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  • In nearing deal with Israel on Gaza, Hamas wins achievements through military resistance

    Netanyahu, who has no clear goal on Gaza, prefers to be weak on terror and not find himself in an endless war in the Strip

    Amos Harel
    Aug 15, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-government-warming-to-prospective-cease-fire-with-hamas-

    The two sides clashing in the Gaza Strip, Israel and Hamas, seemed to be closer on Tuesday evening than anytime during the past few months to “the small arrangement” – a full cease-fire that includes a halt to all acts of violence, alongside the first easing of the blockade on Gaza.
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    If the efforts to broker the deal by the United Nations and Egyptian intelligence work out, and optimism in Israeli defense circles could be heard for the first time on the matter Tuesday evening, then it is possible that quiet could return to the border between Israel and Gaza for at least a few months.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has examined the possibility of calling early elections over the past few days, because of the coalition crisis over the law on drafting the ultra-Orthodox, along with other considerations. A stable cease-fire in Gaza would allow Netanyahu to conduct the election campaign from a position of relative stability, without having to continually fight back against the accusations that he has abandoned the residents of the south to rockets and incendiary kites.
    >> Hamas is exploiting Netanyahu’s unwillingness to go to war | Analysis

    Minister of Defense Lieberman, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Eisenkot at the graduation ceremony for officers’ course at Training Base 1.Ariel Hermoni / Ministry of Defense
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    The negative side of the understandings with Hamas for Netanyahu is that he is in practice negotiating with Hamas. His denials haven’t convinced anyone. Netanyahu knows exactly to whom the mediators are delivering his answers. It has happened in the past too, under Ehud Olmert’s government after Operation Cast Lead, and on Netanyahu’s watch too, after both Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge. But it seems that this time it is even clearer and more unforgiving.
    It will also be a victory from Hamas’ point of view. The organization began escalating the tensions along the border with mass protests on March 30, from a position of deep distress. The understandings are expected to ease the Israeli pressure on the Gaza Strip and give Hamas breathing room. At the same time, the understandings promise Hamas another achievement: being identified as an important and legitimate partner for regional agreements. And Hamas achieved all this through military resistance, in complete opposition to the line taken by its rival Palestinian camp, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

    The step that is now coming together was woven by the United Nations special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, with the active help of Egyptian intelligence. The latest round of violence, which came last week, sped up the renewal of contacts and may have even advanced the willingness of the two sides to reach an agreement.
    It seems that Netanyahu has chosen the least bad option. It is very possible he will spare the lives of dozens of Israeli soldiers and civilians, who could very well have died in a wide-scale military conflict in Gaza in the next few months. Because Netanyahu never set a clear and attainable goal for himself for an attack on Gaza, he is willing to endure criticism from both the left and right on his demonstration of weakness in the face of terrorism, and not find himself in the middle of a war whose end, the how and why of it, would be a riddle to him.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/715186 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Palestinian protesters in Gaza: Don’t wound us – kill us -

    How many of the young people protesting at the Gaza border fence hoped the soldiers facing them would pull the trigger and end their lives? Unfortunately, many

    Amira Hass
    Aug 13, 2018
    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-palestinian-protesters-in-gaza-don-t-wound-us-kill-us-1.6366805

    “A person who was shot in the leg and had his leg amputated weeps. Not because his leg is gone, but because the soldier didn’t kill him.”
    How many of the young people protesting Friday at the Gaza border fence hoped the soldiers facing them would pull the trigger and end their lives?
    Many. Many more than is reported or than the Palestinians are prepared to or can admit publicly. 
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    “A person who was shot in the leg and had his leg amputated weeps. Not because his leg is gone, but because the soldier didn’t kill him,” said someone who came out of the Gaza Strip for a few days. He told of a 30-year-old man who went up to the fence a few times, was wounded a few times, until he got lucky and the soldier on the other side finally killed him. We’ll get to the women too, soon enough, but we’re treading carefully.
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    What is the ratio between the number of those seeking to continue protecting the principles of the Palestinian struggle – by protesting at the border fence – and the number of those using the patriotic-nationalistic mantle to commit suicide, knowing that Islam prohibits “ordinary” suicide?
    >> Hamas is exploiting Netanyahu’s unwillingness to go to war | Analysis
    We don’t know. Israel doesn’t allow us to enter the Gaza Strip to ask these questions and seek answers. Phone calls are not enough, and so we depend on reports from people coming out – Palestinians and foreign journalists.
    >> No Fuel, No Gas: Israel Clamps Down on Gaza Over Airborne Firebombs
    Perhaps the protesters are motivated simultaneously by the two goals, and their distance from the fence shows the ratio between their desire to die and their fight for freedom? But many people who are very far from the fence come to see what’s going on, one foreign reporter said. That’s not a struggle, it’s a kind of pastime, because there’s nothing else to do and the sea is full of floating excrement. This journalist, who has known the Gaza Strip for more than 20 years, concludes: When everyone has to find ways to survive, there’s no room for thinking about the national struggle. 
    Many of them are young people who go to the fence to be wounded, thinking that Hamas will pay them, and then they can pay their debts at the grocery store or pay their rent for two months. It’s true: Hamas pays the injured a one-time payment of $200, I’m told. But only if the injury was serious.

    Someone who was slightly injured and went to a Hamas office to ask for money was turned away. Someone else was fortunate – his injury was worth compensation, then he went to the fence to be wounded again, and received compensation again. 
    But the wounded quickly discover what they did not take into consideration at first: Injuries have their own costs (beyond pain and disability). Surgery is covered. But medications are lacking, so their family goes deeper into debt to pay for them, or not. And then the flesh is infested with worms and it rots. And that’s not a metaphor.
    Some people deluded themselves that their family would receive large compensation if they were killed, or that payment for injury would come on a monthly basis. They still think it’s like the second intifada, when Saddam Hussein and Iran sent money for these purposes and the Palestinian Authority bore the burden. Those days are gone forever. 
    On Ramadan the young people went on the marches because a nourishing meal to break the fast was waiting for them, provided by Hamas. On other days they would receive a sandwich and a drink at the protest tents. Yet they are at risk even if they are not standing next to the fence, but rather are some distance away, near the tents, as attested to by a journalist who was standing near the tents last week when a bullet fired by one of our heroic soldiers flew right past his ear.
    Over the weekend, written proof emerged of the mixture of a death wish and commitment to the struggle. Abdallah al-Qatati, 20, was a volunteer paramedic who went every Friday to rescue unarmed people wounded by the strongest army in the region. Ten days ago he wrote a Facebook post, and people who shared it said it was his last: “As on every Friday, I go to the border, but this Friday is different. I’m going like any young revolutionary protecting his homeland and his land. We don’t care about the goals of the march or the goals of any organization in this march. What is important to us is our land and our dignity. And in short, we are fleeing unto death. In the hope that the second death will be more merciful than the first. And that’s the end of the story.” 
    In other words, life in Gaza is also death, of a different kind. On Friday, an Israeli soldier shot the medic al-Qatati and killed him.
    And now to the women protesters: Since they are few, this could seem like an accusation, or scorn, which will draw protests. But a Palestinian woman who spoke with women who go to the fence says she believes that few of them do it for national reasons, or that gradually the national reasons gave way to personal-economic reasons. Some of them went to be wounded and receive compensation. One went to be close to her son who was protesting. And many went to die – one whose husband refused to give her a divorce, another who was unmarried and felt that society considered her damaged goods, a third who was a victim of family violence and a fourth who couldn’t stand the poverty, the constant chasing after a shekel for milk and drops of water from the faucet. We are familiar with the phenomenon of women in the West Bank who committed suicide-by-soldier. 
    Poverty in Gaza has reached unimaginable, indescribable levels, even for people who are allowed to go in and see it. The despair growing there behind the iron wall that Israel has built is still seeking the lexicon with which it can be depicted.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/714668 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Demonstrate with the Arabs - Haaretz Editorial -
    The place of Livni and the other opposition leaders is in Rabin Square, alongside the Arab community. Their struggle is the struggle of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike

    Haaretz Editorial
    Aug 10, 2018 1:32 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/demonstrate-with-the-arabs-1.6364336

    The demonstration called for Saturday night in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Israel’s Arab community, is the most important of all the protests that have taken place against the nation-state law. It’s also one of the most important demonstrations in Israel in the past several years.
    No minority in Israel suffers as much discrimination as the Arab minority, which is also Israel’s largest minority. It is frequently the target of normalized, institutionalized racism. 
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    The nation-state law, which has sparked civic protests throughout Israeli society, was engineered precisely in order to strip the Arabs of their rights and subordinate them to rule by the Jews, the lords of the land, even at the price of sacrificing civic equality. This worldview has characterized despicable racist regimes throughout history, and its implementation in Israel is a black stain not only on the history of the state, but also on that of the Jewish people.
    The nation-state law is an especially ugly milestone in the right’s delegitimization campaign against the Arabs. It’s meant to mark them as enemies, as a fifth column; to cause strife between them and Jews; and to remove them from civil society. Given this, it’s regrettable that the leaders of the opposition, who warmly embraced the Druze community’s justified protest against the law, have decided not to attend this demonstration.
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    >> In Show of Renewed Activism, Arab Israelis to Protest Nation-state Law on Saturday
    Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who came to the Druze demonstration last Saturday night, announced that she won’t attend the upcoming one because some Knesset members from the predominantly Arab Joint List “don’t share my view that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews.” In the same breath, she declared her belief in “equal rights for all.” She thereby proved that even the left has adopted the right’s propaganda. If, as she says, Livni believes in equality for all and opposes the nation-state law — the issues of the demonstration — why is it even relevant what Joint List MKs think Israel’s character should be?
    Livni must meet the challenge that was posed to Israeli society by President Reuven Rivlin in his “four tribes” speech, in which he argued that Israel’s future depends on abandoning a worldview based on majority and minority in favor of one that is based on a partnership with the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs, who don’t define themselves as Zionist. The place of Livni and the other opposition leaders Saturday night is in Rabin Square, alongside the Arab community. Their struggle is the struggle of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/714422 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel is using an online blacklist against pro-Palestinian activists. But nobody knows who compiled it

    Israeli border officials are using a shadowy online dossier as an intelligence source on thousands of students and academics

    The Forward and Josh Nathan-Kazis Aug 07, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/the-blacklist-used-by-israel-against-pro-palestinian-activists-1.6359001

    Last December, Andrew Kadi flew to Israel to visit his mother. As he walked through Ben Gurion International Airport, officials pulled him aside and said that the security services wanted to speak with him.
    Kadi is among the leaders of a major pro-Palestinian advocacy group, and border authorities always question him when he travels to Israel to see his family. This time, however, something was different.

    During his second of what ended up being three interrogations, spanning more than eight hours, Kadi realized that much of what the interrogator knew about him had come from Canary Mission, an anonymously-run online blacklist that tries to frighten pro-Palestinian students and activists into silence by posting dossiers on their politics and personal lives.

    Kadi’s interrogator asked question after question about organizations listed on his Canary Mission profile. A pro-Palestinian organization that Kadi had been involved with but that wasn’t listed on his Canary Mission profile went unmentioned. Hours later, a third interrogator confirmed what Kadi had suspected: They were looking at his Canary Mission profile.

    Canary Mission has said since it went live in 2015 that it seeks to keep pro-Palestinian student activists from getting work after college. Yet in recent months, the threat it poses to college students and other activists has grown far more severe.
    The site, which is applauded by some pro-Israel advocates for harassing hardcore activists, is now being used as an intelligence source on thousands of students and academics by Israeli officials with immense power over people’s lives, the Forward has learned.
    Rumors of the border control officers’ use of the dossiers is keeping both Jewish and Palestinian activists from visiting relatives in Israel and the West Bank, and pro-Palestinian students say they are hesitant to express their views for fear of being unable to travel to see family.
    >> Twitter account of Canary Mission, group blacklisting pro-Palestinian activists, deactivated
    Meanwhile, back on campus, pro-Israel students are facing suspicion of colluding with Canary Mission. The students, and not the operatives and donors who run it from behind a veil of anonymity, are taking the blame for the site’s work.

    The dossiers
    Canary Mission’s profiles, of which there are now more than 2,000, can run for thousands of words. They consist of information about the activist, including photographs and screenshots, cobbled together from the internet and social media, along with descriptions of the groups with which they are affiliated.
    The phrase, “if you’re a racist, the world should know,” appears on the top of each page on the site.
    In addition to the thousands of profiles of pro-Palestinian students and professors, Canary Mission has also added a smattering of profiles of prominent white supremacists, including 13 members of Identity Evropa and a handful of others.
    The site’s profiles appear to be based entirely on open source intelligence that could be gathered by anyone with a computer. But the researchers are thorough, and some of what they post is exceptionally personal. Canary Mission’s profile of Esther Tszayg, a junior at Stanford University whose profile went online in May, includes two photographs of her as a young child and one taken for a campus fashion magazine.
    “It feels pretty awful and I really wish I wasn’t on that website,” said Tszayg, the president of Stanford’s chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-Palestinian group.
    Canary Mission’s profile of Rose Asaf, a leader of the local chapter of JVP at New York University, includes nearly 60 photographs of her and screenshots of her social media activities. It went online in November of 2017, when she was a college junior.
    Liz Jackson, a staff attorney at the legal advocacy group Palestine Legal, said that she was aware of one case in which Canary Mission posted old photographs a student had deleted a year before. The student believes that Canary Mission had been tracking her for over a year before they posted her profile.
    Some of what Canary Mission captures is genuinely troubling, including anti-Semitic social media posts by college students. But often, the eye-catching charges they make against their subjects don’t quite add up. A profile of an NYU freshman named Ari Kaplan charges him with “demonizing Israel at a Jewish event.” In fact, he had stood up at a Hillel dinner to make an announcement that was critical of President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
    “It’s really weird when they’re trying to have someone who looks like me [as] the face of anti-Semitism,” said Kaplan, joking that he looks stereotypically Jewish.
    The border
    It’s these profiles that Israeli border control officers were looking at when they interrogated Kadi, who is in his 30s, and is a member of the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Kadi is a U.S. citizen, but his mother and her family are Palestinian citizens of Israel.
    Kadi’s case is not unique. In April, before deporting Columbia University Law School professor Katherine Franke and telling her she will be permanently banned from the country, an Israeli border control officer showed her something on his phone that she says she is “80% sure” was her Canary Mission profile.
    The officer, Franke said, had accused her of traveling to Israel to “promote BDS.” When she said that wasn’t true, the officer accused her of lying, saying she was a “leader” of JVP. He held up the screen of his phone, which appeared to show her Canary Mission profile, and told her: “See, I know you’re lying.”
    Franke, who had previously sat on JVP’s academic advisory council steering committee but at that time had no formal role with the group, told the officer she was not on JVP’s staff. The officer deported her anyhow.
    “Canary Mission information is often neither reliable, nor complete, nor up to date,” said Israeli human rights attorney Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man, who represents activists and human rights advocates denied entry to Israel. Schaeffer Omer-Man says that the site, as such, shouldn’t legally qualify to be used as the basis for a deportation decision by border control officers, as it doesn’t meet reliability standards set by Israeli administrative law.
    Yet incidents like those experienced by Franke and Kadi are on the rise. Schaeffer Omer-Man said that clients for years have said that they suspected that their interrogators had seen their Canary Mission profiles, based on the questions they asked. More recently, she said, clients have told her that border control mentioned Canary Mission by name.
    Rumors of these incidents are spreading fear among campus activists.
    “I have family in Israel, and I don’t expect I will be let in again,” said Tszayg, the Stanford student.
    Palestine Legal’s Liz Jackson said that a large majority of people who get in touch with her organization about their Canary Mission profile are mostly worried about traveling across Israeli borders. “That really puts the muzzle on what people can say in the public sphere about Palestine,” Jackson said.
    Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the country’s border control agency, did not respond to a question about whether it is ministry policy for its interrogators to use Canary Mission as a source of information on travelers. It’s possible that the officers are finding the Canary Mission dossiers on their own, by searching for travelers’ names on Google.
    But absent a denial from the interior ministry, it’s also possible that the dossiers are being distributed systematically. When Schaeffer Omer-Man reviews her clients’ interrogation files, as attorneys have the right to do under Israeli law, she has never seen a mention of Canary Mission. What she has seen, however, in summaries of the interrogations, are references to material provided by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the arm of the Israeli government tasked with opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement worldwide, largely through a secret network of non-governmental organizations that help it defend Israel abroad.
    The Israeli connection
    When Gilad Erdan, the strategic affairs minister, took over his agency in 2015, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, as it is officially known in English, had a tiny staff and a small budget. In just a few years, he has turned it into a major operation with a budget of over $100 million over two years, according to reporting by the Israeli investigative magazine the Seventh Eye.
    At the core of the MSA’s operation is a network of more than a hundred non-governmental organizations with which it shares information and resources. “A key part of the strategy is the belief that messaging by ‘real people’ is much more effective than plain old hasbara [propaganda] by official spokespersons,” said Itamar Benzaquen, an investigative journalist at the Seventh Eye, who has done extensive reporting on the MSA.
    The Forward has learned that the people who run Canary Mission are in direct contact with the leadership of Act.il, a pro-Israel propaganda app that is a part of the network, and has benefited from a publicity campaign funded by the MSA, according to Benzaquen’s reporting.
    The founder and CEO of Act.il, Yarden Ben Yosef, told the Forward last fall that he had been in touch with the people who run Canary Mission, and that they had visited his office in Israel.
    Neither Canary Mission nor the MSA responded to queries about their relationship to each other.
    The operators
    Canary Mission has jealously guarded the anonymity of its operators, funders, and administrators, and its cloak of secrecy has held up against the efforts of journalists and pro-Palestine activists alike.
    Two people, granted anonymity to speak about private conversations, have separately told the Forward that a British-born Jerusalem resident named Jonathan Bash identified himself to them as being in charge of Canary Mission.
    The Forward reported in 2015 that Bash was the CEO of a pro-Israel advocacy training organization, Video Activism, that appeared to have numerous ties to Canary Mission. At the time, Bash denied there was any relationship between the organizations.
    Neither Canary Mission nor Bash responded to requests for comment.
    The response
    As Canary Mission has become an increasingly prominent feature of the campus landscape, students have adapted to its threat. Increasingly, student governments vote on divestment resolutions by secret ballot, partly in an attempt to keep Canary Mission from profiling student representatives who vote in favor.
    Student activist groups, meanwhile, strategically mask the identities of vulnerable members. Abby Brook, who has been a leader in both the Students for Justice in Palestine and JVP groups at George Washington University, said that her fellow activists had strategized about who would be a public-facing leader of the group, and shoulder the risk of appearing on Canary Mission. When her profile went up last year, she was ready.
    “We made strategic decisions within our organization about who would be out-facing members and who would be in-facing members, knowing that Canary Missionwould have different consequences for different people,” Brook said. She said that the names of members of her chapter of SJP who are Palestinian are not listed publicly, and that those individuals have stayed off of Canary Mission.
    “We deliberately keep those people private,” Brook said. “I’m not Palestinian; I won’t be prohibited from being able to go home if I’m listed on Canary Mission. It has a lot less consequences for me as a white person.”
    While Brook’s Palestinian colleagues have been able to hide their identities while being active on the issue, others have chosen not to take the risk. Palestine Legal’s Jackson said that she has fielded questions from students who want to take political action in support of Palestinian rights, but have been afraid to do so because of what being listed on Canary Mission could mean for their families. One student activist told Jackson she wanted to be a leader in SJP, but asked Jackson if getting a Canary Mission profile could damage her family’s naturalization application.
    “I said I don’t know, honestly,” Jackson said.
    Another student told Jackson that she had wanted to write an op-ed about the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a controversial piece of federal legislation that critics say could limit free speech, but that she was afraid to be published because she wanted to be able to go visit her grandparents in the West Bank, and couldn’t risk being profiled on Canary Mission.
    For students who do find themselves on Canary Mission, there is little recourse. Canary Mission has posted a handful of essays by “ex-canaries,” people who have written effusive apologies in return for being removed from the site. Jackson said that some profiles have been temporarily removed after the subjects filed copyright complaints, but that they were reposted later with the offending images removed.
    There do not appear to have been any defamation suits filed against Canary Mission. The authors of the profiles are careful about what they write, and pursuing a lawsuit would place a heavy burden on the plaintiff. “Students who are naturally concerned about the reputational damage of being smeared as a terrorist usually don’t want to go through a public trial, because that only makes it worse,” Jackson wrote in an email. “It’s tough to take on a bully, especially in court. But litigation is not off the table.”
    Campus spies
    In the meantime, Canary Mission’s utter secrecy has created an atmosphere of suspicion on campuses. While the operatives behind Canary Mission hide behind their well-protected anonymity, pro-Israel students take the blame for its activities, whether or not they were involved.
    A number of students listed on the site who spoke with the Forward named specific pro-Israel students on their campuses who they suspected of having informed on them to Canary Mission.
    Tilly Shames, who runs the local Hillel at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, said that Canary Mission has led to suspicion of pro-Israel students on her campus. “It has created greater mistrust and exclusion of pro-Israel students, who are assumed to be involved in Canary Mission, or sharing information with Canary Mission, when they are not,” Shames said.
    Kaplan, the NYU sophomore, said that he’s now wary talking to people who he knows are involved in pro-Israel activism on campus.
    “I’ll want to be open and warm with them, but it will be, how do I know this guy isn’t reporting to Canary Mission?” Kaplan said. He said he didn’t intend to let the suspicions fomented by Canary Mission keep him from spending time with other Jewish students.
    “I’m not going to live in fear; I love Jews,” he said. “I’m not going to not talk to Jewish students out of fear of being on Canary [Mission], but it would be better to have some solidarity from the Jewish community of NYU.”
    For more stories, go to www.forward.com. Sign up for the Forward’s daily newsletter at http://forward.com/newsletter/signup

    https://seenthis.net/messages/713517 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel
    Jews and Arabs: Unite, the Nation-state law poses an existential threat

    This won’t be an alliance of love. It won’t even be an encounter between friends. But this is the only way to survive as a citizen of Israel and not become a political prisoner in a theocracy

    Ravit Hecht SendSend me email alerts
    Aug 03, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-jews-and-arabs-unite-the-nation-state-law-poses-existential-threat

    The abominable nation-state law was admittedly passed at this particular moment for contemptible political reasons: Elections are only a Knesset session away, and in the background are the investigations of the prime minister, a despair-inducing front devoid of achievement in the south and a terrifying front in the north.
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    But these circumstances, while genuine and rational, don’t hide what comes next. And what comes next is clear. Israel, with the support of a substantial portion of its Jewish population, is en route to apartheid, both de facto and de jure, which will evict the Arabs from civil society. Next in line for the chopping block: leftists, who are going with the flow to various degrees, and ultimately, anyone defined as disloyal to the government (that is, “the state”).
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    This is not a cataclysmic lamentation or a stylized prophecy of destruction. It’s reality, plain and simple. The moment you begin fiddling with democracy – that is, creating differences in the level of equality to which citizens are entitled and conditioning it on various conditions – the road is clear.
    The attempts to bribe the Druze, whose pain, unlike that of the other Arabs, evokes empathy from Jewish Israelis, only makes the picture clearer: The government is creating castes among minorities and citizens in general based on the degree of sympathy the government has for them and the whims of the masses.
    What can one do in light of this reality but rend one’s garments, weep bitter tears and protest at demonstrations whose importance is beyond price, but whose contribution to changing the course of reality will be limited to the point of nonexistence?
    Israel’s Jewish and democratic camp has only one partner for building a front against the settler right, with its hallmarks of fascism, which is currently making historic changes to the country’s character. That partner is the Arabs.

    And when we speak of making such a partnership, we aren’t talking about a Jewish and democratic camp that includes only people like opposition MKs Tamar Zandberg and Tzipi Livni, but also former senior defense officials like Gabi Ashkenazi, Tamir Pardo and Moshe Ya’alon, who still aren’t willing to be portrayed, heaven forbid, as leftists, but whom the modern right is already rejecting like a transplant, because such security establishment figures’ consciences bar them from submerging themselves in today’s right wing and joining in the destruction of democracy.
    >> Planted by Netanyahu and Co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face | Analysis >>
    Nevertheless, it’s not only the Jews on whom the burden of effecting a change in consciousness falls. The Arabs will also have to make what they see as painful concessions.
    As long as MKs Ahmad Tibi, Jamal Zahalka and Aida Touma-Sliman keep talking about two states – a state of all its citizens on one side and the nation-state of the Palestinian people on the other – they’ll remain within the bounds of their own narrow community, plus a few thousand Jewish voters following their conscience or a fad. They’ll have no chance of taking power, no ability to have a major impact, no access to the resources that could save the voters from the bitter fate written on the wall.
    Therefore, they’ll have to swallow hard and accept the Law of Return and the fact that Israel within the 1967 borders is the national home of the Jewish people worldwide, in order to enable the establishment of a Palestinian state and save themselves and us from the nightmare of occupation and apartheid.
    This won’t be an alliance of love. It won’t even be an encounter between friends. But this is the only way to survive as a citizen of Israel and not become a political prisoner in a Bezalel Smotrich-like theocracy.
    The battle for life requires passing through the deep wadis of painful compromise and getting scratched by the thorns of upsetting concessions. It requires changing our methods and our worldviews, because there’s no choice. Because we want to live. And just for your information, we are in a fight for our lives.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/712809 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The right’s security service at Ben-Gurion Airport - Haaretz Editorial -

    At first it was the automatic and indiscriminate delay of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, then it degenerated into blacklists of BDS supporters, now Israelis are also being questioned because of their political views

    Haaretz Editorial SendSend me email alerts
    Aug 02, 2018 12:26 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-right-s-security-service-at-ben-gurion-airport-1.6338498

    The Shin Bet security service stopped an author and left-wing activist at the airport, questioned him about his opinions and political connections and warned him about the “slippery slope” that could lead him to dangerous places and confrontations with the authorities. There were times when such instances would be linked to undemocratic countries like China, Russia, Iran and Egypt, which see freedom of expression and the right of protest as threats to the regime. Now it’s happening in Israel, which calls itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.
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    The details related this week by Moriel Rothman-Zecher about his detention at Ben-Gurion Airport ought to disturb everyone, even those who object to the activities of protest groups like Breaking the Silence. From his report it emerges that he, an Israeli citizen who lives in the United States, was not suspected of any illegal activity; he was asked about his links to perfectly legal organizations and was essentially warned that his activities make him a legitimate target for the Shin Bet (“Israeli author questioned by Shin Bet at Ben-Gurion Airport over involvement in leftist groups,” July 30). His interrogator also asked for the names of “the main activists” in All That’s Left, which he refused to provide.
    This is not a singular case; there have been a series of reports indicating that the Shin Bet and the border guards are turning Israel’s entry points into a filter designed to remove those whose opinions are suspicious or problematic in the eyes of the government. Last week a U.S. citizen, a senior member of the Jewish community who supports and donates to Israel, was reportedly detained at the airport when a pamphlet from Bethlehem with the word “Palestine” on the cover was found in his suitcase. One word is now sufficient to make someone a suspect, worthy of a humiliating delay and harassing questions.
    If there is a “slippery slope,” it’s the state, its elected officials, its employees and the defenders of its borders that are walking on it. It began with the automatic and indiscriminate delay of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, degenerated into blacklists of BDS supporters whose entry was banned and is now slipping into Israelis being questioned because of their political views.
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    This is not a local initiative, but a faithful expression of government and coalition policy: to label protest organizations in general and those who work against the occupation in particular as hostile to Israel and ascribe to them an intent to harm and betray it. The questioning of Rothman-Zecher is a warning shot aimed at like-minded people in the hope they’ll take note and be deterred.
    According to the Shin Bet, the investigators acted “to fulfill the mission” of the security service. It seems that the questioning of Israelis about their political opinions is being conducted with permission and authority. But what happens in the airport doesn’t stay there; if policemen and investigators are not restrained, it won’t be long before citizens with opinions the government disapproves of will be woken by knocks on the door in the middle of the night, as in the most benighted of countries.
    The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/712337 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israeli Druze commander quits army over nation-state law in open letter to Netanyahu

    In a Facebook post, Capt. Amir Jmall calls on leaders of his community to work toward putting an end to the compulsory conscription of Israeli Druze

    Yaniv Kubovich
    Jul 30, 2018 5:36 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-druze-quits-idf-over-nation-state-law-in-letter-to-netanya

    In the letter, Jmall also called on leaders of his community to work toward putting an end to the compulsory conscription of Israel’s Druze. The Facebook post has since been removed.
    “This morning, when I woke up to drive to the [army] base, I asked myself, why? Why do I have to serve the State of Israel, a state that my two brothers, my father and I have served with dedication, a sense of mission and a love of the homeland, and, in the end, what do we get? To be second-class citizens,” Jmall wrote.
    >> ’When we’re in uniform they treat us well’: Israel’s Druze no longer feel like blood brothers
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    "Continue serving the country? I do not want to continue and I am sure that hundreds more people will stop serving and will be discharged from the army following your decision, Netanyahu, that of you and your government,” he continued.
    "After many thoughts ran through my head, I decided to let go and to discontinue serving the country, a country that has a government that takes and does not give back.”
    In conclusion, Jmall wrote: “I ask everyone who is against the nation-state law to share and share my proposal to community leaders to stop the conscription law for members of the Druze community.”
    The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, also known as the nation-state law, approved by the Knesset on July 19, affirmed that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel. It also downgraded Arabic to a language with “special status,” among several other controversial measures that affect the Israeli Druze.
    The nation-state law is designed to alter the application of the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty in court rulings, and permits judges to give priority to Israel’s Jewish character in their rulings.

    Last week, Druze lawmakers were the first to file a High Court of Justice petition against the legislation. A hundred Druze Israel Defense Forces reserve officers added their voices to that effort on Wednesday, prompting Education Minister Naftali Bennett to speak out in support of “our blood brothers” on Twitter.
    Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon echoed similar sentiments on Thursday, telling Israeli Army Radio, “The enactment of the nation-state law was done hastily,” and adding: “We were wrong and we need to fix it.”
    On Saturday, Israeli Arab lawmaker Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) announced his intention to resign from the Knesset in protest of the law. "The law oppresses me and oppresses the population that sent me to the Knesset,’’ he said.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/711918 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Once again, Israel denies the Bedouin what it grants the settlers
    On Wednesday the High Court will hear petitions against the demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, while two Palestinian villages request that the state demolish illegal structures in a nearby settlement
    Amira Hass Jul 27, 2018 10:23 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-once-again-israel-denies-the-bedouin-what-it-grants-the-settlers-1
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6317368.1532711095!/image/1276407587.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/1276407587.jpg

    Two Palestinian villages, basing their request on Civil Administration data, are asking the Israeli authorities to demolish illegal structures in the settlement of Kfar Adumim and outposts around it. In question are about 120 villas and other buildings in the settlement against which demolition orders have been issued (though, as of the beginning of 2017, at least half the structures had been approved retroactively), and in four outposts.

    In the outposts, most of the structures have been built on land defined as state land back in the days of Jordanian rule, and a smaller number have been built on land privately owned by village residents. This past Tuesday, at the Justice Ministry High Court department, Attorney Tawfiq Jabareen filed this request for the villages of Deir Dibwan and Anata, east of Ramallah, as the prelude to petitioning for the villages and some of their residents, owners of private land.

    In a preliminary argument, Jabareen talks about Israel’s “selective enforcement” policy. And as a reverse example — of “legalizing” the illegal construction in Kfar Adumim — he mentions the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar, which existed long before the settlements were established and is now threatened by demolition, along with the expulsion of its residents. Before this request, a team of lawyers headed by Jabareen submitted two new petitions on behalf of the residents of Khan al-Ahmar.

    The deliberations on these petitions will be held this Wednesday, at a time when Khan al-Ahmar has become a focus of international interest and hosts protest gatherings every day. This comes against the backdrop of European and UN condemnations of the planned demolition and, in general, of Israel’s policy of thwarting Palestinian construction in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under exclusive Israeli control.

    Thus, three months before the law comes into effect denying the High Court authority to deliberate on matters concerning West Bank land and techniques for grabbing it from the Palestinians, a team of Palestinian lawyers who are Israeli citizens insists on bringing to the High Court matters of principle concerning discrimination, inequality and government arbitrariness.

    Settlements’ concerted action

    For its part, Kfar Adumim continues to demand implementation of the decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar. This past Sunday, the settlement and two of its offshoots — Nofei Prat and Alon — asked to join the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration as respondents in one of the two new Khan-al Ahmar petitions. This is the petition that asks to oblige the Civil Administration to relate to the detailed master plan recently submitted by the village. On behalf of the three settlements, attorneys Avraham Moshe Segal and Yael Cinnamon asked that the petition be rejected.

    A concerted legal and media battle by the three settlements over the past decade, as well as pressure from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on West Bank affairs, led to the Civil Administration’s decision to demolish the village. During all those years, the previous attorney for the Bedouin village, Shlomo Lecker, managed to delay implementation of the demolition orders, including the order against the ecological school made out of tires.

    But in May a panel of justices headed by Noam Sohlberg, a resident of the settlement of Alon Shvut, ruled that there was no legal reason to intervene in the state’s decision to expel and forcibly transfer the village’s residents to an area the Civil Administration has allotted them next to the Abu Dis garbage dump.

    His partners in the decision were justices Anat Baron and Yael Willner; Willner has a brother and a sister living in Kfar Adumim, but she did not recuse herself from deliberating on the fate of Khan al-Ahmar, nor did she agree to attorney Lecker’s request that she do so. About a week after the High Court’s green light for the demolition, the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council approved the construction of a new neighborhood for Kfar Adumim called Nofei Bereshit about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Bedouin community at Khan al-Ahmar.

    Preparations for the demolition and eviction began at the end of June, but the new petitions have halted them. It was Baron who issued a temporary injunction that has suspended the demolition.

    Attorneys Segal and Cinnamon, acting on behalf of the three settlements, write that the new petition (asking that the Civil Administration consider the master plan for the village) “is part of a broader move by the petitioners and influential elements on the ‘left’ side of the political map to ‘leave’ the ‘Palestinian construction criminals’ adjacent to the Israeli locales there and adjacent to Route 1 in order to create contiguous Palestinian settlement there.” (The internal quotation marks are in the original document).

    The settlements say that this is an illegitimate way to deliberate; it will let any judicial ruling be reopened in the hope that a different panel of judges will make a change. Regarding the matter at hand, the settlements note that the High Court has already addressed the possibility of preparing a master plan for the village at its current location and has ruled that there is nothing wrong with the state’s intention to demolish it.

    In their statement accompanying the request to join the respondents, the settlements write that the petitioners from Khan al-Ahmar are “construction criminals who have made a law unto themselves and have wittingly and without building permits built on lands that do not belong to them, adjacent to a major transportation artery [and then] brazenly applied to the honorable court to help them prevent the implementation of the demolition orders.”

    The settlements argue that the petitioners built the structures without any building permits and on land that “no one disputes that they do not have even a speck of a right to claim as theirs.”

    First construction, then legalization

    The Bedouin village’s tents and makeshift shacks are on plots of land belonging to residents of Anata, for which they have received the owners’ permission. These plots include a are part of a large area of lands under private Palestinian ownership listed in the Land Registry, which Israel expropriated in 1975 but has not used since. Route 1, which links Jerusalem to Jericho, was far from Khan al-Ahmar, and only when the road was widened was the distance decreased.

    One of the founders of Kfar Adumim, current Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, submitted an action plan to the IDF back at the end of 1978 or the beginning of 1979. The plan confirms that Bedouin communities were living in the area before the settlements were established, but the plan demands that these communities be expelled, Palestinian construction be curtailed and contiguous Jewish settlement be established.

    On the basis of Civil Administration data, the planning rights group Bimkom published an opinion in 2010 on the pattern of planning and construction in Kfar Adumim and its offshoots: first construction without permits and only then planning that legalizes it.

    The settlement was established in 1979 but a detailed master plan was approved only in 1988. New homes were built without permits, awaiting legalization in another master plan approved years later. Before all the possibilities for construction in the 1988 plan were used up, detailed master plans were advanced aimed at establishing Alon and Nofei Prat, which are called neighborhoods even though they are not contiguous with the mother settlement. Each of these “neighborhoods” spawned an illegal outpost of its own.

    In his preliminary argument to the High Court, Jabareen mentions the Civil Administration’s demolition orders against large private homes in Kfar Adumim. He also mentions the legalization of at least half the structures against which orders were issued, and the four outposts created by the settlement and its offshoots Alon and Nofei Prat. The information about the outposts is based on Civil Administration and Peace Now data.

    The outpost Givat Granit was established in 2002 on about 70 dunams (17.3 acres) of land, of which 10 are privately owned land and the rest is state land from the Jordanian period. Five residential structures and part of the approach road are located on privately-owned land.

    The outpost Haroeh Ha’ivri was established without a master plan in 2015 on about 20 dunams of state land and serves as an educational farm school. The road to the outpost runs along private land, and the outpost receives funding from the Education Ministry. An events venue and desert field lodge was established on about 15 dunams of state land in 2012, and the outpost Ma’aleh Hagit was established in 1999 on about 70 dunams of state land with incursions onto privately-owned parcels.

    In the Kfar Adumim statement to the High Court, the attorneys write that the Khan al-Ahmar petition is political, “and to this will testify the deeds of the petitioners who exploited the temporary order they received for purposes of opening the school year and populating the school building (made of tires) with pupils . The entire aim of the petition is to advance the petitioners’ political agenda and their attempt to create contiguous Palestinian settlement in strategic areas of Judea and Samaria. The petitioners’ attempt to depict the issue as a legal issue is flawed to a large extent by artificiality and testifies to the petitioner’s lack of good faith.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/711301 via Loutre


  • Why the expected wave of French immigration to Israel never materialized

    It seemed as if the Jews of France would come to Israel in droves after the 2015 attacks in Paris. It turns out that these expectations were exaggerated - here’s why
    By Noa Shpigel Jul 25, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-why-expected-wave-of-french-immigration-to-israel-never-m

    It was early 2015 in Paris and the attacks came one after the other. On January 7, there was the shooting attack on the editorial offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that took 12 lives; the next day a terrorist shot a policewoman dead, and the day after that brought the siege on the Hypercacher kosher supermarket that ended in the deaths of four Jews.
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish world - subscribe to Haaretz
    On January 11, some four million people marched through the streets of Paris and other French cities in a protest against terror; some 50 world leaders marched in Paris, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who a few hours later spoke at the Great Synagogue in Paris and urged French Jews to make aliyah.

    [You have] the right to live in our free country, the one and only Jewish state, the State of Israel,” he said, to applause from the crowd. “The right to stand tall and proud at the walls of Zion, our eternal capital of Jerusalem. Any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and warm and accepting hearts.” The Immigration Absorption Ministry estimated that more than 10,000 French Jews would make aliyah that year.
    That forecast was premature. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2014, there were 6,547 olim from France, while in 2015, the number rose only to 6,628. In 2016, the number of immigrants dropped to 4,239, and last year, there were only 3,157. Based on the first five months of this year, it seems that the downtrend is continuing; in the first five months of 2018, there were 759 olim from France, while during the comparable period in 2017, the number was 958.
    Joel Samoun, a married father of four from Troyes and a nurse by profession, remembers Netanyahu’s speech. “The speech definitely moved me. It was also a period when we weren’t feeling safe in France,” he says. He began the aliyah process: He made contact with the Jewish Agency and even had his professional credentials and recommendation letters translated into Hebrew. But when Samoun discovered what a lengthy procedure he would have to undergo to work in his field in Israel, he decided to give up on the dream, at least for now. “It’s somewhere in my head,” he said. “Maybe when I reach retirement age.”

    Nor is Annaell Asraf, 23, of Paris, hurrying to leave. Her sister made aliyah four years ago, did national service, and somehow managed. She herself worked in Israel for six months, then returned to France, finished her degree in business administration and founded an online fashion business.
    “I have a good life in France,” she told Haaretz. Many of her friends, she said, “tried to make aliyah, waited two years to find work, and came back. On paper it looks easy, but it’s much more complicated.”

    Annaell Asraf, 23, of Paris, prefers to remain in France Luana Hazan
    What are the primary obstacles? Gaps in language and mentality that aren’t easy to bridge, she says, plus, for anyone who didn’t serve in the army, it’s harder to find work. Moreover, she now feels safe in France. “Maybe someday,” she says, when asked if she sees herself returning to Israel to live.
    Ariel Kendel, director of Qualita, the umbrella organization for French immigrants in Israel, says, “On the one hand, we see that aliyah is down, but on the other hand, the potential is great. If you know Jews in the community in France – it’s hard to find people who’ll say they don’t want to come to Israel.”
    According to Kendel, the drop in aliyah has a number of causes. The primary ones are absorption difficulties; transitioning from the welfare state they are used to; and the fact that there are no aliyah programs tailored specifically for the French. “Where will I live, how will I make a living, what happens to my kids between 2 and 6 [P.M.],” he says. “In France, there is a developed welfare state. We don’t expect it to be like that here, but you can’t tell an immigrant at the airport to take the absorption basket [of services] and that’s it. Apparently every office in Israel should be asking itself these questions.”
    Another problem he cites is the process of having professional credentials recognized in Israel. Although certification for physicans has been streamlined (to a trial period), nurses must undergo a test.
    “People are asked to take an exam after 30 years of experience, it’s a scandal,” says Kendel. “We have at least one hundred nurses – 50 in Israel and 50 in France – who cannot work here. I don’t think that anyone in France is afraid to go to the hospital; [health care] is not at a low level. You can’t tell someone, ‘come, but chances are that we won’t accept your diploma.’”

    Daniella Hadad, a bookkeeper who made aliyah with her husband and five children in 2015, works now in childcare. “When we made aliyah, there was a lot of terror and they said that we should immigrate more quickly,” she says. “They told me to work as a bookkeeper I would have to take all the courses from scratch, and that’s hard in Hebrew.” Now she’s looking for new avenues of employment and wants to improve her Hebrew.
    Hadad is convinced that being able to make a living is the most important element in a successful landing in Israel. “I know a woman who made aliyah with her husband and children, but they had a hard time and now they are going back after two-and-half years.
    Olivier Nazé, a father of four, is a dentist who made aliyah eight years ago. He had to invest a great deal in order to be able to work in his profession in Israel. Before moving the family, he came a few times on his own, to pass the required exam. He says his brother and family are worried about making aliyah as a result.
    “If you have a profession, and you’re making money, it’s hard to get in because it’s like starting from zero,” he says. “In France I made a lot of money, and in Israel at the beginning, I was making a tenth of that. Now it’s slowly rising, but not everyone can afford to wait.” Despite everything, he says, “the quality of life is better here, for the children as well.”
    According to a survey conducted by Zeev Hanin, the Absorption Ministry’s chief scientist, the results of which were published in June, 47 percent of French immigrants say their standard of living is not as good as it was in France, while 32 percent said their standard of living had improved. In terms of income, 80 percent responded that their situation was less favorable than in France, whereas 5 percent reported an improvement. But while many people indicated a worsening of various conditions compared to what they had in France, 67 percent said that they felt more at home in Israel, and 78.3 percent said they do not intend to leave.
    Drop in incidents
    It’s not surprising to learn that a drop in the incidents of anti-Semitism in France has been accompanied by a lack in emigration to Israel. Riva Mane, a researcher at the Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, says that in 2015, the French Interior Ministry reported 808 anti-Semitic incidents in the country, whereas, in 2016 the number dropped to 355, and in 2017 to 311. Although not all incidents are reported, she said, the trend is clear.
    Nevertheless, Mane says, “There is an increase in the number of violent attacks on Jews; 97 such incidents were reported in 2017, compared to 77 in 2016.” She added that there is still a sense of insecurity in the Jewish community, and that in recent years there has been an increase in internal migration. “Tens of thousands are leaving the poorer neighborhoods that also have a significant Muslim population and where there have been many incidents, for central Paris and other wealthier areas, where there are fewer Muslims,” she says. She also noted that Jewish pupils are increasingly leaving the public schools for private ones, where they are also likely to encounter fewer Muslim students.

    Olivier Nazé, a father of four, is a dentist who made aliyah eight years ago Rami Shllush
    “There’s always a reason for a wave of aliyah,” explained Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver. “Not all the olim come because of Zionism. There was a reason for this wave from France – fear of terror. Olim came from Ukraine a year ago when there was a security crisis there vis-à-vis Russia. And now people are coming from Argentina and Brazil due to the economic situation.”
    Landver says that her ministry is fighting to remove barriers to successful absorption. “I’m out in the field and I meet with olim from France who are very satisfied,” she reports. Although the minister knows that the immigrants from France cannot receive what the welfare state provides there, such as schools that are open late and two years of unemployment payments, her ministry continues to encourage aliyah.

    Landver says that she has instructed ministry staff to make home visits to people who have opened an aliyah file, and that the ministry provides money for the translation of documents and removes employment barriers insofar as possible. “We, together with the municipalities, are doing everything possible to increase the number of olim. I really want them here and I’ll do everything to ease their absorption and to support this aliyah.”

    Valerie Halfon, a family financial consultant from the organization Paamonim, said she has met with hundreds of families in France before their aliyah, helping them to prepare an economic assessment, so they’ll know what to expect. For example, she says, she consulted with a young couple who were hesitant, because friends told them that they would need 20,000 shekels a month ($5,500) to get by. She said that after making their calculations, “we got to 8,000-9,000 shekels. There are rumors, and they’re not all true. You have to adapt, you have to make changes.”
    Still, whether it’s the improvement in the security situation in France, or the fear of making a new start – or a combination of these – there has been a decline in aliyah. “Today there’s a feeling that things have calmed down in France,” says Arie Abitbol, director of the European division of the Jewish Agency’s Masa programs. “There’s a president [Emmanuel Macron] who’s empathetic, and there’s a sense that he cares about the Jews and wants them to stay. The feeling is that the threat of Islamic extremism is a threat to everyone, and not only to the Jews.”
    He says that from his experience working with young people in France, “People don’t say that they don’t want to come, they say that at the moment the circumstances are unsuitable and they’ll wait a little more – maybe in a few more years.” He doesn’t blame only the Israeli government and absorption difficulties: “When there’s a trigger of a security situation, people find the strength to leave, but the biggest enemy of aliyah is the routine. From 2014 to 2016, there were unusually high numbers, and now there’s a return to ordinary dimensions, because as far as they’re concerned, the situation is back to routine.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/710779 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Keep it up, Ahed Tamimi
    Now it must be said to her, days before her scheduled release after eight months in prison: It was worth it. Keep up the resistance to the Israeli occupation
    Gideon Levy - Jul 25, 2018 10:19 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-keep-it-up-ahed-tamimi-1.6314846
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.5896353.1532538974!/image/2297281808.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2297281808.jpg

    On Sunday you’re supposed to get out of prison, finally, together with your mother. But maybe it’s better not to open one’s mouth to the devil; the Shin Bet might issue an administrative arrest order against you. After all, only a few weeks ago the Shin Bet determined that you are still “potentially dangerous” – but we can hope that in three days you and your mother will once again be free at home.

    We can also hope that the potential danger you presented did not abate during your months in prison, since winter; that you’re still dangerous to the occupation, that you won’t stop resisting in your way. As far as I know your family, whom Israeli propaganda calls a “family of terror,” and a “family of murderers,” I know that there’s no chance of that happening. Your spirit will not falter. Your “danger” will not dissipate.

    You and your mother were in prison for eight months, although you had done nothing wrong except exhibit natural, justified resistance to the occupation, which invaded your yard. You struck an armed and body-armored soldier with your bare hands, as much as a 16-year-old girl can strike an armed, body-armored soldier, and your mother filmed it. That was your crime. In the occupation, only soldiers are allowed to strike. You did what any brave person living under occupation would do – you slapped him. The occupation has more than that coming to it.

    This happened after soldiers shot your 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, in the head, up the street from your house, leaving him with only half a skull. You should know that they arrested him again since then, despite his disability, and released him. Your brother was also arrested since then, and released.

    Nabi Saleh is waiting for its daughters. Bassem is waiting for Nariman and Ahed. There are also Israelis waiting for their release. Last week another case was uncovered of resistance to the occupation forces: Young men threw stones at the Border Police and injured a policewoman, who was taken to the hospital.

    A stone can kill and there’s a new, harsher policy against stone-throwers. Three young men were arrested, but they were released in a flash. They are settlers from Yitzhar. Ahed injured no one, and spent eight months in prison. No, there’s no apartheid in the territories.

    Ahed will be released on Sunday to a new reality. She has become an icon. While she was in jail, Gaza rose up and paid with the lives of 160 of its inhabitants, shot to death by Israeli snipers. Dozens of others remain disabled, some because Israel denied them proper medical care.

    While Ahed was in prison, the West Bank sank into its summer torpor, busy with internal rifts and disputes. The West Bank needs Ahed. The resistance needs Ahed. Not that one girl can change the world, but Ahed’s generation needs to be the next generation of the resistance. Its predecessor is lost; its children killed, wounded, arrested, in despair, tired, exiled or joined the bourgeoisie.

    Yes, one can be an Israeli and support the Palestinians who resist the occupation, like Ahed Tamimi, and wish them success. In fact, one must do so. With her bare hands and impressive appearance, Ahed is the hope for the future, the inspiration to others. The Shin Bet opposed her early release, saying: “Her statements show her extreme ideology and, given the security situation shows the potential danger of her early release.” Months have gone by, and it is hoped that the Shin Bet believes Ahed has changed her ideology thanks to her additional months in jail. Otherwise she won’t be released.

    But the Shin Bet also knows that except for the sake of abuse, revenge, satisfying Israeli public opinion and a desperate attempt at suppression by force, there is no justification for the continued imprisonment of this poster girl from Nabi Saleh. The Shin Bet knows that her “extreme” ideology is the ideology of everyone living under the occupation.

    Now it must be said to Ahed: It was worth it. Keep it up, Ahed. Keep up the resistance to the occupation. Keep up the protests every Friday of your courageous village. Keep on “inciting” – decrying the occupation and documenting its crimes. Keep on slapping him, if he invades your yard again, or shoots your young cousin in the head.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/710770 via Loutre


  • The world isn’t flat - Opinion
    The dangerous nation-state law declares the intention of its authors: To teach generations of Israeli Jews that the world is flat and entrust them with the mission of expelling and wiping out a nation

    Amira Hass
    Jul 24, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-world-isn-t-flat-1.6310944

    From a balcony in Ramallah, surrounded by friends and acquaintances, the nation-state law shrinks to its proper ludicrous proportions. The creationists erased a nation from the written text.
    And yet, nine indisputable representatives of that nation sat and joked, turned serious, reminisced, traded political gossip about senior Palestinian Authority officials, voiced fears and concerns, made predictions and retracted them. What a privilege it was for me to sit among them and enjoy what is so natural to them that they don’t even categorize it — a rootedness and a belonging that don’t need verbal trappings; a zest for life; unimaginable strength and courage.
    They were born in a village that was destroyed; in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip; in Damascus, Jaffa, Nablus, Ramallah, Nazareth, Acre. They’re the first, second and third generations of the 1948 refugees. Some are third-class citizens — fifth-class, now — of the state that robbed them of their homeland. Some returned to their homeland after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and settled down in the West Bank, subject to Israeli military orders.
    >> Planted by Netanyahu and co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face | Analysis ■ By degrading Arabic, Israel has degraded Arabs | Opinion ■ Israel’s contentious nation-state law: Everything you need to know >>
    All are members of the same nation, regardless of what is written on their identity cards. They escaped Israeli bombings in Beirut and in Gaza; they lived under Israeli-imposed curfew, siege and house arrest; they were jailed in Israeli prisons for political activity; they were interrogated by Israel’s Shin Bet security service; they raised themselves from poverty; they wandered, studied, worked in left-wing organizations.

    All of them have lost relatives and close friends, killed by Israel or in civil wars in the Arab countries where they used to live. All of them treasure the silent, pained gazes of their parents, who told them about the home that was lost 70 years ago.
    Some of them also became bourgeois. Which doesn’t spare them the checkpoints; the Israeli expressions of racism and arrogance; the forced separations from relatives who cannot go (from the Gaza Strip) or come (from Syria); the fears for the future.

    Not far, yet very far from there — under a lean-to in Khan al-Ahmar — women sit on thin mattresses placed on the ground and talk about the attack by police officers two weeks ago and a wedding party that is scheduled for this week. The strength and courage of these women from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe are equally evident. There, in those heartbreaking shelters, Israel’s greedy racism is also an immediate issue, broadcast by the spacious houses of the settlement of Kfar Adumim.
    How do they live like this, with nonstop threats and aggression from bureaucrats, soldiers, policemen and settlers who covet the little that remains to them? Where do they get the strength to live in crowded conditions that are hard to get used to, without electricity or running water — which are the minimum conditions for community life — with shrinking pasturage and shrinking income, and yet not give in to the expellers’ orders? Their strength comes from that same rootedness and natural sense of belonging, which the deniers of evolution, the drafters of the nation-state law, are incapable of understanding.
    For over a month, this community, which is threatened with a new expulsion, has been hosting mass public events — press conferences, rallies, speeches, delegations. There’s an element of exploitation and ostentation here on the Palestinian Authority’s part. Yet at the same time, another process is taking place, one that is very political: Palestinians from both urban and rural communities are liberating themselves from the alienation they used to feel toward the Bedouin.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/710248 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel’s LGBT strike of the pampered -

    The community has come by its power honestly – and become powerful, well-connected and fashionable. Not the Arab community, though

    Gideon Levy
    Jul 22, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-lgbt-strike-of-the-pampered-1.6293904

    Israel should be striking Sunday, supported by Super-Sol, McCann and Cellcom, against the nation-state law, in sympathy with the Arabs of this country, into whose faces the Knesset has spat, telling them officially and legally: You are second-class citizens.

    What a healing and hopeful effect such a strike would have as a sign of identification with the Arab towns of Sakhnin and Nazareth. What brotherhood would be in the air, what fruit would be borne for all society from such a show of solidarity. But for this a measure of courage and a clear moral compass is needed – two products that the leading companies don’t have in stock and the entire society needs.
    No one expects for Israel to come out anymore in mass protest against the occupation, the closure of Gaza or the settlements; it’s too brainwashed and anxiety-filled.
    But the nation-state law, which was passed only hours after the surrogacy bill was in play, is critical. It’s much more discriminatory and excluding than the surrogacy legislation. It doesn’t make it hard to be a parent. It makes it hard to belong to this country. For some Israelis it shows the way out. It shows all Israelis that from now on they’re living in a de jure apartheid state, not just a de facto one.
    And the trajectory is also different: The LGBT community is on its way to success: One more protest, one more vote, and surrogacy, a problematic way to parenthood, sometimes more despised than prostitution, will be approved for men as well. The legislation against the Arabs is going the other way: The nation-state law is just a promo. The slope is slippery and clear. Mass protest Sunday against this law could have marked a change.
    But Israel will march Sunday in another one of its protests of the pampered. The streets will be festooned with colorful flags, the sense of satisfaction will grow. Only the “tskers” – as my Haaretz colleague Nitzan Horowitz calls them – will smile bitterly. We thank the community, we thank the banks and we thank the advertising and high-tech firms. We have a vibrant and protesting society. The truly oppressed can wait.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709721 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Planted by Netanyahu and Co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face

    Even die-hard American Jews were forced to admit this week that something is rotten in their favorite Jewish state

    Chemi ShalevSendSend me email alerts
    Jul 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-planted-by-netanyahu-and-co-nation-state-law-is-a-time-bomb-1.6294

    Israel’s new nation-state law is loathsome, damaging, divisive and mainly superfluous, but its passage won’t make Israelis’ blood boil. Some agree with the law and others are apathetic, while its staunch opponents quickly recognized that the campaign to fight discrimination against gay men, sparked by the concurrent passage of a new Knesset bill on surrogacy, has a greater potential of sparking mass protests. The nation-state law injects poison into the country’s relations with its non-Jewish minorities, but in the final analysis, after the removal of some of its more controversial clauses, it won’t make much of a difference in the day-to-day lives of most Israelis.
    Nonetheless, as far as Israel’s standing and image are concerned, the new law is a mega-attack, a thermo-nuclear onslaught, a landmark that will henceforth divide before and after. Benjamin Netanyahu was right, therefore, to describe it as a “defining moment.” Scores of Breaking the Silence activists, hundreds of B’Tselem reports on the occupation and thousands of BDS proponents, all of which the government cynically holds responsible for its bad name, could never have inflicted such profound, comprehensive and long-lasting damage as Netanyahu and his coalition did by passing the new bill. In Donald Trump’s America, they might have been accused of treason.
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    The damage won’t be expressed in the few formal protests issued by foreign governments, especially European. The international community has other, more existential concerns right now, emanating from the growing awareness that the world’s greatest superpower is headed by a president who is unintelligible, at best, unstable, at worst and possibly beholden to a foreign government. In any case, the only protest that Netanyahu and most Israelis care about would have to come from the White House: Barack Obama personally blocked passage of the nation-state law, but Trump probably hasn’t heard about it, and if he has, is clueless as to what it all means, and even if he understands, then he doesn’t give a hoot. This is the glory of what Netanyahu describes as the greatest era of relations between the two countries: Israel can cut its wrists to its heart’s content, and America won’t lift a finger.
    But a dearth of diplomatic démarches won’t mitigate the inherent destructiveness of the nation-state law. It comes with a built-in time-release mechanism that ensures that it will taint Israel’s good name for many years to come. The law, in fact, marks the ground zero of a new Israel. Its first clause grants the Jewish people exclusive rights to self-determination, and Netanyahu’s coalition was quick to self-determine, in essence, that Israel is arrogant, belligerent and ethnocentric. This is the country’s new reflection in the mirror, and even if most Israelis prefer to look the other way, the whole world is watching, and reaching its own conclusions.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709723 via Nouvelles d’Orient



  • Israel passes controversial nation-state law defining country as Jewish national homeland

    62 lawmakers vote in favor of the bill after a stormy debate ■ Arab lawmakers tossed out after they tear bill in protest, call it ’apartheid law’

    Jonathan Lis and Noa Landau Jul 19, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-passes-controversial-nation-state-bill-1.6291048

    The Knesset passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” with 62 lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation and 55 opposing it.
    The nation-stae law also includes clauses stating that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country’s official language. Another says that “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
    It passed after a long and stormy debate that began in the afternoon, with lawmakers voting on hundreds of clauses presented by the opposition that objected to differents parts of the bill. 
    >> Nation-state bill heralds the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic State | Analysis ■ As an Arab, I support Israel’s Jewish nation-state bill | Opinion ■ Israel’s nation-state bill betrays insecurity about its right to the land
    Immediately after the law passed, Arab lawmakers tore copies in protest, and were subsequently removed from the Knesset plenum hall. Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, released a statement saying that Israel “declared it does not want us here” and that it had “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citiziens.”

    Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a defining moment – long live the State of Israel.”

    Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Knesset.
    Netanyahu further said that “122 years after Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.”
    The prime minister also said that "in the Middle East, only Israel respects [rights]. This is our country, the Jewish state. In recent years there have been those who have tried to undermine that and question the principles of our existence. Today we made it into law: This is the country, the language, the anthem and flag. 

    As they left the Knesset plenum, Arab MKs from the Joint List party confronted Netanyahu. MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.” 
    MK Tibi lashed at Netanyahu: “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” The premier retorted by saying: “How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?” 
    Opposition head Isaac Herzog also spoke up at the plenum, saying that “it’s a little sad to me that the last speech I make will be against this kind of backdrop. The question is whether the law will harm or benefit Israel. History will determine. I really hope that we won’t find the fine balance between a Jewish and democratic state to be hurt.”
    The sponsor of the bill, MK Avi Dichter, said during debates that took place prior to the vote that “unlike the disinformation and fake news that were tossed around [regarding the bill], this basic law doesn’t hurt the culture of minorities living in Israel, doesn’t hurt their sabbaticals and holidays and certainly doesn’t hurt the Arabic language, which remains a mother tongue for 1.5 million of Israel’s citizens.”
    The draft bill the Knesset voted on is fundamentally different form the version the coalition had sought to advance in the past decade. Its main clauses were moderated following pressure within the coalition ranks and beyond.
    Initially, the bill was intended to significantly limit the discretion of Supreme Court justices’ decisions, requiring them to set the state’s Jewish character above its democratic character in rulings where the two clashed. This clause was removed from the bill already in May.

    The most controversial clause, which appeared to pave the way for the creation of communities segregated by nationality or religion, was removed from the legislation earlier this week.

    The nation-state law establishes as a basic law, or quasi-constitutional law, a set of values, some of which already appear in existing laws. The law stipulates that Israel is the Jewish nation’s historic homeland and that this nation has the singular right to national self-determination in it. The law anchors the flag, menorah, Hatikva anthem, Hebrew calendar, Independence Day and Jewish holidays as national symbols.
    The law states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is the state’s capital, which appears today in Basic Law: Jerusalem. The nation-state law further grants the status of an official language only to Hebrew.
    Another controversial clause stipulates that the state will invest resources in preserving Israel’s affiliation to world Jewry, but not in Israel. This wording was demanded by the ultra-Orthodox parties to prevent the state from linking up with the Reform and Conservative communities in Israel.
    As part of the protest against the law, Peace Now activists waved a black flag in the Knesset balcony during the debate, until security guards made them leave the room. Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.
    “As [the 1956 massacre] in Kafr Qassem was a blatantly illegal order, with a black flag over it, so is a black flag hoisted over this evil law,” he said.
    J Street’s president and founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, harshly criticized the nation-state bill and Netanyahu’s government: “It was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ’will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”
    On Monday, Netanyahu said the bill was “very important to guarantee the foundations of our existence, which is Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” – though critics say he is mainly keen to drum up support before the next Knesset election, due by November next year.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709115 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • How a West Bank highway’s roadsign captures the Israeli psyche - Opinion

    There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, completely oblivious of Palestinian residents

    Amira Hass
    Jul 17, 2018 6:59 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-how-a-west-bank-highway-s-roadsign-captures-the-israeli-psyche-1.6

    If you want a tour of the Israeli subconscious, follow Route 60 through the West Bank to the junction of the villages of Beitin, Dir Dibwan and Burqa, then turn left. You’re not familiar with that intersection? Here’s a hint: Netivei Israel, the National Transport Infrastructure Company, is upgrading the junction and has even posted signs there with the following wording: “Very dangerous site. Drive carefully.” The warnings are written inside a circle with a needle pointing to a red stripe, for emphasis.
    Underneath the circle, it says, “Givat Assaf Junction. Widening the intersection and making safety upgrades. Working to fix a dangerous intersection. Date of completion: January 2019.” The notice is signed by the Transportation Ministry and the roads company.

    A Hebrew only sign at Givat Assaf Junction in the West BankAmira Hass
    In mid-March, I asked spokespeople at Netivei Israel why it chose that name for the intersection, given that Givat Assaf is, as I put it, “An unauthorized and illegal outpost built on privately owned land belonging to residents of the Palestinian village of Beitin. Moreover, this land was taken over by means of forged documents.” The outpost was built in 2001 by exploiting the severe restrictions the army had imposed on Palestinian movement at that time, which enabled settler gangs of robbers to take over more land.
    I added that I’d been informed the outpost hadn’t been legalized. In other words, that Israeli authorities couldn’t find any cunning legal wizardry with which to whitewash this blatant forgery, which included the “sale” of the land in 2002 or 2003 by a Beitin resident who died in 1995. “Isn’t the choice of this name a form of encouragement for real estate crime?” I asked the company.
    Here is the answer I received: “Netivei Israel is the national transportation infrastructure company and doesn’t get involved in political issues at all, but only in the core issues it is responsible for – planning, building and maintaining a network of roads.”
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    It doesn’t get involved in political issues? There’s nothing more political than a state-owned company that built a major road on lands belonging to the Palestinian villages of Beitin, Burqa and Dir Dibwan, without even giving them direct access to the road and the intersection. There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, which forbids transferring members of an occupying population into occupied territory.
    But all this is still within the bounds of the Israeli conscious. Israel doesn’t hide its goal: formal, complete seizure of over 60 percent of the West Bank. Israel doesn’t hide its position that every bit of land on which a Jew lays his hand is sanctified to him and belongs to Israel.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708835 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Ireland approves bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ireland-approves-bill-boycotting-israeli-settlements-1.6265672

    Ireland’s Senate approved on Wednesday a bill to boycott products from West Bank settlements.
    The bill passed with 25 lawmakers voting in its favor, 20 against it and 14 abstaining. The legislation prohibits “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.”
    Earlier this year, a vote on the bill was delayed at the Irish government’s request. The government, at Israel’s urging, then sought to soften the language, but was unable to reach a compromise.

    The bill has passed thanks to votes from opposition legislators and independents. Senator Frances Black, the independent who sponsored the bill, recently posted a video urging the Irish to pressure their representatives to support it.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707802 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Netanyahu’s dark deal with Europe’s radical right -

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured in Eastern Europe because these ties help him block EU decisions against the occupation, but there are no free lunches in politics

    Nitzan Horowitz
    Jul 09, 2018 4:32 AM
    | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-pm-s-dark-deal-with-e-europe-condones-anti-semitism-and-occupation

    Netanyahu’s Polish romance, much like his Hungarian romance, is part of a much bigger story. For years, Netanyahu has been promoting all sorts of ties with the radical right in Europe. He has some passionate fans there: A long list of anti-democratic movements and governments that consider Bibi’s Israel an optimal partner. The Israeli government has no problem with these entities, because they are essentially quite similar. The basis of the connection derives from overlapping interests and ideological closeness.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Immigration is a prominent example. The right’s anti-immigration efforts (there and here) became fused with the Israeli-Arab conflict and made Israel an ally in the fight against Islam. “The Jews are our brothers in arms in the war against Islam,” Filip Dewinter, leader of a far right Flemish party in Belgium, explained a decade ago. In that same interview with this newspaper, DeWinter also argued that there was no need for laws against Holocaust denial.
    The far-right political movements, some of which are the descendants of Holocaust-era political parties and regimes, understood years ago that they had to change their image if they wanted to grow stronger. And that one way to do this was to enlist Jewish communities in Israel and around the world as a source of political legitimacy and seal of approval. Many far-right parties in Europe have chosen to distance themselves from anti-Semitism, in their public declarations at least. The open anti-Semitism has been replaced with crude Islamophobia. But the Jewish communities still aren’t buying it. Just scratch the surface and the real character of these groups is revealed.
    Last year, when tension was rising in the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen showed the face she’d been trying to hide. She asserted that France bore no responsibility for the persecution of French Jews, defying a two-decades-long national effort to acknowledge the terrible responsibility borne by French fascism and the Vichy regime for the murders of tens of thousands of Jews.

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured, especially in Eastern Europe. These ties help him to block EU decisions against the occupation and the settlements. But there are no free lunches in politics. These relations come with a price, and Israel is paying it: refraining from criticizing these countries over anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-democratic legislation, even when Jews worldwide are appalled, as happened in the George Soros affair. This is a two-way deal: Forgive me my anti-Semitism and I’ll forgive your occupation.
    >> Yad Vashem vs. Bibi: When there’s nothing to celebrate, Netanyahu runs from the cameras || Analysis >>
    But diplomatic interests are just part of the picture. The Israeli government isn’t reluctantly being forced to swallow the various anti-democratic political trends in return for diplomatic gain – because it basically agrees with these trends. Essentially, Israel’s current government has no fundamental moral dispute with this dark trend in Europe.

    The profound political shift in Israel over the last generation is moving it from the side that upholds universal human and civil rights to the side that upholds a nationalist, ethnocentric view opposed to social welfare policy. This is where the far right can always be found, and where the Israeli right can increasingly be found now. This is a Putinist-Trumpist worldview characterized by social ruthlessness, racism and unabashed scorn for liberal democracy, all expressed by aversion to international institutions, nostalgia for the greatness of an imagined past, adulation of power, derision of the media and hatred of minorities.
    And it’s totally reciprocal: Many in Europe’s far right talk about “shared values” with Israel and view it as a nationalist role model. Thus we see more and more right-wing Israeli figures unashamedly pursuing ties with the European fascists, and the latter touting their friends in Israel. Now, for the most part, it is only the memory of the Holocaust combined with strong resistance from the world’s Jewish communities that prevents Israel from plunging deeper into this European morass.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707386 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel’s stupid, ignorant and amoral betrayal of the truth on Polish involvement in the Holocaust

    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. And we legitimized the government’s campaign to harass, fine and impoverish Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who expose Poles’ involvement in the crimes of the Holocaust

    Yehuda BauerSendSend me email alerts
    Jul 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-okay-so-the-poles-didn-t-murder-jews-1.6242474

    The Polish and Israeli governments have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Polish law that states that claiming that Poland as a country, or the Polish people, were responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. According to the agreement, this criminal aspect was removed.
    The Polish government passed the law to begin with to defend its good name against accusations that many Poles took part in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. And who will decide on the historical facts? According to the Poles, it will be the Institute of National Remembrance, which is run by the politicians controlling the country today.
    And so according to the law – even after the agreement with Israel – the government will determine what happened in the past via historians in its service, and this narrative cannot be critiqued by historians, independent researchers or others. Is this acceptable to the Israeli government?
    >> With Nationalists in Power, Can Jews Ever Feel at Home in Poland? | Opinion ■ The Polish were once victims of historical whitewashing. Now they are doing the same | Analysis >> 
    The joint announcement by Israel and Poland also states that many segments of Polish society helped Jews. This position diminishes the heroism of Poland’s Righteous Among the Nations because the noble-spirited Polish rescuers had to hide not only from the Germans, but also, and perhaps mainly, from their Polish neighbors.
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    Yad Vashem has recognized some 6,750 Polish Righteous Among the Nations. They are a small and courageous minority. Unfortunately, the social norm that was accepted in occupied Poland was completely different: The usual conduct was not to help Jews, but to harm them, and many Poles were involved in the persecution of Jews. Europeans’ cooperation with the Nazi death machine was widespread, of course, not only in Poland. But in other countries, scholars who uncover this can’t be penalized.
    As for the abrogation of the criminal aspect of the law, let’s not forget that this also means eliminating the exception of historians and literary figures whose profession is to write about this subject. From now on they too, and of course also journalists, educators, politicians and others, can be sued for revealing historical truths. Eliminating the criminal aspect lifts the threat of imprisonment and fines in criminal proceedings, but not punishment in civil proceedings.
    In fact, the revamped law encourages civil suits against Poles who claim that a good many Poles were involved in persecuting Jews. Naturally, this claim is correct. There were Poles who gave Jews up to the Polish police, who in turn gave them to the Germans. There were those who turned Jews in directly to the Germans, and there were those who murdered Jews themselves.

    The clauses of the law that still stand can, apparently, be imposed via civil proceedings against anyone claiming that the main motives for persecuting Jews were the anti-Semitism of a good many Poles and the greed of Poles who on a huge scale throughout Poland stole the possessions of those who were deported and murdered.
    The Law and Justice party now rules Poland, with a decisive majority in parliament. In fact, the government is in the hands of the party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who in this is imitating Stalin, who controlled the Soviet Union from his position as head of the Bolshevik party. Kaczynski and his party are of course anti-Communist, so their rule can be defined as Bolshevik anti-Communism.
    >> Opinion: Neither Poland nor Israel can afford their fixation with the past >> 
    Kaczynski announced a few days ago that preparations are already being made in civil courts to sue offenders. These people could be required to pay high fines.
    Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who want to expose the acts of harassment by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust could risk impoverishment and loss of livelihood. It may be assumed that their research funding will be reduced or eliminated, and honest people will be removed from their jobs. Poland will quickly become an illiberal democracy, the term favored by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who supports this nationalist-populist revolt and will receive a royal welcome by the Israeli government on his upcoming visit here.
    The declaration by Warsaw and Jerusalem legitimizes this betrayal by the Israeli government of the historical truth, the memory of the Holocaust and the marvelous people in Poland who investigated the facts on which we base our criticism. And for what did the Israeli government sacrifice truth and justice? For its current economic, security and political interests, which are more important than some Holocaust that happened 70 or 80 years ago.
    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. If we come now to the Americans or the Europeans with complaints against what this generates in Poland, they’ll answer us, and rightfully, that the Israeli government accepted the Polish facts. I don’t know what was going on here – ignorance, stupidity or the clear amoral victory of transient interests that will remain with us as an eternal disgrace. And perhaps it was simply betrayal.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706690 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • C’est une thèse assez répandue dans les milieux proches de l’Autorité palestinienne, mais elle n’a une grande crédibilité à mon humble avis.

    Trump’s peace plan may have a surprising Palestinian partner: Hamas -

    Senior Hamas figures are sending up a direct-negotiations trial balloon, indicating interest in buying into the White House plan to ease the crisis in Gaza. The consequences could be explosive

    Muhammad Shehada SendSend me email alerts
    Jun 25, 2018 4:56 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-trump-s-peace-plan-may-have-a-surprising-palestinian-partner-hamas

    Last week, the former spokesperson of Hamas’ interior and security ministry, Islam Shahwan, posed an unusual question on Facebook. 
    “What if decision makers in Gaza invited [Israeli] decision makers to meet at the [Erez] border crossing to discuss Gaza’s tragic conditions, to find a direct solution between the two sides, away from the interventions of [Palestinian Authority, Egyptian and other mediator] devils?”

    Facebook question by former Hamas spokesman, Islam ShahwanFacebook
    It seems hardly coincidental that Shahwan raised this possibility of a public debate about direct contact with Israel at the same time as Trump Mideast advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt were visiting the region to discuss Trump’s apparently imminent peace plan which, by many accounts, not least Kushner’s own hints, intends to deal with Gaza separately from the West Bank.
    This trial balloon on such a sensitive topic, likely the result of instructions from high up in the ranks of Hamas, reveals a vital discourse going on now within the Islamist movement which rules Gaza. The same organization, formally dedicated to Israel’s destruction, now appears to be suggesting direct talks with it- to break the predicament of its reliance on mediators for what have been years of fruitless indirect talks with Israel.
    Two hours after Shahwan’s post, senior Hamas analyst, Ibrahim al-Madhoun, proposed a framework for that dialogue: setting out, in effect, the best case scenario: maximum Hamas gains with minimal and unarticulated concessions. That can easily be seen as a tactic for neutralizing most kneejerk opprobrium for steps towards appeasement with Israel.
    “Hamas doesn’t mind any deal through which Gaza will be set free, the blockade will be lifted, with a seaport and an airport and a prisoner swap. Weapons would be regulated, without giving up any of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he suggested.
    Close enough to top Hamas leaders to know what’s going on behind the scenes, Al-Madhoun reiterated widely-reported news in the region - that Hamas is working with Egypt to push a comprehensive cease-fire deal with Israel. That deal would mean Hamas would stop building tunnels, continue to prevent primitive projectiles from being fired towards Israel, and participate in a prisoner swap. In return, Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza would be lifted and Gaza would build an internationally-run airport and seaport.
    The timing of reproducing such proposal might show how Hamas is hastening to pre-empt the Trump peace plan, to finally get a share of the “peace process cake” - and to have their revenge on the Paestinian Authority at the same time.

    Palestinian Hamas top leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, attends the Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Eastern Gaza City. June 15, 2018Khalil Hamra/AP
    In fact, Hamas has consistently proposed those same parameters after each of the last three wars on Gaza. As Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote last week, quoting a former senior IDF official, that Hamas’ proposals are known and predictable, and “whatever issues will be discussed [after a new round of fighting] can and should be discussed now.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/704822 via Nouvelles d’Orient