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  • New U.S.-Russia-Saudi oil alliance could also have implications for Israel and Iran

    A reported deal between Putin and the Saudi crown prince means they will have members of OPEC over a barrel when they meet in Vienna this weekend – but Jerusalem will be an interested spectator as well

    Anshel PfefferSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-u-s-russia-saudi-oil-alliance-could-affect-israel-iran-too-1.61968

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman didn’t look like someone whose national team was losing 5-0 to Russia last Thursday. The broad smiles as he sat beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in the VIP box at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium indicated the opening match of the World Cup was just an excuse for their meeting.
    According to briefings by Russian officials after the crown prince had left Moscow, he and Putin had agreed on a joint policy worth more than any sports trophy.
    The two governments – also two of the world’s major energy producers – had reportedly agreed to “institutionalize” the relationship between Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Does this include all the OPEC members who are meeting in Vienna on Friday? Almost certainly not.
    OPEC exists in theory to ensure its members’ market share of the global energy market and to try and boost oil prices, ensuring their major source of income remains lucrative. But it depends on consensus and coordination between the members. And geopolitics can intrude – in this case, the deepening enmity between two of the major oil producers: the Saudis and Iran.
    In 2016, following a prolonged dip in oil prices (which saw the price of a barrel of crude drop to below $30), OPEC’s 14 members – along with OPEC Plus, a second group of associated nations, including Russia – agreed to cut back production. Along with the rise in global financial activity, this has gradually pushed oil prices back to over $70 a barrel.
    Now, though, some nations – led by the Saudis and Russia – are calling for an increase in production. They are losing market share to U.S. shale oil producers and argue that, since demand is currently high, putting more oil on the market will not dramatically affect prices. They calculate that any dip in prices will be offset by the increase in production.
    But not all OPEC members are capable of boosting production.
    Iran, about to come under stiff new sanctions from the Trump administration, is already losing orders worth hundreds of thousands of barrels. In Venezuela, production is already plummeting due to political turmoil and the economic meltdown under the Maduro government, which also faces U.S. sanctions. For both countries, lower oil prices will only compound their financial woes.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/703411 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel, a state unencumbered by democracy

    The Knesset presidium has excised the principle of equality from the definition of democracy. Instead of dealing with the Balad party’s vision, they have chosen to kill the messenger.

    Haneen Zoabi member of the Parliament
    Jun 18, 2018 1:01 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-a-state-unencumbered-by-democracy-1.6180257

    In a rare move, the Knesset presidium last week refused Balad’s request to bring the party’s proposal for a Basic Law: Israel as a State of All Its Citizens before the Knesset for discussion and a vote in the plenum. The proposal reflects the party’s values, vision and platform. In a democratic country, the vision of “a state of all its citizens” should have been an existing reality that is taken for granted because it is one of the core principles of a democracy.
    A democracy does not exist without equality among its citizens and if there does exist a certain deviation from this, then the principle of equality should be what directs it. That is, any deviation from equality should be done for purposes of “compensating” some weakened group (and not to grant privileges to the strong group), the aim of which is to enable that weakened group to achieve fundamental equality with the others.
    A selective democracy is not a democracy. The granting of privileges to a strong group does not accord at all with the democratic principle. An egalitarian state is supposed to grant its citizens rights at the individual and collective levels in an equal way and therefore it cannot be identified with a specific national group.
    However, the Knesset presidium believed otherwise. It excised the principle of equality from the fundamental definition of democracy and reduced it to the individual plane only. (What else is left?) However, when the state expropriates lands from us, the Palestinians, to benefit the Jews, or when it damages our national rights – does this not damage us as “individuals”? Is it possible for an individual to exist when cut off from his historical affiliation, identity or culture?
    The difficulty with dealing with Balad’s vision has always been a key characteristic of the relations between the party and most of the elements in the political arena. The repeated attempts to prevent the party from participating in elections and the campaign to delegitimize its Knesset members reflect the difficulty the state and its political elite have in dealing with its messages. Instead, they have chosen to kill the messenger.
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    Second shoe drops
    And if the stupidity of denying a discussion of the proposal for the law were not enough – it has been barred from public discourse because of the excess of democracy inherent in it – less than two weeks after its rejection came the draft law on party funding proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kish. This bill limits the number of parties that can receive funding in a union of parties such as the Joint List. The aim of the law, as explicitly stated, is to eject Balad, which has been defined as its most “extreme” element, from the Joint List.
    If we are “extreme” from a nationalist perspective, go ahead and rein us in by means of the vision of equal citizenship we proposed to you two weeks ago. But no, it turns out that accusing us of “extremism” is only an excuse. The truth is that we are “extreme” because we are not even granted any partial, distorted or demagogic definition of democracy, and because of our insistence on realizing a democratic vision, even when it collides head-on with the privileged status of the dominant group.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702659 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israeli plan to jail anyone filming soldiers in the West Bank hits legal wall
    Attorney general says new legislation that outlaws documenting soldiers is unconstitutional; government to vote on bill anyway

    Jonathan LisSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 17, 2018 12:51 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-plan-to-jail-anyone-filming-soldiers-hit-legal-wall-1.6179262

    The present version of the proposed law to ban the filming of Israeli soldiers carrying out their duties is problematic from a constitutional standpoint, so much so that it may not be able to be enacted into law, said Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
    The bill will be brought on Sunday for approval of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which would give it official government backing.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The committee is expected to approve the bill in its present form, after which it will go to the full Knesset for its preliminary vote. The bill is expected to pass this reading too.
    But a senior politician in the government coalition told Haaretz that an agreement has been reached with MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), the sponsor of the bill, that after the bill passes its preliminary vote in the Knesset, it will be changed significantly in committee. The new version will ban interfering with IDF soldiers carrying out their duties and not a full ban on filming and documentation, a change that could pass constitutional muster.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702463 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Killing a child is ’not right’, but not wrong enough for an indictment -

    Israeli prosecutors concluded that the two soldiers acted properly when they shot and killed an unarmed teenager 10 meters away as he ran away from them

    Gideon LevySendSend me email alerts
    Jun 14, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-killing-a-child-is-not-right-but-not-wrong-enough-for-an-indictmen

    A.G. and A.D. presumably celebrated. Maybe they raised a toast with their lawyers at some fashionable pub, or perhaps they just basked in the good news with their families. It was the relief of their lives. The poor souls’ nightmare is over. How they harassed them when the teenager was killed, but all’s well that ends well: The central district prosecution decided last week to withdraw the indictment against them, two-and-a-half years after it was filed.
    True, it was sickeningly ridiculous that they were charged with “an act of haste and negligence” for shooting an unarmed, already wounded teenager in the back as he was running or his life. Still, it was an indictment, which itself was only filed after the deceased’s family and B’Tselem petitioned the High Court of Justice.
    For a moment it seemed as if the two would be given a suspended sentence of maybe a day, or even a one-penny fine for killing a boy who had not yet turned 16, even though he didn’t pose any danger or threat to them. But even this faint hope for a remnant of delayed and symbolic justice – for even the faintest likeness of justice – was dashed, and what could be more predictable than that?
    The indictment was withdrawn. A.G. and A.D. acted properly when they shot an unarmed teenager from a range of 10 meters as he ran from them. They violated nothing. Their act of killing wasn’t even hasty or negligent. They are good soldiers, excellent ones, even though the day after the killing a senior officer said, “Something that wasn’t right happened there.” Not right, but apparently not wrong enough. So go ahead, dear soldiers; continue to kill Palestinian teenagers who don’t endanger you. You can even kill them as they run away, because no harm will come to you.
    A.G. and A.D. were a platoon commander and a soldier from the 71st Battalion of the Armored Corps. They shot from behind and killed Samir Awad, who tried to cross the fence that constricts his village, as he ran from an ambush the soldiers had set up in the prickly-pear bushes. They shot him in the back and will never be punished for their act. They shot him in the leg first, and after he fell wounded and got back on his feet they managed to grab him by the arm, but he got away from them. Then they shot him twice from behind, a bullet to the back of his neck and a bullet in his back, killing him. So now they can calmly fly off to India or Costa Rica for their post-army trip – perhaps they’ve already done so – and forget everything. But the home of the boy they killed in Budrus will never be the same again.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702464 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Journalists beaten, cameras destroyed: Palestinian police break up anti-Abbas protest in Ramallah

    Dozens beaten and arrested, including foreign journalists, in breakup of demonstration against Abbas’s economic sanctions on Gaza

    Amira Hass and Jack Khoury Jun 14, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-palestinian-forcefully-police-break-up-anti-abbas-protest-in-ramal

    Palestinian Authority riot police forcefully broke up a demonstration in Ramallah Wednesday evening, enforcing a ban on protests citing the Id al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Ramadan month of fasting.
    The police arrested journalist and dozens of protesters, busted cameras and beat many of the demonstrators.
    The protesters called for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to remove sanctions he has imposed against Hamas and residents of the Gaza Strip, for Hamas’s failure to follow through on a power share deal.
    Palestinian security forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and shot bullets into the air. They confiscated cameras and smartphones, breaking a few of them and ordered journalists not to interview demonstrators. The police arrested foreign and Palestinian journalists and beat a large number of protesters. A number of Israeli citizens participated in the protest, too.
    In spite of the violent repression of the protest, a small group of demonstrators managed to evade the police and gathered on side streets, chanting slogans such as: “Woe to the disgrace and woe to the shame,” and “With spirit and blood we will redeem you, Gaza.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701967 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Top U.S. officials to Haaretz: Peace plan will be basis for talks, not ’take it or leave it’ document

    Senior officials say the plan will be revealed soon and stress that Trump sees Palestinian President Abbas as the only ’relevant address’

    Amir Tibon
    Jun 13, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-white-house-to-haaretz-peace-plan-is-basis-for-talks-not-blueprint

    WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East won’t be a “take it or leave it” proposal, but rather a basis for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, administration officials told Haaretz this week. They said the plan will be revealed soon, and that the White House hopes to share it not only with the leaders in the region, but also with the general public.
    The officials said previous reports that the plan would be released immediately at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan were incorrect. “We hope to release it in the near future, but not immediately after Ramadan,” one official explained. “Our top priority is to put it out at the right moment, so that the various spoilers who don’t want us to succeed have less of a chance to cause damage.” 
    >> Palestinians to U.S.: No ’Deal of the Century’ if Jerusalem Not Addressed ■ U.S. Hopes to Unveil Breakthrough in Gaza Cease-fire Alongside Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan
    While there have been some reports asserting that the plan will be a blueprint for a final peace agreement that the two sides will have to either accept or reject, the officials who spoke with Haaretz said those reports, too, were inaccurate.
    “We have said all along that we don’t want to impose an agreement. So presenting the plan as a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of document would be inconsistent with that,” one official explained. “We are a facilitator. It would be arrogant to assume we know better than anyone else,” said a second official. “At the end of the day, the two sides need to negotiate and reach an agreement. We want to help them reach that point, but we can’t structure the agreement for them.”
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    The officials criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to engage with the administration, a position he has held to ever since Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. “We assume there will be fair and substantial criticism of the plan, but we are astonished that Abbas won’t even see it,” one official said. “It would be a shame for the Palestinian people if the Palestinian leadership refuses to engage with this plan.”
    At the same time, the officials stressed that the Trump administration is not looking for a way to bypass Abbas, and is not speaking to any other Palestinian political figures. “We are not trying to engage with any Palestinian politicians except President Abbas. He is the relevant address, and he is the one we hope to work with,” one official said. 
    >> Trump Mideast envoy: The Palestinians deserve so much more than Saeb Erekat ■ Erekat fires back: Trump administration is killing the peace process, not me
    Last month Haaretz reported that the only recent contact between high-ranking Palestinian and American officials was a meeting between Abbas’ security chief, Majid Faraj, and Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State and headed the CIA at the time of the meeting. Palestinian officials explained that the meeting focused only on security and intelligence issues, which are not included in the Palestinian Authority’s political and diplomatic boycott of the administration.

    The administration officials emphasized that they are encouraged by signs that Arab countries are getting closer to Israel, but added that they have no illusions about the Arab world “abandoning” the Palestinians as part of an alliance with Israel. “It’s not realistic to expect that the Arabs would abandon the Palestinians. That’s not going to happen,” one of the officials stated. The Arab states, in the administration’s view, can help encourage the two sides to move forward with negotiations – but aren’t expected to force anything on either side.
    Under previous administrations, there were different approaches with regard to public exposure of detailed plans for Middle East peace. The George W. Bush administration released its “Road Map for Peace” in a speech by the president. The peace plan of former Secretary of State John Kerry, by contrast, was never made public (although drafts of it were published by Haaretz last June.)
    The current administration is considering making its peace plan available to the public, but only after its final version is shared with the leaders in the region. “We want the public to know what is in it, at the right time, because the public needs to support it, not just the leaders,” said one official. “At the end of the day, the public is part of the process. The leaders need to have public support for going forward with this.” 
    The officials who spoke with Haaretz could not share specific details about the plan, which they said is close to being finalized. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will travel to the region next week with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, to discuss the plan with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and possibly also other countries.
    The Trump administration’s main foreign policy focus this week, of course, was the summit in Singapore in which Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The officials who spoke with Haaretz said the summit proves that Trump’s unusual approach to foreign policy is working, adding that “this event should give hope to people in the Middle East that things can get better.”
    One official contended that “this event shows how suddenly and unexpectedly things can change, and how intractable positions can potentially be softened and modified. The members of our peace team have a lot of experience as negotiators. We know that positions can change. We know that views can be morphed.”
    The officials said a Middle East peace deal is still a top priority for Trump. “The president has the same level of dedication on this issue as he does on the Korean issue,” they maintained. 
    When asked if it is possible that following his summit with Kim, Trump will lose interest in an Israeli-Palestinian deal since he no longer needs a foreign policy achievement to present to the American public, one official used a metaphor from Trump’s real estate career to explain why he’s convinced that that’s not going to happen.
    “The president built Trump Tower, and then what did he do after that? He went and he built another five Trump Towers,” the official said.
    “He didn’t just stop with one.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701969 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Silwan, a model for oppression - Haaretz Editorial
    `
    The state and a right-wing group are shamefully fighting to evict Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood, citing technical grounds

    Haaretz EditorialSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 11, 2018 4:42 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/silwan-a-model-for-oppression-1.6163339

    Even given the corruption and legal chicanery typical of the settlement enterprise, the case of the Silwan neighborhood’s Batan al-Hawa section stands out. In this case, the state, through the Justice Ministry’s administrator general, transferred an entire neighborhood of 700 people to right-wing group Ateret Cohanim without bothering to inform the Palestinians living in this part of Jerusalem.
    To be more precise, in 2002 the administrator general released the land in the center of Silwan to a trust established way back in 1899. A year earlier, with the administrator’s approval, three Ateret Cohanim activists were appointed trustees. Since then, the organization has invested considerable efforts to get rid of the Palestinian families; to date a number of families have been evicted and dozens are conducting legal battles to fight eviction.
    On Sunday, around 100 Silwan residents came to the Supreme Court building for a hearing on their petition to the High Court of Justice against the original decision to release the land to the trust. The petition addresses the question of whether the original trust was for the land or for the buildings on it, all but one of which was demolished in the 1940s.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701275 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • After killing Razan al-Najjar, IDF assassinates her character Haaretz.com - Gideon Levy | Jun. 10, 2018 | 12:47 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-israeli-army-doesn-t-believe-in-its-own-cause-1.6158727
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6138422.1528576646!/image/4024653077.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/4024653077.jpg

    A few short words – “Razan al-Najjar isn’t an angel of mercy” – sum up the depths of Israeli propaganda. Avichay Edraee, the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesman, who also speaks in my name, is a representative of an army of mercy that has also now appointed itself the judge of the measure of mercy in a medic treating Palestinian wounded on Gaza’s border with Israel, and who Israeli army soldiers mercilessly killed. After killing her, it was also necessary to assassinate her character.

    Propaganda is a tool that serves many countries. The less just their policies are, the more they expand their propaganda efforts. Sweden doesn’t need propaganda. North Korea does. In Israel, it’s called hasbara – public diplomacy – because why would it need propaganda? Recently its propaganda has sunk to such despicable lows that nothing can better prove that its justifications have run out, its excuses gone, that truth is the enemy and that all that’s left are lies and slander.

    It is directed mostly for domestic consumption. Around the world, few gaza people would buy it in any event. But as part of the desperate effort to persist in the psychological repression and denial, in the failure to tell ourselves the truth and the evasion of any responsibility – everything is acceptable when it comes to these efforts.

    A medic in a nursing uniform has been shot to death by Israeli army snipers – as have journalists with press vests and an amputee in a wheelchair. If we rely on Israeli army snipers to know what they are doing, counting on them to be the most accurate in the world, then these people have been shot deliberately. Surely if the army had believed in the justice of the military campaign that it is waging in Gaza, it would have taken responsibility for these killings, apologizing, expressing regret and offering compensation.

    But when the earth is burning under our feet, when we know the truth and understand that shooting at demonstrators and killing more than 120 of them and rendering hundreds of others disabled is more akin to a massacre, one cannot apologize or express regret. And then the army spokesman’s aggressive, clumsy, embarrassing and shameful propaganda machine springs into action – a thunderous voice from the Defense Ministry that only compounds what has been done.

    Maj. Edraee released a video on Thursday in which a nurse, perhaps Najjar, is seen from the back, flinging away a smoke grenade that soldiers had thrown at her. Edraee would have done the same himself, but when it comes to desperate propaganda, it’s a smoking gun: Najjar is a terrorist. She had also said that she was a human shield. Certainly a medic is a human defender.

    An Israeli army investigation, based only on the testimony of the soldiers of course, showed that she had not been deliberately shot. Clearly. The propaganda machine went further and hinted that she may have been killed by Palestinian weapons fire, which has rarely been used over the past two months.

    Maybe she shot herself? Anything is possible. And do we remember any Israeli army investigation showing otherwise? Israel’s ambassador in London, Mark Regev, who is another top, polished propagandist, was quick to tweet about the “medical volunteer” in quotation marks, as if a Palestinian could be a medical volunteer. Instead, he wrote, her death is “yet another reminder of Hamas’ brutality.”

    The Israeli army kills a medic in a white uniform, in an outrageous violation of international law, which provides protection for medical personnel in combat zones. And that’s despite the fact that the Gaza border does not constitute a combat zone. But it’s Hamas that is the brutal one.

    Kill me, Mr. Ambassador, but who could possibly follow this twisted, sick logic? And who would buy such cheap propaganda other than some of the members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — the largest representative organization of U.K. Jewry – along with Merav Ben Ari, the Knesset member who was quick to take advantage of the opportunity and state: “It turns out that the medic, yes that one, wasn’t just a medic, as you see.” Yes, that one. As you see.

    Israel should have been shocked by the killing of the medic. Najjar’s innocent face should have touched every Israeli’s heart. Medical organizations should have spoken out. Israelis should have hidden their faces in embarrassment. But that only could have happened if Israel had believed in the justice of its cause. When fairness is gone, all that is left is propaganda. And from that standpoint, maybe this new low is a herald of good news.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701063 via Loutre


  • Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict

    We may never know the name of the soldier who killed Razan al-Najjar. But we do know the names of those who gave the order enabling him to kill her

    Amira Hass Jun 05, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-anonymous-snipers-and-a-lethal-verdict-1.6151967

    We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know.
    In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation.
    Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions: Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest?
    Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first?
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    The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives.
    >> ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans
    There are lots of pictures of Najjar on the internet: She stood out as one of the few women among the first aid teams operating at the “March of Return” protest sites since March 30.
    After two years’ training, she volunteered for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. She happily gave interviews, including to The New York Times’ correspondent in Gaza, speaking about the ability of women to act under difficult conditions no less so than men – and even better than them. She knew how dangerous her job was. A paramedic was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire on May 14, dozens of others were injured and suffocated as they ran to rescue the wounded.
    Najjar, 21 at the time of her death, was from the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. In interviews, she was not asked about the wars and Israeli military attacks during her childhood and later. It is hard to find their scars in her pleasant face seen on screen. In every interview, she is seen wrapped in a head scarf of a different color – and each time it is wrapped around her head stylishly, meticulously, showing an investment of time and thought. The color reveals a love for life, despite all she had gone through.
    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.
    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.
    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.
    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/699991 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel uses Diaspora Jews as human shields

    Israel is happy to exploit the world’s Jews, but doesn’t care that its actions put them at risk

    Yossi Klein May 31, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-uses-diaspora-jews-as-human-shields-1.6135014

    Israel is a danger to the world’s Jews. It calls itself their protector, but doesn’t care about the consequences for them of its actions. Jews abroad pay the price of hostility to Israel, yet the state insists on wrapping them around it like a suicide vest. You want to hurt me? Okay, but be aware that they’ll blow up first.
    The effects on overseas Jews aren’t part of Israel’s military calculations. It will do what it does even if it hurts them. But that won’t keep it from claiming to represent them, to speak in their name and to use them as hostages. They are the human shield. Your loyalty to your Judaism, it says, comes before your loyalty to your homeland.
    The Judaism in whose name the state speaks is not that of most Diaspora Jews. Israel limits or excludes their Judaism. Israel’s Judaism is that of a minority that took over the country, and in the United States it is more attentive to evangelical Christians than it is to Reform or Conservative Jews. The state fights them, yet uses them.
    Israeli governments always used Diaspora Jews. Israeliness hid behind Judaism. The dangers to which Israel exposed Diaspora Jews never deterred it. In 1956 it used Egyptian Jews to sabotage their state. It sent Jonathan Pollard to spy against his own country. It imposes itself on the world’s Jews, forcing them to debate their loyalties while insisting on equating criticism of Israel with an assault on Judaism and all Jews — that is, anti-Semitism. We have plenty of that kind of anti-Semitism right here. By this formula, half of Israel is anti-Semitic because it can’t stand the government. But the efficacy of accusing the world of anti-Semitism is waning. Overuse has worn out the shame mechanism and moved up its expiry date. Gone are the days we could justify a strike on Gaza with what was done to us in Auschwitz.
    Israel won’t admit this, but from its perspective there’s an upside to anti-Semitism: It “proves” foreign countries’ failure to protect their Jews. Their negligence underscores our excellence. The head of state, who is also the head of the world’s Jews, is proud of the security he gives his Jews. Three years ago, after terror attacks against French Jews, he called on the community to come to Israel because their country can’t protect them. (Some 5,000 Jews have died in terror attacks in Israel.)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/699708 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Russia says only Syrian army should be on country’s southern border with Israel

    Israel believes Russia may agree to withdrawing Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from Israel-Syria border

    Noa Landau and Reuters May 28, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/russia-says-only-syrian-army-should-be-on-country-s-southern-border-1.61198

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that only Syrian government troops should have a presence on the country’s southern border which is close to Jordan and Israel, the RIA news agency reported.
    Lavrov was cited as making the comments at a joint news conference in Moscow with Jose Condungua Pacheco, his counterpart from Mozambique.
    Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave on Wednesday for a short visit to Russia. He is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shvigo, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Lieberman is expected to discuss with his hosts the recent events in the Middle East, primarily the tension between Israel and Iran over the Iranian military presence in Syria.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset Monday, saying that “there is no room for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria.”
    Lieberman said that “these things, of course, reflect not only our position, I can safely say that they reflect the positions of others in the Middle East and beyond the Middle East.”
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    On Sunday, Haaretz reported that Israeli political and military officials believe Russia is willing to discuss a significant distancing of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli officials.
    The change in Russia’s position has become clearer since Israel’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
    Russia recently renewed efforts to try to get the United States involved in agreements that would stabilize Syria. The Russians might be willing to remove the Iranians from the Israeli border, though not necessarily remove the forces linked to them from the whole country.
    Last November, Russia and the United States, in coordination with Jordan, forged an agreement to decrease the possibility of friction in southern Syria, after the Assad regime defeated rebel groups in the center of the country. Israel sought to keep the Iranians and Shi’ite militias at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, east of the Damascus-Daraa road (or, according to another version, east of the Damascus-Suwayda road, about 70 kilometers from the border).

    FILE – Iran’s Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, in Aleppo, Syria, in photo provided October 20, 2017/AP
    According to Israeli intelligence, in Syria there are now around 2,000 Iranian officers and advisers, members of the Revolutionary Guards, around 9,000 Shi’ite militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and around 7,000 Hezbollah fighters. Israel believes that the Americans are now in a good position to reach a more effective arrangement in Syria in coordination with the Russians under the slogan “Without Iran and without ISIS.”
    The United States warned Syria on Friday it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to ceasefire violations, saying it was concerned about reports of an impending military operation in a de-escalation zone in the country’s southwest.
    Washington also cautioned Assad against broadening the conflict.
    “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement late on Friday.
    A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces fresh from their victory this week against an Islamic State pocket in south Damascus were moving into the southern province of Deraa.
    Syrian state-run media have reported that government aircraft have dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Deraa urging fighters to disarm.
    The U.S. warning comes weeks after a similar attack on a de-escalation zone in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. ground and air forces repelled the more than four-hour attack, killing perhaps as many as 300 pro-Assad militia members, many of them Russian mercenaries.
    Backed by Russian warplanes, ground forces from Iran and allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have helped Assad drive rebels from Syria’s biggest cities, putting him in an unassailable military position.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/697904 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The bill to protect Elor Azaria - Haaretz Editorial

    Israel is set to consider a proposal banning any photographing of soldiers if carried out with the intention of ’undermining the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents’

    Haaretz Editorial May 27, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-bill-to-protect-elor-azaria-1.6117404

    With Elor Azaria’s release from prison this month, Israel seems to have drawn the wrong conclusions from a serious incident. Today the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to consider a dangerous proposal banning any photographing, recording or filming of soldiers in the course of their duties, if it is carried out with the intention of “undermining the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents.” The bill also bans the publication of photos or videos in the media or on social networks with similar intentions. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to five years in prison.
    The message is clear: B’Tselem, not Azaria, is the real criminal and Israeli democracy must protect itself from the human rights organization’s future crimes. The bill’s aim was made clearer in its explanatory notes and that is to silence criticism of the army, and in particular to prevent human rights organizations from documenting the Israeli army’s actions in the territories.
    It might be noted that any footage of soldiers on such missions can be presented as an attempt “to undermine the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents.” The bill in fact seeks to almost entirely prevent the photographing of soldiers, even if it is to verify that they are upholding the law of war and the army’s orders. The immediate result of such a prohibition is serious harm to the possibility of protecting human rights and overseeing the army’s activity.
    A democratic country cannot base criminal offenses on such a vague foundation, certainly not when it comes to an offense relating to freedom of expression. The bill does serious harm to freedom of the press and the public’s right to know. The public has a right to know what the reality is and especially what the “people’s army” is doing in its name and on its behalf. That is why censorship can only be exercised in cases of serious danger to state security and not in an effort to head off criticism of the army.
    The message such legislation would convey, if passed, is that Israel has a great deal to hide regarding the IDF’s activities. Such a message, beyond its profound damage to Israel’s status as a democracy, also has harsh legal repercussions. The main protection against indicting Israeli soldiers and commanders in international tribunals for violating the law of war is the assumption that Israel investigates complaints against its soldiers itself, and deals with them fairly. The more Israel acts to cover up its soldiers’ actions, the more the opposite assumption is substantiated — laying the ground for the indictment of Israeli soldiers and commanders in such criminal proceedings.
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    As “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” so too camouflage and concealment are the most effective contaminators. A country and army that have nothing to hide, that act to seek out and punish those who violate their code of combat, don’t need legislation in this spirit and must oppose it.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/697376 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Dutch TV comedian blasts Israel with spoof of Eurovision winner ‘Toy’ -

    Sanne Wallis de Vries’ pastiche of Netta Barzilai’s winning song criticizes Israeli army for killing of Gazans and has the chorus ‘Look how beautifully I launch missiles’

    Itay Stern May 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-dutch-tv-comedian-blasts-israel-with-spoof-of-eurovision-winner-to

    A satirical Dutch TV show has lampooned Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest-winning song “Toy,” with new lyrics that harshly attack Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.
    Popular Dutch comedian Sanne Wallis de Vries, starring in the eponymous “Samme Wallis de Vries Show,” appeared looking like Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai in the spoof, sporting both a kimono and similar distinctive hairstyle.
    skip - Sanne Wallis de Vries’ version of Toy
    Sanne Wallis de Vries’ version of Toy - דלג

    The first verse of her song, freely translated from the original Dutch, says: “Look at me, I’m a very sweet country / The world’s leaders are eating out of my hand / With one kiss I put out every fire. We’re throwing a party, are you coming? Later, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which will be empty soon anyway.”
    >> Eurovision organizers tell fans to hold off on booking flights to Israel - sparking instant controversy
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    Just before the chorus, De Vries replaces the original transition that mentioned Wonder Woman with the words: “From Haifa to the Dead Sea, there are fireworks and kosher satay / Come dance with me to the music.”
    Instead of the chorus where Barzilai sings “I’m not your toy,” the Dutch comedian sings, “Look how beautifully I launch missiles.”
    The video accompanying De Vries shows footage of the Palestinian protests on the Gaza border last week, including scenes of smoke and Gazans being taken to hospital on stretchers.
    When De Vries sings about Israel’s 70th anniversary, she notes, “The Palestinians aren’t invited to her party.” As she sings, in the background viewers are shown the opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, with special emphasis on President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

    The spoof version triggered much discussion online, with some Dutch viewers tweeting that the song was “anti-Israel” and also “Jew-hating.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/696451 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Still too ‘tough on Arabs’ - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Police violence against the Arab community in Israel appears part of a racist policy led by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government

    Haaretz Editorial May 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/still-too-tough-on-arabs-1.6098764

    Over the weekend there was a demonstration in Haifa protesting the killings along the Gaza border fence. The violent suppression of this protest and the detention of 21 demonstrators, including Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center that advocates for Israeli Arabs’ rights, are a further sign of the growing restrictions on the democratic space available to this community.
    The harsh events in Gaza should have brought multitudes out onto the streets, particularly in light of the complexities plaguing relations between Arab citizens and the state. In practice, the protest in Arab society was minor and measured: a partial strike lasting only a day and local protest gatherings. Despite this, the police failed to contain the demonstrations.
    True, the protest in Haifa on Friday evening had no permit, but these are precisely the times when the police must use their discretion and show restraint. They should have used the presence of Farah, a veteran activist who once headed the Arab student union and who for years has been a partner to civic initiatives for Arab civil rights and against racism. A wise police force would have seen his presence as a channel for dialogue and an opportunity for calming tensions. Instead, the police used him to quell the protest.
    In footage taken at the demonstration one sees that the police did not suffice with arresting him but marched him handcuffed through Haifa’s streets as a warning to others. Even though Farah was seen walking, he was hospitalized the next day; relatives said one of his knees had been broken in detention.
    The Arab community is calling for an investigation into the police’s conduct in the demonstration, and the police are expected to carry out an internal probe into the Farah case. But this doesn’t suffice; the violence by the police against Arab protesters appears not random but intentional, part of an inflammatory and racist policy against the Arab community in Israel that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is leading.
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    Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich talk a lot about the importance of making police services more accessible to the Arab community, using every public platform to announce the opening of new police stations and the recruitment of Arab police officers. But the conduct in Haifa shows yet again that the police showed unwarranted “resolve” while ignoring the ramifications on the Arab community’s faith in law enforcement.
    The Public Security Ministry and police brass must understand that the delegitimization of elected Arab officials and prominent Arab activists, as well as the suppression of any political protest by brutal arrests, won’t contribute to a sense of trust. On the contrary, police violence against Arab citizens widens the circle of mutual suspicion and deepens this community’s alienation.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/695809 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Egypt and Qatar working on long-term ceasefire, Hamas disarmament plans for Gaza - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-egypt-qatar-working-on-long-term-ceasefire-hamas-disarmament-in-ga

    According to diplomatic sources in Israel, Egypt seeks to promote reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, expand the Palestinian Authority’s role in the Gaza Strip, initiate economic relief and arrange for the gradual dismantling of the Hamas military wing. Qatar is proposing that an unaffiliated council of experts manage the Gaza Strip, a halt to Hamas arming itself with offensive weapons and getting international organizations involved to monitor the process. Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process, is trying to organize a new regional forum that will include Israel, Egypt, the PA and the UN to create and operate a long-term aid mechanism for the Strip.

    From Israel’s perspective, the gaps with Hamas are too great to bridge at the moment. Israel is concerned that a “Hezbollah model” could emerge in the Gaza Strip, in which Hamas keeps its weapons while the PA takes responsibility for managing civilian issues. It is also skeptical about international monitoring mechanisms to prevent arms smuggling, which failed in an agreement brokered by the Bush administration after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
    Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and the organization’s current strongman, gave a rare interview Wednesday to the Al Jazeera network. Sinwar, who spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons for murdering Palestinians who cooperated with Israel, was singing a new tune. He announced that Hamas had reached an understanding with Egypt that the demonstrations along the border with Israel would continue but would not deteriorate into a military confrontation. He then praised the “popular nonviolent struggle,” a new position coming from a man who for years headed Hamas’ military wing, which fired rockets at and dug tunnels into Israeli territory.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/695505 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel and the U.S. are triggering a risky, unnecessary war of choice in the Middle East

    Triggering a Risky, Unnecessary War of Choice in the Middle East
    But neither Israel’s prime minister, nor other regional U.S. allies, have any assurances America will stick around to manage the dangerous fallout from the Iran deal’s implosion

    Daniel Levy May 10, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-and-the-u-s-are-triggering-a-risky-unnecessary-war-in-the-m

    We will probably never know the extent of responsibility Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears for the U.S. withdrawal, under President Trump, from the Iran nuclear deal.
    U.S.- Iranian relations have certainly long been poisonous, independent of Israel. Congressional enthusiasm for the deal was always low and, within the GOP, support for it near non-existent.
    Still, Netanyahu and the campaign he spearheaded certainly helped to create part of the backdrop to Trump‘s announcement; indeed, in his announcement, Trump gave Israel direct credit for supposedlysupplying “definitive proof” that Iran’s nuclear intentions were never peaceful. Not for the first time, a U.S. presidential text read like it was written in Jerusalem. 

    Israel will now have to live with the consequences of that success. Following Trump’s announcement, the nuclear deal is now on a clear path to unravelling completely, with only a small chance of reversing that trajectory.
    Iran has been honoring the stipulations of the JCPOA, something that Netanyahu and the deal’s many critics said would never happen, and they have produced no evidence to the contrary.
    The concerns which the U.S. and Israel had raised regarding the limitations of the deal, and with which Europeans, at least, were sympathetic – the sunset clause arrangements regarding Iranian nuclear energy, ballistic missile development, and especially the challenges posed by Iran regionally – all will now have to be addressed in an atmosphere of growing crisis.
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    That atmosphere will only be heightened now the nuclear issue is presumably back on the table, while tensions are escalating on Israel’s northern border, and the value of American international commitments have been significantly devalued. 
    Without batting an eye-lid, President Trump has effectively just called his European allies (as well as the Chinese and Russians) a bunch of morons for negotiating what he described as a “horrible,” "one-sided," “decayed,” "rotting" and “defective” deal.
    Despite his recent protestations that a shortcoming of the nuclear deal was its failure to address Iran’s regional ambitions, Netanyahu was among those who pushed hardest to keep the nuclear and regional files separate in any P5+1 dealings with Iran. He has now helped bring those two together.
    After Trump’s withdrawal decision there might be an attempt to create a semblance of continuity – Europeans and Iranians might explore avenues for retaining the deal which was, after all, blessed by the UN, and they could attempt to address the additional concerns raised by the U.S. But the odds are heavily stacked against that succeeding, if it is even attempted. 

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran’s nuclear program, in Tel Aviv, April 30, 2018.JACK GUEZ/AFP
    Europe cannot salvage the deal without the U.S. Thus far, Iran has implemented its side of the bargain without the reciprocal economic easing really materializing – that is primarily because European banks and companies feared being frozen out by U.S. financial institutions. Now what was speculation and risk management from European business has become fact, even fewer in the European private sector will risk extensive business dealings with Iran.

    A strong economic stand by Europe against U.S. direct and secondary sanctions, possibly even at the WTO, might make a difference. There are few signs that Europe is preparing such a response. 
    On the Iranian side the smart money will be on this strengthening those who cautioned against any expectations from the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, to honor agreements. 
    To try and claim, as the White House has done recently, that this exit could be a prelude to a better deal is to stretch incredulity to breaking point.
    The logic of Trump’s announcement is that he and his team expect one of three scenarios to play out - regime change in Iran, capitulation by Iran or confrontation with Iran.
    The music suggests that that the U.S. is betting on scenarios one or two. Neither option has much going for it other than wishful thinking. American-driven attempts at regime change have a very poor record indeed in the Middle East, and anyone who thinks that Iran will agree to terms dictated by Washington, Riyadh and Jerusalem has not been paying attention.
    All of which points in the direction of an increasing likelihood of the gloves coming off and of direct confrontation between some combination of the key protagonists (the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia on one side, Iran, Hezbollah and allied militias, including in Iraq, on the other.)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/693180 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbyn Orchestrated Offensive in the UK
    https://orientxxi.info/magazine/anti-semitism-jeremy-corbyn-orchestrated-offensive-in-the-uk,2446

    For months, a campaign has been aimed at destabilising British #Labour_Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accused of anti-Semitism. The right-wing party, Tony Blair’s heir, and pro-Israel circles are targeting both Corbyn’s left-wing line and his support for the Palestinian people. Britain’s opposition leader should have plenty on his plate at the moment, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is spending much of his time instead putting out fires as he is attacked from within and without his party for (...)

    #Magazine

    / #United_Kingdom, #Political_crisis, #Antisemitism, Labour Party

    « https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/enough-is-enough-protest-labour-mps-join-hundreds-of-activists-outside-p »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/17/jeremy-corbyn-accused-of-lacking-moral-clarity-on-antisemitism »
    « https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhaff/136/136.pdf »
    « https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/labour-party-membership-soars-by-33000-in-four-days-since-general- »
    « https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-election-result-vote-share-increased-1945-clement-attle »
    « http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36177333 »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/14/ken-livingstone-i-didnt-say-hitler-was-a-zionist »
    « http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/holocaust-service-israel »
    « https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Chakrabarti-Inquiry-Report-30June16.pdf »
    « https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-antisemitism-jeremy-corbyn-ruth-smeeth-jewish-mp-accused-of-co »
    « https://cst.org.uk/news/blog/2018/02/22/new-publication-antisemitic-content-on-twitter »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/27/labour-activist-marc-wadsworth-expelled-from-party-over-antisemitism-ro »
    « http://www.lfi.org.uk/in-parliament »
    « https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby »
    « https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-anti-bds-ministry-pushes-to-keep-its-activities-secret-1. »
    « https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/jewish-labour-movement-worked-israeli-embassy-spy »
    « https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n09/stephen-sedley/defining-anti-semitism »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/new-antisemitism-row-for-labour-over-fringe-speakers-holocaust-remarks- »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/27/labour-denial-antisemitism-party-dark-place »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/29/left-jews-labour-antisemitism-jewish-identity »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/03/jeremy-corbyn-called-irresponsible-after-attending-radical-jewish-event »
    « https://news.sky.com/story/jeremy-corbyn-criticised-for-meeting-radical-group-jewdas-amid-anti-semiti »
    « https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/23/corbyn-criticised-after-backing-artist-behind-antisemitic-mural »
    « https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/03/combat-left-anti-semitism-corbynism-must-change-way-it-sees-world »
    « https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/04/jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-labour-party »


  • Hamas in message to Israel: Willing to negotiate long-term truce -

    According to intelligence assessments, the organization is still in dire distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past

    Amos Harel May 07, 2018

    Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-hamas-in-message-to-israel-willing-to-negotiate-long-term-truce-1.

    Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have recently conveyed messages to Israel indicating their willingness to negotiate a long term cease-fire in the enclave. These messages were passed through different channels on several occasions over the last few months. Hamas wants to tie the cease-fire with an easing of the siege on Gaza, permission to embark on large-scale infrastructure projects and a prisoner and body exchange deal.
    As far as is known, Israel has not responded clearly to the messages.
    Reports presented to senior defense establishment officials and the political echelons say that tensions in Gaza will remain high even after the massive Nakba Day demonstration Hamas has planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the expulsion of Arabs from their homes during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence. According to intelligence assessments, Hamas is still in dire and unprecedented strategic distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past.
    The Hamas leadership is engaged in a lively debate regarding the negotiation of a cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners and bodies. The daily Israel Hayom reported two weeks ago that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is in favor, while the overall Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is opposed. The paper claimed that Sinwar accused Haniyeh of yielding to Iranian pressure in forming his positions.
    At the same time, reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are still on hold after the assassination attempt on the PA’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza in March. The PA blamed Hamas for detonating explosives close to Hamdallah’s convoy while Hamas blamed internal rivalry within the PA and attributed the attempt to the head of the General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, Majid Faraj, who was also in the convoy.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/692414 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Winner of prestigious Israeli award to donate prize money to human rights organizations

    Feminist and scientist Evelyn Fox Keller, a former professor at MIT, will give her Dan David Prize money to anti-occupation organization B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights

    Haaretz.com | Amira Hass May 07, 2018 8:11 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-winner-of-dan-david-prize-to-donate-proceeds-to-fight-occupation-1
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6061046.1525669949!/image/4212496870.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/4212496870.jpg

    One of the winners of this year’s Dan David Prize plans to give the prize money to three Israeli human rights organizations.

    Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller, one of nine people who received the award at Tel Aviv University Sunday night, will give the money to B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights.

    The scientist and feminist thinker told Haaretz that the moment she found out she had won the prize, she decided she could accept it only if she gave the money to organizations combating Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

    In a written statement to Haaretz on Sunday, the 82-year-old, who last taught at MIT wrote, “I am deeply grateful to the Dan David Foundation both for the honor conferred by the prize, and for the opportunity it provides me to support those elements of Israeli society committed to peaceful coexistence and to the protection of human rights for all.”

    Asked why she didn’t just refuse the prize, since it is granted by an Israeli university which is part of the system and doesn’t criticize it, she replied, “I didn’t see it that way. I am accepting the prize in support of people who resist the system. I didn’t see what would be served by turning it down. As a political statement, it is stronger if I take the prize and give it away.”

    The interview with Fox Keller took place last Thursday, less than 24 hours after she landed in Israel. She said she decided to announce her plans for the prize money through this interview rather than during the ceremony because “I didn’t want it to be a ‘fuck you’ statement. I don’t want to be the focus of the night.”

    On Saturday, she revealed her plans to her two co-winners in the “Past – History of Science” category, Prof. Lorraine Daston of Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Prof. Simon Schaffer of Cambridge University. The other six winners were in the categories of “Present – Bioethics” and “Future – Personalized Medicine.” The $3 million purse will be evenly divided among the nine of them.

    The prize, named for the international entrepreneur and philanthropist who established it, is granted annually “for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world,” according to its website. Fox Keller won for “pioneering work on language, gender, and science” which “has been hugely influential on shaping our views of the history of science.” Her research specialties are theoretical physics, mathematical biology, feminist thought and history of science.

    The website’s reference to her “pioneering work” refers to her discovery of the degree to which modern scientific thought and its depiction of natural phenomena were shaped by patriarchal ideology and language. For instance, biologists searched for a “master” molecule – a dominant molecule that would operate an entire system – rather than recognizing the cooperation and self-organization of the various component parts.

    Christina Agapakis, a biologist and founding editor of “Method Quarterly,” wrote in her introduction to an interview with Fox Keller in 2014, “Throughout her career she has pushed the boundaries of science, confidently crossing the borders that separate disciplines and breaking down the barriers keeping women out of the highest reaches of scientific achievement.”

    Asked whether she thought Israeli universities should speak out against infringements on Palestinians’ academic freedom — such as Israel’s refusal to let students from the Gaza Strip study in the West Bank and obstacles it places before foreign academics and students who wish to teach or study in the occupied territories — Fox Keller responded, “Of course I think they should, but they don’t. And they don’t want to and don’t have a voice.”

    It’s not just Tel Aviv University that “doesn’t have a will,” she added. “None of the universities in Israel have a will.”

    Her last visit here was 10 years ago, when she was hosted by the Weizmann Institute of Science. She said she was shocked by the changes in her friends, who used to consider themselves liberals and socialists, yet had no idea what was happening in the Palestinian territories under Israeli rule.

    “The biggest change is probably the children, the effect the army had,” she said.

    “I said [then that] Israel makes me ashamed of being a Jew,” she added. “Yes, I feel the same today.”

    Asked why she should feel that way, since she’s an American Jew rather than an Israeli, she replied, “It was just a gut response. I cannot defend it ... [except to say that] my political commitments are whatever remains of my Jewish leftist heritage.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/692370 via Loutre


  • Israel braces for Iran missile attack from Syria over last month’s deadly strike

    Israeli officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards

    Amos Harel May 06, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-braces-for-iran-missile-attack-from-syria-over-t4-airstrike

    Israeli defense officials are bracing for the possibility of an Iranian revenge attack from Syria in the near future, in the form of rocket and missile launches at northern Israel.
    Officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran blames Israel for this attack.
    >> Iran’s proxy wars: The four battlegrounds Iran uses to threaten Israel and the Middle East | Analysis: Despite Iran’s threats, Israeli army pushes aggressive line against Tehran in Syria >>
    Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon. Aside from Hezbollah commanders, operatives from the Shi’ite militias that Iran funds in Syria have also been active in the preparations.
    The operational planning, however, is being done by members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/692147 via Nouvelles d’Orient