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  • App used by Netanyahu’s Likud leaks Israel’s entire voter registry - Israel Election 2020 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-app-used-by-netanyahu-s-likud-leaks-israel-s-entire-voter-registry
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8509709.1581323696!/image/2140582350.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2140582350.jpg

    The Likud has uploaded the full register of Israeli voters to an application, causing the leak of personal data on 6,453,254 citizens. The information includes the full names, identity card numbers, addresses and gender of every single eligible voter in Israel, as well as the phone numbers and other personal details of some of them.

    Israeli political parties receive personal details of voters before the elections and commit to protecting their privacy, as well as not to reproduce the registry, not to provide it to a third party, and to permanently erase all the information once the election is over.

    The voter registry was uploaded by Likud to the Elector app, which is used by the party to manage Election Day. The firm that developed the application, Feed-b, commented that the vulnerability was a “one-off incident that was immediately dealt with," and that security measures have since been boosted.

    The Likud has yet to respond to a request for comment.

    According to information obtained by Haaretz, as well as Noam Rotem and Ido Kenan of the Cybercyber podcast, a vulnerability in the application allowed for anyone to easily download the entire voter registry. The only known leak of a similar magnitude occurred in 2006, when an Interior Ministry employee stole the population registry and distributed it illegally.

    Haaretz received an anonymous tip about the security lapse, allowing anyone to obtain the leaked information in its entirety without using sophisticated tools. Right-clicking on the Elector app’s home page and choosing “view source” revealed the original code of the internet page. The code revealed all the usernames and passwords of system admins, allowing one to log in and download the registry.

    The anonymous tipper also provided Haaretz with personal details of powerful people in Israel. It is unknown how many people gained access to the data and downloaded it. However, the application has users in various countries abroad, among them the United States, China, Russia and Moldova.

    Dans le paquet, il y aurait les données de personnalités importantes, y compris dans le domaine de la sécurité... #israël

    https://seenthis.net/messages/825134 via gonzo


  • The Holocaust as a pretext for annexation

    Zeev Sternhell

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-holocaust-as-a-pretext-for-annexation-1.8472451
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8472528.1580430734!/image/4017606357.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/4017606357.jpg

    The joint operation by Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu to grant American legitimacy to the annexation of Palestinian territories was leaked just as the memorial ceremony of the World Holocaust Forum was taking place at Yad Vashem. It’s hard to conceive of a more cynical combination: In Jerusalem, anti-Semitism was used to silence the expected worldwide opposition to the annexation plan.

    And thus the anti-Semitism that brought catastrophe upon the Jewish people was turned into a cynical and shameless political tool by Israel. Jerusalem turned anti-Semitism into the ultimate weapon against any call for the removal of even a few Jews from the West Bank and against the idea of dividing the land fairly. To the nationalists, any policy that doesn’t completely mesh with the Israeli interest as they see it is tantamount to anti-Semitism.
    Trump’s Unreal Deal: No Peace, No Plan, No Palestinians, No Point. Listen to Haaretz’s podcast

    The talent of Netanyahu and his minions for using the Holocaust and anti-Semitism as a currency requires no further proof, and Europe’s cowardice and inability to stand up to the Israeli right’s blackmail is also notorious. Likud’s Israel has branded denial of the occupation and the apartheid in the territories as anti-Zionist and then equated this anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Europe is, justifiably, racked with guilt feelings toward the Jews; this account will never be closed, but it still doesn’t justify Europe’s forgiving attitude toward Jewish-Israeli nationalism and racism.

    Paradoxically, this forgiving stance also ends up amounting to active support for the destruction of Israel as a liberal, democratic and Jewish society. Every reasonable person understands that annexation without equal rights for Palestinians means the establishment of a new apartheid state – creating such a reality isn’t exactly one of the EU’s reasons for being. Who in Western Europe is willing to lend patronage to this act and let the Jewish nationalists exploit the unforgivable past to entirely drain Jewish nationalism of any drop of liberal values?
    Related Articles

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    Annexation already happened. What’s new is the right’s readiness to give up the rest of the West Bank

    Beyond all the discussion on what constitutes the religious and national Jewish identity, Zionism was an answer to European anti-Semitism and one solution to the oppression of the Jews and the mortal danger they were in. Escape to the New World was the favored solution for 90 percent of those who fled Europe before the gates of the United States were closed in the early 1920s.

    The Zionist solution proved itself because all other doors were locked, and after the Holocaust it gained worldwide legitimacy. But now the nationalist right is trying to expand this legitimacy for freedom and independence to include occupation and annexation. This is the epitome of the cynical and shameful exploitation of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism for the Israeli government’s political needs.

    Now comes the question: How to make the liberal world understand that there is no connection between anti-Semitism and savage criticism of the occupation and annexation, or of other aspects of Israeli policy in the territories?
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    The German president expressed remorse in a way that inspires respect. Under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, his country absorbed a million non-Christian and non-European refugees in an attempt to show that it is free of racism. But Germany and France, which has its own anti-Semitism issues, act like they’re afraid of their own shadows when touching on the sensitive nerve of criticism of Israel.

    The right’s propaganda has managed to convince many of the best West European liberals that such criticism amounts to opposition to Zionism, which amounts to denying Israel’s right to exist – and therefore amounts to anti-Semitism. This is a total lie, and Israelis should be the first to shout this truth from the rooftops.
    zeev sternhell

    Zeev Sternhell

    Haaretz Contributor

    https://seenthis.net/messages/823401 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • One person, one vote for Israel-Palestine

    Gideon Levy

    – Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-one-person-one-vote-for-israel-palestine-1.8443289
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8443833.1580001476!/image/3048419317.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/3048419317.jpg

    The Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan brings with it good news and bad news. It will put the final nail in the coffin of that walking corpse known as the two-state solution – that’s the good news. It will also create a new reality in which international law, the resolutions of the international community and especially international institutions are meaningless.

    Filled with the hope that the U.S. president instills in us, in his great mercy, let’s begin with the good news. Once his proposal is made public, no one will ever be able to talk with any seriousness about the two-state solution. It was probably never born, but now it is clearly dead. There is no Palestinian state and there never will be.

    The gall of America to support Israeli annexation now and the establishment of a Palestinian state only “in the future” – as if the burning issue were annexation, not the occupation – is only an ornament for the casket. The Palestinian Authority, the European Union, the United Nations, the Jewish establishment and the Zionist left will no longer be able to mention this option without making complete asses of themselves.

    How would European countries dare mention the two-state solution without disgracing themselves? How would the Zionist left dare speak of the creation of a Palestinian state? Where exactly? Between Bethlehem and Beit Ummar, with the monstrosity of the annexed Gush Etzion bloc in the middle? Between East Jerusalem and Jericho, with greater Ma’aleh Adumim in between? A Palestinian Lilliput, Mini Palestine, a miniature park with tiny-scale models of buildings and people in a grotesque demonstration of a just solution.

    With the Jordan Valley and most of the West Bank settlements under Israeli sovereignty, the Palestinians are guaranteed not to have a state, half-state, city government or neighborhood. Nothing but a penal colony. With the Jordan Valley and most of the settlements annexed, Donald Trump makes official the establishment of the apartheid state to be known as the State of Israel. What Herzl began in Basel, Trump finished in Washington.

    From now on, it will be impossible to let the international community, especially the pretentious and self-described seeker of the good, keep paying lip service to the two-state solution. There is no such thing. There never was. There never will be. If the international community, and with it the PA, hope to ever solve the Palestinian problem, they have just one way forward: the establishment of a democracy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Nothing else is left.

    Europe, which has turned into the muzzle of critics of the occupation, must adopt a new language, the language of equal rights. The world has two choices: It can recognize apartheid or it can support the one-democratic-state solution. Europe can’t continue to embrace Israel and talk about “shared values” with the official apartheid state. It will have to remember, finally, how it behaved with that state’s predecessor, South Africa, and how Europe and a version of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement led to the fall of that regime.
    Related Articles

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    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA will also have to say goodbye to the dream. It has been shelved. It has been replaced by a different dream, and they will have to take it on, speak its language and work to make it come true – that or give in to apartheid in exchange for the fistful of dollars promised by the Americans. It’s the same for Israel, of course. Their dream, a Jewish state, has also been shelved. Zionism is over. You remained silent, you supported, you ignored. Now deal with it.

    Trump’s news and the world’s capitulation, however, is much more portentous. Trump is creating not only a new Israel, but a new world. A world without international law, without honoring international resolutions, without even the appearance of justice. A world in which the U.S. president’s son-in-law is more powerful than the UN General Assembly. If the settlements are permitted, everything is permitted.

    What was won with brutal military force shall be liberated only with force. In the world of Trump and the Israeli right, there’s no room for the weak. They have no rights.

    From now on, it’s one person, one vote – the single vote of Trump (and Benjamin Netanyahu), or the equal vote of every person living in Israel-Palestine. Europeans, Palestinians and Israelis: The time has come to choose between the two.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/822408 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Trump invite Nétanyahou et Ganz pour la présentation de son « plan du siècle » ! sans doute pense-t-il que le problème est de faire la paix entre les deux responsables israléiens ! Exit les Palestiniens !

    Trump’s peace deal could be a green light for Israel’s annexation plan - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-trump-s-peace-deal-could-green-light-israel-s-annexation-plan-1.84
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8407788.1579189453!/image/81447299.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/81447299.jpg

    U.S. President Donald Trump plans to publish his peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians by Tuesday and invite Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to the White House. We may now, with hindsight, decode some of what transpired in the past week.
    It seems the prime minister and his Kahol Lavan rival both knew what Washington was cooking up. In Netanyahu’s case, this would be no surprise, given his close bond with Trump. But it’s clear Gantz was in the loop as well.

    This explains Netanyahu’s bid to outflank Gantz by again raising the proposal to annex the Jordan Valley. Kahol Lavan had to respond, but it seemed forced and awkward – Gantz’s party was ready for annexation if it was coordinated with the international community.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/822192 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israeli director to helm new HBO-Keshet show about targeted assassinations - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-director-to-helm-new-hbo-keshet-show-about-targeted-assass
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8412263.1579440754!/image/3946395911.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/3946395911.jpg

    New York-based Israeli film director Yuval Adler will write and direct the first season of a new Israeli-American series based on the book Rise and Kill First, written by Ronen Bergman, industry publication Deadline reported over the weekend.
    Hijacking the Holocaust for Putin, politics and powerHaaretz Weekly Ep. 57

    The bestseller, which tells the history of targeted assassinations carried out by Israeli intelligence agencies, was optioned in 2018, a few months after publication, by the U.S. network HBO and Israel’s Keshet.

    The first season will focus on the joint CIA-Mossad operation to assassinate senior Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh in 2008. The Lebanese-born military commander was assassinated at the age of 46 in a suburb of Damascus, when an explosive device attached to his car went off.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/821544 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • From now on, every Palestinian is an anti-Semite - Europe - Haaretz.com

    L’excellent article de Gideon Levy sur la résolution Maillard, “désormais chaque Palestinien est un antisémite”

    https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/.premium-from-now-on-every-palestinian-is-an-anti-semite-1.8230347
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8230629.1575789416!/image/3244762034.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/3244762034.jpg

    ❝The plague is spreading. Under cover of the (just) war against anti-Semitism, Europe and the United States silence every voice daring to criticize Israel. Under cover of this war, they are undermining their freedom of speech. Incredibly, this new phenomenon is not triggering any protest, as one would expect. Laws labeling anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and the anti-occupation movement as anti-Semitic, are passed with overwhelming majorities. Now they are playing into the hands of Israel and the Jewish establishment, but they are liable to ignite anti-Semitism when questions arise about the extent of their meddling.

    Last week, the phenomenon hit France, cradle of the revolution. The French National Assembly passed by a sweeping majority a bill that adopts the definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Liberty? Equality? Fraternity? Not when it involves Israel. Here, these values are rendered mute.
    Haaretz Weekly Episode 51Haaretz

    French parliament member Sylvain Maillard formulated the bill. He is another friend of Israel’s who reportedly participated in a meeting with settler wheeler-dealer Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria regional council, some months ago. “Criticizing the very existence of Israel as a collective composed of Jewish citizens is tantamount to hatred towards the Jewish community as a whole; just like collectively holding Jews accountable for the policies of the Israeli authorities is an expression of anti-Semitism,” the law’s introduction states. The cat is out of the bag: It is forbidden to raise doubts about Zionism, one of the only ideologies in the world whose righteousness cannot be questioned by the nations of the free world.

    First, the language. Israel “as a collective composed of Jewish citizens.” The nation-state law was also accepted in the National Assembly in Paris. If Israel is a collective of Jewish citizens, what are the Palestinian citizens? And what are the subjects living under occupation? The 154 parliamentarians who raised their hands in support of the decision cannot evade these questions. Liberté, égalité, fraternité – only for the Jews? And what are they offering the six million Palestinians, citizens and subjects of the occupation, who live under “the collective of Jewish citizens”? Second-rate liberty, equality, fraternity? From now on no one is even allowed to ask these questions. Anyone who asks is an anti-Semite.

    “Anti-Zionism is a legitimate position in Jewish history, and it also has a long history in Israel,” a petition signed in vain by 129 Jewish and Israeli professors and intellectuals against passage of the law, stated. The petition’s signatories mentioned that there were many anti-Zionist Holocaust survivors. Now they, too, are anti-Semites.

    From now on, every Palestinian and every Arab, except for Ayoub Kara, is an anti-Semite. Even every Jew and every Israeli who supports a solution of one democratic and egalitarian state, precisely in the spirt of the French revolution, is an anti-Semite. So too anyone for whom Zionism is a colonialist movement – is that not a legitimate position? – is an anti-Semite.

    For generations of Palestinians, Zionism is the essence of their existence; it expelled them from their country, deprived them of their lands, dishonored them, ruined their lives, and kills and torments them to this very day, without the end being in sight. Are they forbidden from being anti-Zionists? Are they able to not hate Zionism? Will France try them for the transgression of anti-Semitism? They are not fighting Zionism because they are anti-Semites. They are anti-Zionist only because Zionism destroyed their lives.
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    And what are the protesters of the fence around the cage of Gaza? Are they anti-Semites? Are they not freedom fighters? And what about people of conscience around the world who identify with them? From now on they are all anti-Semites, and that is outlawed in France. And if denying the right of Jewish self-determination is anti-Semitism, how will the French National Assembly refer to Israel’s denial of the Palestinians’ rights? Why does it not pass a law about that? Only because the Palestinians and justice don’t have a powerful lobby in France.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/814809 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel is rewriting the history of Middle Eastern Jews for propaganda - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    After decades of being virtually absent from historical discourse in Israel, its communities of Jews from Middle Eastern and North African lands are finally getting their due, albeit in a partial and revisionist way
    Lior Sternfeld and Menashe Anzi Dec. 1, 2019 | 11:22 AM | 1

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-is-rewriting-the-history-of-middle-eastern-jews-fo
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8196807.1574975993!/image/1851324591.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1851324591.jpg

    Much has already been written about the apparent lack of interest in the rich culture and history of the Jewish communities of North Africa and the Middle East, not to mention the highly problematic nature of lumping together the histories and cultures of Jews of more than 20 different lands in a single simplistic narrative.

    The Jews in the Muslim world, so that narrative goes, lived humiliated lives as second-class dhimmis, just waiting for Zionist redemption. Once Israel was established, they immigrated there en masse – a story that also includes active deportation of Jews.

    This narrative is misleading in many ways. First, it ignores more than a thousand years of Jewish existence in the Muslim world, a reality that was neither good or bad exclusively, but one that included both aspects, and was characterized by complicated relationships with the majority population, with other minorities, and with the local and imperial political structures. This is the nature of all history.

    Second, the narrative denies the possibility that Middle Eastern Jewish communities were actually integral parts of their respective societies, and links the events and transformations those communities experienced to larger historical processes associated with Zionist history in Europe – rather than to developments that took place in the non-Western world.

    Third, this narrative subjugates the religious traditions of Middle Eastern Jews to the way Middle Eastern Jewry and Judaism was imagined by Israel society, while ignoring the immense variety of options that existed in that context as well, during the modern age: Orthodoxy next to local rabbinical traditions, communism with religious elements, Arab or Iranian or Turkish nationalism, and more.

    Can we talk about the immigration of Yemenite Jews the same way that we describe the experiences of the Jews of Morocco or Egypt? Is it accurate to say that Egyptian Jews were forcibly expelled for reasons of anti-Semitism while, in fact, their leaving was part of a much broader policy of the Egyptian government of deporting foreign nationals, and not Jews in particular? Can we ignore the role played by Israel in the deterioration of relations between the Jews and the governments of the region? Did Iraqi Jews leave in the exact same manner as the Jews of Lebanon? The way this story of expulsion on anti-Semitic grounds is being told today suggests a history that’s been unified and simplified.

    In 2014, the Knesset passed a bill making November 30 (the day after the anniversary of the United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine, in 1947) a Remembrance Day for the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran. Despite the name, Jews were never expelled from Iran. How do we reconcile the fact that Iran, just like Morocco and Tunisia, for example, still has a small but vibrant Jewish community? And that in Iraq and Egypt, discussions about Jewish history have become part of a vast public national conversation on local culture? Is it correct to echo Francis Fukuyama and declare that Jewish history in the Middle East came to an end with the creation of Israel?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/813814 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The contract on Corbyn
    Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. His real sin is to fight against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates
    Gideon Levy Nov 28, 2019
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-contract-on-corbyn-1.8192769
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8194328.1574933279!/image/731350893.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/731350893.jpg

    The Jewish establishment in Britain and the Israeli propaganda machine have taken out a contract on the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The contract was taken out a long time ago, and it was clear that the closer Corbyn came to being elected prime minister, the harsher the conflict would get.

    On Tuesday it reached its climax in an article by the chief rabbi of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, in an article in The Times. Mirvis has decided that the anxiety of British Jews over Corbyn is justified and he is not fit to be prime minister. He called on Jews not to vote for Labour in the election on December 12.

    Born in South Africa and a graduate of Har Etzion Yeshiva in the settlement of Alon Shvut, Mirvis is the voice of British Jewry. In Capetown, Johannesburg and Har Etzion, he should have learned what apartheid was and why one should fight it. His parents did so, but one doubts that he learned the moral lesson from the regions of disenfranchisement in which he lived in South Africa and the West Bank.

    As opposed to the horrid Corbyn, Mirvis sees nothing wrong with the continued occupation; he does not identify with the struggle for Palestinian freedom, and he doesn’t sense the similarity between the South Africa of his childhood, Har Etzion of his youth and Israel of 2019. That is the real reason that he rejects Corbyn. The Jews of Britain also want a prime minister who supports Israel – that is, supports the occupation. A prime minister who is critical of Israel is to them an exemplar of the new anti-Semitism.

    Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. He never was. His real sin is his staunch position against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates. Today this is anti-Semitism. The Hungarian Viktor Orban, the Austrian Freedom Party and the extreme right in Europe are not the danger to Jews. Corbyn is the enemy. The new and efficient strategy of Israel and the Zionist establishment brands every seeker of justice as an anti-Semite, and any criticism of Israel as hatred of Jews. Corbyn is a victim of this strategy, which threatens to paralyze and silence Europe with regard to Israel.

    British Jewry might not be faking its anxiety, but it is certainly magnifying the danger. There is anti-Semitism, though less that what is presented, certainly on the left. About half of British Jews are considering fleeing if Corbyn is elected. Let them flee. The survey that showed this could actually encourage anti-Semitism: Are the Jews of Britain conditionally British? To whom is their loyalty?

    The future of all British Jews is much more secure than the future of any Palestinian living under the occupation, and even more secure than that of any Arab living in Israel. Jews are persecuted and are victims of discrimination and racism less so than the Palestinians in the Israel they hold dear. Moreover, Islamophobia in Europe is more common than anti-Semitism, but people talk about it less.

    Mirvis presents no evidence of Corbyn’s anti-Semitism. It sufficed for him to note the fact that Corbyn described as “friends” those who “endorse the murder of Jews” – a reference to Corbyn’s comments on Hezbollah and Hamas. Corbyn is indeed a very harsh critic of the occupation, supports the boycott and compares the closure of Gaza with the siege of Stalingrad and Leningrad. These are anti-Israeli positions, but not necessarily anti-Semitic. The Jews of Britain are blurring this difference as are many Jews throughout the world, intentionally. One can (and should) be a harsh critic of Israel without being anti-Semitic.

    If the Jews of Britain and their chief rabbi were more honest and courageous, they would ask themselves: Isn’t Israel’s brutal occupation policy the strongest motive for anti-Semitism today? There is anti-Semitism, it must be fought, but it must also be recognized that Israel supplies it an abundance of excuses and motives.

    The Jews and Israel’s true friends should hope that Corbyn is elected. He is a statesman who can change international discourse about the occupation and the struggle against it. He is a ray of hope for a different world and a different Israel – and what more could we want.

    #Jeremy_Corbyn

    https://seenthis.net/messages/813334 via Loutre


  • A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside
    https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-a-million-people-are-jailed-at-china-s-gulags-i-escaped-h

    Rape, torture and human experiments. Sayragul Sauytbay offers firsthand testimony from a Xinjiang ’reeducation’ camp Twenty prisoners live in one small room. They are handcuffed, their heads shaved, every move is monitored by ceiling cameras. A bucket in the corner of the room is their toilet. The daily routine begins at 6 A.M. They are learning Chinese, memorizing propaganda songs and confessing to invented sins. They range in age from teenagers to elderly. Their meals are meager : cloudy (...)

    #CCTV #vidéo-surveillance #Islam #surveillance #viol #prison

    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7994215.1571251867!/image/966805368.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/966805368.jpg

    https://seenthis.net/messages/812169 via etraces


  • ’Endless trip to hell’: Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13
    By Netta Ahituv Mar 16, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-jails-hundreds-of-palestinian-boys-a-year-1.702197
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7021974.1552596713!/image/1702934980.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1702934980.jpg

    It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way. Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

    The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom Israel arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in Israeli custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

    At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in Israeli prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest – throwing stones – does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people.

    A number of Israelis, whose sensibilities are offended by the arrests of Palestinian children, have decided to mobilize and fight the phenomenon. Within the framework of an organization called Parents Against Child Detention, its approximately 100 members are active in the social networks and hold public events “in order to heighten awareness about the scale of the phenomenon and the violation of the rights of Palestinian minors, and in order to create a pressure group that will work for its cessation,” as they explain. Their target audience is other parents, whom they hope will respond with empathy to the stories of these children.
    Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19Haaretz

    In general, there seems to be no lack of criticism of the phenomenon. In addition to B’Tselem, which monitors the subject on a regular basis, there’s been a protest from overseas, too. In 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, assailed “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system, [which] appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” A report a year earlier from British legal experts concluded that the conditions the Palestinian children are subjected to amount to torture, and just five months ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deplored Israel’s policy of arresting underage children, declaring, “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/811982 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Facebook Sues Israel’s NSO Group Over Alleged WhatsApp Hack
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/facebook-sues-israel-s-nso-group-over-alleged-whatsapp-hack-1.8055832

    Facebook is seeking to have NSO barred from accessing or attempting to access WhatsApp and Facebook’s services after hacking spree that targeted journalists, diplomats, activists and others Facebook Inc. on Tuesday sued Israeli cyber surveillance firm NSO Group, alleging it hacked users of messaging platform WhatsApp earlier this year. The hacking spree targeted journalists, diplomats, human rights activists, senior government officials and others, Facebook said in its lawsuit, filed in (...)

    #NSO #WhatsApp #Facebook #Pegasus #smartphone #spyware #écoutes #hacking #surveillance #activisme #journalisme (...)

    ##AmnestyInternational
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8055849.1572378046!/image/2772380254.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2772380254.jpg

    https://seenthis.net/messages/808537 via etraces


  • Israel is turning an ancient Palestinian village into a national park for settlers
    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Oct 24, 2019 6:33 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-is-turning-an-ancient-palestinian-village-into-a-national-p
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.8024405.1571931644!/image/843633295.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/843633295.jpg

    The unbelievable story of a village outside Jerusalem: from its destruction in 1948 to the ticket issued last week by a parks ranger to a descendent of its refugees, who had the gall to harvest the fruits of his labor on his own land

    Thus read the ticket issued last Wednesday, during the Sukkot holiday, by ranger Dayan Somekh of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority – Investigations Division, 3 Am Ve’olamo Street, Jerusalem, to farmer Nidal Abed Rabo, a resident of the Jerusalem-area village of Walaja, who had gone to harvest olives on his private land: “In accordance with Section 228 of the criminal code, to: Nidal Abed Rabo. Description of the facts constituting the offense: ‘picking, chopping and destroying an olive tree.’ Suspect’s response: ‘I just came to pick olives. I pick them and put them in a bucket.’ Fine prescribed by law: 730 shekels [$207].” And an accompanying document that reads: “I hereby confirm that I apprehended from Nidal Abed Rabo the following things: 1. A black bucket; 2. A burlap sack. Name of the apprehending officer: Dayan Somekh.”

    Ostensibly, an amusing parody about the occupation. An inspector fines a person for harvesting the fruits of his own labor on his own private land and then fills out a report about confiscating a bucket, because order must be preserved, after all. But no one actually found this report amusing – not the inspector who apparently wrote it in utter seriousness, nor the farmer who must now pay the fine.

    Indeed, the story of Walaja, where this absurdity took place, contains everything – except humor: the flight from and evacuation of the village in 1948; refugee-hood and the establishment of a new village adjacent to the original one; the bisection of the village between annexed Jerusalem and the occupied territories in 1967; the authorities’ refusal to issue blue Israeli IDs to residents, even though their homes are in Jerusalem; the demolition of many structures built without a permit in a locale that has no master construction plan; the appropriation of much of its land to build the Gilo neighborhood and the Har Gilo settlement; the construction of the separation barrier that turned the village into an enclave enclosed on all sides; the decision to turn villagers’ remaining lands into a national park for the benefit of Gilo’s residents and others in the area; and all the way to the ridiculous fine issued by Inspector Somekh.

    This week, a number of villagers again snuck onto their lands to try to pick their olives, in what looks like it could be their final harvest. As it was a holiday, they hoped the Border Police and the parks authority inspectors would leave them alone. By next year, they probably won’t be able to reach their groves at all, as the checkpoint will have been moved even closer to their property.

    Then there was also this incident, on Monday, the Jewish holiday of Simhat Torah. Three adults, a teenager and a horse arrived at the neglected groves on the mountainside below their village of Walaja. They had to take a long and circuitous route; they say the horse walked 25 kilometers to reach the olive trees that are right under their noses, beneath their homes. A dense barbed-wire fence and the separation barrier stand between these people and their lands. When the national park is built here and the checkpoint is moved further south – so that only Jews will be able to dip undisturbed in Ein Hanya, as Nir Hasson reported (“Jerusalem reopens natural spring, but not to Palestinians,” Oct. 15) – it will mean the end of Walaja’s olive orchards, which are planted on terraced land.

    The remaining 1,200 dunams (300 acres) belonging to the village, after most of its property was lost over the years, will also be disconnected from their owners, who probably won’t be able to access them again. An ancient Palestinian village, which numbered 100 registered households in 1596, in a spectacular part of the country, will continue its slow death, until it finally expires for good.

    Steep slopes and a deep green valley lie between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, filled with oak and pine trees, along with largely abandoned olive groves. “New” Walaja overlooks this expanse from the south, the Gilo neighborhood from the northeast, and the Cremisan Monastery from the east. To the west is where the original village was situated, between the moshavim of Aminadav and Ora, both constructed after the villagers fled – frightened off by the massacre in nearby Deir Yassin and in fear of bombardment.

    Aviv Tatarsky, a longtime political activist on behalf of Walaja and a researcher for the Ir Amim nonprofit organization, says the designated national park is supposed to ensure territorial contiguity between the Etzion Bloc and Jerusalem. “Since we are in the territory of Jerusalem, and building another settler neighborhood could cause a stir, they are building a national park, which will serve the same purpose,” he says. “The national park will Judaize the area once and for all. Gilo is five minutes away. If you live there, you will have a park right next door and feel like it’s yours.”

    As Tatarsky describes the blows suffered by the village over the years, brothers Walid and Mohammed al-‘Araj stand on a ladder below in the valley, in the shade of the olive trees, engrossed in the harvest.

    Walid, 52, and Mohammed, 58, both live in Walaja. Walid may be there legally, but his brother is there illegally, on land bequeathed to them by their uncle – thanks to yet another absurdity courtesy of the occupation. In 1995, Walid married a woman from Shoafat in East Jerusalem, and thus was able to obtain a blue Israeli ID card, so perhaps he is entitled to be on his land. His brother, who lives next door, however, is an illegal resident on his land: He has an orange ID, as a resident of the territories.

    A sewage line that comes out of Beit Jala and is under the responsibility of Jerusalem’s Gihon water company overflows every winter and floods the men’s olive grove with industrial waste that has seriously damaged their crop. And that’s in addition, of course, to the fact that most of the family is unable to go work the land. The whole area looks quite derelict, overgrown with weeds and brambles that could easily catch fire. In previous years, the farmers would receive an entry permit allowing them to harvest the olives for a period of just a few days; this year, even that permit has not yet been forthcoming.

    The olives are black and small; it’s been a bad year for them and for their owners.

    “We come here like thieves to our own land,” says Mohammed, the older brother, explaining that three days beforehand, a Border Police jeep had showed up and chased them away. “I told him: It’s my land. They said okay and left. Then a few minutes later, another Border Police jeep came and the officer said: Today there’s a general closure because of the holiday. I told him: Okay, just let me take my equipment. I’m on my land. He said: Don’t take anything. I left. And today I came back.”

    You’re not afraid? “No, I’m not afraid. I’m on my land. It’s registered in my name. I can’t be afraid on my land.”

    Walid says that a month ago the Border Police arrived and told him he wasn’t allowed to drive on the road that leads to the grove, because it’s a “security road.” He was forced to turn around and go home, despite the fact that he has a blue ID and it is not a security road. Right next to it, there is a residential building where a Palestinian family still lives.

    Some of Walaja’s residents gave up on their olive orchards long ago and no longer attempt to reach their lands. When the checkpoint is moved southward, in order to block access by Palestinians to the Ein Hanya spring, the situation will be even worse: The checkpoint will be closer to the orchards, meaning that the Palestinians won’t be permitted to visit them.

    “This place will be a park for people to visit,” says Walid, up on his ladder. “That’s it; that will be the end of our land. But we won’t give up our land, no matter what.” Earlier this month, one local farmer was detained for several hours and 10 olive trees were uprooted, on the grounds that he was prohibited from being here.

    Meanwhile, Walid and Mohammed are collecting their meager crop in a plastic bucket printed with a Hebrew ad for a paint company. The olives from this area, near Beit Jala, are highly prized; during a good year the oil made from them can fetch a price of 100 shekels per liter.

    A few hundred meters to the east are a father, a son and a horse. Khaled al-‘Araj, 51, and his son, Abed, 19, a business student. They too are taking advantage of the Jewish holiday to sneak onto their land. They have another horse, an original Arabian named Fatma, but this horse is nameless. It stands in the shade of the olive tree, resting from the long trek here. If a Border Police force shows up, it could confiscate the horse, as has happened to them before.

    Father and son are both Walaja residents, but do not have blue IDs. The father works in Jerusalem with a permit, but it does not allow him to access his land.

    “On Sunday,” says Khaled, “I picked olives here with my son. A Border Police officer arrived and asked: What are you doing here? He took pictures of our IDs. He asked: Whose land is this? I said: Mine. Where are the papers? At home. I have papers from my grandfather’s time; everything is in order. But he said: No, go to DCO [the Israeli District Coordination Office] and get a permit. At first I didn’t know what he meant. I have a son and a horse and they’ll make problems for me. So I left.”

    He continues: “We used to plow the land. Now look at the state it’s in. We have apricot and almond trees here, too. But I’m an illegal person on my own land. That is our situation. Today is the last day of your holiday, that’s why I came here. Maybe there won’t be any Border Police.”

    “Kumi Ori, ki ba orekh,” says a makeshift monument in memory of Ori Ansbacher, a young woman murdered here in February by a man from Hebron. Qasem Abed Rabo, a brother of Nidal, who received the fine from the park ranger for harvesting his olives, asks activist Tatarsky if he can find out whether the house he owns is considered to be located in Jerusalem or in the territories. He still doesn’t know.

    “Welcome to Nahal Refaim National Park,” says a sign next to the current Walaja checkpoint. Its successor is already being built but work on it was stopped for unknown reasons. If and when it is completed, Ein Hanya will become a spring for Jews only and the groves on the mountainside below the village of Walaja will be cut off from their owners for good. Making this year’s harvest Walaja’s last.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/807722 via Loutre


  • Eliminating violence in the Israeli Arab community is in everyone’s interest

    Ayman Odeh

    – Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-stopping-violence-in-israel-s-arab-community-is-in-everyone-s-inte
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7949162.1570398932!/image/1191662713.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1191662713.jpg

    Two weeks ago I visited Kafr Yasif in the north to console the Dirawi family after their son Adib was murdered. In the mourners’ tent, the father Naif angrily told us that the police had barely been in touch with him since he buried his son. Every victim is an entire world, but the sadness and anger are shared by thousands of families in the Arab community who have lost their dear ones – 1,386 people killed since 2000, 73 this year alone. We are in an emergency situation.
    Haaretz Weekly Ep. 43Haaretz

    This situation isn’t inevitable, it’s a direct result of the government’s helplessness and the police’s criminal indifference. The solutions are on the table, and for years we have been demanding every possible platform: enforcement campaigns, stations for collecting guns, and education budgets that will stop the unbridled violence. The Joint List of Arab parties called an emergency conference in the Knesset; we had 65 MKs sign a demand that the prime minister implement a system-wide plan for a battle against crime. Our demands fell on deaf ears.

    Those in the government who seek to shirk responsibility for the personal security of the citizens resort to benighted arguments to transfer responsibility to the victims themselves. I’ve stopped counting the times I’ve been asked about the “culture of murder” in Arab society. A quick glance at the data for Palestinians in the territories is enough to understand how unfounded this claim is: The annual average number of murder victims in Jewish Israeli society is eight per million, similar to the West Bank’s nine per million. In the Gaza Strip the number is 11 per million.

    Before the events of October 2000, when 13 Arab demonstrators were killed by the police, the average number of Arabs killed in Israel was identical to that in Jewish society. But since then the numbers have climbed, and today the annual average is 46 per million, almost six times the average in Jewish Israeli society and in Palestinian society in the occupied territories.
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    We must acknowledge the painful fact that had Adib Dirawi been named something like Aviv Dershowitz, the police wouldn’t have ignored his father and would have done everything possible to prevent a situation where within two decades 3,000 Jewish children would become orphans – as is the case in Arab society.

    The Arabs who have been murdered are not only the victims of violent crime, they are victims of government racism. When our streets are bleeding and the government sees us as enemies instead of citizens, we have no choice but to change the rules of the game. Last week we stopped waiting for the government to provide us with the right to life and security; we took to the highways to take it by ourselves.
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    Tens of thousands of Arab citizens left their homes to force the government and police to recognize their demand to eliminate crime. They blocked highways, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who was in no rush to protect 20 percent of the country’s citizens from criminals, woke up and invited the Joint List’s leaders to a meeting. In the coming days we will meet and repeat our demands on behalf of the tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets.

    The fight against crime will succeed in the end, but the road ahead is long and we must walk down it together. Our future in the country will be shaped by the battles we wage over it. In the last election many Jewish citizens spoke about an Arab-Jewish partnership. This is our opportunity to turn the words into deeds. I call on all Jews who believe in democracy to join us in a battle for a society without guns. Eliminating violence is in the civic interest of us all, and a shared struggle is the way to build a shared society.

    MK Ayman Odeh is the chairman of the Joint List.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/805574 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • An anti-Zionist movement that promoted Judaism as a secular culture shuts its doors - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    They believed in a just society and wanted to teach Palestinians Yiddish. The Bund’s center in Israel closes, marking the end of a movement that offered a radical alternative to mainstream Zionism
    By Shany Littman Sep 19, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-an-anti-zionist-movement-that-promoted-judaism-as-a-secul
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7865753.1569196482!/image/2948405108.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2948405108.jpg

    The first thing that a clearly agitated Eran Torbiner did, when we met to talk about the Bund movement, was to hand me a poster he’d removed from the door of Beit Brit Ha’avodah in central Tel Aviv, until recently the home of the Workmen’s Circle movement’s Israel branch. Torbiner had passed by there in the morning, as he does occasionally, still trying to come to terms with the fact that the place where he spent so many hours with his beloved friends, who themselves are now no longer alive, and where he shot his documentary film “Bunda’im” (Bundists) – had shut its doors for good.

    >> Election results are in. Subscribe now - save 30%

    The poster is an announcement for a workshop on the subject of Yiddish art songs, which was, as it happens, was to be held at Tzavta, a Tel Aviv culture venue. What infuriated Torbiner was the illustration on the poster: a map of the Land of Israel with a Star of David flag, situated in the center of a map of the world, with arrows leading to it from far and wide. The caption, in Yiddish: “Wohin? Aheim!” – “Where to? Home!”

    “It’s a desecration of the Bund’s name,” he fumes. “If any of them had seen this on the door, they would have died again.” For Torbiner, almost every element of the poster is wrongheaded. To begin with, the depiction of “Greater Israel,” which is marked as the only home for the Jews, and for the Jews alone. “The people in the Bund always talked about the injustice done to the Palestinians,” he explains. “It was a deep and thoroughgoing socialist, radical, secular, left-wing movement.” Moreover, the idea that Jews from around the world should come to Israel conflicts with the Bundist conception of doikayt, or “hereness,” by which every Jew should be capable of maintaining his culture in the country he lives in, with no advantage to Israel. As for the semi-official National Authority for Yiddish Culture, whose logo is at the top of the poster, some of its officials don’t even speak Yiddish, Torbiner says, and that, too, is a desecration.

    But the unkindest cut of all for Torbiner in the poster is the logo of Beit Shalom Aleichem (Shalom Aleichem House), the organization to which the Bundists transferred ownership of their two floors in a building on Kalischer Street, in the Nahalat Binyamin neighborhood, and which decided to shut it down a few months ago. The books from the rich Yiddish library housed there for 60 years were moved to Shalom Aleichem House, on Berkowitz Street, and the Workman’s Circle activities – biweekly meetings, lectures, a choir and more – were discontinued.

    Things could have been done completely differently, says Torbiner says, even though the last of the Bundists in Israel, journalist Itzhak Luden, died two years ago, at age 95.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/803114 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel’s war of attrition on a Christian Palestinian town

    Amira Hass | Sep 21, 2019 8:09 PM Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-war-of-attrition-on-a-christian-palestinian-town-1.784378
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7845463.1568623889!/image/1630556940.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1630556940.jpg An Israeli machinery demolishes a Palestinian building housing an apartment and a restaurant in Beit Jala in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on August 26, 2019.\ MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

    An Israeli outpost has been established in the middle of a World Heritage site, igniting mutual suspicions among the local people. Small wonder a recent protest did so poorly

    Around 50 people came out to demonstrate a week ago Sunday against the new Israeli outpost on the lands of Beit Jala, a Palestinian Christian town in the Bethlehem Governorate of the West Bank. The outpost is being built a few meters above the site where Israel’s High Court of Justice recently approved the razing of the Qassiyeh family’s restaurant and house.

    The low number of protesters, one of them said, may indicate that the town’s people deem the protest a lost cause: They assume they can’t prevent the destruction of their gem of a landscape in the Al-Makhrour valley, virtually their only refuge from the claustrophobic urban enclave of the Bethlehem area.

    Another possible reason for the low attendance is that more efforts have been invested lately in the attempts to solve the unreported crisis that followed the demolition. This has brought to the surface suspicion and hostility between Muslims and Christians, between original residents and refugees and between residents and the Palestinian Authority. It includes masked men, pepper spray, arson and talk about a “land-buyers’ mafia.” The crisis has revealed an exhausted community keeling under Israel’s looming construction plans.

    In June, when settlers first came to level a plot at the top of a green hill and fence it in, Beit Jalans were astonished to find that one of their own may have sold a Jew seven plots of land in the region about 50 years ago. The seller has long since left the country. His family – undoubtedly patriotic – is shocked by the discovery or the suspicion. After all, when a Jew buys land in the heart of the West Bank, Israel makes sure to make it, sooner or later, a de facto sovereign extension, a springboard to broaden Israeli control in the ever dwindling Palestinian space.

    https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_640,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1568621327/1.7845501.1499769609.jpg The new settlement outpost in Beit Jala, this week. Credit Olivier Fitoussi

    At some stage, the Jew who apparently bought the plots sold them to the Jewish National Fund and they were registered as belonging to Himenuta, the JNF subsidiary running the fund’s land. The cautious words “may” and “apparently” are needed here, because land purchases by Jews in the West Bank are not an innocent act, and quite a few forgeries have been discovered over the years. By the time matters are sorted out in Israeli courts, the outpost can turn into a prosperous Jewish neighborhood.

    One could legitimately wonder why the JNF remembered only now to claim the land. When did it buy the land? Was it bought by a front pretending to be a private citizen? All this remains unclear.

    The religious demon

    Some say it was discovered in 2017, or at least suspected, that land had been sold to a Jew. The Qassiyeh family, which has been cultivating one of the seven plots for decades, was waging a legal battle against the Civil Administration’s demolition orders for the restaurant and house. Suddenly, in 2017, Himenuta entered the picture, claiming that the land belongs to it. It’s hard to obtain accurate, full details from everyone involved. But apparently the scope of Himenuta’s claims in the Al-Makhrour valley wasn’t yet clear three years ago.

    On August 26, the Civil Administration razed the restaurant for the third time, as well as the house built by the Qassiyeh family. In his grief, Ramzy Qassiyeh, the head of the family, held a large wooden cross with the Virgin Mary’s picture at the top while the bulldozers demolished the structures. He said in a video that neither the Muslims nor the Jews would drive them away.

    https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_640,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1568621418/1.7845508.2742464051.jpg Ramzy Qassiyeh holds a large wooden cross with the Virgin Mary’s picture at the top in a protest against the demolition by Israeli forces of his family’s restaurant and house, on August 26, 2019. AFP

    By “Muslims” one may assume he meant the PA and senior Fatah officials, especially some born in the area’s refugee camps. The video went viral and the anger spread accordingly. Old tensions between the refugees and native Beit Jalans flared up again.

    Then came an apology. But a few days later a pickup truck containing masked, probably armed, people came to the Qassiyeh’s plot, where they insist on staying, despite the demolition. They say the masked men wanted to kill Ramzy and maybe his son. Whether the men really wanted to kill him, they sprayed the family with pepper spray and disappeared after an Israeli army unit showed up. Who called the unit remains unclear.

    At the same time, up the path, Israeli earth-moving equipment was preparing the undisturbed ground in a second plot for the new outpost. Palestinian news sites reported the appearance of the new outpost, but not the attack by the people in the pickup truck. The news of the attack spread gradually.

    “People are angry at the video and the talk against Muslims,” a resident of the Deheisheh refugee camp said. “Whatever the reason, it’s not done,” a Muslim resident of Beit Jala said.

    People in Beit Jala say that some parts of Al-Makhrour are owned by people from out of town; that is, Muslims, mainly from refugee camps. But who said refugees may not buy land and cultivate it? So many Beit Jala residents have left the country, why shouldn’t others look after the land and trees? The problem is that some sales weren’t kosher, apparently. Local residents of Beit Jala indeed say that a “mafia” of people – both Muslim and Christian – with social and political power is involved in the transactions.

    https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_640,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1568620437/1.7845442.3584747817.jpg A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policewoman over the Israeli demolition of a building, in Beit Jala in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, August 26, 2019.\ MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

    The PA has an orderly land registry to expose forgeries. At least in one case, I was told, a forgery was found, but it did no good – the people holding the land didn’t leave. This may partially explain the Qassiyeh’s complaints.

    In the plot near the Qassiyeh and the new outpost a small stone structure was set on fire at the beginning of last week. The plot’s owner is a resident of a refugee camp. Who wanted to set it on fire? Who was capable of it? The mutual suspicions inflamed the tensions.

    All this happened just when the Palestinian government announced that the local councils would start to expand their master plans without taking into consideration whether the land in question was in area A, B or C. But the events in Al-Makhrour show that Beit Jala, like any other Palestinian village or town, have no control over the land that Israel classifies as in Area C; Israel does whatever it likes there.

    The PA has so little control that the Qassiyehs hired their own attorneys and are replacing them one after the other as if the land problem were the family’s private business rather than a national Palestinian issue that should be handled by PA lawyers.

    In 2001, at the beginning of the second intifada, when Palestinian gunmen shot at Gilo in Jerusalem, the army shelled and destroyed the Qassiyehs’ house in Beit Jala. The PA partially compensated the family for the damage and the Qassiyeh brothers built a new home there.

    https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_640,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1568621744/1.7845527.1358840081.jpg The entrance to the new settlement outpost in Beit Jala, September 2019. Credit : Olivier Fitoussi

    Ramzy Qassiyeh has West Bank residency status. His wife Michelle and their children are Israeli citizens with voting rights. Michelle was born in Jerusalem to a refugee mother from the village of Ein Karem who as a child lived in a Jerusalem monastery, and to a French father from Lebanon. A few years ago, her mother moved to live near her daughter in Beit Jala and has Alzheimer’s disease, Michelle Qassiyeh says.

    “When we bring her here, to Al-Makhrour, she thinks she’s in Ein Karem and asks to go to her home there,” Michelle says.

    Ancient terraces and much more

    Al-Makhrour is a farming area of some 3,000 dunams (740 acres), characterized by ancient terraces, olive groves, vineyards, fruit trees, archaeological sites and a traditional irrigation system. It boasts ancient agricultural stone structures, clear air and “the best olive oil in Palestine.”

    In 2014 the region was declared a World Heritage site. “Palestine, land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir,” the UNESCO document says. The declaration was seen as a Palestinian

    achievement in the efforts to prevent the construction of the separation barrier, which threatened to destroy the terraces and landscape.

    https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_640,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1568620229/1.7845440.714230412.jpg A demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag gestures in front of Israeli forces during a protest against Jewish settlements near Beit Jala in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 8, 2019.\ MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

    The Al-Makhrour area connects al-Khader, Beit Jala, Husan, Battir and al-Walajeh, most of whose farming lands were torn from it for the settlement of Har Gilo, the separation barrier and the road along it, and a park for Israelis only. The new Route 60 that bypasses Bethlehem, and the tunnels built in the ‘90s obstruct the landscape’s agricultural and historical continuity.

    Recently Israel expropriated more land from Al-Makhrour and Beit Jala in order to widen the road bypassing Bethlehem and the tunnels, which Palestinians are forbidden to travel on. These are meant to shorten the travel time between the Gush Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem.

    This is why an agricultural outpost on top of one of Al-Makhrour’s hills is so threatening. On September 5, two Israeli youths with long side curls asked a French journalist and myself to leave the plot. An adult who joined them also asked us to leave, but was ready to talk outside the gate.

    “Three people are here permanently, with a few volunteers,” he said, while his silent wife looked at us from a distance. He said he was from the settlement of Elon Moreh and had leased the land from Himenuta. “I went to the JNF and looked for land,” he said. “They showed me a few places and this is the one I chose.” (Haaretz’s Yotam Berger has reported that the settlement of Neveh Daniel is behind the lease.)

    He said the demolition below had nothing to do with it. “My relations with the neighbors are good. Others, not from here, uprooted the olive trees we planted three months ago.”

    But he added, “We’ll be here for the next 50 years.” Why 50 and not 100? I asked, and he replied: “Because the lease is for 50 years.”

    #colonialisme_de_peuplement
    #Beit_Jala

    https://seenthis.net/messages/802971 via Loutre


  • Israel election results: Ayman Odeh with Shin Bet bodyguards? - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-ayman-odeh-with-shin-bet-bodyguards-1.7861973
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7305156.1568839139!/image/1111452691.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1111452691.jpg

    Shortly after the exit poll results were released on Tuesday night, talk began of Ayman Odeh heading the opposition in the next Knesset. Then the whispers started: Odeh with Shin Bet security service bodyguards? Odeh in an official state car, an armored one even? Odeh in official meetings with foreign heads of state?

    You must be joking.

    Even worse: Odeh provided with sensitive intelligence from defense briefings. Israel’s next existential crisis. But commentators did not take long to put us at ease: There are ways to get around the law, they said, the Knesset can choose a different opposition leader, he doesn’t need to hear everything, the Shin Bet will find a way, no need to worry, have faith in Israeli democracy.

    The votes were still being counted in the only democracy in the Middle East, and racism and ultranationalism already reared their ugly heads. No, of course, not the vulgar racism of Benzi Gopstein and Michael Ben Ari, who actually took a severe blow in the election, and not that of Benjamin Netanyahu, who stirs up anti-Arab fear. No, this is the hidden kind, which goes down easy, dressed in excuses about security, and is immeasurably more dangerous because it’s nicer and more commonplace. Barely an eyebrow will be raised.

    Political correctness in Israel permits treating all Arabs like a suspicious object, even the head of the Knesset’s third-largest party. It’s chilling to think just how politically correct this discussion is: Odeh was portrayed from the start as a traitor, who cannot be trusted with state secrets because it’s obvious he’ll betray his country and pass them on to the enemy. This line of talk lacks all legitimacy, yet it is not only the remit of seasoned Arab-haters. Serious people bring it up for serious debate.
    Knesset member Ayman Odeh at a protest against the failure of police to protect Arab citizens.
    Knesset member Ayman Odeh at a protest in Shfaram against the failure of police to protect Arab citizens, May 20, 2019. Gil Eliahu

    That’s the illusion of Israeli elections: They create the false impression that the state’s Palestinian citizens are part of the game. It’s the same with the Israeli propagandist’s hollow response to the accusation of apartheid: We have Arab legislators, in contrast to the blacks in apartheid South Africa, ergo we don’t have apartheid. But when the Arabs succeed and they become the third-largest faction in the Knesset, as they did (again) in this election, then the masks come off, and the game is over.
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    Their representatives can chair the decorating committee, submit parliamentary questions and even represent the Knesset in parliamentary delegations, but they cannot be privy to state secrets because the state, after all, is not truly their state.

    The subtext of this discussion is despicable. If Odeh cannot head the opposition, then wouldn’t it be better to bar Arabs from serving in the Knesset altogether? If they will always be suspected of treason, then they don’t belong in the legislature. What will we do then with our show of egalitarian democracy?

    Thin is the cloak of democracy, and its fragility became painfully obvious as soon as the polls closed. As it turns out, the opposition leader must in effect belong to the coalition: the coalition, that is, of accepted convention, of Zionism, of the Jews. Otherwise he has no place in this undemocratic democracy. First, we reject the possibility of the Arab parties joining the governing coalition a priori, now they’re not even fit for the opposition.

    Israel wants only good Arabs in the Knesset, if at all, and it wants an opposition-free opposition, one that isn’t bothersome, that doesn’t resist, that is not different – her majesty’s opposition. Behind all this hides the national identity of Odeh and his colleagues in the Joint List. Israel isn’t ready to see a Palestinian Israeli in a senior official position. The security excuse is groundless, of course. Odeh and his colleagues are much more loyal to Israel than it is to them; anyone who has been elected in accordance with the law has the right to know everything.

    A unity government is bad news, but every cloud has a silver lining: It could challenge Israel. Let’s welcome opposition chairman Ayman Odeh. He will speak immediately after the prime minister at every important debate in the Knesset. He will have a security detail, he’ll be driven in an official state car — and let Israeli Jews explode with anger.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/802474 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The religious activists waging a ‘holy war’ against Israel’s arms exports - Israel News
    The country’s sale of weaponry to murderous regimes goes against all Jewish religious teachings, charge members of No 2 Arms — and they are fighting back
    Patty Nieberg

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-religious-activists-waging-a-holy-war-against-israel-s-arms-ex
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7832008.1568210371!/image/155412042.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/155412042.jpg

    The 40-year-old woman heckling former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is probably the least likely advocate you could imagine calling for restrictions on Israel’s arms sales to morally questionable regimes like Myanmar.

    Esther Merchavy, an Orthodox mother of six, is not subtle as she wages her war on Israel’s arms industry. Looking Ya’alon dead in the eye, at a public event in Tel Aviv last month, she defiantly asks him: “Why does Israel send arms to a country known for its human rights abuses against the Rohingya minority?”

    Ya’alon ignores her question and the roving microphone is soon wrested away from her. But that proves no deterrent to Merchavy, who continues to fire off questions, yelling over the crowd. Event coordinators scold her for promoting her own platform, while others in the audience shout “You made your point!”

    Someone calls Merchavy selfish, to which she responds: “I’m not selfish — the people in Myanmar are more important than him,” referring to the Kahol Lavan Knesset candidate and former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff on stage.

    For the modestly dressed activist, part of the reason this issue is so vexing is that it violates her Jewish beliefs. According to Merchavy, Israel’s arms sales to murderous regimes falls under the halakhic principle of pikuach nefesh: The duty to save human life, which overrides almost all other obligations in Jewish religious law.

    “For me, there is no Torah at all and no believing in God at all — this is worthless if you’re doing such a crime,” she tells Haaretz at the event. “It’s not only for the children who are getting killed in South Sudan, Myanmar, Cameroon, Burundi, Congo and the Philippines. It’s pikuach nefesh for us, because we are killing our souls.”

    Merchavy is a member of No 2 Arms, an activist group that wants increased regulation over Israeli arms sales in order to prevent trade that it believes perpetuates war crimes and violates human rights. Formed in 2017, the group is comprised of about 20 activists from across the political spectrum.
    A representative of Myanmar’s military at the Israel Defense and Homeland Security Expo in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2019.
    A representative of Myanmar’s military at the Israel Defense and Homeland Security Expo in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2019.\ Moti Milrod

    Its founder is Eli Yosef, a religiously observant settler from Ma’aleh Adumim. Yosef began his own protests in January 2015 with the goal of combating an industry that totaled some $9.2 billion in export sales in 2017, according to Defense Ministry figures.

    Although the group is small in number, it has made its presence known in recent years — for example, by interrupting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the annual Bible quiz last year, regular demonstrations outside the Knesset and countless interruptions of events attended by politicians.

    Merchavy recounts how she was removed from a different event this month after confronting former Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Rafi Peretz and Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked. After she was asked to leave the premises, Merchavy quickly went to a nearby shop, bought a T-shirt and removed her head scarf, in order to reenter and resume her protest. She was then removed for a second time.

    One politician who has become a major target for the group is Ehud Barak, who has faced allegations — which he has consistently and strongly denied — that he took millions in bribes from arms dealers while serving as the Israeli defense minister earlier this decade.

    The activists point to their success in persuading former Likud lawmaker Yehudah Glick and Meretz MK (and former leader) Tamar Zandberg to raise the matter in the Knesset in 2016. They also boast of getting rabbis from the religious Zionist Tzohar organization and Beit Hillel — which envisions an Israel governed by Jewish religious law — to support their cause.

    Their next goal is to organize a large demonstration on the first day of the new Knesset following next week’s election — which No 2 Arms’ leader, a former member of the religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi party, says he will not be participating in.

    “I personally am right-wing, but I will not vote in this election for nobody [sic], because there’s not one single political party that’s prepared to give me the feeling that I’m a human being,” he says.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/801618 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • If there’s such a thing as a murderous culture, then it exists in Israel - Opinion
    Gideon Levy
    dénonce le racisme ordinaire de deux intellectuels israéliens @Haaretz

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-if-there-s-such-a-thing-as-a-murderous-culture-then-it-exists-in-i
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7765685.1567047942!/image/143058924.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/143058924.jpg

    This is what the editor of Haaretz’s Culture and Literature supplement, Benny Ziffer, wrote on his Facebook page upon returning from paying a condolence call in the settlement of Ofra: “En route I looked at the Palestinian villages alongside the Jewish communities, and I thought of how for the Palestinians murder is a type of sport or enjoyment, perhaps a substitute for erotica. From that perspective we will never have anything culturally in common with them.”

    And if that weren’t enough, Ziffer also wrote, “Regarding this evil and undignified people living among us, we can only yearn for the land to vomit it out, because it isn’t worthy of this land, which is full of Jewish blood that it has spilled.”

    His post generated no comment. Ziffer has apparently exhausted his allotted attention. By contrast, Yaron London succeeded in raising a bigger momentary storm with less serious remarks: “Arabs are savages … they don’t only hate Jews, they kill their own first and foremost.”

    More than one straight line connects London and Ziffer. Their comments reflect the spirit of the times in Israel.

    Both were once considered leftists; the unbridled right still considers London to be one. Both are extraordinarily talented, brilliant intellectuals, of enviable erudition. Sometimes it’s tempting to say that because of their rare media talent their remarks should be forgiven, lest we be left with Ayala Hasson and Yaakov Bardugo. In contrast to their images as avant garde, they express what many people think, not to mention the majority opinion in Israel, which only the rules of political correctness keep from breaking out into the consensus.

    More than they are racists, London and Ziffer are disseminating lies. I was sitting in London’s studio when he said his piece; I tried to respond in real time but to no avail. So I will try here.

    We examined the past decade; those murderous, bloodletting Palestinians, have since January 2009 killed 190 Israelis. How many Palestinians were killed by Israel, the seeker of peace and goodness, which will never have anything culturally in common with the Arabs? Some 3,500. Israel was 18 times more murderous. Was it for sport? Erotic pleasure? Of course not, but the blood speaks: Israel draws far more of it.
    An Israeli soldier temporarily detains a Palestinian youth in the village of Kfar Qaddum, West Bank, August 23, 2019.
    An Israeli soldier temporarily detains a Palestinian youth in the village of Kfar Qaddum, West Bank, August 23, 2019.AFP
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    Is it permitted to say that it’s Israeli culture to spill blood wholesale? According to London, yes. There is something called national culture, even if it’s a culture of killing. But when one speaks about genetic characteristics, it’s racism. One can even generalize, as London said, a generalization will always be unjust to the individual and the exceptional. But it has to based on reality, and the reality is that the enlightened whites have, in the past 100 years, massacred more people than all the Muslims and savages combined. Not only were Hitler and Stalin not Muslims, since World War II the United States, the land of the free, is guilty of more killing than any other country. Most of its mass killers are decidedly non-Muslim.

    Someone who generalizes isn’t necessarily a racist. But he may turn out to be a liar. If there’s a culture of killing, it actually exists in Israel. Soldiers and policemen who shoot to kill as a first choice testify to a warped morality. Fear, hatred, self-pity, the security cult, dehumanization and an itchy trigger finger are all Israeli cultural traits that lead to this mass blood-letting, but woe unto anyone who dares define Israel as having a murderous culture. He’d be condemned as an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people, on the other hand, are one of the most restrained people in history in its violent resistance to occupation and injustice. That’s the truth, there’s no denying it.

    Israel actually likes cultural and national generalizations, especially when they glorify its image. The “Jewish genius,” “the chosen people,” “Jewish morality,” and “eternal Israel,” are evidence of baseless arrogance. Ziffer has every right to think that the Palestinians enjoy murder and London can think they are savages compared to us, the enlightened and developed. It is our right (and duty) to answer them: There are no lies more abominable than these.
    Gideon Levy

    https://seenthis.net/messages/799052 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • AIPAC may be celebrating now, but the BDS battles in Congress have just begun -

    House vote shows that Democrats object to BDS, but they can expect growing Republican pressure to support more thorough anti-boycott legislation
    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Jul 27, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-aipac-may-be-celebrating-now-but-the-bds-battles-in-congress-have-
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7579761.1564254632!/image/2682968047.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2682968047.jpg

    You could practically hear the champagne corks popping and fireworks exploding across AIPAC’s social media feeds on Wednesday.

    The celebration was justified. At a time of unprecedented partisan division, it was no small feat for legislation condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel to make it through the Democrat-led House of Representatives, let alone by a vote of 398-17. Even better for the pro-Israel lobby, which aspires to wall-to-wall support of the Jewish state, the overwhelming endorsement garnered “yea” votes from prominent progressives, including a member of the vaunted “squad” — Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts).

    Supporters of AIPAC were delighted that with the passage of House Res. 246, no less than 92 percent of the House had agreed “to condemn the BDS campaign as anti-Israel, anti-peace and damaging to U.S. interests.” This, they said, was “representative of the broad, bipartisan support in Congress for Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

    But anyone who believes that this resolution will in any way resolve or mitigate the bitter political wrangling over BDS has been drinking too much celebratory champagne, said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace — a nonprofit that promotes a two-state solution.

    “You’d have to be delusional to think that this is over,” said Friedman.

    The nonbinding vote Wednesday may have been impressive, but it was just a short chapter in the saga of BDS legislation that has been underway for two years and will continue into the future. And even as the celebrations continued, future battles were shaping up on both sides of the aisle.

    Although the passage of the resolution did put Democratic objections to the “the Global BDS movement” on the record, Republicans openly dared them to move beyond mere words and support binding legislation that would deliver real consequences to entities that boycott Israel or the settlements.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican of Florida) is author of the Combating BDS Act, which encourages state governments not to sign contracts with supporters of boycotts against Israel or its settlements (passed by the Senate in February). He goaded House Democrats and Speaker Nancy Pelosi by saying that for months she “has refused to bring my bipartisan bill to combat the BDS movement’s discriminatory conduct and strengthen America’s security in the Middle East to the House floor. … Out of fear of retaliation from the far left wing of her conference, it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi has allowed the radical, anti-Semitic minority in the Democratic Party to dictate the House floor agenda.”

    Rubio’s bill was the latest manifestation of legislation that has been in limbo for the past two years. In 2017, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act was first proposed in the Senate, in an attempt to target government-sponsored boycotts of Israel and update laws drafted in response to the Arab League boycott of Zionist goods and services in what was then British Mandatory Palestine in 1945.

    Objections to the legislation — primarily, but not exclusively, among Democrats — focused on the argument that such laws violate free speech, a charge led by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    In his reaction to the House vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican of Kentucky) scoffed while speaking on the Senate floor that “this symbolic BDS resolution is held up as a major victory, while Senate-passed legislation that would actually take action — actually do something against BDS — doesn’t even get a vote.”

    On the Democratic side of the aisle, progressives who were not among the 17 members who voted against the resolution (which included the three other “Squad” members, Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib) were on the defensive, following criticism that they caved to pressure from the pro-Israel lobby.

    In a Twitter thread, Pressley said that while “there are a lot of anti-BDS bills out there that infringe on 1st Amendment rights,” in her view the House resolution “wasn’t one of them.” That, she said, convinced her to support “what I heard resounding” in her district: “That voting yes on this resolution affirmed to my constituents raised in the Jewish faith Israel’s right to exist, a view I share as a supporter of a two-state solution.”

    She vowed that she would never vote for a bill that would punish those who support BDS, and stressed that “this resolution does not mitigate the pain and trauma of the Palestinian people and as with my co-sponsorship of the McCollum bill, I will continue to be a strident voice critiquing conservative Israeli policies.”

    Pressley was referring to the bill introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (Democrat of Minnesota), which would “require that the Secretary of State certify that American funds do not support Israel’s military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.”

    Another Democratic congressman who voted for the resolution, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, also defended himself by pointing to another piece of legislation he co-sponsored: a bill introduced with Tlaib and Omar last week. That bill, which did not mention Israel by name, affirms “that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.” Lewis said it “was a simple demonstration of my ongoing commitment to the ability of every American to exercise the fundamental First Amendment right to protest through nonviolent actions.” Squad members Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez made a point of signing on as co-sponsors of the bill later in the week as well.

    At the same time, Lewis said he co-sponsored House Res. 246 “as a longtime friend of Israel,” and because he wanted “to make it very clear that I disagree strongly with the BDS movement. Economic, educational and cultural interaction with Israel, America’s democratic ally, is not only in the best interest of Israelis and Americans, but it improves the climate for peace with Palestinians, which is in everyone’s interest to encourage.”

    Friedman, of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, says Democratic leaders are fooling themselves if they think that passage of the resolution will “release some of the pressure on them” to sign onto more punitive anti-BDS legislation and “neutralize the issue as a weapon for attack against them.”

    She predicts that it will have exactly the opposite effect: “Right now, you see Republicans celebrating that they managed to corner the Democrats. For people motivated to go after Democrats, they have signaled that this is an issue on which they — the Democrats — are vulnerable. Once you give into bullies, you are going to get bullied more. I expect BDS to come up in every possible context and that Republicans will keep pushing Democrats, asking them why they won’t move on the Combating BDS Act. They’d have to be nuts not to. the way they see it, this is the gift that keeps on giving.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/794731 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel demolishes 70 homes in Palestinian-controlled East Jerusalem neighborhood Haaretz.com
    Un pas supplémentaire dans la politique coloniale israélienne

    Forces deploy at dawn days after top court approves order to evict Wadi Hummus residents, in a move activists are concerned sets a precedent to affect thousands
    Amira Hass and Jack Khoury Jul 22, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-begins-demolition-of-homes-in-palestinian-controlled-east-j
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.7547685.1563782108!/image/990547188.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/990547188.jpg

    Israeli forces began Monday demolishing buildings in an East Jerusalem neighborhood under the control of the Palestinian Authority, following a legal challenge to the Defense Ministry-issued order to evacuate apartments deemed too close to the West Bank separation barrier, which runs through the city.

    Israeli and international activists said Israeli forces deployed in the neighborhood at dawn, evacuating one family from one of the buildings, as well as activists who protested the move.

    Two hours prior to the demolition, activists say they saw Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers placing explosives in an eight-stories building set for demolition. Later, the forces removed furniture and vehicles that were parked next to the buildings.

    >> Once again, Israel’s courts collaborate with government anti-Arab housing policy | Analysis

    Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher for the left-wing Ir Amim organization, blasted the move, saying: "In the name of the demographic war waged against East Jerusalem residents, the State of Israel is withholding approval of construction plans allowing those residents to legally build within the city.

    “Residents who didn’t want to build without a permit, sought a creative solution and were granted construction permits from the Palestinian Authority to build in areas and A and B where Israel doesn’t have any authority concerning construction plans. The Israeli insistence to prevent this solution is a very cruel act,” Tatarsky added.

    “I built this house stone by stone. It was my dream to live in this house. Now I am losing everything,” said Fadi al-Wahash, 37, his voice breaking as a bulldozer destroyed his unfinished three-floor house.
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    “I had a permit to build from the Palestinian Authority. I thought I was doing the right thing,” he said.
    Palestinian family evacuated from its home in Wadi Hummus neighborhood, East Jerusalem, July 22, 201

    Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said 700 police and 200 soldiers were involved.

    “Despite an order from the military commander, the residents there are making their own law, building. There are hundreds of illegal structures,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.

    “To my regret there is no sufficient governance there. But it is not just that there are hundreds of structures there — several dozens of them sit almost on the route of the separation fence, endangering the security forces that operate there.”

    Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinians would complain to the International Criminal Court about the demolitions in Sur Baher.

    “The cabinet condemns this grave aggression. This is a continuation of the forced displacement of the people of Jerusalem from their homes and lands — a war crime and a crime against humanity,” Shtayyeh said.
    Israeli security forces prepare to demolish homes in East Jerusalem, July 22, 2019.
    Israeli security forces prepare to demolish homes in East Jerusalem, July 22, 2019. AFP

    The United Nations and France also issued condemnations of the demolition.

    In June, Israel’s High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the demolition of 13 large buildings in the Wadi Hummus neighborhood, located on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

    It is on the edge of the Palestinian village of Sur Baher, in southeast Jerusalem. Unlike the rest of the village, this neighborhood lies beyond the city’s municipal boundaries, in the West Bank. Most of the area it occupies is designated as part of Area A – i.e., under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

    Sur Baher residents say Wadi Hummus is the only area that remains for future expansion of the village, which is surrounded by the fence and Jewish neighborhoods.

    The Defense Ministry instructed to demolish some 70 apartments, citing concerns over their proximity to the separation fence, which it said made them a security threat. Two out of the 13 buildings set for demolition are populated with some 17 residents.
    Israel prepares to demolish homes in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Hummus, July 22, 2019.
    Israel prepares to demolish homes in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Hummus, July 22, 2019. AFP

    Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator, and other UN officials called on the Israeli authorities last week to halt the demolition plans. The European Union issued a statement saying: “The continuation of this policy undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace.”

    On Sunday, the court rejected a petition to postpone the demolition, which Palestinian activsts are concerned sets a precedent that will enable the demolition of thousands of buildings across the West Bank, effectively annulling the legal protection residents of other PA-controlled areas have.

    “Some families put everything they have to put a roof over their heads, and it’s all being ruined in front of their eyes in this despicable crime committed by Israel,” community organizer Hamada Hamada told Haaretz.

    “Large forces entered after 2 A.M. to the neighborhood, preventing any access to the homes and forcefully removing the residents as well as dozens of activists who were present at the scene, evacuating them while women and children were heard screaming in the background,” Hamada added.

    Palestinian officials say some of the threatened structures lie within areas that they should control. The Palestine Liberation Organization issued a statement accusing the Israeli court of aiming “to set a precedent to enable the Israeli occupying forces to demolish numerous Palestinian buildings located in close proximity” to the barrier.

    The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement saying that "Israel bears the full responsibility for the dangerous escalation in Sur Baher, which is part of the implementation of the “deal of the century” whose goal is to bury the Palestinian issue."

    According to the statement, Abbas has approached international and Arab officials in order to halt the demolitions.

    Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said “We will not renounce our lands, and everything that was demolished will be rebuilt.”

    “The demolition is an implementation of the Bahrain conference and we have thousands of documents and petitions filed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Israel,” he said in reference to the economic peace conference in Bahrain sponsored by the United States that took place in June.

    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said “The demolition of buildings in Sur Baher by the authorities of the occupation is a despicable crime, which is a direct result of the Bahrain Conference and the warm relationship between Israel and some Arab nations.”

    The Israeli military had no immediate comment on Monday, but a statement last week by Israel’s military-run civil administration in the West Bank said enforcement would be pursuant to “operational considerations” and “state policy.”

    The International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an advisory opinion in 2004 that building the barrier on occupied territory was “contrary to international law.”

    Israel dismissed the non-binding decision as politically motivated and says the barrier played a key role in drastically reducing the number of attacks, which peaked in 2002 and 2003 during the Second Palestinian uprising known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

    The West Bank separation barrier, which was being built since 2003, was intended to pass through Sur Baher, but its route was changed due to residents’ campaign.Thus Wadi Hummus ended up on the Israeli side of the barrier, although legally it part of the West Bank and under the PA’s authority.

    Many buildings were erected in the neighborhood over the last decade or so, most occupied by young couples and families from the village. The buildings set for demolition have some 100 apartments, 20 of which are tenanted and the rest are under construction.

    Building permits for the construction were issued by the PA’s planning ministry. However, seven years ago, the Israel Defense Forces Central Command issued an injunction banning construction of buildings within 250 meters of the separation barrier.

    Locals say the order was not publicized and they had no knowledge of it, and that in any case, it is the PA that has planning authorization in the area.

    Reuters contributed to this article.
    Amira Hass

    Amira Hass

    Haaretz Correspondent

    https://seenthis.net/messages/793957 via Nouvelles d’Orient