• At least let us hate ’Fauda’ -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sayed Kashua
    Haaretz Contributor

    https://seenthis.net/messages/659798 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • ’I’m not sorry’: Nur Tamimi explains why she slapped an Israeli soldier
    By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | Jan. 12, 2018 | 9:59 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834446
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.834447.1515712459!/image/2242176551.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2242176551.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “We want to drive them out.”

    Were you surprised that they didn’t react?

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

    Did you deserve to be punished?

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

    Would you do it again?

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

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

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

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

    This is not a time for celebrations.

    #Nabi_Saleh #Tamimi

    https://seenthis.net/messages/659727 via Loutre


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Amos Harel

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Adam Raz
    Haaretz Contributor

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


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

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

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

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

    Noa Landau
    Haaretz Correspondent

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


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

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

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

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

    Reuven Rivlin with Amos Yadlin. Mark Neiman

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

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

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

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

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


  • What happened when a Jewish settler slapped an Israeli soldier - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.832939

    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.833002.1515058679!/image/1497653590.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1497653590.jpg

    This slap didn’t lead the nightly news. This slap, which landed on the cheek of a Nahal soldier in Hebron, did not lead to an indictment. The assailant, who slapped a soldier who was trying to stop her from throwing stones, was taken in for questioning but released on bail the same day and allowed to return home.

    Prior to this incident, she had been convicted five times — for throwing rocks, for assaulting a police officer and for disorderly conduct, but was not jailed even once.

    In one instance, she was sentenced to probation, and in the rest to a month of community service and practically a token fine, as compensation to the injured parties. The accused systematically failed to heed summonses for questioning or for legal proceedings, but soldiers did not come to drag her out of bed in the middle of the night, nor were any of her relatives arrested. Aside from a brief report by Chaim Levinson about the incident, on July 2, 2010, there were hardly any repercussions to the slap and scratches inflicted by Yifat Alkobi on the face of a soldier who caught her hurling rocks a Palestinians.

    #israël #palestine #occupation #colonisation

    https://seenthis.net/messages/657089 via Reka


  • Trump’s threat to defund UNRWA could cost Israel as much as the Palestinians - U.S. News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.832920

    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s declaration that the United States intends to cut aid the Palestinians, and possibly to UNRWA, the United Nations’ relief agency for Palestinian refugees, is no less worrying to Israel than it is to the Palestinian Authority. Officially, Israel has come out time after time against UNRWA employees’ flirtation with messages supporting terror and the funding the agency provides for the grandchildren of the original Palestinian refugees from 1948. In practice, however, the agency is funds educational activities and medical services for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and a sharp cut in its resources could bring thousands of them into the streets to confront the Israeli army.
    Moreover, if a war were to break out in Gaza, international organizations would be the only ones that Israel could turn to in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the enclave. The Israeli army is being careful to maintain an ongoing working relationship with UNRWA, and recently a senior official from the agency was even invited to speak to a group of top Israeli army commanders to explain the severe state of Gaza’s infrastructure.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/656944 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Ahed is only 16, and no father is prouder of his daughter than me -

    Ahed Tamimi’s father: I’m proud of my daughter. She is a freedom fighter who, in the coming years, will lead the resistance to Israeli rule

    Bassem Tamimi Dec 29, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.831873

    This night too, like all the nights since dozens of soldiers raided our home in the middle of the night, my wife Nariman, my 16-year-old daughter Ahed and Ahed’s cousin Nur will spend behind bars. Although it is Ahed’s first arrest, she is no stranger to your prisons. My daughter has spent her whole life under the heavy shadow of the Israeli prison — from my lengthy incarcerations throughout her childhood, to the repeated arrests of her mother, brother and friends, to the covert-overt threat implied by your soldiers’ ongoing presence in our lives. So her own arrest was just a matter of time. An inevitable tragedy waiting to happen.
    >> A girl’s chutzpah: Three reasons a Palestinian teenage girl is driving Israel insane | Opinion ■ Israel Must Free Ahed Tamimi | Editorial >> 
    Several months ago, on a trip to South Africa, we screened for an audience a video documenting the struggle of our village, Nabi Saleh, against Israel’s forced rule. When the lights came back on, Ahed stood up to thank the people for their support. When she noticed that some of the audience members had tears in their eyes, she said to them: “We may be victims of the Israeli regime, but we are just as proud of our choice to fight for our cause, despite the known cost. We knew where this path would lead us, but our identity, as a people and as individuals, is planted in the struggle, and draws its inspiration from there. Beyond the suffering and daily oppression of the prisoners, the wounded and the killed, we also know the tremendous power that comes from belonging to a resistance movement; the dedication, the love, the small sublime moments that come from the choice to shatter the invisible walls of passivity.
    “I don’t want to be perceived as a victim, and I won’t give their actions the power to define who I am and what I’ll be. I choose to decide for myself how you will see me. We don’t want you to support us because of some photogenic tears, but because we chose the struggle and our struggle is just. This is the only way that we’ll be able to stop crying one day.”
    skip - fb

    >> The Palestinians just gave Netanyahu what he always wanted for Christmas | Analysis >>
    Months after that event in South Africa, when she challenged the soldiers, who were armed from head to toe, it wasn’t sudden anger at the grave wounding of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi not long before that, just meters away, that motivated her. Nor was it the provocation of those soldiers entering our home. No. These soldiers, or others who are identical in their action and their role, have been unwanted and uninvited guests in our home ever since Ahed was born. No. She stood there before them because this is our way, because freedom isn’t given as charity, and because despite the heavy price, we are ready to pay it.

    My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.
    Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.
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    In this situation, the greatest duty of me and my generation is to support her and to make way; to restrain ourselves and not to try to corrupt and imprison this young generation in the old culture and ideologies in which we grew up.
    Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.
    Bassem Tamimi is a Palestinian activist.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/655852 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Ma fille, ce sont des larmes de lutte
    29 décembre | Bassem Tamimi pour Haaretz |Traduction JPP pour l’AURDIP
    http://www.aurdip.fr/ma-fille-ce-sont-des-larmes-de.html
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.831877.1514502604!/image/175221503.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/175221503.jpg

    (...) Il y a plusieurs mois, lors d’un voyage en Afrique du Sud, nous avons projeté en public une vidéo documentant la lutte de notre village, Nabi Saleh, contre la domination d’Israël qui nous est imposée. Quand la lumière est revenue, Ahed s’est levée pour remercier les gens de leur soutien. Après avoir remarqué que certains dans l’assistance avaient les larmes aux yeux, elle leur a dit ceci : « Nous sommes peut-être victimes du régime israélien, mais nous sommes aussi fiers de notre choix de lutter pour notre cause, malgré le coût que l’on sait. Nous savions où ce chemin nous conduirait, mais notre identité, en tant que peuple et en tant que personnes, est ancrée dans la lutte, et elle en tire son inspiration. Au-delà de la souffrance et de l’oppression quotidiennes des prisonniers, des blessés et des tués, nous connaissons aussi le pouvoir immense qui nous vient de notre appartenance à un mouvement de résistance ; le dévouement, l’amour, les petits moments sublimes qui viennent de notre choix de briser les murs invisibles de la passivité.

    « Je ne veux pas être perçue comme une victime, et je n’accorderai pas à leurs actions le pouvoir de définir qui je suis, et ce que je serai. J’ai choisi de décider par moi-même comment vous me verrez. Nous ne voulons pas que vous nous souteniez à cause de quelques larmes photogéniques, mais parce que nous avons fait le choix de la lutte et que notre lutte est juste. C’est la seule façon de pouvoir arrêter de pleurer un jour ».(...)

    #Ahed_Tamimi

    https://seenthis.net/messages/655697 via Loutre


  • Israel helped establish 14 illegal West Bank outposts since 2011 -

    State support ranges from turning a blind eye to offering government funds ■ Review reveals system that helps clear the way for ’legalization’

    Yotam Berger Dec 25, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.831032

    Israeli authorities in September placed one of the so-called hilltop youth under house arrest at Havat Itamar Cohen – an illegal outpost in the West Bank. That’s one example, and not the only one, of how the authorities are involved in de facto legalization of illegal outposts. (The teen, who asked that his name not be published, said he’d had a falling out with the owner of the farm, who was going to beat him. A few hours later the Shin Bet security service and the army placed the teen in another, legal facility. People at the farm declined to comment.)
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Another example is that of Hill 387, a small illegal outpost established on state land near Kfar Adumim east of Jerusalem. At the outpost, surrounded by privately-owned Palestinian land, an NGO called Haroeh Ha’ivri (“the Hebrew Shepherd”) operates. Its official purpose is to rehabilitate violent settler teens known as hilltop youth. In fact, the association itself established the illegal outpost. Its documentation shows that it is funded solely by the Education Ministry, with an annual budget of a few hundred thousand shekels.

    Um Zuka. Olivier Fitoussi
    The Education Ministry at first denied that the NGO established the outpost, but the documents it filed with the Civil Administration show that not only did it establish the outpost illegally, it is also seeking to have it legalized retroactively.
    In 2014, Amira Hass disclosed in Haaretz that the Shomron Regional Council was behind the establishment of the illegal outpost Havat Shaharit. The Shomron Regional Council responded at the time that “the work was carried out by law and in coordination with the relevant officials.”
    Yet another illegal outpost, a kind of farm in the Umm Zuka nature reserve, was connected a few months ago to a water pipeline by a nearby Israel Defense Forces base.
    >> Settler leader used state resources to fund illegal outpost, while Israel turned blind eye <<

    Hill 387, the unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost where Jewish Shepherd operates a rehab program for teenage dropouts, in Jan. 2017.Olivier Fitoussi
    Ostensibly, after the report on illegal outposts submitted to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by attorney Talia Sasson in 2005, no more illegal outposts were to have been established, certainly not with government assistance. The report, which revealed that the government had invested hundreds of millions of shekels directly and indirectly in the establishment of dozens of illegal outposts, was to have put an end to this phenomenon. But aerial photos and Civil Administration data show that it has not stopped, it’s only gone underground. Over the past six years illegal outposts are once more being established, some in recent months.

    Most of these outpost are hastily cobbled together, a tent or a prefab where “hilltop youth” – most of them under 18 – live off and on.
    The authorities are fighting against these outposts tooth and nail, removing them and sometimes arresting residents, among other reasons because the security forces see them as a source of violence against Palestinians. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman seems almost pleased to order their evacuation – perhaps because they don’t have a political lobby or economic backing. Last summer, in speaking to journalists covering the West Bank, he called them “disturbed” and “idiots.”
    The law is not being enforced when it comes to the better-planned and more establishment-supported outposts; they are sometimes recognized and receive assistance and protection. Since 2011, 17 illegal outposts have been established, 14 of which are known to the Civil Administration. The way they were established shows their planning. The founders or planners examined aerial photos and the location chosen was not coincidental: They are built on government land, not privately-owned Palestinian land, which increases the chance that they will be legalized in the future. They are mainly built in fairly remote locations with a commanding view of the surroundings.
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    Three of them are near but not connected to existing settlements, such as the so-called “prefab neighborhood” set up near the outpost of Sde Boaz, which was evacuated about two weeks ago. Eleven outposts were set up as farms with living quarters for a few people who raise flocks or crops. No plans are known for evacuating these outposts, although they are all illegal.
    Dror Etkes, of the left-wing organization Kerem Navot, says that the founders of these outposts chose the locales and built their structures on state land so they can claim that they should not be evacuated. “They take over as much surrounding land as possible, including private land, which they steal by other means, such as cultivation or barring access [to the Palestinian landowners].” Etkes, who is in possession of Civil Administration maps, believes the settlers saw them before they established the outposts.
    At the outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon Moreh, Etkes says: “Huge surrounding areas are private, and were taken over by planting or barring access, and have very much increased the area of the outpost. It’s methodical, and they know exactly what they’re doing.”

    Umm Zuka nature reserveGil Eliyahu
    Civil Administration data obtained by Haaretz show that dozens of demolition orders have been issued against these outposts. Nine such orders were issued against Havat Itamar Cohen, and eight against Haroeh Ha’ivri. But the Civil Administration doesn’t issue demolition orders against outposts within settlement master plans, such as Neveh Ahi near the settlement of Halamish, which was established after the murder this year of the Salomon family in the unused area of where a master plan is in force.
    But the flood of demolition orders is misleading. In fact, these outposts can expect the authorities to turn a blind eye to them, if not support them outright. “Except for Sde Boaz, there are no evacuations,” said Etkes. “This is clearly sweeping immunity against enforcement of the law. Add to this all the infrastructure around it, electricity, water, road-building; this isn’t being paid for with settlers’ private money.”
    A resident of the evacuated outpost at Sde Boaz, which was established with the assistance of the regional council, told Haaretz: “They told us that the High Court had decided that it had to be dismantled. We were told there was no choice, that it could harm the settlements – so we left. We’re not hilltop youth, we’re good, law-abiding people we understood there was no point in going on.”

    West Bank outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon MorehOlivier Fitoussi
    We might learn about the future of the illegal outposts through the case of Malakhei Hashalom, a small outpost on an abandoned army base near Shiloh in the northern West Bank, with a sheep pen that is presented as a farm. Visits to the site revealed it is inhabited by one family and visited occasionally by teens. The Civil Administration has evacuated the site a few times, but according to officials familiar with the case, a few months ago it was agreed between the Civil Administration and the site that its inhabitants would evacuate it of their own free will. The state sent them trucks and they piled their belongings on them. The Civil Administration proudly touted the evacuation. But within a few weeks later the outpost was established elsewhere, with the same sheep.
    SponsoredThe Unusual Link Between Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s

    Yotam Berger
    Haaretz Correspondent

    https://seenthis.net/messages/654905 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Palestine : A girl’s chutzpah -

    Ahed Tamimi, 16, is a heroine, a Palestinian heroine. Maybe the intifada of slappings will succeed where all other methods of resistance have failed

    Gideon Levy Dec 20, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.830229

    Last Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot Hamed al-Masri, 15, in the head, wounding the unarmed boy from Salfit severely. On Friday, soldiers shot the unarmed Mohammed Tamimi, also 15, in the head, wounding the Nabi Saleh boy severely. Also on Friday, soldiers killed Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a double amputee, shooting him in the head, too. On the same day Ahed Tamimi, 16, stood in the courtyard of her home with her girlfriend and slapped an IDF officer who had invaded her home.
    Israel woke from its slumber angry: How dare she. The three victims of the barbaric shooting didn’t interest Israelis, and the media didn’t even bother to report on them. But the slap (and kick) by Tamimi provoked rage. How dare she slap an IDF soldier? A soldier whose friends slap, beat, abduct and of course shoot Palestinians almost every day.
    She really has chutzpah, Tamimi. She broke the rules. Slapping is permitted only by soldiers. She is the real provocation, not the soldier who invaded her house. She, who had three close relatives killed by the occupation, whose parents have been detained countless times and whose father was sentenced to four months in prison for participating in a demonstration at the entrance to a grocery store – she dared to resist a soldier. Palestinian chutzpah. Tamimi was supposed to fall in love with the soldier who invaded her house, to toss rice at him, but, ingrate that she is, she rewarded him with a slap. It’s all because of the “incitement.” Otherwise she certainly wouldn’t hate her conqueror.
    But there are other sources of the unbridled lust for revenge against Tamimi. (Education Minister Naftali Bennett: “She should finish her life in prison.”) The girl from Nabi Saleh shattered several myths for Israelis. Worst of all, she dared to damage the Israeli myth of masculinity. Suddenly it turns out that the heroic soldier, who watches over us day and night with daring and courage, is being pitted against a girl with empty hands. What’s going to happen to our machismo, which Tamimi shattered so easily, and our testosterone?
    Suddenly Israelis saw the cruel, dangerous enemy they are confronting: a curly-haired 16-year-old girl. All the demonization and dehumanization in the sycophantic media were shattered at once when confronted by a girl in a blue sweater.
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    Israelis lost their heads. This is not what they were told. They’re used to hearing about terrorists and terror and murderous behavior. It’s hard to accuse Ahed Tamimi of all that; she didn’t even have scissors in her hands. Where’s the Palestinian cruelty? Where’s the danger? Where’s the evil? You could lose your mind. Suddenly all the cards were reshuffled: For one rare moment the enemy looked so human. Of course you can rely on Israel’s machinery of propaganda and brainwashing, which are so efficient, to assassinate Tamimi’s character soon enough. She too will be labeled a cruel terrorist who was born to kill; it will be said she has no justifiable motives and that there’s no context for her behavior.

    Ahed Tamimi is a heroine, a Palestinian heroine. She succeeded in driving Israelis crazy. What will the military correspondents and right-wing inciters and security experts say? Why good are 8200, Oketz, Duvdevan, Kfir and all these other special units if at the end of the day the IDF is confronting a helpless civilian population that is tired of the occupation, embodied by a girl with a kaffiyeh on her shoulder?
    If only there were many more like her. Maybe girls like her will be able to shake Israelis up. Maybe the intifada of slappings will succeed where all other methods of resistance, violent and non-violent, have failed.
    Meanwhile Israel has reacted the only way it knows how: a nighttime abduction from her home and detention with her mother. But in his heart of hearts, every decent Israeli likely knows not only who is right and who isn’t, but also who is strong and who is weak. The soldier armed from head to toe who invades a house that doesn’t belong to him, or the unarmed girl defending her home and her lost honor with her bare hands, with a slap?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/653932 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel’s attorney general backs officer’s libel suit against ‘Jenin, Jenin’ director

    Avichai Mendelblit cites ‘public interest’ to explain his decision to support a second civil lawsuit against Mohammed Bakri for his 2002 documentary

    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.830284

    In an unusual move, the attorney general is to support a defamation of character lawsuit by a reserve officer against the director of the controversial 2002 documentary “Jenin, Jenin.”
    Avichai Mendelblit’s office said in a statement Wednesday that he decided to support the suit against Mohammed Bakri because of the public interest in the case.
    While Israeli law allows the attorney general to take sides in a civil suit if the case involves the public interest, in practice the privilege is rarely exercised.
    In November 2016 Nissim Meghnagi sued Bakri for 2.6 million shekels (around $745,000).
    Meghnagi took part in Operation Defensive Shield, the military operation in the West Bank refugee camp in Jenin that was the subject of Bakri’s film.
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    In his suit, Meghnagi claims that he appears in and was named in the movie, and that the film libeled Israeli soldiers by presenting them as war criminals.
    Bakri argues that the purpose of the suit is persecution and political silencing, and says the case is without merit.
    The movie makes no accusation against Meghnagi, says Bakri: The camera panned the plaintiff for mere seconds, and he cannot be identified as the person behind the deeds described in the movie.
    On Thursday the District Court of the Central District is scheduled to hear Bakri’s request to reject the lawsuit.
    Mendelblit’s announcement throwing his weight behind the suit followed requests from Meghnagi himsef and from Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
    Five years ago, a district court, ruling on a lawsuit by five soldiers who participated in Operation Defensive Shield, found that Bakri had slandered soldiers but the plaintiffs were not slandered personally. The Supreme Court upheld the decision.
    Then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz sided with the soldiers.
    The court said that plaintiffs who did not appear in the documentary had no grounds for personal damages, but it also ruled that the movie constituted “libel, at the base of which is bad faith and a deliberate tendency to distort things.” Three times the plaintiffs appealed for another hearing, with Mazuz’s support, to no avail.
    Mendelblit said in his announcement that in contrast to the previous proceedings, this plaintiff actually appears in the movie while the narrator accuses the Israeli soldiers of looting. Hence his support for Meghnagi, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, in the context of public interest. Mendelblit noted that the movie is still bring distributed and shown.
    “Jenin, Jenin” was first screened in April 2002 at the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cinematheques. In November 2002, the Israel Film Council banned its distribution to Israeli theaters. The High Court of Justice voided that decision on the grounds of freedom of expression, bucking the council and also the attorney general. “Israeli society can cope with expressions of this sort,” the court ruled.

    In 2014, then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein rejected pleas by representatives of soldiers and their families to open a criminal investigation into Bakri, pursuant to libel law. With that, he was in agreement with his two predecessors.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/653936 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Netanyahu agrees to exclude settlements from economic deal with European Union - Israel News

    Deal would award tens of millions of euros to initiatives across Mediterranean ■ EU policy states funding cannot be allocated to territories occupied by Israel in 1967

    Noa Landau Dec 14, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.829063

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given approval in principle to a cooperation agreement with the European Union that contains a provision excluding the settlements.
    To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Netanyahu approved the wording of a cabinet resolution on the subject this week. If no ministers object to the resolution by January 1, it will be approved automatically. If so, Israel will effectively have consented to EU funding that is contingent on a boycott of the settlements.
    The resolution has now been signed by all the relevant government offices, including those of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), two of the most vocal settlement supporters in the government.
    The agreement, known by the acronym ENI CBC Med (which stands for “cross-border cooperation in the Mediterranean), awards tens of millions of euros in funding to ventures that entail cooperation with the 14 Mediterranean Basin countries that aren’t EU members. These include Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/652405 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • After a dozen Gaza rockets in a week, Israel is being backed into a corner -

    Frequent rocket fire from Gaza would disturb the feeling of security and would put pressure on Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman to act more resolutely

    Amos Harel Dec 13, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.828581

    Since the evening of December 6, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, eight rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into the Negev region. At least three other rockets were fired from Gaza but fell inside Palestinian territory. This is the largest number of rockets fired at Israel since the end of Operation Protective Edge, the war that Israel fought with Hamas and its allies during the summer of 2014.
    To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Israeli intelligence agencies attribute most of the rocket fire, if not all of it, to extremist Salafi factions that operate beyond Hamas’ direction. Israel has also identified preliminary steps taken by Hamas over the past few days to rein in the rocket fire, including the arrest of members of these organizations. In the past, the Hamas government in Gaza has known how to make the rules of the game that it has established with Israel clear to these smaller groups – and has adopted a harsh enforcement policy when it has understood that the rocket fire was endangering the stability of its rule in Gaza.
    This time, either the message was not received or was not properly understood. It appears that in Gaza Trump’s declaration was seen as an opportunity to let off steam and attack Israeli civilian population centers. The stage of the large demonstrations by Palestinians protesting Trump’s declaration is slowly coming to an end, without leaving much of an impression on the international community, or on Trump either.
    >> Three reasons we aren’t seeing a third intifada | Analysis
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    Now there is a shift to a different approach involving firing rockets from the Gaza Strip, a period during which one “lone wolf” terrorist attack also occurred, involving the stabbing by a Palestinian at the Jerusalem central bus station of a security guard, who was seriously wounded.

    The site in the Israeli border town of Sderot where a rocket fired from Gaza fell on Dec. 8, 2017.Eliyahu Hershovitz
    The Israeli response to the rocket fire from Gaza has been rather restrained so far. As has been its custom in the past, Israel has said that it views Hamas as the party responsible for violence coming from its territory – and has exacted a price from it by bombing Hamas positions and command headquarters. But the Israeli attacks have generally been carried out when the targets were empty, and the attacks have been planned in such a way as to limit the damage. In one case, last Friday, a member of the Hamas military wing was killed, and the Hamas leadership felt Israel had gone too far. For now, it seems that the Israeli leadership does not want to rock the boat to too great an extent in Gaza.
    The Israeli government’s problem is that it does not fully control of the situation. Continued rocket fire and “red alert” rocket sirens will exact a psychological price from the Israeli residents in the region near the Gaza border, who have enjoyed a relatively long period of quiet and a major influx of new residents, as a result of a building boom and government tax breaks for the region following Operation Protective Edge. The traumatic experiences of Protective Edge and other previous periods, during military operations in Gaza and between them, are still remembered quite well in Sderot, Ashkelon and the nearby collective moshavim and kibbutzim communities.
    Iron Dome anti-missile batteries intercepted two of the rockets fired over the past few days – and missed one rocket, which fell in a populated area in Sderot but did not cause any injuries. The Israel army made a change recently in how it calculates the area where the rockets are projected to fall (known as the “polygon”), thereby only requiring that alarms sound in a very small and more focused area, and limiting the disruption to local routines in border communities near Gaza. Nevertheless, rocket fire every day, or every other day, would disturb the feeling of security that had been restored with difficulty and would create pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to act more resolutely. The distance could be short from that to another round of violence.
    The latest tensions are occurring against the backdrop of the Israeli army’s announcement Sunday that it had successfully destroyed another attack tunnel dug well inside Israeli territory that was discovered along the border with Gaza, the second in less than two months. It appears, however, that Hamas’ actions are influenced first and foremost by another factor, its reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority. So far the commitments included in the agreement have not been carried out. That’s the case when it comes to the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt and the resumption of funding for Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
    As far as Hamas is concerned, the bad news is coming from almost all directions: Trump’s announcement, the Israeli army’s success in locating attack tunnels and the difficulties with Palestinian reconciliation. If Hamas cannot deliver the goods to Gaza’s residents, who have been waiting with bated breath for a measure of improvement in their economic situation and freedom of movement, Hamas could well find itself dragged once again into an escalation with Israel – as it has acted in the past.
    This is the main worry keeping Israel’s senior defense officials and political leadership busy at the moment, and it explains the relatively restrained Israeli response – restraint that could end if the frequent rocket fire continues, and certainly if the rockets inflict casualties.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/651952 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel This wasn’t supposed to happen at a conference on anti-Semitism -

    Jews are apathetic to suffering of other minorities, World Jewish Congress counsel tells a Tel Aviv conference, but gets lukewarm response from delegates

    Judy Maltz Dec 11, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.828354

    Many would argue that anti-Semitism is no worse than any other hatred. But it’s not every day that a top official at the World Jewish Congress tries to make that case – let alone suggest that Jews are apathetic to the suffering of other minorities.
    So when Menachem Rosensaft, the general counsel of the WJC, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, delivered remarks in this vein at a Tel Aviv conference on anti-Semitism on Monday, the audience was – needless to say – caught off guard.
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish World - subscribe to Haaretz
    “Anti-Semitism is sometimes referred to as the most pernicious hatred,” he told delegates. “I respectfully reject that characterization and any suggestion that anti-Semitism is somehow worse than other forms of bigotry.
    He continued: “I’m sorry, but the white supremacist ideology that holds African-Americans and Hispanics to be inferior to Caucasians is every bit as reprehensible as anti-Semitism. So are other kinds of discrimination and oppression on the basis of religion, race and nationality.
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    “The hatred that resulted in the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica and of the Tutsi in Rwanda are no less evil than the hatred of Jews that resulted in pogroms and the Shoah,” he added.

    It wasn’t exactly what participants at “The Oldest Hatred Gone Viral” summit had come expecting to hear.
    Rosensaft, who teaches law at Columbia and Cornell, was a keynote speaker at the conference, sponsored by the WJC in cooperation with NGO Monitor, a right-wing organization that tracks the activities of anti-occupation and other civil society groups in Israel.

    Menachem Rosensaft, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress.Courtesy of the World Jewish Con
    Considered an international expert on genocide, Rosensaft suggested that Jews were not sensitive enough to the persecution of other minorities, in particular Muslims and African-Americans.
    “In our fight against anti-Semitism, we must never allow ourselves to lose sight of the fundamental reality: That precisely the same dangerous hatred used to incite violence – sometimes lethal violence – against Jews can just as easily be used against other minorities,” he said.
    Rosensaft said that Jews tend to focus too much on anti-Semitism from the left and ignore anti-Semitism on the right. “I am as concerned about neo-Nazis and white supremacists shouting ‘Jews shall not replace us,’” he said, referring to the violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, “as I am by jihadists or BDS activists who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
    “We do ourselves a disservice, in my opinion, when some of us focus our attention – primarily, if not exclusively – on the anti-Semitism generated by the anti-Israel left, while minimizing the impact of the bigotry and xenophobia emanating from the extreme right.”
    Rosensaft, a child of Holocaust survivors and considered a leading authority on the second generation, warned that Jewish apathy to the plight of others would cause others to be apathetic to the plight of the Jews.
    “If we do not recognize the suffering of others and the hatred directed against others, for what reason and on what basis can we expect others to look at the hatred directed against us and want to identify with us?” he asked.
    Rosensaft made his remarks during a special session devoted to the memory of Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, a renowned Hebrew University authority on anti-Semitism who died in May 2015.
    In the discussion that followed, members of the audience challenged Rosensaft for asserting that anti-Semitism was comparable to other forms of bigotry.
    Wistrich’s widow, Danielle, drew a large round of applause when she delivered the following statement, summing up the general sentiment among delegates: “I don’t think we Jews need to spend our energy, our money and our time to defend Arabs, because I think they have their own people to do that. I think it is good to be well meaning and wonderful to have a big heart, but let’s keep it for ourselves.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/651347 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Jerusalem A poisoned gift - Haaretz Editorial -

    Violating the status quo in Jerusalem, like expanding the settlement enterprise, is moving Israel further from the only possible solution, the two-state solution

    Haaretz Editorial Dec 08, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.827619

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could have been joyful news for Israel. But it’s no coincidence that Israel is the only country in the world whose capital hasn’t been recognized by the international community. Jerusalem’s status remains a core issue in the negotiations for a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
    In this sense, disrupting the status quo in the world’s most explosive city is a poisoned gift to the Israeli and Arab peace camp. It’s hard to understand how such a move fits with Trump’s declarations about his desire to bring about peace in the region, a feat his predecessors in the White House failed to achieve.
    Trump boasted that he didn’t follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who did not change U.S. policy toward Jerusalem. But previous administrations’ refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not stem from hostility to Israel or excessive sympathy for the Muslims. These administrations heeded the advice of the National Security Council and Israeli defense officials, who warned that a policy change regarding Jerusalem would sabotage the peace process.
    The decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital plays into the hands of radical Arab groups, which don’t miss an opportunity to portray the two-state solution as deception, and portray the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states that recognize Israel, as collaborators with the enemies of Islam.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/650815 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • An American withdrawal from peace - Haaretz Editorial

    It’s true that his predecessors also didn’t impose a settlement, but at least since the 2000 Camp David summit they mediated between the parties

    Haaretz Editorial Dec 07, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.827389

    U.S. President Donald Trump has given a valuable political gift to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who’s strugging amid the corruption investigations against him and is trying to maintain the stability of his governing coalition, which is being led by the Habayit Hayehudi party headed by Naftali Bennett.
    In his White House address Wednesday, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a declaration that all his predecessors had avoided since the state was established in 1948. In the same breath, he diluted the American commitment to the two-state solution, which he conditioned on the agreement of the parties. More importantly, Trump promised that the United States wouldn’t present a position on the contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians, above all the borders of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
    Trump awarded Netanyahu an unprecedented diplomatic achievement, even as he postponed fulfillment of his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, he calmed Netanyahu’s fears about presenting an American diktat for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that might have unraveled the prime minister’s coalition, which rejects the two-state solution or any gesture toward the Palestinians. It’s no wonder that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded with great disappointment to Trump’s remarks and called for an international front against the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/650396 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel must extradite Teodoro Gauto, wanted for crimes in Argentina’s ’dirty war’ - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.826821

    Argentina’s internal security ministry this week offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Teodoro Anibal Gauto. He is wanted for questioning on crimes against humanity — murder, torture and the abduction of minors — in the “dirty war” during the 1976-83 military dictatorship. But Gauto’s whereabouts are known. He fled to Israel in 2003, and according to Interior Ministry records lives here under the name Yosef Carmel.
    Gauto served as a civilian in Argentina’s military intelligence Battalion 601, which was notorious for its involvement in abductions and murders.
    In 2003, Interpol issued an international arrest notice on a criminal matter (suspicion of bank fraud), which was in effect until 2009, when the statute of limitations expired on those allegations. In 2011 a second Interpol “red notice” was issued for Gauto’s alleged role in the crimes of the junta. Israel is ignoring the warrant. In 2015, Gauto was exposed by journalist Shlomo Slutzky on the Israel Channel 2 investigative program “Mabat Sheni.” He admitted having worked for the Argentine military but denied any involvement in crimes against humanity and claimed all he did was to classify left-wing operatives and build cases against them.
    Slutzky, one of whose relatives was abducted and murdered in the “dirty war,” petitioned the High Court of Justice to extradite Gauto to Argentina. He argued that Gauto, who was granted Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return because he wife is Jewish, obtained that citizenship fraudulently because he did not disclose the investigations and pending legal proceedings in Argentina. As a result, Slutzky argued, Gauto’s citizenship should be revoked and he should be deported.

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  • At anti-Semitism panel, Linda Sarsour asks, ’I am the biggest problem of the Jewish community?’

    The prominent feminist activist and controversial anti-Zionist speaks out against anti-Semitism and the importance of ’organizing at the intersections of oppression’

    Asher Schechter Nov 29, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.825582

    Minutes before Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour took the stage at The New School’s Alvin Johnson Auditorium as part of a panel on anti-Semitism, one of the organizers went up to deliver a number of key instructions to audience members in case protesters would try to shut down the event.
    But the fears that the event would be disrupted by right-wing protesters turned out to be for naught. Despite two weeks of a media frenzy, a petition signed by more than 21,000 people and loads of criticism from both left and right, the panel concluded with only two very minor interruptions.
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    >> American Jews, lay off Linda Sarsour | Opinion
    skip - A video of the panel on anti-Semitism at The New School

    “Apparently I am the biggest problem of the Jewish community? I am the existential threat, Apparently? I am confused, literally, every day,” said Sarsour, addressing the controversy that preceded the event.
    Sarsour, a prominent advocate for Muslim Americans, criminal justice reform and civil rights, is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-chaired last January’s National Women’s March. During the past year, particularly as her profile in progressive circles increased after the march, Sarsour has raised the ire of conservatives, Zionist activists and so-called alt-right figures who accuse her of supporting terrorists and promoting anti-Semitism – largely due to her support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and her criticism of Israel.
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    “I am deeply honored and humbled to be here on this stage with people who have been some of the staunchest allies of the communities that I come from,” Sarsour said during the panel. “We cannot dismantle anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, every phobia and -ism without also dismantling anti-Semitism.”
    “Intersectionality is not about black and white people organizing together or Jews and Muslims organizing together. It is all of us organizing at the intersections of oppression and seeing oppression [as] connected. Anti-Semitism is one branch on a larger tree of racism,” she added. “You can’t just address one branch, you need to address all branches together so we can get to the root of the problem.”

    In her remarks, Sarsour spoke at length about her criticism of Zionism. “Just in case it’s not clear, I am unapologetically Palestinian-American and will always be unapologetically Palestinian-American. I am also unapologetically Muslim-American. And guess what? I am also a very staunch supporter of the BDS movement. What other way am I supposed to be, as a Palestinian-American who’s a daughter of immigrants who lived under military occupation and still has relatives in Palestine that live under military occupation? I should be expected to have the views that I hold,” she said.
    Regardless of their feelings toward Israel, said Sarsour, Jews and non-Jews alike “must commit to dismantling anti-Semitism. The existential threat resides in the White House, and if what you’re reading all day long in the Jewish media is that Linda Sarsour and Minister [Louis] Farrakhan are the existential threats to the Jewish community, something really bad is going to happen and we are going to miss the mark on it.”
    skip - A tweet from Jonathan Greenblatt

    Apart from Sarsour, the panel also featured Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voices for Peace, Leo Ferguson of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and Lina Morales, a member of Jews of Color and Mizrahi/Sephardi Caucus of JVP. The event was moderated by journalist and author Amy Goodman, the host of the alternative news program “Democracy Now!”
    The panel, organized by JVP, Haymarket Books, Jacobin magazine, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and The New School’s Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program, was preceded by great controversy over Sarsour’s participation. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted that “Having Linda Sarsour & head of JVP leading a panel on antisemitism is like Oscar Meyer leading a panel on vegetarianism.” Writing for Tablet Magazine, Phyllis Chesler, a New School alumni, wished that she could give back her diploma.
    “Antisemitism is harmful and real. But when antisemitism is redefined as criticism of Israel, critics of Israeli policy become accused and targeted more than the growing far-right,” read the event’s description.
    The other panelists were similarly critical of Israel and of the Jewish American community that rebukes activists like Sarsour yet embraces far-right figures like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka. “I am angry at the profound hypocrisy of the institutional Jewish community, which has taught us that loving Israel does not mean that you love Jews,” said Vilkomerson. “Because I care about Jews, I am anti-Zionist,” said Morales. “Nothing can be more counterproductive or hurtful to Jews than to be intentionally confusing the issue of anti-Semitism by spreading false charges of anti-Semitism,” said Ferguson, in reference to the “smearing” of pro-Palestinian activists by Jewish-American organizations. Lobbing false accusations of anti-Semitism, he argued, “slowly erodes our ability to accurately assess threats.”
    Two hours before the debate was scheduled to begin, over 15 policemen and security guards and multiple police cars were already surrounding the venue where it was to be held. A small protest took place across the street, with some demonstrators holding signs and chanting against Sarsour and JVP.
    “This panel is spitting in the face of Jews – four anti-Semites talking about anti-Semitism,” Karen Lichtbraun, one of the demonstrators and head of the New York chapter of the Jewish Defense League told Haaretz. JVP, she charged, wanted to “drive a wedge between Jews” by inviting Sarsour. “[Sarsour] wants to bring Sharia law to America. She is brainwashing a lot of young Jews,” she claimed.
    “Nobody has a monopoly on talking about anti-Semitism,” Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace and one of the event’s organizers, told Haaretz. “As a rabbi and a Jew, I feel safer in the world knowing that there are more people, non-Jewish allies, Muslims, Christians, people of no faith, who are taking up the question of anti-Semitism seriously.”
    When asked about the commotion in the media that surrounded the event, Wise said: “There’s something particular about the role that Linda plays in the psyche of the American Jewish community. We’ve done these anti-Semitism events in Indianapolis, Chicago, the Bay Area, Philadelphia, and this is not the only one where a Muslim is speaking. Never before have we seen this kind of frenzy. It just seems like a witch hunt of sorts.”
    Tuesday’s event was not the first time a planned appearance by Sarsour caused controversy: Her invitation to deliver the commencement address at the City University of New York School of Public Health in June raised the ire of pro-Israel activists. The uproar included a protest rally against her speech outside CUNY’s main office building, headed by far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who called Sarsour a “Sharia-loving, terrorist-embracing, Jew-hating, ticking time bomb of progressive horror.”
    “When I spoke at the CUNY graduate center back in June, something really disturbing happened,” said Sarsour during the panel. “I don’t care if people protest against me. What was confusing to me at that moment was, how is it that people that are Jewish are standing in a really against me with Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, and Gavin McInnes? Why are they there with them? I hope the Jewish community stands up and says that’s wrong, that under no circumstance should Jewish people align with people like Milo or Pamela Geller or Richard Spencer or Gavin McInnes.”
    When asked about her previous statement that feminism is “incompatible with Zionism,” Sarsour said: “I am not as important as I am made out to be. I am not the one that actually gets to say who gets to be in the movement and who doesn’t. Let’s stop talking about the civil rights movement that happened 50 years ago because there is a civil rights movement happening right now. We live under fascism, and we need all hands on deck.”

    Asher Schechter
    Haaretz Columnist

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