Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News source

  • Defend Israel’s anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence -

    Justice Minister Shaked is investigating the spokesman for the army veterans’ group for breaking the silence on what he did in Hebron – nobody else among the countless veterans who’ve told similar stories and worse, just him

    Iris Leal Jun 27, 2017
    read more:

    I arrived at the train station in central Tel Aviv last Wednesday and, as usual, got lost. I was en route to the Palestinian village of Sussia to attend an unusual book launch for the Hebrew edition of “Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” a collection of essays about the occupation written by authors from around the world. The ceremony took place in the most appropriate possible place, a hut in a Palestinian village whose residents have been uprooted from their land seven times, while across the road the settlers of Jewish Susya lie in ambush for them night and day, casting covetous eyes on their land.
    As usual, I didn’t manage to find “Venice,” the bus rented by the Breaking the Silence organization, which was waiting at the entrance to the parking lot. A pleasant young man with a beard came to my rescue: Dean Issacharoff, as he introduced himself, the organization’s spokesman.
    The next day, two weeks after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked urged the attorney general to open an investigation against him, the Hebron police rose to the challenge and, with permission from State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, questioned Issacharoff at length under caution, as a suspect in a crime.
    Issacharoff, a former officer in the Nahal Brigade and a man of honor, did the deed that lies at the heart of the organization to which he belongs: He broke the silence. A video clip disseminated by a group called Reservists on Duty shows him telling about how, during his military service in Hebron, he beat a Palestinian who threw rocks at him. His testimony confirmed what everyone knows at differing levels of denial and self-deception: There is no sterile occupation. Violence is an inseparable part of our military presence in the territories.
    Shaked, who did everything she could to erase Breaking the Silence from our lives by passing legislation to harass left-wing organizations, found a roundabout way of abusing Issacharoff. She didn’t, heaven forbid, order investigations into the piles of complaints about attacks on Palestinians. She displayed no interest in other stories by soldiers about the violence that was an integral part of their military service. Instead, she targeted this case only and hastened to write the attorney general that “in light of the great importance I attributed to preserving Israel’s good name and that of Israel Defense Forces soldiers, I saw fit to ask you to look into the veracity of this incident. If it turns out to be true, the full force of the law must be applied immediately.” via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Palestinians also to blame for Gaza electricity crisis
    Don’t give a pass to the two rival Palestinian leaderships, who cynically clash with each other at the expense of their people in the Gaza Strip

    Amira Hass Jun 26, 2017 1
    read more:

    We must discuss the responsibility of the two Palestinian “governments” for leaving the Gaza Strip in the dark. This article is not meant to absolve Israel of responsibility for the crisis and the chain of catastrophic, horrific disasters it is now creating and will create in the future. Israel is the de facto ruler in the Strip. The siege Israel is imposing on Gaza has led to unprecedented levels of poverty in the coastal enclave. Israel bombed and destroyed the power plant’s transformers and fuel tanks, and it restricts the entry of construction and other raw materials that are required for the speedy rehabilitation and repair of the electricity infrastructure, including the power station.
    But we must not absolve the two rival Palestinian leaderships, who are clashing with each other cynically and brutally, at the expense of their people in Gaza. In this repulsive spat, electricity is a particularly complex issue. Here are some of the main problems:
    Collection of accounts: Gaza owes the Palestinian Finance Ministry in Ramallah a fortune for unpaid electricity bills. The Israeli siege has left most Gazan residents impoverished, with about 80 percent of them dependent on aid. Many simply cannot pay. But there are others who jump on the bandwagon and don’t pay: official (Hamas) institutions; municipalities; mosques; and probably some businesses that have survived the siege.
    Ramallah is not the rich uncle that can absorb everything. The restrictions on movement and development imposed by Israel on the West Bank greatly constrict the economy there. When they want to, the Hamas authorities know full well how to collect multiple taxes from their residents. Why aren’t they trying harder to collect money for electricity, which has to be transferred to the treasury in Ramallah?
    Taxation: The Palestinian Authority is supposed to transfer the diesel fuel needed to operate the private power plant in Gaza, but it doesn’t grant a full tax exemption on the fuel, as it previously promised. Gazans say the poverty there justifies a full tax exemption. The Hamas authorities claim the revenues go to the treasury in Ramallah. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Hundreds of former Israeli generals warn U.S. Taylor Force Act could create security risks for Israel

    Commanders for Israel’s Security say that, in its current form, the proposed bill would reduce the Palestinian Authority’s ability to prevent terror attacks

    Amir Tibon Jun 22, 2017
    read more:

    Commanders for Israel’s Security, an organization consisting of hundreds of former Israeli generals and senior security and intelligence figures, has warned that the “Taylor Force Act,” a bill that would cut all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops paying salaries to convicted terrorists and their families, could create a security crisis and hurt Israel’s military cooperation with Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
    In a statement issued on Wednesday, the organization said that it supports the major goal of the proposed legislation – named after Taylor Force, an American citizen and army veteran who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist during a trip to Israel last year - but thinks that the details of the proposal need to be changed. According to the group, changes need to be made in order to avoid a situation in which the PA would lose its ability to operate its security and intelligence forces in the West Bank, which currently work together with Israel to prevent terror attacks. 
    “The proposed legislation, which calls for withdrawing funds from vital economic projects – whether directly benefitting the PA or not – and from NGOs, does not meet the test” of acting against the PA’s payments to terrorists without harming Israel’s security, according the group’s statement. The statement emphasized that if the bill were enacted in its current formation it may “undermine PA stability; expand the circle of frustration and hostility; erode the security coordination; and thus hurt Israeli security.” 
    The organization quotes the Israeli military’s chief of staff, General Gadi Eizenkot, who said earlier this week that security coordination with the PA contributes to Israel’s security. The statement comes at a time when Democratic legislators on Capitol Hill are looking for ways to change the legislation’s language and conditions, in order to take action against the PA financial support for terrorists and their families, without putting the basic functioning of the PA at risk. 
    The former commanders ended their statement with the following: “Demanding that the PA ends incitement, continues fighting terror, and upgrades security coordination with our forces – certainly! Hindering the PA’s ability to do all that – absolutely not!” The challenge is to achieve the two goals at the same time. 
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    Noah Pollak, a conservative political consultant who supports the legislation and has been working to promote it, told Haaretz in reply to the letter: “There are, of course, numerous former Israeli generals and security officials - such as Bogie Yaalon, Amos Yadlin, and several former heads of the Shin Bet - who disagree, and understand the simple truth that rewarding terror brings more terror, not less. But the wisdom of this bill does not depend on the political views of ex-generals. We respect their service but are unconvinced that it is in the American interest to continue funding an entity that rewards and celebrates the murder of our citizens.”
    skip - tibon via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • UN sees spike in meetings between Israeli army, Syrian rebels, warns of escalation -

    Israel says the meetings are held for humanitarian purposes, but the UN warns they could trigger clashes between rebels and the Syrian army

    Barak Ravid Jun 19, 2017
    read more:

    During the last seven months, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has noted a significant escalation in contact and interactions between Israeli armed forces and rebel organizations along Israel’s border with Syria, chiefly in the area of Mt. Hermon, says a report released in recent days by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the members of the UN Security Council.
    The report expressed Guterres’ concern, for the first time, that the interactions between the Israelis and the rebel organizations could lead to escalation, causing harm to UN observers.
    Published on June 8, the United Nations report describes the activity of the UN observers from March 2 to May 16. Every few days during that time, they observed meetings and contacts between the Israel Defense Forces and the rebels in the area of the border, including by the Hermon. Altogether they listed at least 16 such meetings in that time.
    The meetings took place in proximity to UN outposts in the Mt. Hermon area, in the area of Quneitra and in the central Golan Heights, near moshav Yonatan.
    “Relative to the previous reporting period, there has been a significant increase in interaction between Israel Defense Forces soldiers and individuals from the Bravo side, occurring on four occasions in February, three in March, eight in April and on one occasion in May,” the report stated, referring to the Syrian side of the border.

    Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) ride armored personnel carriers (APCs) in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before crossing into Syria, August 31, 2014.Reuters
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    That increase in the number of interactions between Israeli soldiers and representatives of the rebels continues a trend evident in the previous report, which had been published on March 17. That report covered the period between November 18, 2016, and March 1, 2017, and listed at least 17 interactions along the Golan border, including in the vicinity of the Hermon.

    Leonardo DiCaprio convinces Mexico to help save porpoises
    Sponsored By Connatix
    Leonardo DiCaprio is out to save the environment, one species at a time if he has to, and his efforts have now convinced the ...
    According to both reports, UN observers saw 33 interactions between Israeli and rebel representatives over the last seven months.
    In comparison, only two such meetings took place from August 30 to November 16 of last year according to UN reports, and they were only by the border, not by the Hermon.
    One topic addressed in the latest report was meetings that took place in the area of the Hermon in the last three months. It stated that all such meetings happened in the vicinity of one of the IDF outposts there and all followed the same pattern: Unidentified people apparently affiliated with the rebel organizations, some of them armed, arrived at the IDF outpost accompanied by mules, and were greeted by the soldiers.
    “In some instances, personnel and supplies were observed to have been transferred in both directions. On all occasions, the unknown individuals and mules returned to the Bravo side,” the report stated.
    The UN secretary general clarified in the report that the nature of the interactions could not be observed.
    “The Israel Defense Forces have stated that the interactions were of a humanitarian and medical nature,” the report said.
    Israel contends that all the interactions with rebel representatives on the Syrian side were for humanitarian reasons, but in recent months the UN has started to view these interactions askance and began to warn they could lead to escalation. The report especially noted concern about the meetings around the Hermon, which the UN secretary-general defined as an area of strategic importance.
    “Interaction between the Israel Defense Forces and unidentified individuals from the Bravo side, including in the area of Mount Hermon, has the potential to lead to clashes between armed elements and the Syrian Arab Armed Forces. I reiterate my call to both parties to the Disengagement of Forces Agreement regarding the requirement to maintain stability in the area. All military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose a risk to the ceasefire and to the local civilian population, in addition to the United Nations personnel on the ground,” the secretary-general wrote in the report.
    The UN secretary-general’s latest report on the activities of the UN observers on the Golan Heights, as well as the three preceding reports, criticized the Syrian army for bringing heavy weapons to the area of the border, violating the disengagement agreement. The UN also criticized Israel for the same thing.
    According to the last four reports, in the last year the IDF has kept one or two batteries of the Iron Dome system in the Golan, and also holds heavy 155mm cannons and rocket launchers in the area, in violation of the disengagement agreement with Syria. UNDOF has protested the violations to both sides.
    On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported Israel has been secretly providing aid to Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights for years, with the goal of maintaining a buffer zone of friendly forces to keep ISIS and forces aligned with Iran at bay. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel, Saudi Arabia are reportedly negotiating economic ties
    Ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of Iran’s staunchest enemies, would start small, The Times reports

    Haaretz Jun 17,
    read more:

    Saudi Arabia and Israel are negotiating the establishment of economic ties, The Times reported on Saturday. 
    The British daily quoted Arab and American sources as saying that the first steps toward ties between two of Iran’s staunchest enemies would start small, including allowing Israeli businesses to operate in the Gulf and letting Israel’s El Al airline fly over Saudi airspace.
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    But it also cited sources close to Saudi Arabia as saying that improved relations between the two countries are nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of the White House in the wake of President Trump’s promise to reach the “ultimate” peace deal in the Middle East.
    The report said the prospect has caused discord in the Trump administration. Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, has grown close to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi deputy crown prince, and the two have reportedly discussed improved ties with Israel as a step toward Israeli-Palestinian peace. In contrast, Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, is favoring a more traditional approach to the peace process. 
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    According to the report, the Palestinians are opposed to the idea, fearing it would normalize ties between Arab states and Israel without ensuring the establishment of a Palestinian state. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Sexy women, ’missions’ and bad satire: Israeli government app recruits online soldiers in anti-BDS fight

    The missions include sharing positive news about Israel, reporting and complaining about designated YouTube and Facebook posts, and even emailing UNESCO’s director general to ask that her organization ’stop their bias toward Israel’

    Allison Kaplan Sommer Jun 13, 2017 8
    read more:

    “Welcome to BDS News! Where we pretend to care about Palestinians, but really just want to see Israel disappear!”
    Thus opens one of the videos the Israeli government hopes will go viral in what is billed as a new large-scale “cyber second strike” campaign. Supported and spearheaded by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the campaign enlists Israel’s supporters as foot soldiers against online efforts to “demonize” and “undermine” the country’s legitimacy. 
    The campaign, branded as under the slogan “Stop the Hate,” is being paired with a mobile application developed by a trio of organizations in the U.S. and Israel. Two of them – the Israeli-American Council and the Maccabee Task Force – are nearly solely funded by American Jewish billionaire and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s buddy. The third partner is the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, to which Adelson is a major donor.
    The app – geared to digitally-aware millennials – turns Israel advocacy into a competitive game in which young defenders perform “missions” on various social media platforms, earning points and badges. The missions include sharing and retweeting positive news about Israel, reporting and complaining about designated YouTube and Facebook posts to the platform’s companies, signing online petitions and even emailing UNESCO’s director general to ask that her organization “stop their bias towards Israel.”
    The initiative was unveiled with fanfare last week in New York City at the Salute to Israel Parade by Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, who promoted the project as being an “Iron Dome of Truth.” via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Thom Yorke, this is why you should boycott Israel

    Hasn’t the time come to do away with this artificial distinction between ’nice’ Israelis and the brutal occupation they are responsible for?

    Gideon Levy Jun 11, 2017
    read more:

    Anyone questioning whether a boycott is a just and effective means of fighting the Israeli occupation should listen to the counterarguments of Thom Yorke from British rock band Radiohead and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid. The front men of Radiohead and Yesh Atid present: cheap propaganda. Their counterarguments could convince any person of conscience around the world – to support the boycott. Yorke, who ignores the boycott movement, and Lapid, who is an ardent opponent of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, have enlisted to oppose the movement. Their reasoning says a lot more about them than the BDS movement.
    Boycotting is a legitimate means. Israel as a state makes use of it, and even preaches that other countries should follow suit. Some Israeli citizens also make use of it. There is a boycott of Hamas in Gaza, sanctions on Iran. There are boycotts of nonkosher stores, boycotts against eating meat, and of Turkish beach resorts. And the world also uses it, imposing sanctions on Russia right after its annexation of Crimea.
    The only question is whether Israel deserves such a punishment, like the one imposed on apartheid South Africa in an earlier era, and whether such steps are effective. And one more question: What other means have not been tried against the occupation and haven’t failed?
    Yorke directs his ire against fellow rock star Roger Waters, perhaps the most exalted of protest artists at the moment, who called on Yorke to reconsider his band’s concert appearance in Tel Aviv on July 19. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • The immigrants fueling the population growth of West Bank settlements

    ’We’ve already stopped counting the numbers, but in some, they are almost half the population,’ Knesset speaker tells settler activists

    Judy Maltz Jun 07, 2017
    read more:

    Immigrants to Israel account for as much as half the population at some West Bank settlements, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told settler activists attending a parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday.
    “Tens of thousands of immigrants have been warmly welcomed – not forcibly moved – to the settlements of Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank. “We’ve already stopped counting the numbers, but in some, they are almost half the population ... their contribution has been considerable.”
    Edelstein was addressing a special session of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on the role of immigrants in the settlement movement to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. The settlements began after Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in that war.
    Edelstein, a former Soviet refusenik and member of the ruling Likud party, is an outspoken advocate of the settlement movement. A former minister of immigrant absorption, he lived until recently in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.
    The Knesset committee meeting was attended by several mayors of West Bank settlements as well as a delegation of immigrants that live across the West Bank. Most of the members of this delegation were converts from what are known as “emerging Jewish communities” – in particular the Bnei Menashe from northeast India and the Bnei Moshe, also known as the Inca Jews, from Peru. These are communities whose members, after having undergone Orthodox conversions in the early 2000s, were brought to Israel by private organizations affiliated with the religious right and moved to West Bank settlements to boost the population there. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Gidéon Lévy : Cinquante ans, cinquante mensonges | Agence Media Palestine
    par Gideon Levy | Traduction J. Ch. pour l’Agence Média Palestine!/image/289926045.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/289926045.jpg

    (...) Cela a commencé avec la question de savoir comment nommer les territoires. Sur la radio israélienne, on a décidé d’utiliser le terme « territoires temporairement détenus ». C’était le mensonge N° 1, impliquant que l’occupation était temporaire et qu’Israël avait l’intention d’évacuer ces territoires, qu’il ne s’agissait que d’un élément de marchandage dans la recherche de la paix. C’est probablement le plus gros mensonge et certainement le plus décisif. C’est celui qui a permis de célébrer son jubilé.

    La vérité, c’est qu’Israël n’a jamais eu l’intention de mettre fin à l’occupation. Sa prétendue limitation dans le temps n’a servi qu’à endormir le monde dans sa duperie.

    Le deuxième mensonge majeur a été l’argument comme quoi l’occupation sert les intérêts sécuritaires d’Israël, qu’il s’agit d’une mesure d’autodéfense utilisée par une pauvre nation cernée par des ennemis. Le troisième mensonge fut le « processus de paix », qui n’a jamais vraiment eu lieu et qui, de toutes façons, n’a été prévu que pour donner encore plus de temps à l’occupation. Ce mensonge avait plusieurs jambes. Le monde en a été complice, se mentant continuellement à lui-même. Il y a eu des discussions, la présentation de cartes (toutes semblables), on a tenu des conférences de paix avec de nombreux cycles de négociations et des sommets, avec des envoyés qui se précipitaient dans des allers-retours, et surtout des boniments vides.

    Tout ceci se fondait sur un mensonge, qui était la présomption qu’Israël n’ait jamais eu l’intention de mettre fin à l’occupation.(...) via Loutre

  • U.S. mulls formulating a principles paper on core issues of Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Israel News -

    The Trump administration is considering drawing up a set of principles for resolving the core issues, which would be the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on ending the conflict, Israeli, Palestinian and American officials say.
    The White House has not yet decided on the outline of principles with which the administration will attempt to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The possibility of drafting a “Principles Paper” is the subject of internal debates among various administration officials dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
    Last Thursday, two days after the end of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the region, his envoy Jason Greenblatt came to Jerusalem and Ramallah, meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. An Israeli source familiar with these talks said the envoy and the two leaders discussed some ideas the administration is considering with regard to the plan to resume negotiations. The source stated that Greenblatt wanted to hear from them what plan they would like to see for resuming negotiations and how they wish to see the process conducted, as well as what they would like to see as its outcome.
    A few days after this meeting, Netanyahu, in a meeting with Knesset members, provided a peek at some options being considered by the White House, hinting that one possibility is the outline of principles. “The current administration fervently wishes to put something on the table,” said Netanyahu in a closed meeting with Likud MKs last Monday. “We have positions that are important for us, but that doesn’t mean that these are acceptable to them,” he said.
    Netanyahu and his senior advisers are preparing for the possibility that the Trump administration would want to draw up a Principles Paper as a first step in restarting negotiations, or will present the two sides with such a document as an American proposal that would serve as the basis for resuming talks on a final settlement. “We estimate that they will bring a plan but we don’t know what it will be,” said an Israeli official. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Israel averts one crisis with end of Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike. Now Gaza looms large

    Strike leader Marwan Barghouti can chalk up achievement of putting prisoners’ plight back in Palestinian public consciousness

    Amos Harel May 28, 2017
    read more:

    The announcement heralding the end of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike on Friday night was met with a sigh of relief by Israel’s defense establishment.
    >> Get all updates on Israel and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    The strike’s end, on the eve of Ramadan, removed a huge risk that had been lingering for the past six weeks: the potential for deterioration following the death of one of the prisoners, or an Israeli attempt to force-feed the strikers, both of which would have agitated Palestinians across the territories.
    The gap in the conflicting commentaries from both sides regarding the details of the agreement and the question of who won are inevitable, given the circumstances. Israel doesn’t want to admit it negotiated with the strike leaders – and certainly not that it made any concessions while members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet were competing with each other in their forceful declarations against the prisoners.
    The Palestinians, meanwhile, have to present any Israeli concessions, no matter how trivial, as an achievement – otherwise questions will be raised about why the lives of prisoners were put at risk and whether the demands met actually justified everything the prisoners sacrificed.

    Despite Israel’s denials, it’s clear that talks were held with the strike leaders, at least indirectly. Two weeks ago, Palestinian sources reported meetings between senior officials in the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus and Israel’s Shin Bet security service, with the aim of ending the strike.

    The details of any arrangement that would induce the prisoners to call off their strike were crystal clear: The key issue for them was the restoration of family visits to the previous number – twice a month. The Red Cross had halved this a year ago. An agreement on this matter was reached on Friday.
    The other demands were extras. The strike leaders knew that given the current public mood in Israel, the cabinet or prison authorities would not allow the resumption of academic studies – certainly not as long as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers are being held in Gaza and two Israeli citizens are missing there.
    An improvement in specific prison conditions – an issue that isn’t a focus of media attention – can be agreed upon later. Israel ensured this would happen at a later date and wouldn’t be seen as a direct achievement of the hunger strike.
    The strike’s leaders were already handicapped by the limited response of Fatah members to join the strike. Jailed Hamas leaders didn’t take a stand, either, failing to instruct most Hamas members to join in. Outside the prison walls, senior PA officials tried to undermine the strike, fearing it would strengthen the status of senior Fatah prisoner (and strike leader) Marwan Barghouti.
    The latter can chalk up an achievement from the strike, though: it brought the prisoners’ plight to the forefront of the Palestinian agenda, and he is once more being seriously mentioned as a possible successor to President Mahmoud Abbas.
    In Israel, the sting operation in which the Israel Prison Service planted snacks in Barghouti’s cell, and recorded him eating them, served as a rich source of satire. On the Palestinian side, though, it only strengthened his image as a leader who is feared by Israel – which resorts to ugly tricks in order to trip him up. However, Barghouti still faces an internal challenge from fellow Fatah leaders, who were likely unimpressed by the fact he fell into this trap twice.
    The strike’s end resolves one Israeli headache, but two others remain in the Palestinian arena: that the religious fervor associated with Ramadan will find an outlet in the form of “lone-wolf” stabbing or car-ramming attacks, as it did last year; and the deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip.
    In the monthly report submitted to the UN Security Council on Friday by Nickolay Mladenov, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to the Middle East wrote: “In Gaza we are walking into another crisis with our eyes wide open.”
    Mladenov warned the Security Council that if urgent steps are not taken to de-escalate matters, “the crisis risks spiraling out of control with devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
    Mladenov reminded the Security Council that the source of the deterioration, with a reduced power supply and cuts to PA employees’ salaries in the Strip, is the political conflict between the Fatah-run PA and Hamas. Most residents in Gaza now receive electricity for only four hours a day, and this might be reduced to two hours, with the humanitarian crisis worsening. No one is interested in a military confrontation, Mladenov told Security Council members, adding that the PA, Hamas and Israel all share responsibility to prevent one.

    #Gaza #Palestine #Israël via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in Israeli jails ends - Palestinians - Haaretz

    The hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails ended after 40 days on Friday night, according to the Israel Prison Service and Palestinian officials.
    The hunger strike ended after Israel reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross over prisoners’ visitation rights, according to the prison service. The sides agreed that the prisoners would be eligible for two visits a month, as was in the past before being reduced to one visit a month.
    The strike ended in time for the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan, which begins on Saturday.
    Despite Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s remarks according to which there will be no negotiations and that the prisoners’ demands won’t be met, the strike ended following days of talks that peaked on Friday night. This, while the prison service attempted to reach some understandings over the strike prior to U.S. President Donald Trump’s arrival in Israel earlier this week. The prison service stressed that there were no negotiations with the prisoners, but rather that “understandings” had been reached.

    #Palestine #grèvedelafaim #Israël via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Derrière la vitrine culturelle israélienne, une intolérable occupation,18

    Avec Un boycott légitime, le cinéaste israélien Eyal Sivan et la productrice Armelle Laborie ont jeté l’automne dernier un pavé dans la vitrine culturelle et intellectuelle d’Israël. Ils démontent méthodiquement les mécanismes de la #Propagande qui sert à présenter une image démocratique, libérale, dynamique — et fausse — d’un État d’exception permanent, hors-la-loi pour le droit international. Pour eux, le mode de résistance pacifique qu’est le boycott culturel et académique n’est pas une atteinte à la liberté (...)


    / #Israël, #Palestine, Propagande, #Culture, Université, Boycott Désinvestissement Sanctions (...)

    #Université #Boycott_Désinvestissement_Sanctions_BDS_
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »

  • The Jerusalem obsession - Opinion -

    Of all of Israel’s whims, this is the craziest of all. A country trying look secular, Western and modern is going nuts over a wall

    Gideon Levy May 18, 2017
    read more:

    The sky has fallen. America is stuttering about the Western Wall. Where is it located? Whom does it belong to? It’s the end of the world, the Zionist enterprise is finished. It’s a good thing we have a Habayit Hayehudi representative in the United Nations (in the guise of the American ambassador), Nikki Haley. She hastened on Tuesday to prevent another emotional holocaust by stating that in her personal opinion, the Kotel is ours. What a relief! The Temple Mount is (again) in our hands.
    Of all of Israel’s whims, this is the craziest of all. A country trying look secular, Western and modern is going nuts over a wall. It’s a fetish. You can live with it, of course, but like any obsession it can drive you insane.
    But the obsession with the Kotel is part of a wider syndrome, the Jerusalem obsession. There’s no more divided city than united Jerusalem, and we’ve devised no greater self-deception than thinking there can be a solution without justice in Jerusalem. You can of course love Jerusalem, which was a lovely city until its last occupation, with an amazing history and holy places. You can pray toward it a dozen times a day, to a city that Jews lived in for generations and also longed for. It is truly an exciting and recommended tourist destination, just check out TripAdvisor.
    But a country that wakes up in terror because some American official avoided saying that the Kotel is part of Israel, proves not only that its discourse is delusional, but that it isn’t at all sure that the Kotel really belongs to it, and how uncertain it is about its borders, sovereignty and justness. When it comes to talking about Jerusalem, it loses its moorings; when it comes to the Kotel, it loses consciousness. In both instances we’re talking about detachment from reality.

    #Israël #Jérusalem via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Tillerson: Trump considering impact of U.S. embassy move on peace process -

    In first, the U.S. secretary of state publicly admits that the embassy move is being weighed as part of the larger effort to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement

    Amir Tibon and Barak Ravid May 14, 2017
    read more:

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that while President Donald Trump still hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an important part of his deliberations is how such a move would impact the Trump administration’s efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
    Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Tillerson explained that “the president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”
    This is the first time that a senior figure in the Trump administration has admitted publicly that the embassy move, a promise Trump made during the election campaign, is being weighed as part of the larger effort to reach a peace agreement. Tillerson added further that Trump was “being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.” In recent weeks, press reports in Israel indicated that the Trump administration was not planning to move the embassy.
    Tillerson also said that the president wants to understand “whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps as a distraction,” hinting at possible disagreements on the issue within the Israeli government. The Israeli security establishment and the army have warned in the past that moving the embassy could lead to increased violence on the ground in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

    #Israël #Jérusalem #Etats-Unis via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Let FIFA bring peace
    The powerful and impartial world soccer association might be just the right body to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Too bad its president balked

    Assaf Gavron May 14, 2017
    read more:

    It’s a pity FIFA backtracked on its intent to vote on the suspension of Israel for violating a clause in the constitution of the world soccer association. The succumbing of FIFA president Gianni Infantino to pressure exerted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a half-hour phone conversation last Friday, as reported by Netanyahu’s bureau, was both cowardly and embarrassing.
    Israel is violating a clear-cut clause, which is simple and logical. Article 72.2 in FIFA’s statutes prohibits a member state from establishing a soccer team in the territory of another state which is a FIFA member. It cannot include such a team in its soccer leagues without the consent of the other state. The lower Israeli leagues have six teams from settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank is not recognized as part of Israel, not even by Israel itself. However, Palestine has been a FIFA member since 1998.
    According to some reports, Netanyahu told Infantino that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been around for a long time and that FIFA would not be the one to resolve it. But, actually, why not? Or at least, why can’t it try to? If Netanyahu and his predecessors haven’t managed to do so in all their attempts over the years – Netanyahu still claims that he’s trying — why can’t someone else be given the chance to try something different?
    FIFA is an international organization with immense power. Its power stems from soccer’s great popularity, which is translated into big moneyand widespread influence. Understandably, an organization such as FIFA can get mired in internal power struggles and corruption, which has set in over the years. But in the Israeli-Palestinian context the advantage of FIFA is that it is impartial with regard to inter-state politics. Israel cannot accuse it of political bias or anti-Semitism. This is an organization that deals with soccer tournaments.

    #Israël #FIFA @Football via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • A cornerstone
 of apartheid -
    Israel’s ’nation-state’ law must be stopped - the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among all its citizens in law

    Haaretz Editorial May 08, 2017
    read more:

    The nation-state bill, which the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved unanimously on Sunday, is a bad bill. Nobody denies that Israel, as the bill says, “is the national home of the Jewish people,” or that “the right to the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
    The Jewish people’s right to national revival in the Land of Israel was recognized back in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and approved by the League of Nations Mandate in 1922. On November 29, 1947, this right was reaffirmed and recognized by the UN General Assembly as well.
    “We ... hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” reads the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, the state’s Basic Laws define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. And aside from all this, just last week, Israel celebrated the 69th anniversary of its independence.
    >> Israeli ministers greenlight nation-state bill: Arabic isn’t an official state language <<
    Nevertheless, this bill is bad, because the only legitimate way to ensure the state’s Jewishness is for Israel to be a democracy that grants full equality to all its citizens, but which also has a Jewish majority. Any situation in which Jews were a minority in Israel, and the state’s Jewishness was maintained solely via discriminatory laws and a regime that enforced them against the majority’s will, would be undemocratic, and in any event would certainly not be viable over the long run.
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    The only explanation for why Israel is advancing this bill is the millions of Palestinians whom it keeps under its control in territories that it fantasizes about annexing. Because Israel is interested in applying its sovereignty to the land but isn’t interested in annexing the Palestinians who live there as equal citizens in a single state, it is forced to create the legal infrastructure for segregating Jews from Arabs and preserving the Jews’ legal supremacy. The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.

    The nation-state law is fundamentally antithetical to democracy, as it seeks to enshrine the rule of a Jewish minority over an imagined Arab majority. This is a fearful and aggressive move by a people that sees itself as a minority and is preparing to maintain control over an apartheid state that contains a Palestinian majority living under its rule. Yet even before that point is reached, the law discriminates against members of Israel’s Arab minority and legally labels them as second-class citizens.
    The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass. The only way to preserve the national home of the Jewish people is to separate peacefully from the occupied territories and liberate the Palestinian people. And the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among its citizens in law, in line with the promise of the Declaration of Independence: “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
    The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Abbas’ meeting with Trump proves the PA is strong - even when it’s weak - Palestinians - Haaretz

    The Palestinian leadership knows Trump won’t reach a peace agreement, but it allows itself to hope he will end the economic despair

    Amira Hass May 05, 2017
    read more:

    The most important thing about U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is the meeting itself. It shows that Trump’s White House considers the Palestinian Authority as an important international factor and a stabilizing regional element. That justifies the smiles on the faces of the Palestinian entourage at the luncheon with the two leaders. As Nasser Laham, editor-in-chief of the news website Ma’an, wrote, criticizing the PA leader’s opponents: “Mahmoud Abbas is among the first 10 leaders received at the White House (since Trump took office) – and this is after he restored ties with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and might be on the way to restoring ties with the Gulf states.”
    Officially, the Palestinian Authority is perceived as an essential corridor to the establishment of the Palestinian state. In fact, it is a project that the world supports for the sake of regional stability. And “stability” has become a synonym for the continuation of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank without any serious diplomatic or military implications for Israel, and without major shocks to the positions of Western countries. This is the source of the PA’s strength, even if it is very weak, and Trump apparently understands this.
    Trump found it proper to devote many words to the PA security apparatus and security coordination with Israel. At Wednesday’s press conference, Trump said:
    We must continue to build our partnership with the Palestinian security forces to counter and defeat terrorism. I also applaud the Palestinian Authority’s continued security coordination with Israel. They get along unbelievably well. I had meetings, and at these meetings I was actually very impressed and somewhat surprised at how well they get along. They work together beautifully.
    The pro-Israel lobby repeatedly urged Trump to talk about payments to Palestinian prisoners and incitement, which he did, according to the White House spokesman. But the lobby forgot to tell him that public praise for security coordination spoils things for Abbas and embarrasses his associates in Fatah. The security coordination – or as some call it, the security services that the PA provides to Israel – is something that is done, not talked about. And indeed, a Hamas leader, Sami Abu Zuhri, already tweeted that such talk proves that the PA is getting economic aid in exchange for fighting the Palestinian opposition.
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    The new Palestinian ambassador in Washington, Husam Zomlat, a brilliant and well-spoken man who was recently chosen as a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, will have to add one more task to his heavy list – to explain to the White House that security cooperation is part of a package deal full of internal contradictions. The PLO Central Committee decided two years ago to cancel security cooperation with Israel, and if the decision has not been implemented it is because the real decider is man who pays the salaries and is responsible for funding – Abbas. There is a price to pay for the widely unpopular security cooperation. That price is to not stretch things too much with the Fatah rank-and-file, in prison and out, and perhaps Trump’s people have already been told this. Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj, who accompanied Abbas’ entourage, is also a former prisoner, like many of the heads of the Palestinian security forces and district governors who are loyal to Abbas. It will be very hard for them to explain shirking responsibility for the comrades and their families. For the sake of the PA’s stability they can’t allow themselves to cross the line in terms of image that separates “cooperation” from treason.

    While Trump and Abbas were meeting, a large rally was taking place for the hunger-striking prisoners in Ramallah’s Nelson Mandela Square. The yellow Fatah flag was prominent, and Fadwa Barghouti read out a letter from her husband, Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader and a prisoner serving five life sentences in Israel. “The Palestinian prisoners have faith that their people will not let them down and will meet loyalty with loyalty and will support the prisoners and their families who have endured sacrifice and hardship and suffering,” the letter read. 
    Even if at the beginning there were some who interpreted the hunger strike as solely a Fatah enterprise or as a tool of Barghouti against Abbas, and even if the Israel Prison Service tries to downplay its importance in reports in the Israeli media, on its 18th day, the strike continues to rule headlines. It spurs young Palestinian men to clash with the Israeli army and enables pro-Palestinian activists abroad to hold activities in its support. On Thursday, it was reported that 50 leaders of various Palestinian factions joined the strike. They did not do so before for their own reasons and now they can no longer stand idly by.
    In Gaza, Fatah activists sought to link support for the prisoners to support for Abbas on the day of the latter’s meeting with Trump, and as a counterweight to the Hamas-run campaign, “Abbas doesn’t support me.” One day after the publication of a document of principles in which Hamas commits itself to democracy and pluralism, its internal security apparatus quickly arrested the Fatah activists and held up a bus that was taking people to the demonstration. From prison, Barghouti was indeed able to make it clear that Fatah is relevant and even led activists from Gaza, who was usually paralyzed by fear, to dare to act – even for Abbas. 
    In the end, Fatah is the backbone of the PA. Abbas maneuvers it well, but is also dependent on it. Zomlat will have that too in Washington, if Israel’s repetitive claims with regard to money to prisoners moves ahead to the stage of demanding the blocking of these payments. via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Trump taps Kris Bauman, expert on peace process with Palestinians, as new Israel adviser -

    Bauman’s presence at the National Security Council may mean the White House will focus on security related questions as part of Trump’s attempt to reach a peace deal

    Amir Tibon (Washington) May 04, 2017
    read more:

    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has chosen Kris Bauman, an Air Force colonel and expert on the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, to replace Yael Lempert as the National Security Council’s point man for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
    Bauman was involved in the last round of peace negotiations, which took place under former U.S. President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2014, and has been researching the subject for years, most recently at the National Defense University in Washington. Bauman’s presence at the NSC could indicate that the administration will soon turn its attention to security related questions as part of Trump’s attempt to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Bauman now works under the Defense Department and his formal move to the White House is being finalized these days.
    During the 2013 to 2014 peace talks, Bauman was the chief-of-staff for General John Allen, who was appointed by the Obama administration to devise a comprehensive security plan for the day after a peace agreement is signed. Allen led a team of dozens of security and intelligence experts and built a plan that won praise from some senior officials in the Israeli security establishment, but was eventually rejected by former Defense Miniser Moshe Yaalon, who ridiculed it in briefings to the press and said it was not worth the paper its written on.
    As Haaretz reported two weeks ago, Lempert, who held the Israeli-Palestinian file in Obama’s National Security Council, will leave the White House after an extention of three-and-a-half months, which was requested by senior officials in the Trump administration. She participated in Trump’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, making it her last event before returning to the State Department in the coming days.
    Bauman will join a National Security Council in which military officers – on active duty and retired – are holding a number of senior positions, led by U.S. National Security Adviser General H.R McMaster. From 2011 to 2012, Bauman served as an intelligence officer in Iraq. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at the U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College. Bauman holds a PhD from the University of Denver, where his dissertation focused on “multiparty mediation in the Israeli Palestinian peace process.” He began his military career as a pilot flying C-27 and C-5 aircraft. via Nouvelles d’Orient