#Ireland Deportations and Harassment of Irish Group Traveling to West Bank

Deportations and Harassment of Irish Group Traveling to West Bank

By Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin,

A trip to Palestine resulted in deportations and harassment by security as the Israel authorities step up attempts to intimidate or frighten future travelers to the area. During our trip we experienced CS gas, checkpoints, apartheid in action and military harassment of Palestinians. Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin relates his experiences as a member of the group.

Departure

I joined the group in Dublin airport on the morning of September 8th and we flew out to Istanbul where we waited in a transit area cafe for a couple of hours. As it turned out our flight departure lounge for Tel Aviv was next to the cafe where we were sitting and we noticed that an extra layer of security was being prepared by ground staff for the Tel Aviv flight. After boarding, and a smooth Turkish Airlines flight to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we disembarked and queued up for passport control. I was on my own and after 2 or 3 questions (what was the purpose of my trip, had I been to Israel before, etc). I was given a one month visa and waved through.

Meanwhile, however, trouble was brewing as I could hear the two Irish girls at the kiosk next to me being asked to bring the group leader over. I went directly through to the arrivals hall as I had not checked in any bags. Then began a long wait as myself and the few who got through unhindered discovered that security had rounded up as many of the group as they could find including those who had decided to wait in the luggage hall rather than in the arrivals hall. In all 21 were detained and 6 questioned, and of those 4 were deported (Elaine Daly, Fidelma Bonass, Joan Nolan and Stephen McCloskey) a few hours later. The four who were detained were informed that they were being deported to prevent ‘illegal immigration’ even though they had valid passports and return tickets. Around 4am the others were released and we finally boarded the bus and made the journey to our hotel in Bethlehem.

West Bank wall and turnstiles

Fact Finding Program

Our tour, though coordinated in Dublin, was organised by the Siraj Centre, a non-profit organization licensed by the Ministry of Tourism and based in Palestine. Our Fact Finding Program included meetings with prominent peace activists, political officials, human rights organizations, settlers and Jewish tour guides. This makes the deportation of our group leader, Elaine Daly, even stranger as she has been organising trips with the Siraj Centre every year from Ireland since 2006.

Sat 9th Sept: Day 1 Bethlehem

On our first morning we attended a talk by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a local university professor and activist, at the Natural History institute who emphasised the strong link between biodiversity, political struggle for the land and its safeguarding for future generations. It was interesting to note that it had been his son who had first drawn the infamous ‘shrinking’ map of the Palestinian territories showing their loss of land from 1946, 1947, 1967 to the 2000s.

Entrance to Aida refugee camp

CS gas

Afterwards we headed over to the Lajee Center, a cultural centre beside the main Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem for a talk and a traditional dance display from the local children. Soon however they switched off the air-conditioning and when we asked why we were told that tear gas was coming through the system. Directly outside the window local youth were throwing stones at the Israeli army at the far end of the road. Soon more and more tear gas came into the building and the windows and doors were shut. For most on the tour it was their first experience of the burning effects of CS gas yet for the members of the Lajee Center it had become merely a nuisance. After about a half hour we were able to leave and go for a short tour of the area. We passed under the arch of Aida camp with a giant key symbolising the principle that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants have a right to return. On our left were simple concrete buildings while on the right the street is cut off from Jerusalem by the Israeli West Bank wall and covered in murals and graffiti.

Wall mural, Aida refugee camp

Sun 10th Sept: Day 2 Hebron

The next day on the way to Hebron we stopped off at a small park beside a main road containing the tomb of Baruch Goldstein, the religious extremist who carried out the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron. Goldstein killed 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounded another 125. He was then overpowered and beaten to death by the survivors. Goldstein was not allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery but his current burial site still attracts Jewish extremists. We drove on to the Cave of Patriarchs or Ibrahimi Mosque where the Goldstein massacre took place. There are now two separate entrances, one for Muslims and one for Jews, both of which we were able to enter. This building is over 2,000 years old is believed to be the oldest continuously used prayer structure in the world. However, it was outside the Mosque at the military checkpoints we witnessed Israeli apartheid for the first time. Palestinians are barred from the using the street and our guide was apprehended by two soldiers. Our group complained to the soldiers but only our guide responded saying he would get a taxi and meet us elsewhere. In the end, the group spontaneously applauded our guide for his patience and perseverance as he was removed from the area. Our waiting bus had only been 50 metres around the corner…

Ibrahimi Mosque, Hebron

We walked through streets of Hebron going through different stages of clearance. In some places only a few Palestinians were left in the old stone buildings and Israeli street signs had been erected pointing to Jewish places of interest. In other streets nets had been used to stop settlers throwing objects on the shoppers below. Afterwards we were brought to meet with a settler where some asked questions about the settlements and their legality but this ended up with some storming out and others realising how it easy it was to become an Israeli citizen and participate in the land confiscations.

Mon 11th Sept: Day 3 Jerusalem

Our guides were Palestinian and Jewish and both were equally as good when it came to explanations and answering questions from our group. As we drove through East Jerusalem it was pointed out by our Jewish guide that Palestinians pay taxes yet their areas had bad roads and poor rubbish collection services.

Tues 12th Sept: Day 4 Nablus

In Nablus we visited Jacobs Well Church, and then to Balata Camp to meet with a representative from the Yafa cultural Center. The centre was set up in 1996 by the Committee for the Defence of Refugee Rights and offers a range of educational and creative programs to camp residents. We were brought around the closely-built neighbourhoods of the camp where some ‘streets’ were less than one metre wide. After lunch we had a tour in the old city of Nablus and visited the Samaritans Museum. The bustling old city gave us a feel for what many areas should have looked like and felt like without occupation.

Yafa cultural Center, Nablus

Wed 13th Sept: Day 5 Ramalah

We began the day driving to Ramalah to meet with a speaker from Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). BDS has become an extensive movement against Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. It is also a Palestinian-led movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. We also met with a representative from Al Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation also based in Ramallah. According to their website: ‘Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable.’ In the afternoon the group were brought on a sightseeing tour of Jerusalem which I did not participate in due to feeling unwell. Instead, I went with our Palestinian tour guide back to Bethlehem on the public bus instead. As the bus approached the wall we all had get off and pass through the many turnstiles and barricaded-off pathways to get to the other side of the wall. The queues moved quickly enough as the military generally do not carry out checks on Palestinians going home to the West Bank from Jerusalem in the evening. It is in the early morning that the long queues form as workers are stopped and permits scrutinised on the way to work in Jerusalem.

Old City, Nablus

Thurs 14th Sept: Day 5 Bethlehem

The next day I went back to Jerusalem from Bethlehem on public bus No. 231. At a major checkpoint a male and female soldier got on the bus while about a third of the bus got off to have their permits checked outside. They questioned a Palestinian woman with children for about ten minutes on the bus before suddenly leaving the bus again and letting the others back on. These checks, the roadworks and traffic jams into Jerusalem added up to about 30 minutes onto our journey, a journey which should have taken only around 20 minutes. In the centre I crossed the road and entered into the Old City through Herod’s Gate. I headed through the old city markets to the Al-Aqsa Mosque but at various Israeli military check points I was stopped and informed that the Mosque was only open in the mornings. There were 4 or 5 groups of about 20 Israeli soldiers each walking and singing down the narrow streets towards the Western Wall. The area was being prepared for a swearing-in ceremony for Paratrooper recruits taking place that evening. After walking the Via Dolorosa and around to the Damascus Gate I got the bus back to Bethlehem. Later, after dinner with the group in a Palestinian restaurant in Bethlehem, a few of us took a taxi to visit the Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel about ten minutes drive away. The ‘Walled Off’ sits beside the massive wall which is covered in graffiti executed in many styles by various artists. Boasting the ‘worst view in the world’ the lobby contains a collection of art and there is a museum upstairs. People sat outside on the veranda between the hotel and the wall having a quiet drink in this most incongruous of places.

Mural near ‘Walled Off’ hotel

Fri 15th Sept: The Dead Sea

For our last day the group decided to visit the Dead Sea. After arriving at the resort, getting to the water’s edge meant walking down layer after layer of beaches as the Dead Sea evaporates. The recession of the water’s edge is believed to be about 1 m (3 ft) a year. The speed and breadth of the recession of the Dead Sea was a fitting symbol for the recession of the West Bank itself as more and more settlements and walls reduce further the size of the Palestinian territories.

Early the next morning we were back on the bus to Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport where there was some anxiety as the security checks were known to be more stringent in the departures area than in arrivals area. (Why? a form of damage limitation?) Once again our group was held up to the last minute for our flight to Istanbul. We had a much more pleasant time in Dublin airport where a welcoming committee was waiting for us with a Palestinian flag. Elaine and the other deportees had decided to hold off publicising the deportations so as not to create any unnecessary difficulties for the rest of the group’s departure from Tel Aviv. Of course, our problems were nothing compared to the daily experiences and hardships of the Palestinian people being forced through turnstiles, having to obtain multivaried permits, losing land and dwellings, enduring constant military checks and an oppressive political/legal system (like the 17C Penal Laws in Ireland) all because of a particular nationality or religion. The trip left an indelible impression on us as individuals and as a group which would not be easily removed by the self-serving rhetoric of an all-powerful occupying force.

Since our return the issue of the deportations has been raised in various articles in the national newspapers. It has also been brought up during question time in the Dáil (the Irish parliament). Despite not being able to return to the West Bank again, Elaine is already planning to organise two trips to the West Bank from Dublin for 2018. All aboard!

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

All images in this article are from the author.

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Israeli Settlers Spew Obscenity-Filled Racist Filth Over Loud Speakers in Palestinian Neighborhood

By Richard Edmondson

Trump’s special “advisor” on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, is now in the Zionist state spouting nonsense and complaining about Hamas, this after Israeli authorities took him on a “tour” of the Gaza border region. Meanwhile, not so very far away–in a Palestinian neighborhood in Israeli-occupied Hebron–Jewish settlers have terrorized residents by hurling profanity-laced racist insults over loud speakers.

Check out the video below, but be advised: it shows Jews from Kiryat Arba, an illegal Israeli settlement, roaming through the Palestinian neighborhood of al-Hariqah shouting through a loud speaker and using some of the filthiest, vilest language imaginable. The slurs are intended not only to demean Palestinians but also the Muslim religion.

Normally, I don’t post videos that are content-heavy with obscene language, but I decided to make an exception in this case so that people could see the level of depravity that exists among Israeli settlers.

The incident reportedly took place on August 24. This comes as Trump administration envoys are currently in Israel attempting to negotiate “peace.” It was back on August 15, I put up a post regarding the eviction of an elderly Palestinian couple from their home, commenting that a three-member delegation from the Trump administration was at that time about to embark for the Middle East. The delegation, I noted, consists of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner,  Greenblatt, and Dina Powell, a former Goldman-Sachs employee who also previously worked in the White House during the George W. Bush administration.

The three finally did make it to their destination. The New York Times reports on some of their meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah in a piece that was published on August 25. This was one day after the settlers in the video above made their noxious, nauseating presence felt in al-Hariqah. This was also one day after I had put up a post entitled First a Kindergarten and Now a School: Are the Israelis Trying to Block Childhood Education? That post, just as a matter of interest, dealt with the Israeli destruction of Palestinian schools, notably the confiscation of mobile classrooms that were to have served more than 60 first-through-fourth grade students in the village of Jubbet al-Dib, near Bethlehem. The confiscation of the classrooms took place on August 22. The Israelis had already torn down a kindergarten just the day previous, and the theft of the classrooms on August 22 came just one day before the new school year was to have begun. On August 23, the first day of school, children showed up at the school in Jubbet al-Dib only to find the classrooms gone.

The reason I go to the trouble of mentioning all this is because Jason Greenblatt shows no indication of recognizing that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace. In fact, a report published Thursday by Ma’an News includes a quote from Greenblatt which suggests that the Trump administration’s envoy to Occupied Palestine believes the entire problem lies with Hamas:

“It is clear that the Palestinian Authority needs to resume its role in the administration of Gaza, as Hamas has substantially harmed the people of Gaza and has failed to meet their most basic needs,” he said.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Hamas, but even that being said, Greenblatt’s comment is patent nonsense. Gaza has been under blockade for more than a decade. The blockade has been imposed by Israel, not Hamas. It is Israel that has failed to meet the “most basic needs” of the people of Gaza, not Hamas. Moreover, it is Israel as well that is closing Palestinian schools in the West Bank, not Hamas; it is Israel that continues to build settlements in violation of international law, notHamas; and it is Israel that maintains a grotesque occupation that makes it nigh impossible for people to do such simple things as move from one house into another. Watch the video in the tweet below, and notice the Palestinian family trying to get their household belongings through an Israeli checkpoint. Notice them handing items through the guardrail to a child on the other side who stacks them carefully next to a curb–only to have them re-confiscated by an Israeli soldier!

But yet in Greenblatt’s disingenuously fevered imagination, the blame for the Palestinian people not getting “their most basic needs” met has nothing to do with Israel. It’s all the fault of Hamas!

One other thing worth mentioning in all this is a tweet posted Wednesday by Greenblatt in which the Trump administration official expresses thanks to “COGAT” for helping arrange his guided tour:

The letters COGAT stand for “Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.” It is a unit within the Israeli Ministry of Defense whose responsibilities include coordinating with the Palestinian Authority while at the same time implementing Israeli government policies in the Occupied Territories. My post of August 24 actually included a mention of COGAT.

Within that post you can find an article written for Mondoweiss by Sheren Khalel, who, it seems, in the course of writing her report on the confiscation of the mobile classrooms, contacted COGAT for a comment. She was told by a spokesperson that the agency had issued “stop-work orders” on the school several days previously. But according to activists in the Jubbet al-Dib community, the stop-work orders were only to have applied to concrete bathrooms that were being built next to the mobile classrooms. This is what Khalel writes in her report: the bathrooms were the target of the stop-work orders, not the classrooms. But when the Israelis arrived on August 22, the bathrooms were left while the classrooms were confiscated!

And it is this very same Israeli government agency, COGAT, that Greenblatt expresses his hearty “thank you” to in the above tweet! The same agency that shut down a school by confiscating its classrooms!

As I said at the top of this post, Greenblatt is spouting nonsense. But this is hardly surprising. In regards to Israel, every US official over the past 50 years has ended up spouting the same. America is a nation under foreign occupation. This has become all too apparent to the rest of the world, and even Americans are now waking up to the seriousness of the problem.

But getting back to the Israeli settlers and their putrescent irruptions. The video you see above was filmed by a Palestinian volunteer with the Israeli B’Tselem human rights organization–a woman–who captured the footage from her window. Here is what she told B’Tselem about the incident:

“At 6:00 P.M. I went up to my apartment, which looks out over al-Hariqah neighborhood and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At first I ignored the settlers’ party, but they turned the music up just when the muezzin called out for evening prayers from the mosque. They started mocking the prayer and insulting the Prophet Muhammad

“I saw a military jeep on the hilltop where the settlers were gathered. There were several other soldiers on the road below, which looks out over al-Hariqah Street that runs by the settlement. I began filming.

“The settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad. The Israeli soldiers and police did nothing to stop them. This was not the first time: about a year ago, I documented settlers swearing, using foul language and calling out obscenities against the Prophet Muhammad while soldiers and police allowed them to continue.

“Life in al-Hariqah has become intolerable. The military repeatedly raids the neighbourhood and the settlers assault and harass us. As a Muslim, I was extremely offended by the insults hurled at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. As a woman, I felt terrible hearing the foul language directed personally at me for filming them.”

As you can tell from her video (starting at about halfway in), once the Jewish settlers became aware they were being filmed, they started swearing at her as well. Maybe someone should take the time to share this video with Jason Greenblatt. Although a little voice inside tells me that even if he did devote the three minutes and twenty-four seconds needed to watch it, he would probably still insist that Hamas is the problem.

***

Trump’s Peace Envoy: Palestinian Authority Must Control the Gaza Strip

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must resume its control over the government in the besieged Gaza Strip during a tour of the Gaza-Israel border.

Jason Greenblatt voiced vehement opposition to Hamas’ rule in the small Palestinian territory, and his support of the PA to take back control of the besieged enclave.

“It is clear that the Palestinian Authority needs to resume its role in the administration of Gaza, as Hamas has substantially harmed the people of Gaza and has failed to meet their most basic needs,” Greenblatt said following the tour, which also included Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai.

Greenblatt said he had “learned a great deal” from the border tour, particularly concerning the “challenges” facing the Israeli army, Israeli civilians living near the border, and Palestinians living in Gaza, which he then singularly attributed to “Hamas’ mismanagement of humanitarian aid and its commitment to terrorist violence.”

Hamas and the Fatah-ruled PA have been embroiled in a more than a decade-long conflict since 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections and a bloody conflict between the two groups broke out.

Hamas, the de facto leaders in Gaza, is often criticized by the international community and among Palestinians themselves, most notably owing to the group’s attempted rocket attacks on Israel, which rarely result in casualties, and what is seen as their mismanagement of the government in Gaza.

However, Palestinian frustrations have also continued to mount against the PA, as the semi-governmental body in the occupied West Bank has passed devastating policies in recent months aiming to plunge the Gaza Strip deeper into a humanitarian crisis in an attempt to force Hamas to relinquish their authority.

These policies have included halting medical referrals so patients can receive treatment abroad while simultaneously cutting funding to the local medical sector, cutting salaries to its Gaza-based employees, discontinuing payments to former prisoners of Israel, and dramatically reducing fundingfor Israeli fuel.

Greenblatt’s trip to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel is part of Trump’s attempts at relaunching peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders that have remained stagnant for decades.

However, leaders and analysts have expressed doubt that Trump’s initiatives will lead to a peace plan, as Trump himself has remained elusive concerning his stance on the conflict, while a number of high-profile US officials, including Trump’s son-in-law and Chief Adviser Jared Kushner, are known to be staunch supporters of Israel.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The UN head demanded that Israel’s decade-long blockade on the territory be lifted, describing life in the besieged coastal enclave as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” he had seen.

In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current trends were not altered. However, a new report released last month by the UN said that “life for the average Palestinian in Gaza is getting more and more wretched,” and that for the majority of Gaza’s residents, the territory may already be unlivable.

israeli border police: World’s Cruelest Force

Israeli border police: World’s Cruelest Force

 

 I got to admit, I agree with Israel’s veteran journalist Amira Hass giving the Israeli border police that AWARD in her column at Israeli daily Ha’aretz on July 24, 2017.

I bet the award will pay Israeli border police handsomely. It is already training police forces in the United States, Britain, India, France, Denmark, Germany, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, etc. Donald Trump has contracted an Israeli company to built the US-Mexico border wall modeled on Israel’s separation wall.

Amira Hass shows her disgust over Israeli police actions during the recent banning of Muslim worshippers to enter Islam’s third  most sacred place – the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound which the Zionist Jews wrongfully claim to be their so-called Temple Mount (Temple of Solomon).

And maybe even more appalling than the sight of the police and the Border Police – and their arrogant, alienated and hostile sneers at the Palestinians – is Israelis’ delight at their attractiveness, heroism and sweetness,” Hass said.

The real heroes are of course the Palestinians. It’s heroism to constantly live in the shadow of people in gray uniforms and ammunition belts aiming their rifles (and the army of expropriating officials and settlers, whom the police are protecting). On Friday, before noon, these heroes once again came en masse to pray, despite the aimed rifles and the knowledge they might easily find themselves in areas where stun grenades, tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets would be fired at them,” Haas added.

Since 1920s, Zionist Jews have been feed their next generations hatred towards Muslims and Arabs based on their Babylonian Talmud against non-Jews.

The Price of israeli State Terror

Source

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

According to West Bank Palestinian journalists, Israeli-instigated violence from July 14 – 28 caused 15 deaths, about 1,400 others injured, some seriously.

Clashes resulted from unacceptable Israeli security measures imposed on the Al-Aqsa mosque and compound, mostly in Jerusalem’s Old City, elsewhere in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel continues holding bodies of 13 Palestinians killed during this period – so far refusing to return them to families for proper Muslim burials.

On Friday, Israel lifted security measures and other restrictions imposed on the Al-Aksa mosque and compound.

The Islamic Endowment in charge of running the holy site confirmed all gates are open, Palestinian men and women of all ages free to enter the mosque and compound for prayers.

Over 100 detained Palestinians were released on Thursday and Friday on these conditions. Old City residents were banned from entering Al-Aqsa for two weeks, other Jerusalem residents banned from the Old City for two weeks, other Palestinians banned from the city for two weeks.

Palestinian victories are rare and nearly always short-lived. It’s just a matter of time before large-scale Israeli-instigated violence again occurs.

Besieged Gazans endure horrendous Israeli mistreatment, struggling to survive under dire conditions.

Elsewhere in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli persecution continued on Saturday, numerous Palestinians assaulted, many detained, including disabled ones in Hebron and Bethlehem.

Multiple raids happen daily in Palestinian communities. Hundreds are administratively detained uncharged without trials.

Separately, Netanyahu threatened to expel Al-Jazeera from Israel, claiming it’s “inciting” violence in Jerusalem’s Old City, especially around the Al-Aqsa mosque and compound.

“I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al-Jazeera office in Jerusalem,” he blustered.

“If this does not happen because of legal reasons, I will work to legislate the laws required to remove Al Jazeera from Israel.”

Israel rejects criticism of its policies – by media, groups and individuals, including bloggers freely expressing their views.

Repressive Knesset legislation targets speech, assembly, association and the right to dissent, Palestinians especially vulnerable.

Military censorship prohibits information published about its high crimes against peace. willfully suppressing what Israelis need to know, claiming national security priorities.

Discussing anything Israel considers classified information risks prosecution. Protests are prohibited for political reasons. Nonviolent resistance is suppressed, academic freedom endangered.

The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms (MADA) reported “51 violations of media freedoms in Palestine during June by Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

Palestine is illegally occupied territory, the entire population threatened by brutal Israeli repression – ongoing daily.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

israeli forces kidnap 64 Palestinians in 2 days

Source

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 64 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem and West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. On Wednesday night, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 23 Palestinian civilians from their homes, while a 13-year-old school girl was shot and moderately wounded in her leg. Yesterday night, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 41 Palestinian civilians and shot wounded two others.

The Palestinians Prisoner Committee (PPC) said that the number of the Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces included 21 minors -one of them is 11 years old. Spokespersons of the Israeli occupation forces confirmed the large number of kidnappings, but did not verify the number given by the Palestinian sources. However, it could be larger because the Palestinian sources depend on family reports. It is worth noting that this massive kidnapping campaign came ahead of a season of Jewish holidays during which the Israeli occupation imposes strict security measures on Palestinians restricts their movement. It also closes all border crossings and bans all kinds of travel and goods passage.

Palestine news

Thanks to israel, Jerusalem is a “City of fear”

City of fear

Israeli border police push Palestinian men as they try to cross through the Qalandiya checkpoint, between the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on 11 July.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

 

A few days ago, I was driving through Qalandiya checkpoint for the first time since I came back to Jerusalem.

My dad, sitting next to me, had to yell “stop here!” at me as I was queuing behind a car at the checkpoint.

“You’re too close,” he said, “stop and wait for them to call you, otherwise they’ll shoot you and not even care.”

When I left here to begin my life as a university student four years ago, and despite my sense of general optimism, I never really believed that I would come back to a better and more hopeful Jerusalem.

Over the four years, I would come back during the summer and end up leaving again with a strong belief that things would only be worse the next time I’d be home.

Here I am now, four summers later, having earned my degree, and I believe Jerusalem is worse than it has ever been for its non-Jewish inhabitants, the Palestinians.

Despite this depressing assessment, I have been looking forward to come back to Jerusalem as it is not only the city that I grew up in, but it is the place where I want to embark on the journey of being a young adult.

Fear everywhere

Two years ago, I wrote about the pervasive fear we Jerusalemites feel in our own city.

Today, sadly, this fear is even more intense and tangible. It is not just fanatics or nationalist mobs that worry me, it is every armed Israeli – citizen, police and military – who could end my or anyone else’s life in a second for no reason and without anyone batting an eye.

Since last summer, the ugliness of life in Jerusalem has come to show.

Hundreds of Palestinians of all ages have been harassed, brutalized, arrested, shot or killed.

This is in a city where Israel’s slow, steady but systematic discrimination is forcing Palestinian children out of schools and Palestinian families out of their homes.

In April, Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, a 23-year-old mother of two small children, reportedly five months pregnant, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Salih Hassan Taha, were gunned down by Israeli personnel at the same Qalandiya checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank, north of Jerusalem.

Israel claimed the pair were killed during an attempted knife attack on soldiers, but eyewitnesses described an execution of two people who didn’t understand commands being shouted at them in Hebrew and presented no threat to anyone.

The private firm contracted by the Israelis to man the checkpoint carried out an “internal investigation” and absolved itself of any wrongdoing.

The siblings were among more than 220 Palestinians, as well as more than 30 Israelis and two Americans, who have died since a new phase of violence began last October.

And according to Israel’s B’Tselem human rights group, Maram and Ismail were among dozens of Palestinians killed when they posed no threat in slayings “tantamount to executions.”

Driving while Palestinian

On the day I drove through Qalandiya, I recall my dad reminding me repeatedly how I should be extra careful how I am perceived by Israelis while on the road as anything they deem suspicious could have fatal consequences.

It has become standard in recent months for Israelis to judge any driving irregularities or accidents to be deliberate vehicular attacks, prompting Israelis to attack the driver and ask questions later.

Last month, an Israeli driver plowed his car into a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing two people, before a mob pulled him from the car and beat him believing him to be a Palestinian attacker.

But the man had suffered a heart attack. He died, though it was unclear whether it was due to the beating or the heart attack.

Sometimes just driving around puts your life at risk. On Wednesday, three young men in al-Ram came under a hail of bullets from Israeli forces raiding the village north of Jerusalem. One, Anwar al-Salaymeh, 22, was killed. Another was critically injured and the third detained.

An Israeli spokesperson told the Ma’an News Agency that the soldiers “saw a speeding vehicle heading towards them” and opened fire.

An autopsy was ordered for al-Salaymeh, after it was discovered that he was shot in the back three times, challenging the Israeli narrative.

And during Ramadan, 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran was killed when Israeli soldiers fired on the car he and friends were riding in on their way home from a late-night pool party. In that case, Israel admitted the car was “mistakenly hit.”

Merely walking around in Jerusalem’s Old City for the first time this summer was an uneasy experience.

Anything deemed provocative by the pervasive Israeli police could have costly consequences. It is an environment of fear designed to make us Jerusalemites feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in our own city.

First resort

The killing of Fadi Alloun last October, and other instances of Israeli police shooting Palestinians as mobs cheered them on, are memories we cannot shake and reminders of the precarious nature of our continued existence in this place.

Newly revealed documents show that Israeli police have been authorized to use lethal force as a first resort against any Palestinian seen to throw stones or firecrackers.

For years, Israel claimed that lethal force was only a last resort – even though in practice Israeli forces killed frequently, without provocation and with total impunity.

But you would never see similar measures taken against Jewish stone throwers or attackers who harass Palestinians regularly across the West Bank. Instead, the attackers habitually enjoy army protection.

Every few days I wake up to news of Palestinians being shot for acting “suspiciously” or allegedly possessing a knife. In all these cases, Israel is judge, jury and, often, executioner, with no credible justice system in place to independently investigate such claims or killings.

I still remember a few years back when a man in front of me at Qalandiya checkpoint was kicked by soldiers, humiliated and reduced to tears as he was denied passage through the checkpoint.

He had been carrying a bag full of cooking equipment and chefs knives and he had multiple papers showing he was part of a culinary school in Jerusalem.

Today, a person in a similar situation would have been killed and no one would question it as the mere possession of a knife has become enough of an excuse legitimizing the summary execution of Palestinians.

Still standing

An internal police report exposed by the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz this week, revealed, to no surprise of any Jerusalemite, that Israeli Border Police in Jerusalem “deliberately provoke Palestinians” in order to get a violent response.

One such manufactured provocation in Issawiyeh, in January, led to a confrontation in which Israeli forces shot 12-year-old Ahmad Abu Hummus in the head, causing severe brain damage.

Social media is never lacking in daily videos documenting the regular harassment, searches and humiliation of Palestinian youths in Jerusalem that lead to similar violence.

It is weird living in Jerusalem right now, especially knowing that this situation only strengthens my determination to stay here, live here and fight for this city.

I know too that if I wanted to write about all the forms of abuse against Palestinians in Jerusalem, I would be writing endlessly for days.

It is a situation where the power and might of the whole Israeli state is determined to alienate Palestinian Jerusalemites. However, this cruelty and injustice only breeds further resistance and defiance.

They may deem our lives worthless, our dignity of no value, our existence an inconvenience, but I believe Jerusalem continues to stand tall and defy the oppression no matter how dark the times have become.

The USA has aided israel in denying human rights to Palestinians for decades

The U.S. has aided Israel in denying human rights to Palestinians for decades

By Robert Fantina | Mint Press | April 26, 2016

The establishment of the state of Israel is known throughout Palestine as the Nakba, or “Catastrophe.” As the British Mandate of Palestine ended throughout 1947 and 1948, at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homeland, and another 100,000 or more were massacred.

Although the United States wasn’t an active party to the circumstances that led to the Nakba, the country’s long history with Israel has only been supportive of that nation’s barbarity — and that support has grown exponentially over the years.

In the U.S., the press framed Palestinian resistance as opposition to the Jewish state rather than an assertion of their own human rights. Scholar Michael A. Dohse wrote in “American Periodicals and the Palestine Triangle, April, 1936 to February, 1947”:

“Despite the fact that there was considerable evidence of the extreme nationalistic drive behind the Zionist movement, which was its motivating force, American journals gave a good press to the Zionists’ alleged goal of building a democratic commonwealth in Palestine. How this would be possible when the Arabs constituted two-thirds of the population and were opposed to Zionism, did not seem to be a relevant question to many of the magazines.”

This, of course, was in complete contravention of U.S. doctrine, even as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and “[t]hat to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The consent of the governed — in this case, the Palestinians — was not to be considered.

Pre-WWII, pre-state of Israel

Months before the Balfour Declaration was made in November of 1917, declaring British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson commented on the absolute need for self-determination. On May 27, 1916, he said: “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.”

Mr. Wilson continued his lofty rhetoric, telling Congress on Feb. 11, 1918: “National aspirations must be respected; peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” Further, in the same speech on German-Austrian “peace utterances,” he declared: “Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”

These and subsequent speeches by Mr. Wilson were troubling to his secretary of state, Robert Lansing. In his private journals, according to Frank Edward Manuel in his book “The Realities of American Palestine Relations,” Lansing wrote that such concepts were “‘… loaded with dynamite, might breed disorder, discontent and rebellion’. His neat, logical mind saw it leading the president into strange contradictions: ‘Will not the Mohammedans of Syria and Palestine and possibly of Morocco and Tripoli rely on it? How can it be harmonized with Zionism, to which the President is practically committed?’”

If the Palestinians ever relied on U.S. rhetoric to assist them in achieving the basic human rights that all people are entitled to, they were certainly to be disappointed.

Truman, Eisenhower

Following World War II, the world was anxious to make some kind of reparation to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, passed on Nov. 29, 1947, effectively partitioned Palestine into two states.

It is difficult to properly quantify the degree of injustice that this entailed. “Although Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about 33 percent of the population, Israel was established on 78 percent of Palestine,” according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes, with no voice in the decision that evicted them, no reparation for the loss of their homes and lands, and nowhere to go but refugee camps.

By this time, Harry S. Truman was president, and he offered full consent for this plan for reasons that will be familiar to readers today: He was subjected to intense lobbying by the Zionist lobby. He also felt that by supporting the establishment of Israel, he would be in a better position to be elected to a full term as president, having ascended to that office upon the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lobbying and political considerations then, as now, trump human rights every time.

Mr. Truman was elected president in his own right in 1948, and was succeeded four years later by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who named John Foster Dulles as his secretary of state.

Mr. Dulles was familiar with the Palestine-Israel situation, and his sympathies clearly rested with Israel. In 1944, he played an active role in seeing that the platform of the Republican Party included support for a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, and also that the platform called for the protection of Jewish political rights. Years later, he exerted a strong influence on the president under whom he served, setting the tone for the Eisenhower administration’s attitude toward Israel and Palestine.

Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter

Things appeared to take a turn with the administration of John F. Kennedy, who showed support for the right of return for refugees, as described in Paragraph 11 of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 of Dec. 11, 1948. That resolution affirms that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Government or authorities responsible.”

Israel, under David Ben-Gurion, used what has become a tried and true method to oppose this measure: The state’s founder and first prime minister called it a threat to Israel’s national security.

Ultimately, Resolution 194 passed, but has yet to have any effect.

Despite his apparent support for Palestinian refugees, Mr. Kennedy was the first president to elevate the U.S.-Israel relationship from that of simply two allies to a more enhanced bond. Speaking to the Zionist Organization of America three months before his election, he said, “Friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter, it is a national commitment.”

Following Mr. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, he was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson, who did not share his predecessor’s interest in resolving the refugee problem. The Democratic Party Platform of 1964, the year Mr. Johnson was elected president, included a provision to “encourage the resettlement of Arab refugees in lands where there is room and opportunity.” All talk of the right of return ceased.

The Johnson administration ended in January of 1968, when former Vice President Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president. Nixon had less obligation to Israel, having earned only about 15 percent of the Jewish vote. In his memoirs, he commented on Israeli arrogance after the Six-Day War of 1967, describing “an attitude of total intransigence on negotiating any peace agreement that would involve the return of any of the territories they had occupied.”

Unfortunately for Palestine, however, Mr. Nixon’s closest advisor was Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security advisor and, later, his secretary of state. Mr. Kissinger’s parents had fled Nazi Germany shortly before the start of the Holocaust, and he had visited Israel multiple times but had never set foot in an Arab country. With Mr. Nixon’s preoccupation with what he considered the “Communist threat,” Mr. Kissinger was perfectly content with the Israel-Palestine status quo. “Rather than make any effort toward the Arab states, much less the Palestinians, Kissinger felt the United States should let them stew until they came begging to Washington,” according to “U.S. Policy on Palestine from Wilson to Clinton,” edited by Michael W. Suleiman. With this attitude, nothing was done to further the cause of justice under this president’s terms in office.

When Mr. Nixon resigned in a fog of controversy and scandal, his vice president, Gerald Ford, became president. He served as a caretaker president until the next election, when he was defeated by Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Although Mr. Carter has recently become a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, this was not the case during his single term as president. He presided over the Camp David Accords, a two-track agreement that was supposed to bring peace to the Middle East. The first of the two dealt with Palestine, and nothing in it was ever achieved. The second led to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Reagan, Bush

After one term, Mr. Carter was defeated by former actor and California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Like Mr. Nixon before him, Mr. Reagan saw Communist threats everywhere. Fearing a Soviet stronghold on the Middle East, he determined that strengthening ties with Israel would be an excellent deterrent. In 1982, he declared that the U.S. would not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, nor would it “support annexation or permanent control by Israel.”

Following First Intifada in 1987, Mr. Reagan sent his secretary of state, George Shultz, to solve the problem. Mr. Shultz proposed a three-pronged strategy: convening an international conference; a six-month negotiation period that would bring about an interim phase for Palestinian self-determination for the West Bank and Gaza Strip; talks between Israel and Palestine to start in December 1988 to achieve the final resolution of the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir immediately rejected this plan, claiming that it did nothing to forward the cause of peace. In response, the U.S. issued a new memorandum, emphasizing economic and security agreements with Israel and accelerating the delivery of 75 F-16 fighter jets. This was to encourage Israel to accept the peace plan proposals. Yet Israel did not yield. As Suleiman’s work noted: “Instead, as an Israeli journalist commented, the message received was: ‘One may say no to America and still get a bonus.’”

When Mr. Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, succeeded him for one term, the bonus to Israel continued unabated. Yet this was still not enough for Israel. Writing in The New York Times in 1991, Thomas Friedman commented on the state of relations between the U.S. and Israel during the Bush administration: “Although the Bush Administration’s whole approach to peacemaking is almost entirely based on terms dictated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Israelis nevertheless see the Bush Administration as hostile.”

Clinton, another Bush, Obama

Following one term, Mr. Bush was succeeded by Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who surrounded himself with Zionists, including CIA Director James Woolsey and Pentagon Chief Les Aspin.

In March of 1993, following clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in both Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin closed the borders between Israel and Palestine. This had a drastic detrimental effect on the lives and basic subsistence for at least tens of thousands of Palestinians. The Clinton administration chose to look the other way as Israel perpetrated this unspeakable act of collective punishment.

The administration of George W. Bush differed little in its treatment of matters related to Israel and Palestine from those who came before it. When Hamas was elected to govern the Gaza Strip in 2006, Mr. Bush ordered a near-total ban on aid to Palestine. Noam Chomsky commented on this situation:

“You are not allowed to vote the wrong way in a free election. That’s our concept of democracy. Democracy is fine as long as you do what we say, but not if you vote for someone we don’t like.”

Coming into office chanting the appealing mantra of “Change we can believe in,” current President Barack Obama proved to be another in a long line of disappointments. Like his predecessors, he’s vetoed any resolutions presented at the U.N. Security Council that were critical of Israel. Incredibly, after one such veto, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice made this statement:

”We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace.”

Meanwhile, military aid to Israel from the U.S. continued unabated. This aid has reached nearly $4 billion annually under the Obama administration, and is likely to get another boost before Mr. Obama leaves office.

This is not unusual. According to conservative estimates, the U.S. has given Israel a staggering $138 billion in military and other aid since 1949. In 2007, President George W. Bush signed the first 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, granting billions to Israel every year. Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu are currently negotiating the new deal, which the prime minister hopes will guarantee even more to the apartheid regime.

Change that can’t come soon enough

Even if it didn’t come with Mr. Obama, change does seem to be on the horizon. With the explosive growth of social media, the general public no longer relies solely on the corporate-owned media for information. The horrors that Israel inflicts daily on the Palestinians are becoming more common knowledge. This includes the periodic bombing of the Gaza Strip, a total blockade that prevents basic supplies from being imported, and the checkpoint stops and verbal and physical harassment that Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis in the West Bank.

It’s even entered the current U.S. presidential election. Sen. Bernie Sanders, seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, skipped the annual American Israel Political Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, convention in March. Additionally, he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t always right and that Israel uses disproportionate force against the Palestinians, and Mr. Sanders recognized that Palestinians have rights. Like skipping the AIPAC conference, these statements are all in violation of some unspoken U.S. code of conduct for politicians.

Yet the ugly history of the U.S., in its unspeakably unjust dealings with Palestine, created a stain that generations will be unable to cleanse. Total disdain for the human rights of an entire nation, and the complicity in the violation of international law and in the war crimes of Israel, are not easy to expunge. Mr. Sanders’ words and actions are only the manifestation of a larger change occurring in U.S. attitudes toward Israel and Palestine. Once that change is sufficiently great to impact the U.S. power brokers, real change will occur. For Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, it cannot come soon enough.

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