‘Israeli’ Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Always 1st Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!

Occupied Palestine: Al-Ahed Team

As the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime intensifies its apartheid measures restricting access to al-Aqsa Holy Mosque, Palestinian voices stressed that their first option ever will remain escalation against this cruel entity, adding that the enemy will pay a heavy price for this.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


Following heroic Palestinian resistance operations against the occupation army soldiers, the enemy tended to impose new so-called ‘security’ measures which included the installation of metal detectors and cameras.

It was last Friday that a heroic operation carried out by Palestinian youngsters in the Old City of occupied al-Quds martyred three Palestinians, killing at least two ‘Israeli’ occupation soldiers and wounding several others, the last incident before such restrictions were imposed.

Nevertheless, scores of Palestinian worshipers held prayers outside the compound, neglecting the ‘Israeli’ will to deprive them from performing their religious duties in such a sacred site.

Seeking official stances regarding the ongoing tensions, al-Ahed team in Palestine managed to conduct several interviews with Palestinian figures:

In this regard, the head of the “al-Morabiteen in al-Quds” group Yousef Mukhaimer stressed the invalidity of the fait accompli recently imposed by the authorities of the Zionist enemy in the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


Mukhaimer confirmed that this new reality did not, and will not provide the occupation any legitimacy or eligibility within the Muslims’ first Qibla [destination].

“What has been happening since last Friday, from terrorizing worshipers, preventing residents from reaching the mosque, and then installing electronic gates at the main entrances under security pretexts is entirely unacceptable and must be addressed at various levels,” Mukhaimer told al-Ahed’s correspondent.

He warned that this invasive attack is not a coincidence but rather the implementation of preplanned schemes.

“We are looking very seriously at the direct targeting of the al-Morabiteen who have formed – and continue to be – the line of defense of the honorable city from the occupation’s ambitions and its settler groups, who are pursuing the construction of the so-called Temple,” Mukhaimer said.

He explained that the main aim of what is happening now is to enable the advocates of the Temple and other extremist Zionist groups to widely desecrate the al-Aqsa Mosque after they have emptied it of its Muslim worshipers in full view of the nation which has not acted until this moment despite the looming dangers threatening the mosque and its identity.

“The situation has reached its lowest point. Denying access to the Aqsa Mosque is no longer confined to the people of the Gaza Strip or some areas of the West Bank, but today it includes all those who are outside the borders of the holy city,” Mukhaimer adds.

He stressed that the people of al-Quds with all their religious components and locations have taken it upon themselves to confront the attempts to enable the western settlers to tamper with “our sanctities and toy with our sentiments, no matter the challenges and costs.”

Mukhaimer concluded by saying: “Our message today to the people of the nation throughout the globe is that al-Quds and the Aqsa is not the property of the Palestinians. Protecting the sites is a collective responsibility no one is excluded from, both on the official and popular level.”

Additionally, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kayed al-Ghoul, called on local forces and factions to use the current “opportunity” and work on framing any upcoming resistance action within a comprehensive uprising against the Zionist occupier and its Judaization projects.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


“I believe that what is happening could trigger a new intifada,” al-Ghoul told al-Ahed. “Therefore the political authorities are required to prepare for the aftermath and provide the organizational pillars and other elements to ensure the continuation of this intifada as an effective method of struggle in confronting the occupation’s and its settlers’ roistering”.

Al-Ghoul expressed no “doubt [that] al-Quds always represents a spark for the Palestinian uprisings.”

“Therefore, the recent aggressive ‘Israeli’ actions are an explosion factor in what lies in the hearts of the masses of our people, who have a large reservoir of anger towards the occupation’s expansionist and racist policy,” he added.

“In order to be able to deal with this policy, we need to unify the Palestinian position in resisting these measures. In this period, we also need to focus on strengthening the steadfastness of our people in al-Quds, who are threatened by the danger of mass displacement in the coming period.”

The “Popular Front” leader also pointed to the “need to bring back the liberal nature of the struggle of the Palestinian people so that it will be an open and comprehensive conflict with the occupation throughout the country.”

Al-Ghoul called on the Arab people to defend the al-Quds cause, support the struggle of the Palestinian people and press their regimes that brag about the al-Quds cause through satellite channels without lifting a finger over the growing Zionist violations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian military wings of various political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip warned the apartheid “Israeli” entity of continuing its restrictive policies at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds during a press conference.

Warning that “Israel’s” aggression on al-Aqsa represents a “spark that will explode in the region,” they further stressed that “the expense of attacking al-Aqsa will be very big in which neither the occupation army nor its settlers would be able tolerate.”

“We will have our strong and supreme word if Zionist plans against al-Aqsa continue,” the groups had warned in the press conference. “We will not allow our enemy to invade our al-Aqsa, our holy sites, and our people in al-Quds.”

Al-Ahed News

19-07-2017 | 15:52
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62% rise in israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

62% rise in Israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

MEMO | July 19, 2017

Palestinian children are often beaten and strip searched at arrest

Some 331 Palestinian minors were arrested by Israel between January and May this year, a 62 per cent increase on figures from 2012 to 2015, NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) revealed yesterday.

According to a report released by the human rights group, Israeli forces regularly abuse Palestinian children, depriving them of food, subjecting them to beatings and preventing them from accessing legal counsel.

Accountability Programme Director at DCIP, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, stated: “For over a decade, ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system has been widespread and systematic.”

From the persistent and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children, to the systematic denial of their due process rights, emerges a system of control far removed from justice.

DCIP records of cases between January and June also show that 81 per cent of Palestinian children were strip searched upon detention, two thirds were denied legal counsel prior to interrogation and only three had a parent present during proceedings.

Read: Palestinian boy, 13, loses eye after Israeli forces shoot him

The report details that one of the youngest children to be detained was 12-year-old Suheib from a refugee camp in the occupied Ramallah-area. He was allegedly throwing stones when he was knocked to the ground by Israeli officers and then restrained, beaten and blindfolded. He was subsequently held overnight at a police station where he was interrogated and denied food for 24 hours.

In another case, a 13-year-old boy known only as Anas M. was tortured as an Israeli soldier grabbed his neck and attempted to strangle him.

Israel prosecutes up to 700 children each year in military courts. Last month DCIP held a congressional meeting on the situation of Palestinian children over 50 years of illegal occupation, concluding that Israel’s actions against minors outdoes all security rationale

 

While Attacks in Israel Make Headlines, Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Ignored

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 Girl in Gaza (photo: UNICEF)

A Palestinian girl in Gaza looks out the window of her partially destroyed home. (photo: UNICEF)

The recent acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza—on top of the routine humanitarian crisis that defines everyday existence there—has gotten sparse coverage in US media over the past three weeks.

Israeli officials have cut off electricity to almost 2 million Gazans for all but three or four hours a day—in conjunction with nominal Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has cut funding for Gaza’s electricity in an effort to punish his political rivals in Hamas. The Gaza Strip, which remains under effective Israeli control despite the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops, requires 450 megawatts daily, but since June has received only around 150 megawatts per day. The power cuts, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Robert Piper, severely undermine “critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” and have created a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

The vast majority of US media also ignored a devastating UN report published Tuesday, documenting the humanitarian conditions in Gaza over the past ten years.

Neither the electrical crisis nor the UN report has been covered by the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC or Fox News—though the Times and ABC did run AP reports on the former.

The Washington Post  (6/22/17) reported on the electricity cuts just over three weeks ago, but made sure to note in their headline “it’s not all Israel’s fault.” The Post (7/12/17) also mentioned the Gaza electricity cuts in a broader piece, told from Israel’s perspective, about that country’s fears that “Hamas will go to war.”  NPR did not report on the electricity crisis, but unlike the Post, it did have a piece (7/11/17) on the UN report.

In stark contrast, an attack on two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem Thursday was reported by all the above outlets except MSNBC. The New York Times (7/14/17), ABC News (7/14/17), CBS News (7/14/17), NBC News (7/14/17), CNN (7/14/17), Fox News (7/14/17), all dedicated airtime and/or column inches to the shooting in the Old City.

Attacks on Israeli forces—even ones that occur, like this week’s strike, in illegally occupied territory—are framed as random acts of hate with no political context. None of the above reports on the Jerusalem attack made any mention of the increasingly dire situation in Gaza. Nor, even more conspicuously, was there any mention of Israel’s killing of two Palestinians in a West Bank refugee camp less than a day before.

The routine, “factored-in” suffering of Palestinians—even when ramped up to hellish levels—is barely worth a mention by US media. It just is. And when it is touched on, it’s generally framed as Hamas or the Palestinian Authority’s fault, with the broader role played by Israel’s devastating, 50-year-occupation downplayed or omitted

Why is Mahmoud Abbas letting children die in Gaza?

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Palestinians hold placards condemning PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for his complicity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, at a rally in Gaza City, 9 July. Mohammed Asad APA images

The deeply unpopular Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is helping Israeli occupation authorities inflict horrendous suffering on people in the blockaded Gaza Strip, as part of a cruel and cynical political game.

It is a campaign that in recent weeks has led to the deaths of more than a dozen Palestinians denied medical treatment outside Gaza – the most recent, a little girl called Yara Ismail Bakhit.

Israel and Abbas are doing this with the complicity of a so-called international community that remains silent about the unfolding catastrophe.

Closely allied with Israel, Abbas has long defined collaboration with its occupation forces as a “sacred” duty.

This collaboration has included encouraging Israel, from the very start, to tighten its blockade of Gaza.

The decade-long siege has brought the 2 million residents caged into the territory to perhaps their most dire crisis in a period that has included successive military assaults that have killed thousands of people.

On Thursday, Gaza’s only power plant shut down after emergency fuel supplies ran out.

The territory is now dependent on just 70 megawatts of power supplied from Israel, a fraction of the 500 megawatts it needs each day.

A “power watch” feature in the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz shows that Gaza City received just three hours of electricity on Wednesday, while some areas received four hours.

But with the power supply now below the all-time low it reached earlier this week, most residents face long stretches without any power at all amid the sweltering summer heat.

On top of the darkness and the heat, many in Gaza face a cut off of any contact with the outside world: the PA telecom company Paltel said that internet and telephone services to thousands of customers in Gaza have been severed as generators fail.

Unheeded warnings

On Wednesday, UN human rights officials emphasized that the latest power cuts “have deepened the humanitarian crisis with hospitals in precarious conditions, water shortages growing and untreated sewage being dumped into the Mediterranean.”

Their warnings will likely go unheeded, just like so many in recent months, including from the International Committee of the Red Cross that said in May that Gaza was on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

For months, health facilities across the territory have been in crisis and Gaza City’s main hospital has slashed vital surgeries because there isn’t enough power to run life support systems.

As treatment plants fail, the territory is swimming in sewage.

Yet the European Union, which never rests from trumpeting its alleged commitment to “human rights,” has maintained a determined silence which can only be interpreted as full support for the measures inflicting such suffering on Gaza.

Instead, the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv as well as a top UN official, touted Abbas’ authority for collaborating with Israel to increase the electricity supply to Jenin, a town in the northern occupied West Bank.

 The timing of the announcement, along with a grotesque ribbon-cutting ceremony in which PA officials appeared alongside Israeli military officers, looked calculated to rub salt into the wounds of people in Gaza.

Finally, on Thursday, after months of ignoring Gaza, the EU, as part of the so-called Quartet, issued a vague statement of “concern” that said nothing about Israel’s responsibilities.

Israel’s responsibility

The UN experts emphasized that while Israel’s power cuts were nominally implemented at the request of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Israel remains legally responsible.

Previously, senior UN officials have attempted to play down Israel’s responsibility, shifting the blame to an internal dispute between the Abbas-run PA in Ramallah, and Hamas authorities that control the interior of Gaza.

In April, the PA told Israel it would no longer pay the full bill for electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, as part of Abbas’ campaign to oust Hamas by inflicting additional hardship on the population in Gaza.

Over the last month, Israel has sharply reduced the power it supplies to Gaza – the territory’s main source of electricity.

“Israel, as the occupier controlling the entry and exit of goods and people, bore the primary responsibility for the deterioration of the situation,” the UN human rights experts said on Wednesday, according to a UN press release.

Human rights groups previously affirmed that it is illegal for Israel, as the occupying power, to cut the electricity to Gaza no matter what Abbas says.

Despite the Israeli cabinet’s decision to accept the Palestinian Authority’s “cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza,” B’Tselem said last month, the situation in Gaza “is the result of Israel’s handiwork, achieved by its decade-long implementation of a brutal policy.”

Killing babies

Three-year-old Yara Ismail Bakhit, who suffered from a heart condition, died because she was denied a medical transfer out of Gaza.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said on Thursday that the toddler, from the southern town of Khan Younis, is the 16th person to die in recent weeks because they weren’t able to secure a medical transfer.

Yara’s death is another sacrifice to Abbas’ campaign against the population in Gaza; it came about due to the delays his health ministry is imposing on requests for medical transfers to Israeli or West Bank treatment facilities.

The Ramallah health ministry must approve such requests before Israel does because it pays for any treatment provided in Israeli or West Bank hospitals.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has documented a steady decline in medical referrals since April – when Abbas’ renewed onslaught against the population in Gaza began.

PCHR said on Monday that the PA health ministry had failed to approve or renew referrals for “hundreds of patients suffering from serious and chronic diseases without displaying the reasons behind this decision.”

According to PCHR, the number of referrals dropped from almost 2,200 in March to about 1,700 in April and fell below 1,500 in May. In June, the PA approved just 500.

As of early June, medical authorities in Gaza had approved some 2,500 patients “suffering from serious diseases that have no treatment in Gaza” for treatment outside the territory. But a month and a half later, the Ramallah authorities had only approved 400.

PCHR said it was “shocked” that West Bank hospitals have begun refusing to see patients from Gaza because there is no guarantor of payment.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ health ministry has also cut the budget for medicines for Gaza, leading to an acute crisis that is putting the lives of hundreds of people, including children with cystic fibrosis and cancer patients, in grave danger.

PCHR said: “Denying patients their right to receive medical treatment abroad, in view of the absence of a proper alternative in Gaza, is a clear violation of the right to health ensured in the Palestinian Basic Law” – in effect the Palestinian Authority’s constitution.

PCHR calls on world governments to put pressure on Israel “in its capacity as an occupying power” to guarantee the rights of people in Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It also “calls upon the international community to pressurize the Palestinian Authority not to undermine the basic rights of Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip” and to respect its obligations under international law to the Palestinian people it allegedly serves.

The problem is that the Palestinian Authority and its leader are tools in the hands of the so-called international community against the Palestinians and their cause.

Their role is to help Israel occupy and pacify the Palestinian population, even at the price of the lives of children in Gaza.

أوقفوا تصفية قضية فلسطين بأيدي أبنائها

د. عصام نعمان

يوليو 10, 2017

ماذا بقي من فلسطين وقضيتها بعد نحو 70 عاماً من زرع الكيان الصهيوني في قلب عالم العرب؟

لم يبقَ منها سوى شعب منكوب شُرّد تحت كلّ كوكب، يعاني شظف العيش وانعدام الأمن والأمان وضمور مركزية القضية وانسداد أفق الحرية والخلاص الوطني من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى احتدام الصراع بين سلطتين تدّعيان تمثيل الشعب والقضية، واحدة في الضفة الغربية أضحت بعد اتفاق أوسلو للعام 1993 ذراع «إسرائيل» الأمنية في ما تبقّى من أرضٍ وشعب، وأخرى في غزة تكافح لإبقاء مليوني فلسطيني على قيد الحياة ونحو 370 كيلومتراً مربعاً من ترابها بمأمن من قضمٍ صهيوني زاحف على مستوى فلسطين برمّتها من النهر إلى البحر.

في إطار هذا المشهد الفلسطيني البائس، لا يفتأ أبناء القضية، ولا سيما مَن أضحى منهم ذا وظيفة وإمرة في كِلتا السلطتين، عن متابعة الصراع على أنقاض سلطة شكلية محبوسة في سجن الاحتلال الصهيوني بلغت أدنى درجات التناحر والتنابذ وقطع الأرزاق الذي هو من قطع الأعناق. فمن خفض رواتب الموظفين العاملين في قطاع غزة، الى إحالة آلاف منهم على تقاعد مبكر، الى فرض الضرائب على الوقود المخصّص لتوليد الكهرباء، الى تقليص المبالغ التي تُدفع شهرياً لتزويد القطاع بـِ 120 ميغاواط من التيار الكهربائي المستمَدّ من «إسرائيل»، الى خفض التحويلات الطبية الخارجية.

كلّ هذه العقوبات من أجل الضغط على حركة «حماس» في قطاع غزة التي تتمسّك بالسلطة وترفض تسليمها الى حكومة السلطة الأخرى في رام الله. وفيما تتهم سلطة محمود عباس سلطة «حماس» برعاية الانقسام الفلسطيني واتخاذ خطوات تقود الى الانفصال، تردّ «حماس» بأن إجراءات السلطة في رام الله غير أخلاقية وغير إنسانية ولا علاقة لها بإنهاء الانقسام.

«إسرائيل» تراقب المشهد المأساوي الفلسطيني بارتياح وغبطة. لكنها تراقب أيضاً بارتياب، لدواعٍ أمنية، ما يمكن ان يرافق تداعياته من تطورات سياسية تتناول العلاقات بين مصر و«حماس» من جهة و«حماس» وإيران من جهة أخرى. تتساءل:

ما سرّ هذا التقارب المستجدّ بين مصر و«حماس»؟ ماذا بعد فتح معبر رفح بين القطاع ومصر وتسليم أمر مراقبته إلى جماعة خصم محمود عباس اللدود محمد دحلان؟ وما ثمن موافقة «حماس» على كلّ هذه التحركات؟

«اسرائيل» لا يهمّها تراجع «حماس» عن مواقفها السابقة برفض إقامة دولة فلسطينية على خطوط وقف النار للعام 1967 واستعدادها تالياً للقبول بها حاليّاً؟ فحكومة نتنياهو تخلّت عن مشروع الدولتين وهي جادّة في تعميم الاستيطان على كامل الضفة الغربية كي لا يبقى لسلطة محمود عباس إلاّ بضع مناطق من الكثافة الفلسطينية.

ما يهمّ «إسرائيل» هو ألاّ يؤدّي التعاون السياسي والاقتصادي بين مصر و«حماس» الى فكّ ضائقة هذه الأخيرة ما يفضي تالياً الى تصليب إرادتها السياسية وتشجيعها على معاودة عملياتها القتالية ضدّ المستعمرات الصهيونية المحيطة بالقطاع. ثم مَن يدري، فلعلّ القاهرة التي تتحسّب لتداعيات فتح قناة بن غوريون بين البحر الأحمر والبحر المتوسط عبر صحراء النقب، قد تتفاهم مع «حماس» على مضاعفة عملياتها ضدّ «إسرائيل» لحملها على صرف النظر عن مشروعها المنافس لقناة السويس او لتأخير إنجازه في الأقلّ.

ثمة أمر آخر يُقلق «إسرائيل»:

هل يكون ثمن تخلّي «حماس» عن علاقتها التاريخية مع الاخوان المسلمين، وبالتالي عن قطر، قبول مصر بالتغاضي عن تنمية العلاقات بين «حماس» وإيران؟

أياً ما تكون المضاعفات الناجمة عن تحسّن العلاقة بين «حماس» ومصر، وتفعيل العلاقة بين «حماس» وإيران، فإنّ ثمة تحدّياً ماثلاً يستوجب معالجة سريعة وفاعلة. إنها مخاطر أن يُسهم الفلسطينيون، مسؤولين ومواطنين، بوعي أو من دون وعي، في تصفية القضية من خلال هذا الصراع، بل التناحر، المرير والمأساوي على السلطة بين مجموعة محمود عباس وحركة «حماس». إنّ القوى الوطنية الحيّة في الشعب الفلسطيني، المستقلة عن السلطتين المتصارعتين، مدعوةٌ الى التفكير والتدبير: التفكير في مقتضيات مواجهة هذا التحدّي المعضلة، وإقرار منهجية فعالة للمباشرة في المواجهة الوطنية المطلوبة.

أرى، في هذا المجال، أن تتوافق القوى الحيّة ذات المعرفة والخبرة على هيئة نوعية من أهل التفكير والتدبير تتولى بلا إبطاء وضع دراسة وثيقة معمّقة ومتكاملة لقضية فلسطين في واقعها ومرتجاها، واقتراح برنامج عمل مرحلي وآخر استراتيجي وبالتالي تنظيم مؤتمر وطني جامع يضمّ ممثلين عن القوى الحيّة في الوطن والشتات لمناقشة الدراسة الوثيقة والخروج بقرارات ومناهج فاعلة للعمل وواعدة بالأمل.

آن أوان الارتقاء الى مستوى الأخطار والتحديات التي تواجه الامة، وفي مقدّمها قضية فلسطين، واجتراح منهجية نوعية للعمل والكفاح تعيد وضعها في قلب الصراع ومسار التاريخ وتؤسس لمرحلة جديدة فارقة في حاضر الأمة ومستقبلها.

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The shocking treatment of Palestinian children

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Why Is One Pro-Israel Group Desperate To Keep You From Watching This Video?

By Peter Beinart, Forward
June 21, 2017

When it comes to Palestinians, the American Jewish establishment is in the ignorance business. The average American synagogue has never hosted a Palestinian speaker. The average “pro-Israel” activist has never read a book by a Palestinian author. The American Jewish philanthropists who fund Birthright send thousands of young American Jews to Israel each year, on a programme that systematically excludes the voices of 50% of the people who live under Israeli control.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that for major American Jewish organizations, ignorance is an export. It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.

Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.

You can watch the panel online. The first speaker was Omar Shakir, the Israel-Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. In dry, rather clinical, terms, Shakir discussed some of the consequences of the fact that West Bank Palestinians are subjects, not citizens, of Israel. He noted, for instance, that in Area C, which encompasses roughly 60% of the West Bank, it is “nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit to build a home.” When Palestinians build without a permit, the Israeli government often demolishes their homes.

The video of the panel discussion. Listen here or  on Facebook, 1 hour, 35 mins.

Following him was Brad Parker, a staff attorney at Defence for Children Palestine. Observing that, according to the most recent statistics, Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 in its jails, often for stone throwing, Parker explained that the Israeli military frequently arrests Palestinian children at night. They are often bound, blindfolded and transported to a military installation, where they wait until morning before being interrogated without a lawyer and without their parents knowing where they are. They “essentially disappear for 24, 48, 96 hours.” Then they are generally prosecuted in military courts where the conviction rate approaches 100%.

Following Parker was Yazan Meqbil, a young West Bank Palestinian attending college in the United States, who talked about growing up in a house repeatedly slated for demolition. “Every single day,” he said, “I used to wake up hoping my house will not be demolished.” Meqbil ended his remarks by saying: “Palestinians, we all have a dream, to be free, to live like normal human beings. To not be afraid whenever we leave our homes.”

The final speaker was Nadia Ben-Youssef, who works for Adalah–-The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She stressed the links between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinian citizens inside Israel proper. Israel’s Palestinian citizens, she noted, lived under military law until 1966. And even today, she argued, inside the Green Line, Israel privileges Jews over non-Jews in important ways.

I offer this summation to illustrate the shamelessness of the attack that followed. In a video posted June 12, The Israel Project, which is led by former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, called the event an “anti-Israel hatefest” filled with “hate speech.” Notice the Orwellian turn.

According to The Israel Project, it is not hateful to hold millions of West Bank Palestinians for 50 years as non-citizens, without due process, free movement or the right to vote for the government that controls their lives. It is hateful to criticize Israel for doing so. By that standard, the 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers,” which featured former heads of the Shin Bet calling Israel’s occupation of the West Bank “brutal,” “colonial” and “unbearable,” was an “anti-Israel hatefest,” too.

Then came the inevitable insinuation of antisemitism. As menacing music played in the background, the video declares that while the panel pretended to be “about human rights,” the speakers “couldn’t stop talking about Jews.” Actually, the panel was entirely about human rights. But, as if uncovering a terrible offence, the video noted that panelists had 17 times used the phrases “Jewish,” “Jewish state,” “Jewish people,” “Jewish citizens” or “Jews.” How sinister! I’m sure Josh Block never uses such despicable phrases when speaking about Israel.

In fact, two of Shakir’s uses of the word “Jewish” came from quotations. He quoted the State Department as calling settlement growth “inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” and President Obama as saying that settlement growth undermines “Israel as both Jewish and a democracy.” Then again, everyone knows that Obama and the State Department are antisemitic, too.

Most of the references to Jews came from Nadia Ben-Youssef. The video quoted her as saying that “Israel was established as a Jewish state to privilege the rights of Jewish people,” and referring to “this Jewish state that is premised on the basis that you must have greater rights, so that means more Jewish people than anyone else in that land.” The video never explained what’s incorrect or odious about those statements. Their hatefulness is presumably self-evident.

But both statements are true. Yes, Israel’s Declaration of Independence speaks about ensuring “complete equality of social and political rights… irrespective of religion, race or sex.” And yes, Palestinians inside Israel proper (as opposed to Palestinians in the West Bank) enjoy citizenship and the right to vote. But Israel was also explicitly founded to represent and safeguard the Jewish people, and that inevitably privileges Jews over non-Jews.

Jews who immigrate to Israel, for instance, gain citizenship on day one. For non-Jews who wish to immigrate to Israel, by contrast, including Palestinian refugees born inside Israel’s borders, gaining citizenship is virtually impossible. Israel’s flag contains a Jewish star; its national anthem speaks of “the Jewish soul.” In these symbolic ways, too, Israel privileges Jews over non-Jews. As for Israel’s effort to maintain a Jewish majority so that Jews can control the destiny of the state, that’s hardly a secret. It’s a goal that the Israeli government and mainstream American Jewish organizations proudly endorse.

Israel is not the only country on earth to face a tension between its desire to protect and nurture one ethno-religious community and its commitment to provide equality under the law. Many European democracies have immigration policies that favour a dominant ethnic group. Many have crosses on their flags. The 2003 Palestinian Constitution states that “the Palestinian people are part of the Arab nation” and that “the principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.” So if a Palestinian state is ever created, it will likely wrestle with the tension between ethnic nationalism and democracy, too.

I believe that in a post-Holocaust world, it’s important to have one country on earth that assumes a special obligation to protect Jewish life. The goal, therefore, should be to minimize the tension between Jewish statehood and liberal democracy as much as possible, while acknowledging that you can never erase it entirely. The challenge, as Martin Buber once put it, is to “do no more injustice to others than we are forced to do in order to exist.”

Zionist thinkers like Chaim Gans and Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein have sought to meet that challenge. But doing so honestly requires acknowledging that all forms of Jewish statehood entail some moral costs, and that some are more morally defensible than others.

These are the kinds of debates that the American Jewish establishment fears. It fears them because such debates give Palestinians a voice. Given the influence that American Jewish groups wield in Washington, it’s far easier to simply deny Palestinians a platform. That’s why The Israel Project ends its video by urging people to call Rep. Mark Pocan, who authorized No Way To Treat a Child to use a room on Capitol Hill, and “demand that he condemn the event.” The goal is to scare members of Congress so they don’t facilitate such discussions again.

When it comes to Israel, the organized American Jewish community would rather bully than think.

The deep, dark secret of the American Jewish establishment is that its leaders are not equipped to respond to smart Palestinian critics of Israel. They’re not familiar enough with the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli control. So having built itself a cocoon that shuts out Palestinian voices, the American Jewish establishment insists that Congress live inside that cocoon too. Because if the cocoon cracks, American politicians, and the American public, will realize how intellectually weak the American Jewish establishment actually is.

When it comes to Israel, the organized American Jewish community would rather bully than think. That’s what happens when power corrupts. It doesn’t only make you immoral. It makes you dumb.

Peter Beinart is a Forward senior columnist and contributing editor. Listen to “Fault Lines,” his podcast with Daniel Gordis here or on iTunes.

Jerusalem, Nicosia and WW3

June 19, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Cypriot press reported last week on a large joint Israeli-Cypriot military drill.

The following Israeli video  publicises an elite Israeli commando brigade engaged in aggressive military routines around Cyprus’ Troodos Mountain range.

https://youtu.be/uvQJfqnPuME

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How did this came about? How did the Cypriots, who are known to support the Palestinian cause, become a province of the Israeli empire?

An Israel-Europe gas pipeline deal is the answer.

 

In the beginning of April we learned about a proposed 2,000 kilometer subsea pipeline connecting gas fields located offshore in Gaza and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy.

The pipeline agreement among Israel, Italy, Cyprus and Greece leaves both the Turks and the Palestinians out. While Gaza faces a critical energy crisis with electricity reduced to less than three hours a day; Israel aims to collect billions of dollars from a significant natural gas reserve located off the Gaza shore and well within Palestinian territorial water (assuming such a term exist).

Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s energy minister,  hailed the pipeline project expected to be in operation in 2025 as the “beginning of a wonderful friendship between four Mediterranean countries.” Of course, not all related Mediterranean nations are included in the deal. We can foresee that this is a recipe for disaster: the pipeline and the gas installation are soft targets. The region is volatile. Cyprus is putting its sovereignty at risk. It may, within a short time, God forbid, become a battle ground for some merciless global operators.

Cyprus leadership realises that it has to become an Israeli province if it wants an oil pipeline that dispatches plundered Palestinian natural gas. And as the video reveals, Cyprus is now protected by its Israelite big brother. The Israeli-Cypriot joint military drill was performed to deliver a message to Turkey and other regional players: any attempt to interfere with their gas theft project will be met by Israeli military brutality.

Gilad’s Being in Time can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad’s site  here.

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