• Israel, a state unencumbered by democracy

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Gideon LevySendSend me email alerts
    Jun 14, 2018

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict

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

    Amira Hass Jun 05, 2018

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

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

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


  • Israel uses Diaspora Jews as human shields

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

    Yossi Klein May 31, 2018

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

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

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


  • The bill to protect Elor Azaria - Haaretz Editorial

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

    Haaretz Editorial May 27, 2018

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

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

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


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

    Haaretz Editorial May 21, 2018

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

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

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


  • Dear occupiers, sorry if we hurt your feelings - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Not one Israeli statesman today intends to apologize for the Nakba – not for the ethnic cleansing, nor for the exiling. But Abbas had no choice but to apologize for his Holocaust remark

    Gideon Levy May 06, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-dear-occupiers-sorry-if-we-hurt-your-feelings-1.6055095

    It’s hard to imagine a more unfounded, bizarre and insane scenario than this: The leader of the Palestinian people is forced to apologize to the Jewish people. The one who was robbed apologizes to the robbers, the victim apologizes to the rapist, the dead to the killer.
    After all, the occupiers are so sensitive – and their feelings, and only theirs, must be taken into account. A nation that hasn’t stopped occupying, destroying and killing, and has never considered apologizing for anything – anything – gets its victims to apologize for one measly sentence by their leader. The rest is known: “apology not accepted.” What did you think would happen? That it would be “accepted”?
    You don’t have to be an admirer of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to understand the depths of the absurd. You don’t have to be an Israel hater to understand the extent of the chutzpah.
    Israel holds a magic card, the lottery of the century: the horror of anti-Semitism. The value of this card is on a dizzying rise, especially now as the Holocaust recedes and anti-Semitism is being replaced in many countries by criticism of Israel. Playing this lucky card covers everything. Its holders not only can do anything they please, they can be insulted and put on the squeeze.
    The world became agitated over Abbas like it never was over any Israeli incitement – the chorus of the European Union, the UN envoy and of course, the ambassador of the settlers, David Friedman, who never denounces Israel for anything, only the Palestinians. Even The New York Times took on an amazingly sharp tone: “Let Abbas’ vile words be his last as Palestinian leader.”
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    It’s hard to imagine that the newspaper the Jewish right has marked as an Israel hater, baselessly of course, would use similar language against an Israeli prime minister; the one responsible, for example, for the massacre of unarmed protesters.

    There’s a double standard in Israel as well: It will never attack the anti-Semitic right in Europe as it attacks Abbas, who is certainly much less anti-Semitic, if at all, than Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
    Abbas said something that should not have been said. A day later he apologized. He regretted and retracted what he said, condemned the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution. It wouldn’t have taken much more for him to bend his knee to Israel’s hobnail boots and ask forgiveness for continuing to live under them.
    But Israel won’t let any apology stop its nefarious gloating. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to damn the other side, as usual: “despicable Holocaust denier apology not accepted.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/692150 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Putin’s gambit could backfire

    For the first time since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Syria, Putin may find himself in direct confrontation with Israel

    Moshe Arens May 01, 2018

    Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-putin-s-gambit-could-backfire-1.6045735

    Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be quite astute in establishing a Russian presence in Syria. After waiting for the Americans to make it clear that they did not intend to get involved in the fighting there, he moved into the vacuum quickly and massively. He has established Russian naval and air bases and has provided military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Having saved Assad from defeat, Putin became Assad’s patron.
    Now Assad is indebted to Putin and relies on him for further military support, which includes Russian aircraft and missiles. The use of Russian mercenaries for fighting on the ground allows Putin to claim that no Russian ground forces are involved in the fighting and that the Russian military presence on the ground is limited to the Russian naval and air bases. The use of mercenaries is a ruse that was already used to cover the Russian involvement in Ukraine. Although quite transparent, it seems to be working. It has become part of the inventory of methods used to spread Russian influence beyond Russia’s borders. The world seems to be getting used to it.
    Whether to his satisfaction or not, Putin has become an ally of the Iranians, who are also supporting Assad through Hezbollah as well as with Iranian forces on the ground. They have all well situated themselves in Syria.
    On more than one occasion, Israel has made clear to Putin that it opposes the supplying of weapons to Hezbollah via Syria and that it is determined to keep Iranian forces from approaching Israel’s borders. Various arrangements have been made between Russia and Israel that are supposed to ensure the avoidance of conflict between Israeli aircraft operating over Syria and Russian aircraft. This seems to have worked so far.
    Now Putin is now considering supplying S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Assad, which would provide the Syrian president with the ability to engage Israeli aircraft attacking targets in Syria. This could bring about a dramatic change in the situation in Syria, and is liable to increase the prospect of a direct conflict between Russia and Israel. From Putin’s standpoint, this is a gamble whose outcome is hard to predict.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/690983 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Anti-Zionist law - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News
    Knesset sought to make clear that the purpose of the nation-state law is to fundamentally change the balance between Israel as a Jewish state and a democratic one

    Haaretz Editorial Apr 30, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/anti-zionist-law-1.6035579

    Two weeks after the historic celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the state’s establishment, the Knesset is busy with another historic process. On Monday, it is expected to hold the first of three votes on the proposed Basic Law, which states that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The nation-state bill is meant to be the state’s identity card, equivalent to the preamble of a constitution, which defines its identity and values.
    One of the “compromises” of the committee that prepared the law for its first vote was the removal of the section that established the explicit supremacy of the nation-state law over all other laws. Also removed was a paragraph stating that the law’s purpose is “to enshrine in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.”
    In other words, the Knesset sought to make clear that the purpose of the law is to fundamentally change the balance between Israel as a Jewish state and a democratic one, and to undermine the values of the Declaration of Independence, which promised a state that grants full equality to all its citizens. Apparently the combination of “Jewish and democratic” and the values of the Declaration of Independence have became inconceivable concepts — just like the words “equality” and “human rights,” which the Knesset refused to include in the law.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/690855 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Gaza
    Once again : Stop shooting
    – Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/once-again-stop-shooting-1.6032762

    This Friday the “March of Return” demonstrators in the Gaza Strip will once again face off with Israel Defense Forces soldiers. But this Friday must not, for the fifth time in a row, become the last day in the lives of yet more desperate but unarmed young men who aren’t endangering anyone, or the day on which more and more young demonstrators become disabled for the rest of their lives.
    Whether this happens is in the hands of the IDF and its officers. This fifth Friday in the ongoing series of demonstrations must finally bring the cessation of the IDF’s use of potentially lethal fire at unarmed demonstrators. It must end without casualties.
    >> Hamas hijacked the Gaza protests ■ Killing of Gaza protesters undermines Israel’s claims of self-defense >>
    On Wednesday, the 40th victim of this shooting at demonstrators died of his wounds. The victim was press photographer Ahmed Abu Hussein, who was severely wounded in the stomach two weeks ago by a sniper’s bullet.
    Abu Hussein was one of only four casualties, including an 11-year-old boy who lost his leg, whom Israel allowed to be sent to a hospital in Ramallah. And even those four were allowed to be transferred only after a petition to the High Court of Justice. Of the 5,511 people who have so far been wounded in the demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border fence, some 1,700 were wounded by live bullets.

    According to doctors in Gaza, the wounds during these demonstrations have been especially severe. Thousands of wounded is a frightening statistic considering that the demonstrators whom the army is confronting are unarmed and, as a rule, nonviolent. Given the collapse of Gaza’s health system, the fact that the defense establishment, on orders from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, isn’t letting more of the casualties receive treatment in Ramallah or Israel adds insult to injury. Abu Hussein ultimately died in an Israeli hospital, after his condition deteriorated.

    The 40 people who have been killed in the demonstrations were all young, and two were children. Their deaths could have been avoided had restrictions been imposed on the IDF’s use of live fire against the protesters.
    The consistent, ongoing decline in the number of casualties from week to week isn’t only due to the decline in the number of demonstrators from week to week. It also attests to relative restraint in the conduct of IDF soldiers. But this isn’t enough. Starting on Friday, the IDF must set itself a clear goal – zero Palestinian casualties as long as they aren’t endangering anyone’s life.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/690211 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Son of a bitch, what a video
    We should thank the soldiers in that video for sharing their genuine emotions and rejoicing at the sight of an unarmed Arab flying in the air after being shot

    Gideon Levy Apr 12, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-son-of-a-bitch-what-a-video-1.5992610

    Let’s say the soldiers in that video clip didn’t cheer and hoot, using foul language. Let’s say they recited Yehuda Amichai’s poem “God has pity on kindergarten children” before kneeling to take aim at demonstrators, and that after using live fire to shoot an unarmed protester they recited “El Malei Rachamim,” the Jewish prayer for the soul of the dead, assuming the protester had been killed like dozens of others. Let’s say the soldiers were shocked, meeting later for soul-baring talks into the night to discuss values.
    Let’s imagine some of them required psychological aid for trauma or post-trauma, with a few joining Breaking the Silence, confessing their deeds and repenting. And then a leftist filmmaker would make a movie about them, showing how deep was their sacrifice, how agonizing their suffering, just like in “Waltz with Bashir” or “Foxtrot.” How beautiful we could be. And then came this video and ruined everything.
    Let’s say the sharpshooters were value-driven soldiers, who had to carry out their duty while suffering wrenching pangs of guilt. Would that make them better human beings? More humane? More moral? They would tug at our heartstrings much more than those lowlifes in the video. No scandal would erupt and the beautiful soldiers would continue aiming at and shooting protesters.
    Half the country was shocked for a moment by the video. This was after two Fridays in which army snipers had killed and wounded hundreds of unarmed people who endangered no one, with Israel remaining silent. The country lived in peace with the massacre, justifying it in unified chorus. Then came the video and halted the celebrations for a moment. Is that how one talks? Is that how one takes photos? Not nice, soldiers. Even the campaign’s commander Avigdor Lieberman said that the soldier who took the pictures should be demoted. A miniature scandal over etiquette. Soldiers are allowed to kill and wound civilians to their hearts’ content but one doesn’t talk like that and one doesn’t film it.
    One should learn from the pilots. This wouldn’t have happened to them. When they dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential building in Gaza they didn’t cheer in the cockpit and they didn’t curse. Their language is as pure as the driven snow. You won’t hear them saying: “The son of a bitch. What a clip. Wow, we got someone in the head, he flew up with his leg in the air. Go, you sons of bitches.” That’s not their style. Some of them actually squirm during the debriefing session, even though they never the see the whites of their victims’ eyes, like their brothers-in-arms, the snipers, do. Maybe that’s why pilots are more value-driven.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/685932 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • ’I was just following orders’: What will you tell your children? - Opinion

    ’How did you destroy villages?’ one daughter will ask. ’How did you agree to imprison two million people?’ another will whisper. The answers will only make their weeping louder

    Amira Hass Apr 08, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-i-was-just-following-orders-what-will-you-tell-your-children-1.597

    Maybe the day will come and young Israelis – not one or two, but an entire generation – will ask their parents: How could you? If the question is asked, our situation will already be better because it will signal the post-herd stage of the Israeli existence.
    To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz
    The problem is we cannot know when this will happen. In another 70 years? In another 50? How low can we sink in our choosing to go along with the herd, wicked and enjoyable in its own right? What nadir must we reach before the young people are shocked about what their parents and grandparents did and stop imitating them, an emulation that is also an upgrade of sorts.
    Let us allow ourselves a minute of optimism, and assume that the question will be asked before it is too late. With just a bit more optimism, let us say they will be the 4-year-olds of today, or those who are born in another few months. Congratulations.

    A man fills a bucket with water brought by a water tank carriage as Palestinians face a water crisis in Gaza City, Gaza on May 9, 2016.Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency /
    The question “how could you?” will split into a few sub-questions. For example: Why did you consent? You really didn’t know? Don’t talk nonsense — after all, the information was published in real time, and in abundance. You didn’t need to wait for someone to be released from a forced labor camp in Siberia and appear at the door a few months later to tell the story.
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    Why didn’t you care? Why did you remain silent? How could you have gone out hiking on the weekends, watch television and movies, go shopping in the new mall and work on your master’s degree in history of the gulags or run a business from your home, choose concerts and plays in London and go to the soccer game every week – and also renovate the house as if everything was normal?
    The parents may be embarrassed and say: “You have to understand, it wasn’t just us. Our neighbor Adina too, who was a famous professor of the history of anti-Semitism, lived normally – between her trips abroad, conversations in the supermarket and interviews on radio and television. She too remained silent on those matters, and loved to hear the later sonatas of Beethoven and Bartok.” And then the mother will correct the father: “What’s the matter with you? She wasn’t an expert in anti-Semitism, but on species of butterflies going extinct.” The argument between the two will spill over into other arguments, and that is how they will avoid answering their daughter’s question.

    Other parents may apologize. “You must understand,” they will say. “We were afraid of terrorism.” And the children will press on: How does the fight against terrorism turn into destroying water pipes and cisterns for collecting rainwater, and quotas for drinking water for specific groups of people at a time when we were enjoying an abundance of water? The father will twist and turn and say he “was not responsible for the quota. Ask the children of Mordechai and Ori about that, and nu, what was his name, the infrastructure minister?” The son – forgive him for his interruptions, he is a teenager – will yell: But you drove the bulldozers that destroyed the cisterns. Grandpa told me about it, proudly, before he died. The father will correct him: “An excavator, not a bulldozer — and I was among the soldiers who aimed their rifles at the little buggers who didn’t throw stones at the drivers.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/684351 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel is the terrorist

    Young Palestinians are not carrying out acts of terror- they are leading a desperate struggle against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they

    Ilana Hammerman Apr 05, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-the-terrorist-1.5976966

    About a week ago, on the highway between Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, two soldiers were killed and two were injured by a car that was driven by a resident of Barta’a. There are not many Israelis who know where these settlements are located and in what kind of reality they exist. But the vast majority probably have no doubt who was the terrorist here, and who, the innocent victim, and they hope for the fulfillment of the vow made by President Reuven Rivlin, who declared after the incident: “We will not rest until we bring all the collaborators to justice; we will not allow terrorism to become a reality.”
    The problem is that terror has long since become the reality, and the entity that has allowed and is allowing this to happen is the State of Israel. Look at the map and find Barta’a, and maybe you’d even be interested in going there and seeing and hearing how its residents live and what their surroundings are like. I happened to do so a few days before the car-ramming incident, and it was completely clear to me – and not for the first time – that this reality is a product of the ongoing policy of terror pursued by generations of Israeli governments, and that it is this policy that gives rise to the acts of resistance against it.
    What’s amazing is only that there aren’t more such acts, because it’s really and truly an intolerable situation. Barta’a al-Sharqiya is located east of Wadi Ara, between the Green Line and the separation barrier. In that location the fence makes a major detour into the West Bank in order to include in Israeli territory four settlements with names as fresh and pleasant as the fruit of the field and its fragrances: Shaked (Almond), Reihan (Basil), Hinanit (Daisy) and Tal Menashe (Dew of Menashe).
    Within this enclave there are also four Arab villages, the largest of which is Barta’a al-Sharqiya. This entire enclave, with its fences, checkpoints and military forces, exists and thrives only for the benefit of the settlers who settled in it and next to it. The people who have been living for ages in the Arab villages in this part of the country suddenly found themselves penned in and subject to a diabolical maze of orders and regulations: They are not allowed to enter Israel to the west, while to the east, in the West Bank– their natural living space – two checkpoints were set up for them, via which they must leave and enter during opening hours and with the permission and good graces of the soldiers and private security guards posted there.
    A few are also allowed to bring food and merchandise in their cars via the checkpoints, with restrictions. Palestinians who live outside the enclave – who are members of the same nation as those living within it, and often their relatives – are not permitted to enter unless they have “special permits.”
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    Farmers from outside the enclave found themselves cut off from their land, and they too must request special permits and must enter and leave through special gates and at predetermined opening hours, in order to cultivate their fields. The settlements of Hermesh and Mevo Dotan are also situated in the area of the West Bank, but outside the enclave. The point is that every such settlement that is built In the West Bank – in which not a single dunam belongs to the State of Israel – disrupts the lives of the Palestinian villages in the area in ways that a free citizen would find difficult even to imagine.

    That’s the reality there, and it’s one of state-sponsored terror, the State of Israel. Because what is land confiscation on a huge scale, what are restrictions on freedom of movement, and with it freedom of employment and commerce, home demolitions, the imposition of curfews and closures, the building of innumerable fences and walls and the deployment of military forces armed to the teeth, in the heart of a Palestinian civilian population, in order to protect an Israeli civilian population that settled among it by force – what are all these if not terror, in other words, a war against unarmed citizens?
    And so, in this situation a young Palestinian girl stands in the back yard of her home in Nabi Saleh and slaps an Israeli soldier who was sent to her village only in order to guard the settlement of Halamish, which also thuggishly stuck itself deep inside the area of the West Bank; and in this situation two young women arrive at the checkpoint in the heart of Hebron, each one separately, with a knife in their hand or their bag, and the armed soldiers – who are there in order to protect a violent Jewish settlement, which expelled tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and incessantly abuses those who survived – shoot them dead.
    And in this situation demonstrators emerge in the heart of the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem or the outskirts of the village of Beit Ummar, carrying stones and tires for burning and incendiary devices, to confront soldiers armed with machine guns and stun and gas grenades, who invade their communities and their homes day and night and injure and kill those who resist them and flee from them; and in this situation a young man comes from Barta’a and runs over and kills and injures soldiers – who are posted there only to protect the settlements that were generously built north and south of his village, and because of which the crowded village is doomed to economic and human strangulation.
    What are the acts of these young people? Terror? No, this is a desperate struggle by groups and individuals, who from the day they were born have nothing to hope for, against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they. And what is this army defending: The security of its country? No, it is defending the choice of Israeli governments to use terror to impose the “state of the Jewish people” on the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.
    I would like to make these things clear out of a belief in the power of words to shape consciousness. And sometimes political involvement as well.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/684211 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The Israel Massacre Forces
    Gideon Levy Apr 01, 2018 11:17 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-israel-massacre-forces-1.5962852
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.5963118.1522539124!/image/2296544235.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2296544235.jpg

    The killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes. There’s nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood. If there were a hundred or even a thousand deaths Israel would still “salute” the IDF. This is the army whose commander, the good and moderate Gadi Eisenkot, is received with such pride by Israelis. Of course, in the holiday media interviews, no one asked him about the anticipated massacre and no one will ask him now either.

    But an army that prides itself on shooting a farmer on his land, showing the video on its website in order to intimidate Gazans; an army that pits tanks against civilians and boasts of one hundred snipers waiting for the demonstrators is an army that has lost all restraint. As if there weren’t other measures. As if the IDF had the authority or right to prevent demonstrations in Gaza, threatening bus drivers not to transport protesters in territory where the occupation has long ended, as everyone knows.

    Despairing young men sneak in from Gaza, armed with ridiculous weapons, marching dozens of kilometers without hurting anyone, only waiting to be caught so as to escape Gaza’s poverty in an Israeli jail. This doesn’t touch anyone’s conscience either. The main thing is that the IDF proudly presents its catch. Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas is responsible for the situation in Gaza. And Hamas, of course. And Egypt. And the Arab world and the whole world. Just not Israel. It left Gaza and Israeli soldiers never commit massacres.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/681849 via Loutre


  • Israel’s clash with reality on Gaza -

    The clash in Gaza shows that it’s baseless to distinguish between short-term solutions such as blocking border protests and long-term solutions such as the continued closure of the enclave

    Haaretz Editorial Apr 01, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/.premium-a-clash-with-reality-along-the-israel-gaza-border-1.5962957

    The demonstrations organized by Hamas in the Gaza Strip claimed at least 15 Palestinian lives on their first day, in a clash planned to continue for six weeks. The reason for these protests is well-known. As predicted by the army and the security agencies, the harsh conditions in which 2 million Gazans live under an Israeli closure amid a diplomatic solution nowhere in sight have prepared the ground for a mass eruption in which tens of thousands of people took part, people who’ve lost all hope for a better future.
    To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz
    So far the army has managed to prevent a breach of the border fence and the risk of thousands of Gazans entering Israel, but it would be misleading to picture the events in Gaza as a localized military incident where the winners and losers are measured by the number of deaths and an intact border fence.
    The arena of this campaign isn’t limited to Gaza. On the diplomatic front Israel will now have to deal with international pressure and countries, some of them friendly to Israel, and some that don’t embrace the Israeli script considering Hamas responsible for the civil uprising. The longer the confrontation on the southern border lasts, the greater the chances of East Jerusalem and the West Bank joining in. Jordan, Egypt and other Arab states are concerned that these protests might trickle into their own territory.
    The army may have prepared for every scenario but it’s not authorized to set policy or exceed the principles dictated by the government. These principles and policies have fed the Palestinian protests and are endangering Israel’s security and standing.
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    The confrontation in Gaza shows that it’s groundless to distinguish between short-term solutions such as blocking the border protests and long-term solutions that include a continued closure while waiting for a final diplomatic resolution. The short term dictates the long term and not the other way around, and now it demands the adoption of a new policy.
    The government is pleased that the U.S. administration totally agrees with it to hold the Palestinians responsible for the deadlocked peace process. But the U.S. administration doesn’t have to deal with the tens of thousands of Palestinians at the border fence, the citizens of Israel do. Still, the cabinet prefers to delude people into thinking that a few dozen Israeli snipers near the border will lift the threat.

    “The solution is not a military one,” the military chief of staff repeatedly claims, but it doesn’t seem anyone in the cabinet is listening to him. Reason demands that snipers shouldn’t be the ones to solve a deep-rooted problem, and that fighting over prestige, winners and losers shouldn’t be allowed. The events as well as the apathy shown by the Israeli government demand that Israel’s allies exert their influence to show the government the path it must follow.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/681863 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • You bet it’s apartheid

    With Ahed Tamimi’s sentence to jail, the truth has come out about Israel

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-you-bet-it-s-apartheid-1.5939683

    They might not have intended it – this is too big for them, and perhaps even too big for their arrogance, but they are the initiators of the regime, or at least its harbingers. They studied law and went to work (“to serve”) in the military courts. They were promoted and became military judges. That’s what they call the clerk-officers who work for the moral army as judges of the occupied in the occupied territories. They work in a military unit with a biblical name: the “Judea Military Court,” and they decide people’s fate. No doubt they’re certain they’re working in a legal system, like they were taught at university. There are, after all, prosecutors and defense attorneys in it. There’s even a translator.
    Most of the work attracts no attention. In Israel, who cares what happens in the prefabs at the Ofer military base? They have sent thousands of people to an aggregate tens of thousands of years of imprisonment, and almost never exonerated anyone; at their workplace, there’s no such thing. They have also approved hundreds of detentions without hearings, even though there is no such thing in a country of law. Day after day, it’s just another day at the office.
    And then Ahed Tamimi came to them. Almost 2 million people around the world signed a petition calling for her release. And the forces of Israeli military justice just kept at it, clerks devoted to the system. Now they must be thanked. This time they exposed to the world the naked truth: They are working for an apartheid system. They are its harbingers. They are its formulators. They are its contractors, small cogs in a big machine, but reflective of reality.
    The three officers who judged the teenage girl in various military courts, Col. Netanel Benishu, president of the Military Court of Appeals (there’s no shortage of titles here), who approved the hearing in the dark behind closed doors; Lt. Col. Menahem Lieberman, president of the Judea Military Court, who approved the plea bargain by which Tamimi and her mother would serve eight months in prison for nothing, or for her heroism, and Lt. Col. Haim Balilty, who approved her remaining in custody throughout the trial. One day they’ll be appointed to the Supreme Court. A colonel, and two lieutenant colonels who told the world: There’s apartheid here.
    Only by chance were the three all religious, a kind of innocent coincidence. We don’t know who among them is a settler, but that of course means nothing either. They went to work in a military court of the occupation to protect human rights in the territories, in the name of the Lord of Hosts.After their rulings on Tamimi, there are no fair-minded people left in the world, not even in brainwashed Israel, who can seriously claim that an apartheid regime does not exist in the territories. The BDS movement should congratulate the officers who lifted all doubt from those who still had any doubts. The legal system that has one law for Jews and another for Palestinians, without apology, without whitewashing, should be appreciated for its honesty. A legal system that sentenced a soldier who shot a wounded man to only one more month than its sentence for a teenage girl who slapped a soldier – this is a system that openly admits it considers slapping the occupier equal to the murder of a person under occupation. Only one month separates the two.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/679899 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • A new stage in the Palestinian struggle for liberation

    In advance of the Marches for the Palestinian Right of Return, messages are being sent that indicate the transition from a belligerent nationalist and religious approach to a civilian one

    Ronit Marzan Mar 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-a-new-stage-in-the-palestinian-struggle-for-liberation-1.5918118

    The Marches for the Palestinian Right of Return, which will begin on March 30 and continue at least until mid-May (in the hope that by then a discussion of the right of return will begin), are beginning a new stage in the Palestinian struggle for liberation, a stage of nonviolent popular resistance. The marches were decided on through cooperation between an international coordinating committee and civil society organizations, dignitaries and heads of hamulot (extended families) in the Gaza Strip
    The initiative is being supported by the political groups (such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad) in light of the stagnation in the efforts at national reconciliation and the failure of both the armed struggle and the diplomatic strategy. In addition to the marches, the chairman of the Palestinian Club in Great Britain and the chairman of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza have announced their intention of sending ships to Gaza.
    The organizers of the marches believe that the Israeli army will not be able to withstand a nation armed with a strong desire to shake off the dust of the refugee camps and restore its honor and natural rights. They hope the presence of international media outlets and the official responsibility of UN institutions for the Palestinian refugees will ensure that Israel won’t harm them.
    A manifesto disseminated by the Coordinating Committee of the Right of Return states that the marches are based on Paragraph 11 of UN Resolution 194 (which refers to the right of return). In order to prevent any Israeli claim that the marches are the initiative of terror organizations, the manifesto also states that they are popular marches of families rather than of political parties or military factions.
    Participants will include Palestinians from Gaza, the West Bank, the diaspora and the areas taken over by Israel in 1948. According to the organizers, the marches will continue on a regular basis and won’t end until the right of return is implemented. They are not violent and there is no intention of clashing with Israeli soldiers or throwing stones at them. The first stage of the marches will begin with a sit-down strike and building of tents at a distance of 700 meters from the barbed wire fences.
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    Among the visual presentations on the campaign’s Facebook page, one can find the caricature of Hanzala, the Palestinian refugee who became an activist who cuts barbed wire fences. Or a tent and a dove and an olive branch above the UN symbol, which symbolize freedom and a return to the land. They use the Arab word “a’ad” (returnee) and not “laga” (refugee), and in the end there is also a sign warning against crossing the fence against orders.

    The Palestinian national liberation movement is undergoing a profound crisis, which requires it to decide whether to reconstruct the awareness of armed resistance, inspired by Iranian films that have recently been seen in Gazan movie theaters, and bring ruin to the Palestinian people; or to prefer to build an awareness of nonviolent civil resistance, inspired by cultural heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
    The latter understood that the greatest obstacle facing the black man is not the Ku Klux Klan but the moderate and arrogant white man, who believes in public order more than in justice, and thinks that he can determine a timetable for another person’s freedom and demand that he wait for a more convenient time.
    The organizers of the March of Return are unwilling to wait for a more convenient time. After trying violence and entreaties and the diplomatic approach, they have decided to violate the public order and arouse the masses to a civil rebellion. This is therefore the best time for Israel and the international community to turn their gaze to the nonviolent Palestinian outcry a moment before it crosses the separation barriers.
    The writer has a doctorate in Middle East history and is a researcher of Palestinian society and politics at the University of Haifa.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/678382 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • At least let us hate ’Fauda’ -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sayed Kashua
    Haaretz Contributor

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