British academic accused of spying jailed for life in UAE | World news | The Guardian


    Les terrains de thèse les plus risqués au monde : les Etats du Golfe.


    A British academic who has been accused of spying for the UK government in the United Arab Emirates after travelling to Dubai to conduct research has been sentenced to life in jail.

    Matthew Hedges, 31, has been in a UAE prison for more than six months. The Durham University student who went to the country to research his PhD thesis, was handed the sentence at an Abu Dhabi court in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, and with no lawyer present.

    Hedges was detained in May at Dubai airport as he was leaving the country following a research trip, and was held in solitary confinement for five months.

    The UAE attorney general, Hamad al-Shamsi, said Hedges was accused of “spying for a foreign country, jeopardising the military, political and economic security of the state”.

    Hedges has denied the charges, and maintains that he was in the country to research the impact of the Arab spring on the UAE’s foreign policy.

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  • Saudi Arabia: Reports of torture and sexual harassment of detained activists | Amnesty International

    Several Saudi Arabian activists, including a number of women, who have been arbitrarily detained without charge since May 2018 in Saudi Arabia’s Dhahban Prison, have reportedly faced sexual harassment, torture and other forms of ill-treatment during interrogation, Amnesty International said today.

    According to three separate testimonies obtained by the organization, the activists were repeatedly tortured by electrocution and flogging, leaving some unable to walk or stand properly. In one reported instance, one of the activists was made to hang from the ceiling, and according to another testimony, one of the detained women was reportedly subjected to sexual harassment, by interrogators wearing face masks.

    #torture #agression_sexuelle #Arabie_saoudite #femmes #activisme #les_copains_de_macron

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  • Airbnb to remove listings in Jewish West Bank settlements - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Home-renting company Airbnb Inc said on Monday that it had decided to remove its listings in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, enclaves that most world powers consider illegal for taking up land where Palestinians seek statehood. In response, Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin instructed the ministry to restrict the company’s operations across the country.
    A statement on Airbnb’s website said: “We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” 
    It did not say when the decision, which according to Airbnb affects some 200 listings, would take effect. 
    Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan called on Airbnb hosts harmed by the decision to file lawsuits against the company in accordance with Israel’s anti-boycott law and said he’ll turn to senior U.S. officials to check if the company’s decision violated the anti-boycott laws “that exist in over 25 states.”
    He said that “national conflicts exist throughout the world and Airbnb will need to explain why they chose a racist political stance against some Israeli citizens.”

    The Yesha Council of settlements said in response that “a company that has no qualms about renting apartments in dictatorships around the world and in places that have no relationship with human rights is singling out Israel. This can only be a result of anti-Semitism or surrendering to terrorism – or both.”

    Levin demanded Airbnb cancel its “discrimantory” decision, saying it was a “shameful and miserable decision.”
    Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Airbnb should have included East Jerusalem and should have said settlements “are illegal and constitute war crimes.” He added: “We reiterate our call upon the UN Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation.”

    Airbnb came under Palestinian criticism for such listings, which some find misleading for failing to mention the property is on occupied land claimed by the Palestinians.
    The Palestinians say that by contributing to the settlement economy, Airbnb, like other companies doing business in the West Bank, helps perpetuate Israel’s settlement enterprise. 
    “There are conflicting views regarding whether companies should be doing business in the occupied territories that are the subject of historical disputes between Israelis and Palestinians,” the Airbnb statement said. 
    The statement continued: “In the past, we made clear that we would operate in this area as allowed by law. We did this because we believe that people-to-people travel has considerable value and we want to help bring people together in as many places as possible around the world. Since then, we spent considerable time speaking to various experts. We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective.”
    Oded Revivi, mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat and a representative of Yesha, described the Airbnb decision as contrary to its mission, as stated on the website, of “help(ing) to bring people together in as many places as possible around the world”. 
    Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and began building settlements soon after.
    While Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the settler population in east Jerusalem and the West Bank has ballooned to almost 600,000. The Palestinians claim these areas as parts of a future state, a position that has wide global support.
    Airbnb said that as part of their decision-making framework, they “evaluate whether the existence of listings is contributing to existing human suffering” and “determine whether the existence of listings in the occupied territory has a direct connection to the larger dispute in the region.”
    The Associated Press contributed to this report


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  • Territoires palestiniens occupés : des journalistes internationaux malmenés
    RFI - Publié le 18-11-2018 - Avec notre correspondante à Ramallah,Marine Vlahovic

    La Fédération internationale des journalistes, qui représente plus de 180 syndicats et 600 000 journalistes dans le monde entier, tient ce week-end une réunion de son comité exécutif à Ramallah, la capitale de l’Autorité palestinienne. Au cours d’une manifestation samedi 17 novembre pour demander la liberté de circulation, la délégation a été accueillie par des nuages de gaz lacrymogènes aux abords du checkpoint israélien de Qalandiya. Une agression inacceptable pour cette fédération et qui illustre les conditions de travail difficiles pour les journalistes locaux dans les Territoires palestiniens occupés.

    Munis de leur seule carte de presse que les journalistes se sont dirigés vers le checkpoint de Qalandiya, l’un des plus importants barrages militaires israéliens de Cisjordanie occupée, avant d’être accueillis par une salve de grenades lacrymogènes, sans aucune sommation de l’armée.

    Une agression physique « gratuite », dénonce le Belge Philippe Leruth, président de la Fédération internationale des journalistes : « Nous étions une trentaine, et nous avancions pacifiquement. On criait certains slogans comme "Liberté de la presse", "Les journalistes ne sont pas des terroristes", etc. J’ai couvert beaucoup de manifestations, et d’habitude la police intervient et dit :"Vous arrêtez, vous n’allez pas plus loin". Ici, pas du tout, on a entendu des détonations et les premières explosions de gaz lacrymogènes se sont produites. Depuis très longtemps les journalistes palestiniens nous informent de ce qu’ils vivent, mais quand vous l’expérimentez sur le terrain ça prend un tout autre relief. »(...)

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  • Anti-Semitism, assimilation and the paradox of Jewish survival – an interview with David Myers, new president of the NIF



    And the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, BDS, has no anti-Semitism in it?
    “Let’s try to make some distinctions here. Yes, some who support BDS are motivated by anti-Semitism. But I don’t believe all who support BDS are anti-Semitic. BDS is a nonviolent movement that would not have come into existence were it not for the occupation. Among its supporters are those who say that the State of Israel should be a state of all its citizens. Is that anti-Semitic? Not necessarily. It’s a political vision based on democratic principles. On the other hand, when someone comes along and says that the Jews are not a nation – as [BDS co-founder] Omar Barghouti says – that makes me mad. It’s no different from a Jew or an Israeli saying that there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people.”
    So is Barghouti an anti-Semite?
    “I have no idea what’s in his heart. And he is not preaching for the death of Jews, as they are on the right. But I don’t like people telling me who I am. That impulse to deny the right to self-definition of the other deeply disturbs and offends me.”
    But you still work with them?
    “How so? I neither support BDS nor work with BDS groups. I do have friends who support BDS. And they’re not anti-Semites. That said, BDS is not my way. Nor is it the most effective way to fight injustice and inequality in Israel.”

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  • Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews? - The New York Times

    Jewish communities stand more divided than ever on whether to embrace or denounce Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

    By Amy Chozick and Hannah Seligson
    Nov. 17, 2018


    On election night in Beverly Hills, Jason Blum, the hot shot horror-movie producer, was accepting an award at the Israel Film Festival. The polls in a string of midterm contests were closing, and Mr. Blum, a vocal critic of President Trump, was talking about how much was at stake.

    “The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country,” Mr. Blum said.

    That’s when the crowd of mostly Jewish producers and power brokers started to chant, “We like Trump!” An Israeli man stepped onto the stage to try to pull Mr. Blum away from the microphone as the crowd at the Saban Theater Steve Tisch Cinema Center cheered.

    “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” Mr. Blum said, as security rushed the stage to help him. “Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
    In the weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in one of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitism in years, debates about the president’s role in stoking extremism have roiled American Jews — and forced an uncomfortable reckoning between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his daughter and son-in-law’s Jewish faith.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Doug Mills/The New York Times


    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
    Rabbis and Jewish leaders have raged on Twitter and in op-eds, in sermons and over shabbat dinners, over how to reconcile the paradox of Jared Kushner, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, and Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner.

    To some Jews, the couple serves as a bulwark pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To many others, they are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing Mr. Trump to brush aside criticism that his words have fueled the uptick in violent attacks against Jews.

    “For Jews who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump and truly believe he is an anti-Semite, it’s deeply problematic that he’s got a Jewish son-in-law and daughter. How can that be?” said Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
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    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump serve as senior advisers in the White House. At a time when Judaism is under assault — the F.B.I. said this week that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in each of the last three years — they are unabashedly Orthodox, observing shabbat each week, walking to an Orthodox Chabad shul near their Kalorama home in Washington, D.C., dropping their children off at Jewish day school and hanging mezuzas on the doors of their West Wing offices.

    After the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Kushner played a key role in Mr. Trump (eventually) decrying “the scourge of anti-Semitism.” And Mr. Kushner helped arrange the president’s visit to the Squirrel Hill synagogue, including inviting Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States to accompany them. There, in Pittsburgh, thousands marched to protest what one organizer described as the insult of the Mr. Trump’s visit.
    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.
    Olivier Douliery/Getty Images


    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.CreditOlivier Douliery/Getty Images
    The White House has referenced Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s religion to dismiss accusations that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened anti-Semites. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.

    Using the couple in this way has unnerved many Jews who oppose the president and say Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump violated the sacred, if sometimes unspoken, communal code that mandates Jews take care of each other during times of struggle. “I’m more offended by Jared than I am by President Trump,” said Eric Reimer, a lawyer in New York who was on Mr. Kushner’s trivia team at The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in New Jersey that they both attended.

    “We, as Jews, are forced to grapple with the fact that Jared and his wife are Jewish, but Jared is participating in acts of Chillul Hashem,” said Mr. Reimer, using the Hebrew term for when a Jew behaves immorally while in the presence of others.
    For Mr. Reimer, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Kushner since high school, one of those incidents was the administration’s Muslim ban, which prompted members of the Frisch community to sign an open letter to Mr. Kushner imploring him “to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists.”

    Leah Pisar, president of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group that works to counter Holocaust denial, and whose late father, Samuel Pisar, escaped Auschwitz and advised John F. Kennedy, said she found it “inconceivable that Jared could stay affiliated with the administration after Pittsburgh” and called Mr. Kushner the president’s “fig leaf.”

    Those kinds of accusations are anathema to other Jews, particularly a subset of Orthodox Jews who accused liberal Jews of politicizing the Pittsburgh attack and who say that any policies that would weaken Israel are the ultimate act of anti-Semitism.
    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press


    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    “Jared and Ivanka are one of us as traditional Jews who care deeply about Israel,” said Ronn Torossian, a New York publicist whose children attend the Ramaz School, the same Upper East Side yeshiva where Mr. Kushner’s eldest daughter Arabella was once enrolled. “I look at them as part of our extended family.”

    Even some Jews who dislike Mr. Trump’s policies and recoil at his political style may feel a reluctance to criticize the country’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish couple, grappling with the age-old question that has haunted the Jewish psyche for generations: Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
    To that end, even as liberal New York Jews suggest the couple would be snubbed when they eventually return to the city, many in the Orthodox community would likely embrace them. “They certainly won’t be banned, but I don’t think most synagogues would give them an aliyah,” said Ethan Tucker, a rabbi and president of the Hadar yeshiva in New York, referring to the relatively limited honor of being called to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah. (Mr. Tucker is also the stepson of Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party ticket in the U.S.) “I don’t think people generally honor people they feel were accomplices to politics and policies they abhor,” Mr. Tucker said.

    Haskel Lookstein, who serves as rabbi emeritus of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump attended, wrote in an open letter to Mr. Trump that he was “deeply troubled” by the president saying “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” in response to the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va.

    When reached last week to comment about the president’s daughter and son-in-law days after the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Lookstein said simply, “I love them and that’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about them.”

    Talk to enough Jews about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, and you begin to realize that the couple has become a sort of Rorschach test, with defenders and detractors seeing what they want to see as it relates to larger rifts about Jewish identity.

    “It’s not about Jared and Ivanka,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “People look at them through the prism of their own worldviews.”
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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press


    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    Those worldviews are rapidly changing. One in five American Jews now describes themselves as having no religion and identifying as Jews based only on ancestry, ethnicity or culture, according to Pew. By contrast, in the 1950s, 93 percent of American Jews identified as Jews based on religion.
    As Jews retreat from membership to reform synagogues, historically made up of political liberals who were at the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights and other progressive issues, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Orthodox Hasidic group with which Mr. Kushner is affiliated, has become a rapidly-growing Jewish movement. The growth of Chabad correlates with fierce divisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a small but growing contingent of American Jews who prioritize Israel above any other political or social issue.

    Mr. Kushner, in particular, has become a sort of proxy for these larger schisms about faith and Israel, according to Jewish experts. “There is a great deal of anxiety around the coming of the Orthodox,” said Dr. Sarna, the Brandeis professor. “Jared in every way — his Orthodoxy, his Chabad ties, his views on Israel — symbolizes those changes.”

    Mr. Kushner is the scion of wealthy real-estate developers and his family has donated millions of dollars to the Jewish community, including through a foundation that gives to settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Kushner influenced the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to shutter a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find a better supporter of Israel than Donald Trump and Jared plays a role in that,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kushner is currently working on a Middle East peace plan expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

    Haim Saban, an entertainment magnate and pro-Israel Democrat, is optimistic about Mr. Kushner’s efforts. He said in an interview from his hotel in Israel that although he disagrees with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, “Jared and by extension the president understand the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on multiple levels — security, intelligence, but most of all, shared values.”
    That embrace has only exacerbated tensions with secular Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and oppose Mr. Trump. According to a 2018 survey by the American Jewish Committee, 41 percent of Jews said they strongly disagree with Mr. Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations and 71 percent had an overall unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. (In response to questions for this story, a White House press aide referred reporters to an Ami magazine poll of 263 Orthodox Jews in the tristate area published in August. Eighty-two percent said they would vote for President Trump in 2020.)

    “To wave a flag and say ‘Oh, he’s obviously pro-Jewish because he moved the embassy’ just absolutely ignores what we know to be a deeply alarming rise of anti-Semitism and all sorts of dog-whistling and enabling of the alt-right,” said Andy Bachman, a prominent progressive rabbi in New York.
    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times


    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
    In September, Mr. Kushner and his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, hosted a private dinner at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Over a kosher meal, Mr. Kushner, aware of concerns within the Jewish community that Israel policy had become an overly partisan issue, fielded the advice of a range of Jewish leaders, including hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer and Mr. Saban, to craft his Middle East peace plan. “He called and said ’I’ll bring 10 Republicans and you bring 10 Democrats,’” Mr. Saban said.

    The undertaking will only bring more kvetching about Mr. Kushner. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent Jewish supporters have already expressed their displeasure at any deal that would require Israel to give up land.

    “I’m not happy with Jared promoting a peace deal that’s sending a message that we’re ready to ignore the horrors of the Palestinian regime,” said Morton A. Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America and a friend of Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson.

    “But …” Mr. Klein added, as if self-aware of how other Jews will view his position, “I am a fanatical, pro-Israel Zionist.”
    Amy Chozick is a New York-based writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing about the personalities and power struggles in business, politics and media.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/736561 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • L’Assemblée Générale de l’ONU vote en faveur de 8 résolutions sur le Palestine
    2M - 17/11/2018 à 12:31

    L’Assemblée générale des Nations unies a voté, ce samedi 17 novembre, en majorité en faveur de huit résolutions sur la Palestine. Il s’agit d’un nouveau soutien de la communauté internationale à la cause palestinienne en dépit des tentatives menées pour l’affaiblir et la contrecarrer.

    L’observateur permanent de la Palestine auprès de l’ONU, Riyad Mansour, a indiqué suite à ce vote que « l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU a voté en faveur de quatre résolutions relatives à l’Office de secours des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine (UNRWA) et de quatre autres sur les pratiques des forces d’occupation israéliennes dans les territoires palestiniens occupés », a rapporté l’agence Wafa, (Wikalat al-Anba’ al-Falestinya).

    L’agence de presse palestinienne a affirmé d’après Riyad Mansour toujours que ce vote de la communauté internationale est une « preuve du soutien permanent à la cause palestinienne ».

    Ces textes de résolution ont été entérinés par 155 voix pour et 5 contre, à savoir, (Etats-Unis, Canada, Israël, Iles Marshall, Etats fédérés de Micronésie), tandis que 10 pays se sont abstenus (Australie, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexique, Palaos, Rwanda, Iles Salomon, Togo).

    Il s’agit, entre autres, des projets de résolution portant sur les « personnes déplacées à la suite des hostilités de juin 1967 et des hostilités qui ont suivi », des « opérations de l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient » et « des propriétés des réfugiés de Palestine et leurs revenus ».

    L’Assemblée générale de l’ONU a approuvé, également, un projet de résolution sur « l’applicabilité de la Convention de Genève relative à la protection des personnes civiles en temps de guerre du 12 août 1949, aux territoires palestiniens occupés, y compris El Qods-Est et aux autres territoires arabes occupés » et un projet relatif aux « Travaux du Comité spécial chargé d’enquêter sur les pratiques israéliennes affectant les droits de l’homme du peuple palestinien et des autres Arabes des territoires occupés ».


    https://seenthis.net/messages/736468 via Loutre

  • La fronde de la CNCDH contre l’arrivée à sa tête d’Alain Jakubowicz -


    Édouard Philippe envisagerait de nommer à la tête de la Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme l’ancien président de la Licra, accusé d’avoir tenu des propos sexistes et de remettre en cause le concept d’islamophobie.

    La Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (CNCDH) est actuellement le théâtre d’une fronde contre la nomination pressentie à la tête de l’institution d’Alain Jakubowicz, avocat et ancien président de la Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme (Licra), de 2010 à 2017.

    Alors que le mandat de la soixantaine de membres de la Commission arrive à échéance en fin d’année, le premier ministre aurait en effet déjà choisi le nom du remplaçant de son actuelle présidente, Christine Lazerges (atteinte par la limite d’âge au terme de son deuxième mandat). Au début du mois de novembre, l’information a même commencé à circuler au sein de la CNCDH, provoquant un réel émoi au sein de la vénérable institution, fondée en 1947 par René Cassin.

    Si le nom d’Alain Jakubowicz suscite un tel rejet, c’est en raison des nombreux propos controversés qu’il a pu tenir ces dernières années et qui lui ont valu d’être mis en cause par des associations de défense des droits de l’homme. L’avocat a notamment été accusé à plusieurs reprises de sexisme.

    Alain Jakubowicz. © Reuters
    En mai 2016 par exemple, interrogé sur la parité au sein du gouvernement, Alain Jakubowicz avait déclaré sur le plateau de CNews : « Avec 15 ministres, ça va être difficile, à moins peut-être qu’on ait un transgenre, ou je ne sais quoi. On est vraiment dans le délire. » Saisi par l’association Act Up, le Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) n’avait finalement pas prononcé de sanction, tout en soulignant « la grande maladresse des propos ».

    En janvier 2018, au cours d’une discussion sur Twitter avec l’association féministe et LGBT Les effronté-es, Alain Jakubowicz avait moqué la notion de « féminicide », avant d’ajouter : « Les violences faites aux femmes sont un sujet trop grave pour être confié aux féministes. »

    Autre point qui passe très mal auprès des membres de la CNCDH, l’ancien président de la Licra a, à plusieurs reprises, contesté l’existence même du « concept » d’islamophobie – pourtant validé par la CNCDH dans l’édition 2013 de son rapport annuel sur la lutte contre le racisme, l’antisémitisme et la xénophobie – au motif qu’il serait instrumentalisé par « l’extrême gauche ».

    « Nous devons reprendre le combat contre cette imposture qu’est le concept d’islamophobie », twittait-il en novembre 2016. « Pour l’islam politique, “l’arabe” victime de racisme est devenu le “musulman” victime d’islamophobie », poursuivait-il, avant de conclure : « Une partie de l’extrême gauche, elle, oppose le Blanc forcément dominateur et le Noir, Arabe, musulman nécessairement opprimé. »

    Ces propos, tenus par un président d’une association de lutte contre le racisme, avaient à l’époque suscité quelques réactions en France. Le problème est que la CNCDH n’est pas une institution comme les autres, car elle est soumise au droit français, mais également au droit international, en tant que relais entre les autorités françaises et les différents organes des Nations unies. Une fois à la tête de la Commission, Alain Jakubowicz devra nécessairement participer à des procédures dans le cadre de l’ONU, impliquant des associations féministes, LGBT ou de lutte contre l’islamophobie, et y porter la voix de la France.

    Christine Lazerges : le projet de loi antiterroriste est « une grave régression de l’Etat de droit »
    Contrôles d’identité : la CNCDH prône une « réforme d’ampleur »
    Antisémitisme, islamophobie : la CNCDH pointe un climat « délétère » en France
    La CNCDH appelle à « ne pas créer une société du soupçon permanent »
    Au sein de la CNCDH, on craint fortement que la nomination d’une personnalité aussi clivante, et à la parole aussi vive, n’affaiblisse la position de la France au sein des Nations unies. De source interne, on avance même qu’elle hypothéquerait ses chances de prendre la présidence du Conseil des droits de l’homme qu’elle convoite.

    Geste rare, le bureau de la CNCDH a pris la plume le 6 novembre dernier pour écrire au premier ministre une lettre dans laquelle chaque mot est pesé, et que Mediapart a pu consulter. Si le nom d’Alain Jakubowicz n’apparaît pas, chaque argument est calibré sur les critiques qui lui sont faites. Alors que la nomination de son nouveau président n’a fait l’objet d’aucune consultation, la CNCDH rappelle que « la désignation de son (sa) futur(e) présidente(e) sera observée tant au niveau national qu’international. Elle doit respecter la procédure issue des Principes de Paris qui supposent une audition et un choix fondé sur des critères objectifs et transparents ».

    Elle rappelle également au premier ministre les enjeux internationaux de cette nomination. « Dans la perspective de l’examen de sa ré-accréditation auprès des Nations unies (mars 2019), la procédure de renouvellement des membres de la CNCDH doit se montrer exemplaire », écrit la Commission.

    « La légitimité de la candidature de la France au conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations unies, nécessaire et attendue, est directement liée au caractère incontestable de l’indépendance de son Institution nationale des droits de l’homme », insiste-t-elle. Concernant le profil du nouveau président, sa nomination « doit porter l’universalité des droits dans le cadre de l’intégrité des mandats dévolus à la CNCDH, est-il écrit. Elle doit garantir la sérénité des débats au sein d’une institution collégiale qui fait du pluralisme des idées la pierre angulaire de ses avis ».

    Si la lettre du bureau de la CNCDH multiplie les prudences et les formules diplomatiques, l’association Inter-LGBT, représentée au sein de la Commission, a de son côté mis les pieds dans le plat dans un autre courrier envoyé à Matignon mardi 14 novembre, que Mediapart a également pu consulter, puis dans un communiqué publié le lendemain.

    « Nous sommes particulièrement inquiets de la rumeur persistante annonçant la nomination à la présidence d’un candidat dont certaines prises de position radicales risqueraient d’empêcher l’institution de mener à bien ses missions », écrit l’association à Édouard Philippe. Le nom d’Alain Jakubowicz n’est toujours pas directement cité, mais cette fois, ses propos sont rapportés précisément.

    « Depuis avril 2018, vous avez confié à la CNCDH le mandat de rapporteur spécial indépendant sur la lutte contre les LGBTphobies (…). Comment pouvoir mener à bien cet engagement avec un président qui se permet des “blagues” transphobes, obligeant nos associations à saisir la Cnil ? Quelle sera notre crédibilité pour dialoguer avec l’ensemble des acteurs de la lutte contre la haine anti-LGBT dans ces circonstances ? », interroge l’Inter-LGBT.

    Concernant les propos d’Alain Jakubowicz sur les féminicides et les féministes, l’association estime que ces « déclarations sont non seulement sexistes, mais en opposition directe avec un de nos avis. La crédibilité de l’institution serait gravement atteinte par une telle nomination, d’autant que la CNCDH est aussi rapporteur indépendant sur la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains dont sont victimes majoritairement les femmes ».

    « Il y a eu des avis spécifiques sur les féminicides signés à l’unanimité des membres de la commission », précise à Mediapart Laurène Chesnel, représentante de l’Inter-LGBT au sein de la CNCDH. « Ses propos vont forcément poser un problème de cohérence de l’institution. D’autant que le président doit porter la voix de la CNCDH. » « Pour chaque avis, nous consultons, nous organisons des auditions avec toutes les associations concernées. Par exemple pour un rapport sur le racisme, on va nécessairement écouter des associations qui travaillent sur l’islamophobie. Comment voulez-vous interroger ces personnes si, dès le départ, vous niez leur ressenti ? »

    L’Inter-LGBT n’a reçu aucune réponse à son courrier, hormis un accusé de réception. Contactés par Mediapart, les services du premier ministre affirment de leur côté qu’« aucune décision n’a été prise » et qu’Édouard Philippe avait bien « pris connaissance » des courriers du bureau de la CNDCH et de l’Inter-LGBT mais que ceux-ci « n’appellent pas de réaction particulière ». Alain Jakubowicz n’a pas répondu pour l’heure à nos sollicitations.



    A Toulouse, Reims et Paris... le ras-le-bol des « gilets jaunes »
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    Vers une répression accrue des propos racistes sur internet

    Gaza : au moins quinze Palestiniens tués par l’armée israélienne
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    La LICRA, Zemmour et l’islamophobie : ou de la "querelle de l’antiracisme français".
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    LA UNE
    Quarante ans après, les derniers dirigeants khmers rouges condamnés pour génocide
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    La fronde de la CNCDH contre l’arrivée à sa tête d’Alain Jakubowicz
    En Essonne, les Insoumis face à l’alliance entre un proche de Valls et des maires de droite
    Avec Oz et Grossman, sortir de la torpeur
    Theresa May, plus combative que jamais
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    La PMA, six ans de reports et de couardise

    https://seenthis.net/messages/736542 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel Sabotages Ceasefire Talks, Assassinating Hamas Commander, IDF Senior Commander Also Killed - Tikun Olam תיקון עולם


    Today, IDF commandos invaded Gaza in a night-time raid and murdered seven Hamas operatives, including the commander responsible for the tunnel defense system maintained by the Islamist rulers of the enclave. According to various media sources, the raid was exposed and Palestinian militants fought back fiercely. In order to free the IDF forces, the Israelis had to lay down a massive drone and air attack which permitted them to withdraw back to Israel.

    Israeli senior IDF officer killed Gaza
    The Israeli military censor has prohibited domestic media naming the Israeli commando who was killed. But an Israeli source has informed me he is Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheireddine from the Druze village of Hurfeish. Another officer who was wounded is from Isfiya. They both served in Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s equivalent of the Navy SEALs. Kheireddine was deputy commander of the unit. Given the death of so high-ranking an IDF officer, something went terribly wrong on this mission.

    In response, Hamas has launched missiles into southern Israel and driven hundreds of thousands into air raid shelters. Once again, just as both sides thought they might be close to a ceasefire and/or a prisoner exchange, Israel rescued defeat from the jaws and victory and almost guaranteed a new escalation, if not war, against Gaza.

    A former IDF general has suggested that the raid was not an assassination attempt, but an attempt to capture the Hamas commander:

    Maj. Gen. (res.) Tal Russo, a former commander of the IDF Southern Command, indicated that the operation was likely an intelligence-gathering mission gone wrong, rather than an assassination.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/735372 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel is indirectly cooperating with The Hague’s probe into 2014 Gaza war despite past criticism

    International Criminal Court’s criminal investigation into Israel’s actions in the Strip could lead to a wave of lawsuits against those involved and even to their arrest abroad

    Yaniv Kubovich
    Nov 11, 2018 9:49 AM


    Over the last few months Israel has been transferring material to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is examining whether war crimes were committed in the Gaza Strip. According to defense sources, the material relates to events that took place during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. The ICC is also looking into the demonstrations along the Gaza border fence that began on March 30.
    In the past, Israel sharply criticized the court, saying that it had no authority to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, there is concern in the political and military echelons that the court will open a criminal investigation into Israel’s actions in the Strip, a process that could lead to a wave of lawsuits against those involved and even to their arrest abroad.
    >>Rising terrorism in West Bank overshadows optimism around Gaza-Israel deal | Analysis 
    In the last few months, diplomatic, military and legal officials have held discussions, some of them attended by the prime minister, to prepare for the court’s initial findings regarding the 2014 Gaza war. Toward that end, Israel has begun using third parties to transfer documents to the court that could bolster its stance and influence the examination team, which until now has been exposed mainly to the evidence presented by the Palestinian side.

    Demonstration near the Gaza border, November 9, 2018. Adel Hana/AP
    Military advocate general Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek has presented material regarding Israel’s response to the demonstrations in Gaza, but defense sources say these have been for internal use only and have not been passed on to the ICC or to any other body.
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    The sources say Israel has made a distinction between the two subjects of the court’s examination: While Israel is not cooperating with the ICC on its probe of incidents at the Gaza fence, it is already holding indirect discussions with the court over Operation Protective Edge.

    Last April the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that violence against civilians could be considered an international crime, as might the use of civilians as a cover for military operations. She added that the situation in Palestine was under investigation. She warned that the court was following events in Gaza, and emphasized that guidelines for opening fire at demonstrators could be considered a crime under international law.

    Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, August 28, 2017. Bas Czerwinski/Pool via REUTERS
    Officials told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to postpone the evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar came after Israel realized that such a move could influence Bensouda, who said she would not hesitate to use her authority with regard to the village. Last month, Bensouda said she was watching with concern the plan to evacuate the West Bank Bedouin community and that a forced evacuation would lead to violence, adding that the needless destruction of property and transfer of populations in occupied territories are a war crime, based on the Treaty of Rome. She linked the planned evacuation to events in Gaza, saying she was concerned by the ongoing violence for which both sides are responsible.

    FILE Photo: The West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, September 25, 2018. Emil Salman

    Yaniv Kubovich
    Haaretz Correspondent

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734887 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Event Review : Youth Movements and Political Participation in Saudi Arabia - Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy


    As home to one of the world’s youngest populations, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has in recent years seen a remarkable surge in youth movements that are especially visible online. At an October 26th discussion at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Kristin Smith Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, argued that this uptick in online political engagement does not necessarily translate to increased political participation.

    To demonstrate the significance of recent political and social shifts within the Kingdom, Diwan provided an overview of Saudi Arabia as it has functioned since its founding in 1932. She emphasized the Kingdom’s dynastic monarchal system, wherein power is largely decentralized and shared among the royal family. Local and global forces are converging to reveal cracks in a few key areas: the Kingdom’s diffuse power structure has hindered decision-making, unstable oil supplies have fostered economic anxiety, and demographic changes have forced a reevaluation of conservative religious movements within the Kingdom. Additionally, as the royal family grows older, King Salman has made a number of moves toward empowering a new generation of leaders by elevating his son, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), to the position of Crown Prince. It is this generational shift in the Kingdom’s leadership that Diwan underlined as she set out to demonstrate that the Kingdom’s shifting power structure, along with its emerging youth movements, are creating a new political environment.

    While the average Saudi king comes into power around age sixty-four, seventy percent of the Kingdom’s population is less than thirty years old. This stark generational divide, coupled with ready access to new technologies and social media platforms, has led to a surge in virtual social movements among Saudi Arabia’s youth. Online communities and artistic collectives have become especially important in Saudi Arabia because they are less bound by the strict standards of behavior that regulate physical public spaces.. Outlets like Twitter and YouTube are essential platforms for youth movements, and Diwan pointed to satirical comedy as a noteworthy medium for political criticism. MBS and his new government have made concerted efforts to capture the energy of these youth movements, enlisting popular comedians and artists to participate in his transition team and engage in cultural diplomacy around the world.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734765 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Regardez le documentaire interdit et explosif sur le lobby pro-israélien aux Etats-Unis - Télévision - Télérama.fr


    Attention, matière inflammable ! Le site d’information sur le Proche-Orient et le Maghreb Orient XXI met en ligne les deux premiers épisodes d’une série documentaire en quatre volets : une enquête spectaculaire sur le lobby israélien aux Etats-Unis. Prévue début 2018, la diffusion de ce reportage mené par la cellule d’investigation de la chaîne qatarie Al-Jazira a été gelée par Doha qui, en plein contentieux avec ses voisins saoudiens et émiratis, n’a pas voulu s’aliéner l’administration Trump, infaillible appui d’Israël. Orient XXI précise sur son site qu’un accord est intervenu entre le gouvernement du Qatar et une partie du lobby pro-israélien qui a, en échange, accepté d’adopter une attitude neutre dans le conflit entre l’Arabie saoudite et le petit émirat. Dans Le Monde diplomatique, Alain Gresh, le directeur d’Orient XXI, rapporte qu’en avril 2018 le site de l’Organisation sioniste américaine (ZOA) publiait un communiqué se réjouissant que « le Qatar [ait] accepté de ne pas diffuser le documentaire vicieusement antisémite d’Al-Jazira réalisé par un infiltré sur le soi-disant lobby juif américain ».
    Nous avons visionné La Guerre secrète et Orienter les élites, les deux épisodes visibles sur le site d’Orient XXI. Premier constat : il s’agit d’un travail journalistique sérieux, précis et documenté qui fait intervenir de nombreuses personnalités, politiques, universitaires, essayistes, étudiants. L’expression « lobby juif », pour le moins tendancieuse, n’est jamais prononcée et il est expliqué à plusieurs reprises que les responsables des organisations incriminées dans le reportage ont été sollicitées, en vain, par ses auteurs. L’antisémitisme y est dénoncé sans équivoque. Nulle théorie du complot en vue, les adeptes des élucubrations antisémites type Protocoles des Sages de Sion peuvent donc s’abstenir.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734620 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Exclusive: Khashoggi murder further complicates ’Arab NATO’ plan - U.S. sources | Reuters


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s strategy to contain Iranian power in the Middle East by forging Arab allies into a U.S.-backed security alliance was in trouble even before the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, three U.S. sources said, the plan faces fresh complications.

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    Khashoggi’s murder on Oct. 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has drawn international outrage against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the killing.

    The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) aims to bind Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan in a U.S.-led security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran. 

    But feuds among Arab allies, especially a Saudi-led economic and political boycott of Qatar, have hampered the founding of the alliance since Riyadh proposed it last year.

    A summit meeting in the United States where Trump and the Arab leaders would sign a preliminary accord on the alliance was expected in January. But the three U.S. sources and a Gulf diplomat said the meeting now looks uncertain. It has already been postponed several times, they added. 

    Khashoggi’s murder raised “a whole bunch of problems” to be solved before the plan - informally referred to as the “Arab NATO” - can move forward, one U.S. source said. One issue is how the Americans could have the Saudi crown prince, who goes by the initials MbS, attend the summit without causing widespread outrage.

    “It’s not palatable,” the source said.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734535 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Felicia Langer. Remembering Israel’s human rights law trailblazer, a Holocaust survivor who called to boycott Israeli products

    A communist labeled ’the terrorists’ attorney,’ Felicia Langer called her clients ‘resistance fighters.’ In 1990 she gave up and left for Germany, where she died over the summer

    Ofer Aderet SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 06, 2018


    After the Six-Day War, attorney Felicia Langer opened an office near the Old City in Jerusalem and began representing Arabs. Langer was a strange type in the local topography: a Jewish Holocaust survivor with a Polish accent who adhered to European manners and believed in the ideology of communism.
    “Her engagement with Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip was perhaps the strangest thing in the Middle East,” wrote attorney Michael Sfard. Her acquaintances saw in her a pathfinder in legal battles that advanced the human rights of Palestinians. Her enemies saw in her a traitor and accessory of terrorists.
    >> Holocaust survivor and Palestinians’ rights lawyer Felicia Langer dies in exile at 87
    She was born in the city of Tarnov, Poland in 1930 as Felicia Amalia White. In World War II she fled with her family to the Soviet Union, where her father died. After the war, she returned to the land of her birth and married Holocaust survivor Moshe Langer. In 1950 they immigrated to Israel – “not because of Zionist ideology,” according to her, but to live near her mother.
    Archival documents attest to the tense relationships between her and the Israeli establishment. In 1968 an intelligence officer in the military government in Hebron testified before the Legal Attaché of the West Bank that she “held extreme left-wing opinions.” In 1975, the Foreign Ministry reported that the Shin Bet security service viewed her legal activities as being guided by political motivations to harm “the state and the image of the state.” She faced threats to her life throughout her career. Occasionally, she felt compelled to hire a bodyguard.
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    Langer fought the expulsion of Palestinian leaders, housing demolitions of terror suspects, administrative detentions (imprisonment without charges), and torture. “She never hesitated to accuse the establishment of crimes and to represent her clients as victims of an evil regime,” wrote Sfard.

    When they called her “the defense attorney of terrorists,” she replied that her clients were not terrorists, but “resistance fighters.” “A people under occupation has the right to wage violent struggle,” she said. Among her famous clients was the mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shakaa, one of the leaders of resistance to the occupation, whose expulsion Langer succeeded in preventing. Other clients included the parents of the attackers of Bus 300, who sought to sue the state for killing their sons, and a young Dutch woman who was detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport after she gathered intelligence for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Langer maintained that she was just a “small cog.”
    In 1990, she immigrated to Germany, after handling what she estimated to have been 3,000 cases. “I could no longer help the Palestinian victims in the framework of the existing legal system and its flouting of international law, which is supposed to protect the people that I defended,” she said in an interview with Eran Torbiner. “It is forbidden to be silent; silence also can kill,” she said, in explaining her call for the boycott of Israeli goods. As a German citizen, she called on Germany to fight the occupation.
    Langer lived in Tübingen, teaching and writing books. Critics were angered by her comparison of Israel to the Nazis, and accused her of hypocrisy for ignoring the crimes of communist regimes. When she was asked once to describe her “love of homeland,” she answered: “Hatred of occupation.” In June, Langer died of cancer at age 87.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734456 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • « Notre but n’est pas la sécurité d’Israël, mais de contrôler les Palestiniens » - Le Point

    INTERVIEW. Ancien sniper de Tsahal de 2005 à 2008, le militant israélien Nadav Weiman interprète les consignes données aux soldats israéliens. De notre envoyé spécial à Tel Aviv, Armin Arefi


    Deux cent dix-huit Palestiniens tués. Un mort, côté israélien. Depuis le 30 mars dernier, les balles de snipers de Tsahal pleuvent chaque vendredi à la frontière entre la bande de Gaza et Israël, pour empêcher des milliers de manifestants palestiniens de s’approcher de la barrière de sécurité qui sépare l’enclave palestinienne de l’État hébreu. À travers cette « Marche du retour », les Gazaouis entendent retourner sur la terre dont leurs ancêtres ont été expulsés à l’issue de la première guerre israélo-arabe de 1948. Mais ils comptent avant tout sur cette mobilisation pour obtenir la levée du double blocus économique et sécuritaire israélo-égyptien qui a contribué à faire de leur minuscule territoire l’un des plus pauvres au monde. Chômage record, pénurie d’électricité et eau polluée, « Gaza est en train d’imploser », s’est alarmé le mois dernier Nickolay Mladenov, émissaire de l’ONU pour le Proche-Orient.

    inRead invented by Teads

    Lire aussi Gaza : « Nous vivons tous grâce aux aides de l’UNRWA »

    « À l’origine, le mouvement [de la Marche du retour] n’a pas été créé par le Hamas », admet le lieutenant-colonel Jonathan Conricus, porte-parole de l’armée israélienne (Tsahal). « Mais cette organisation terroriste l’a facilement récupéré et toute sa logistique est désormais entre les mains du Hamas. » S’ils étaient au départ en majorité pacifiques, les manifestants palestiniens ont ensuite lancé de nombreux cerfs-volants incendiaires qui ont atteint les localités israéliennes avoisinantes et brûlé des champs.

    De son côté, Tsahal a mobilisé dès les premiers jours de nombreux snipers qui n’ont pas hésité à tirer sur les manifestants. Mais le lieutenant-colonel Jonathan Conricus reste droit dans ses bottes : le Hamas utilise désormais des civils comme arme pour tenter de rentrer en Israël en traversant la grille de sécurité », affirme-t-il. « Si nous ne les arrêtons pas, alors leur prochaine cible sera les communautés israéliennes qu’ils n’hésiteront pas à tuer. »

    Lire aussi Gaza : traverser la frontière, et après ?
    Une version à laquelle n’adhère sûrement pas Nadav Weiman. Sniper de l’armée israélienne entre 2005 et 2008 en Cisjordanie, à Gaza et à la frontière libanaise, cet ancien soldat de Tsahal est aujourd’hui membre de l’ONG Breaking the Silence, visant à éclairer le public israélien et la communauté internationale sur les pratiques des FDI (forces de défense israélienne). Dans une interview au Point, ce militant israélien de 32 ans nous donne sa vision des consignes données aux soldats de Tsahal.

    « L’ordre est d’instiller la peur chez les Palestiniens. De leur donner le sentiment qu’ils sont chassés, que Tsahal peut être partout, tout le temps »

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734445 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • La #jeunesse oubliée du #Sahara_occidental

    « Notre gouvernement écoute plus la communauté internationale que notre propre peuple. On se sent abandonnés », lance un jeune dans la rue. « Nous voulons une solution politique, pas seulement du pain et de l’eau », ajoute-t-il.

    À chaque congrès du #Front_Polisario, les jeunes réclament haut et fort la reprise des armes. « Ils refusent tout ! Même dans leur humeur ils sont agressifs », s’exclame Abda Ckej, membre du secrétariat national du Front Polisario. Le vieil homme se sent dépassé. « Les personnes qui ont fondé le Front Polisario sont maintenant une minorité. La majorité est composée de jeunes qui n’ont pas connu la guerre et qui ne connaissent pas la réalité », explique-t-il. « Ils nous mettent une grande pression. Ils nous demandent des armes, une formation militaire. On essaie de leur dire non et de les calmer, mais combien de temps tiendrons-nous encore ? Les procédés de paix ne donnent rien », ajoute Abda Ckej.

    « On accepte de mourir pour notre cause », affirme Mohamed, le jeune chargé des forces spéciales de la gendarmerie. S’il meurt en combattant pour l’indépendance du Sahara occidental, il sera honoré et considéré comme un martyr. « De toute façon, les gens comme nous, avec aucune ressource, ils sont déjà morts », ajoute-t-il.

    Rejoindre les forces de l’ordre, c’est aussi une manière de tromper l’ennui ou de répondre à des besoins économiques. Dans les camps, l’armée est l’un des seuls secteurs qui recrute.

    De nombreux #Sahraouis font leurs études à l’étranger. Si leurs résultats sont satisfaisants, ils peuvent facilement obtenir des bourses pour étudier à Cuba, en Espagne ou en Algérie. Mais une fois de retour dans les camps, il leur est très difficile de trouver un emploi payé qui réponde à leurs qualifications.

    Salama, un ami de Saleh, fait partie des nombreux jeunes qui ont décidé de s’expatrier. Il passe ses vacances dans les camps de réfugiés pour rendre visite à sa mère. Pendant que la famille s’active pour honorer les règles de l’hospitalité sahraouie, le jeune homme se confie : « Je reçois des critiques parce que je pars à l’étranger. Il y a des gens qui pensent qu’il faut rester ici et faire pression », explique-t-il. Salama se sert de quelques dattes et d’un verre de lait de chamelle avant de préciser : « Mais la majorité d’entre nous pense qu’il vaut mieux partir parce que l’aide humanitaire ne suffit pas. C’est grâce aux gens qui partent en Espagne qu’on a de quoi vivre. Ils permettent à leur famille d’avoir des choses très essentielles ».

    https://seenthis.net/messages/733974 via ant1

  • Palestine.
    Le droit à l’appel au boycott reconnu par la Cour d’appel de l’Angleterre et du pays de Galles - AURDIP

    La Cour d’appel de l’Angleterre et du pays de Galles (Division civile) a rendu le 3 juillet 2018 un arrêt dans une affaire opposant l’association « Jewish Human Rights Watch » à la mairie de Leicester. La Cour estime que l’appel au boycott des produits des colonies israéliennes, même lancé par un conseil municipal, relève de la liberté d’expression politique et n’y voit aucune incitation à la discrimination raciale (texte de l’arrêt).

    L’affaire porte sur la légalité de la résolution adoptée par le conseil municipal de Leicester le 13 novembre 2014. La résolution appelle « au boycott de tout produit originaire des colonies israéliennes illégales de Cisjordanie jusqu’à ce qu’Israël respecte le droit international et se retire des territoires palestiniens occupés ». L’association « Jewish Human Rights Watch » demande à la justice anglaise d’annuler la résolution, en faisant valoir son caractère discriminatoire et les risques qu’elle comporterait vis-à-vis de la communauté juive de la ville, notamment en ce qu’elle conforterait l’idéologie du mouvement BDS.

    Dans un jugement du 28 juin 2016, la Haute cour de justice (division administrative) considère que la résolution n’a pas violé la règlementation anglaise, notamment les lois relatives à l’égalité de 2010 et aux collectivités locales de 1988 (texte du jugement). L’arrêt du 3 juillet 2018 de la Cour d’appel confirme le jugement du 28 juin 2016.

    L’arrêt rendu est commenté en anglais par le professeur Robert Wintemute (professeur de droits de l’homme au King’s College de Londres), dans un article publié dans la newsletter de septembre 2018 (p. 5) de l’association « British Committee for the Universities of Palestine » (BRICUP).

    https://seenthis.net/messages/734237 via Nouvelles d’Orient