Israeli Forces Demolish Emergency Coronavirus Clinic for Palestinians

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:52

Israeli forces on Thursday entered a Palestinian village in the northern Jordan Valley to confiscate materials designated to build a clinic to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Officials from the Israeli Civil Administration came to the village of Khirbet Ibziq with a military escort, bulldozer and two trucks equipped with cranes on Thursday morning to demolish community clinic and emergency housing, according to Israeli human rights monitor Btselem. 

The group reported that Israeli officials seized poles and sheeting designated to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, two for a mosque, and four for emergency housing for people evacuated from their homes. 

A power generator, as well as supplies of sand, cement and cinder blocks to be used for the floor of the tents, were also confiscated. Btselem said the villagers were building a first-aid community initiative to deal with the Covid-19 crisis which has paralyzed large parts of the southern West Bank. 

There are 91 confirmed cases so far in the Palestinian territories, with one death reported on Wednesday. 

The Jordan Valley covers an area of about 1.6 million dunams (1,600 km2) and constitutes around 30 percent of the total occupied West Bank. According to a previous government report, the Valley includes about 280,000 dunams of arable land, 50,000 of which are still used by Palestinians and 27,000 by illegal Jewish settlers. 

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises. 

Source: The Palestine Chronicle 

The Shame of the Century: Kushner’s Deal Is Dead on Arrival

The “Deal of the Century” has been written by Israeli officials

By Steven Sahiounie

Global Research, February 04, 2020

Imagine a lawsuit being tried in a courtroom.  The case is coming to a close, and one side is sure of their position of being ‘in the right’, and then the opposing side offers a ‘deal’ to settle the case out of court.  However, the deal they offer is empty and does not satisfy the basic legal claims. They decide to reject the offer, and wait for the chance of winning their full rights, depending on the justice system, and the merits of their case as presented.

Details of the deal

The “Deal of the Century” has been written by Israeli officials, which is made clear not only from the style but content as well. President Trump announced the deal in the White House’s East Room on January 28, with his guest Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and others, giving Israel full control of the settlements and Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The illegal settlements will now be considered the same as any other part of Israel under Israeli law and by the US. Netanyahu was thrilled that Israel can now annex land in Judea and Samaria, which previously had threatened to bring sanctions in the UN Security Council.  “The idea of dividing Jerusalem is buried,” Netanyahu said while adding “The idea of returning to 1967 lines as we knew it is buried. The right of return is buried; not even one refugee will be entering Israel.” Additionally, the IDF and Israeli security forces will have access to defend all territory west of the Jordan River, and  Israel will control “air, sea, land and electromagnetic fields,” according to Netanyahu. The US will accept Israeli sovereignty over all Jerusalem neighborhoods within the security fence.

The US deal sets a plan for a Palestinian state if they meet conditions within four years, including stopping: terrorism; payments to terrorists; armed resistance. If the conditions are met, then a Palestinian state could be recognized, with limited sovereignty, as Israel would have full security control.

This is an American plan, and an American map, and not binding on anyone.  Some would call it a diktat, defined as ‘a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed on a defeated nation’, or ‘terms of capitulation.’

The two-state solution

The two-state solution has for decades been the basis of negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has been the official policy of the United States, the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Beginning in 1948, Palestinians fled, or were expelled from their homes; however, the UN Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948, which guarantees everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Following the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the UN adopted Security Council Resolution 242. The resolution calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories, adopted unanimously on November 22, 1967, and those are the borders referred to in the two-state solution. Jerusalem was to be divided into an Israeli West and a Palestinian East.

The Trump deal has bulldozed the two-state solution.

Resistance

Resistance to the occupation of Palestine was most often coordinated by a committee made up of local social and political leaders, who held strikes, protests, and general political activism. The occupied people supported tax revolts, general strikes, teach-ins, prisoner hunger strikes, as Israeli law allows for the arrest and detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

In 2005 the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement began, targeting corporations and institutions that reinforce Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinian human rights.

All nonviolent protests have been brutally suppressed and popular resistance leaders have been imprisoned, exiled, and killed.  All public gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden by Israeli military orders enforced by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Nonviolent protest actions and public political and/or cultural gatherings of Palestinians in areas under Israeli control are broken up by the Israeli military and police, often using tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and physical force, resulting in deaths and injuries.

Apartheid

The ‘Deal of the Century’ regurgitates apartheid, a racist political system, and we only have to look to Israeli historian Uri Davis’s book “Apartheid Israel”.

Under the Trump deal, the Palestinians may have limited autonomy within a homeland that consists of multiple non-connecting enclaves scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Israel would retain security control over the enclaves and would continue to control borders, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, and electromagnetic fields. Israel would be allowed to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians would be allowed to choose their leaders but would have no political rights in Israel, the state that rules over them.

The Trump deal for racial control and segregation harkens back to South Africa, before the ANC and armed resistance groups fought a bloody fight, which had international support, ultimately winning their freedom and rights with Nelson Mandela at the helm.

Like South Africa’s apartheid, the Trump deal gives the Palestinians autonomy over matters like education and healthcare, while trade, immigration, and security would remain under Israeli control. It would give Israelis a false sense of security while living under a regime based on racial oppression. The deal may constitute a crime against humanity, under the Rome Statute (1998), since it violates the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

President Trump

President Trump has done more for Israel than any previous US President.  He allowed the personal ‘pet-project’ of his son in law, Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, to reverse decades of US foreign policy. Many have questioned what gives the US the power to decide that Palestinians will live under apartheid?

Occupation

According to Noam Chomsky, Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade. He wrote, a visitor to Gaza can’t help feeling disgusted at the obscenity of the occupation, compounded with guilt, because it is within our power to bring the suffering to an end and allow the Samidin to enjoy the lives of peace and dignity that they deserve.

Israelis don’t like the plan

Yisrael Beytenu leader, Avigdor Liberman, said: “The Trump plan is an escape plan from the real problems on the agenda” for Netanyahu, and the PM is using the deal to hide from real domestic issues he refuses to deal with. While Trump has been impeached by the House, Netanyahu has been indicted by the courts, and it seems the two wounded leaders are using the deal as camouflage.

Palestinian Christians

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and secretary of the Jordan Evangelical Council in Amman, said after reading the deal, it “sounded more like a surrender dictate than a peace plan. The fact that of 13 million Palestinians, the Americans couldn’t find a single one to attend [the rollout] spoke volumes in its one-sidedness,” he added,  “It is a surrender document that will lay the grounds for Palestinians to continue to live under Israeli discrimination. This is a formula for further violence and unrest.”

The deal allows Israel to keep land they have managed illegally to grab, while they promise to pause for four years while the Palestinians capitulate to unjust terms, but the only offer on the table. If the Palestinians decide the deal is unacceptable, then Israel will undoubtedly begin to grab even more lands and justify their actions by pointing the finger of blame at the other side.  This is the likely outcome unless those insisting on justice will intervene from outside and exert pressure on Israel.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is a political commentator. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Jerusalem PostThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Steven Sahiounie, Global Research, 2020

Israel’s National Bill

JANUARY 03, 2020BY GILAD ATZMON

Source: https://www.presstv.com

The Education Ministry in Israel has published a new civics teacher’s guide. According to it, all students taking the matriculation exam in civics will be tested on their knowledge of the details of the controversial nation-state law. Tel Aviv’s nation-state law that was passed by the Knesset in 2018 has been labeled as “apartheid” due to its marginalization of the indigenous Arab population. This episode touches on this subject and more.

Video here

Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Critics of «Israel»

Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Critics of «Israel»

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, amid concerns that it will be used to silence those who oppose the “Israeli” entity’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinians.

Image result for jewish power

The executive order, announced at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, empowers the US education department to penalize college campuses by withholding federal funds from those which allow criticism of the entity.

The measure targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement that has initiated “various forms of boycott against ‘Israel’ until it meets its obligations under international law.”

The BDS movement is gaining momentum in the United States and poses a serious threat to Israel’s “hegemonic power” in Washington, according to Myles Hoenig, a political activist based in Maryland.

The presidential order bans discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs and activities, such as colleges and universities, where the BDS movement has been very successful.

Title VI will extend the ban to target critics of “Israel”. A draft copy of the executive order was published Wednesday by the Jewish Insider.

Palestinian and progressive groups condemned the executive order as a blatant attempt to squash criticism of human rights abuses committed by the “Israeli” regime. Dima Khalidi, who is the director of Palestine Legal, described the order as a “bald-faced attempt to silence the movement for Palestinian rights on college campuses”.

“Defining antisemitism to include criticism of ‘Israel’ serves only to violate the free speech of students and professors who stand for equality and justice for all people,” she added.

 

NGOs Stand Against «Israeli» War Machine Invading Canadian Universities & Recruiting Students

NGOs Stand Against «Israeli» War Machine Invading Canadian Universities & Recruiting Students

By Fatima Haydar

Beirut – The words “Free Free Palestine!” rang out. The chant once unheard grew louder, livelier and stronger. No, this wasn’t in Palestine. It wasn’t in some Middle Eastern country either. This was halfway across the globe in faraway Canada!

On November 20, the prestigious York University, Canada’s third largest, hosted an on-campus event featuring reservists from the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF].

The event on Wednesday night, which included a panel discussion featuring “Reservists on Duty” – a group made up of former IOF soldiers, advertised the “Israeli” army’s strength and morale.

Meanwhile, prior to the event, activists and social media users called for a protest against the arrival of IOF members. Many denounced the university for hosting those who were tasked with upholding an illegal occupation, enforcing apartheid, murdering protesters and committing war crimes.

Canadian Defenders for Human Rights [CD4HR] – a registered non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of people of all backgrounds, color, and faith – was among those that spoke up.

The group’s director Firas Al Najim slammed the atrocious behavior of the Zionists in Canada.

A video clip shows Al Najim protesting against the event on campus and joining ranks with another demonstration held by York’s Students against “Israeli” Apartheid [SAIA]. He was crying out:

We condemn the Zionist regime.

You’re a bunch of cowards! You kill children! You kill senior citizens! You kill everybody!

You are WAR CRIMINALS!

You have the audacity to say a word!

You are a danger to the Canadian society!

Zionism is terrorism!

Holding up the Palestinian flag during the protest, Al Najim stressed his organization’s solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people of different religious backgrounds. He further condemned the “Israeli” occupation of the Holy Land of Palestine, calling for the “dismantlement of the illegitimate Zionist regime”.

Al Najim rejected the presence of the IOF, whom he called “a bunch of mercenaries from everywhere in the world”, promoting their “evil agenda”, hatred and their war crimes.

The Canadian activist further urged his government and its officials to condemn “Israeli” violations, thanking Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for his recent move and stance in condemning “Israel” and standing up for international law.

The Trudeau government on Tuesday reversed course and voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning the apartheid “Israeli” entity for its occupation of Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, Al Najim’s chants blended with those of students and SAIA members who came out to oppose the visit of IOF soldiers on campus, while yelling:

All Out! No “Israeli” soldiers on our campus!

They wanted to send a message that “Israeli” war criminals actively participating in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and violating their human rights are not welcome on their campus.

The “Israeli” entity has recently admitted to murdering Palestinian children in their homes and bombing residential buildings after the latest violence in occupied Palestinian territories.

To say that no one is above the law is to say that laws must be applied to everyone equally regardless of race, gender, status or any other consideration.

However, it appears that, as understood by Western capitals, there are people and institutions that are above the law; today’s war criminals in the Middle East – who portrayed themselves as yesterday’s “oppressed” minority, have a privileged status that shields them from indictment.

A pen is mightier than a sword! But in this case, even a word is mightier than the whole “Israeli” arsenal altogether.

Israeli Apartheid Made Official: Annexation is the New Reality in Palestine

Annexing Palestinian land has officially moved from the right-wing fringe of Israeli politics to a centrist talking point and campaign promise.

September 17th, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving quickly to alter the political reality in Palestine, and facing little or no resistance.

On September 10, Netanyahu declared his intentions to annex swathes of Palestinian land adjacent to the Jordan River, an area that covers 2,400 square kilometers, or nearly a third of the Occupied West Bank. That region, which extends from Bisan in the north to Jericho in the south, is considered to be Palestine’s food basket, as it accounts for an estimated 60 percent of vegetables that are produced in the West Bank.

A Palestinian shepherd herds his flock near the Israeli settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley, April 2, 2017. Oded Balilty | AP

While Israel has already colonized nearly 88 percent of the entire Palestinian Ghoor (or Jordan Valley), dividing it between illegal agricultural settlements and military zones, it was always assumed that the militarily occupied region will be included within the border of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s announcement has been linked to Israel’s general elections of September 17. The Israeli leader is desperate, as he is facing “unprecedented alliances” that are all closing in to unseat him from his political throne. But this cannot be all. Not even power-hungry Netanyahu would alter the political and territorial landscape of Israel and Palestine indefinitely in exchange for a few votes.

Indeed, talks of annexation have been afoot for years and have long preceded the September elections or the previous ones in April.

A sense of euphoria has been felt among Israel’s rightwing officials since the advent of Donald Trump to the White House. The excitement was not directly linked to Trump but to his Middle East team, like-minded pro-Israel US officials whose support for Israel is predicated on more than personal interests, but religious and ideological beliefs as well.

White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, selected his team very carefully: Jason Greenblatt as special envoy for Middle East peace, David Friedman as United States Ambassador to Israel, and layers of other second-tier officials whose mission was never aimed at resolving conflict or brokering peace, but supervising a process in which Israel finalizes its colonization of Palestine unhindered.

Kushner’s master stroke is epitomized in the way he presented his objectives as part of a political process, later named “Deal of the Century”.

In all fairness, Kushner’s team hardly labored, or even pretended to be, peacemakers, especially as they oversaw the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territories. Indeed, none of these officials tried to hide their true motives. Just examine statements made by the just-resigned Greenblatt where he refused to name illegal Jewish settlements as such, but as “neighborhoods and cities”; and Friedman’s outright support for the annexation of parts of the Occupied West Bank, and much more.

The US political discourse seemed in complete alignment with that of Israel’s right-wing parties. When right-wing extremist politicians, the likes of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, began floating the idea of annexing most or all of the Occupied West Bank, they no longer sounded like marginal and opportunistic voices vying for attention. They were at the center of Israeli politics, knowing full well that Washington no longer had a problem with Israel’s unilateral action.

It could be argued, then, that Netanyahu was merely catching up, as the center of gravity within his right-wing coalition was slipping away to younger, more daring politicians. In fact, Israel, as a whole, was changing. With the Labor Party becoming almost entirely irrelevant, the Center’s political ideology moved further to the right, simply because supporting an independent Palestinian state in Israel has become a form of political suicide.

Therefore, Netanyahu’s call for the annexation of Palestinian land east of the Jordan River must not be understood in isolation and only within the limited context of the Israeli elections. Israel is now set to annex large parts of the West Bank that it deems strategic. This is most likely to include all illegal settlement blocks and the Jordan Valley as well.

Israel Palestine Jordan Valley

An activist is surrounded by Israeli soldiers during a protest against Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, Nov. 17, 2016. Majdi Mohammed | AP

In fact, Netanyahu said on September 11 that he was ready to annex the Jordan Valley region even before the election date, but was blocked by the Attorney General’s office. Netanyahu would not have taken such a decision if it represented a political risk or if it faced pushback from Washington. It is, then, sadly, a matter of time.

Suspiciously absent in all of this are the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Arab League, the European Union and, of course, the United Nations and its many outlets and courts. Aside from a few shy statements – like that of the spokesperson of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric, decrying that “unilateral actions are not helpful in the peace process” – Israeli leaders are facing little or no hindrance whatsoever as they finalize their complete colonization of all Palestinian land.

Unable to stage any kind of meaningful resistance against Israel, the Palestinian leadership is so pathetically insisting on utilizing old terminologies. The official Palestinian response to Netanyahu’s annexation pledge, as communicated by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, came only to underscore the PA’s political bankruptcy.

“Netanyahu is the chief destroyer of the peace process,” Shtayyeh said, warning that annexing parts of the West Bank would have negative consequences.

For his part, the PA leader Mahmoud Abbas resorted, once more, to empty threats. Abbas said in a statement, “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”

Neither Abbas nor Shtayyeh seem troubled by the fact that a “peace process” does not exist, and that Israel has already violated all agreements.

While the PA is desperately hanging on to any reason to justify its continued existence, Netanyahu, with the full support of Washington, is moving forward in annexing the West Bank, thus making apartheid an official and undisputed reality.

The Palestinian leadership must understand that the nature of the conflict is now changing. Conventional methods and empty statements will not slow down the Israeli push for annexation nor Tel Aviv’s determination to expand its apartheid to all of Palestine. If Palestinians continue to ignore this reality altogether, Israel will continue to single-handedly shape the destiny of Palestine and its people.

Feature photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 10, 2019 where he vowed to begin annexing West Bank settlements if he wins national elections. Oded Balilty | AP. Editing by MintPress News

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’, and his forthcoming book is ‘These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons’. Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a non-resident research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Zaim University in Istanbul. Visit: www.ramzybaroud.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (13 – 19 June 2019)

 

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (13– 19 June 2019)

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(13 – 19 June 2019)

 

  • Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the Gaza Strip.
  • 95 Palestinian civilians, including 34 children, 1 woman and 4 paramedics, were wounded; one of them sustained serious wounds.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 58 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 other incursions into Jerusalem.
  • 51 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children and 1 woman, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 17 of them, including 6 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

  • Israeli warplanes launched 7 missiles in 3 airstrikes against different targets in the Gaza Strip.

 

  • Israeli forces continued to open fire at the farmers and shepherds in the border areas of the Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces demolished 4 dwellings, rendering 33 persons homeless, including 20 children, south of Hebron, and another house in Jericho.
  • Israeli forces damaged and confiscated plates and iron arches, north and west of Hebron.
  • Settlers burnt 42 trees and punctured 22 cars in addition to attacking a farmer and his child.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • The Israeli municipality demolished a residential building in Sho’fat refugee camp and forced 2 brothers to self-demolish their buildings in Silwan.
  • The Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Sour Baher, claiming they are close to the annexation wall.

 

  • Three Shooting incidents were reported against the fishing boats off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • The Israeli forces imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Sea, preventing any fishermen from sailing or fishing.

 

  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 13th consecutive year.
  • Two Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (13 – 19 June 2019).

 

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized within the activities of “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed the 61st Friday of the peaceful protests along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces also used force against civilians who participated in the demonstrations organized against the Israeli incursions into the West Bank cities and villages.  In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces wounded 95 Palestinian demonstrators, including 34 children, 1 woman and 4 paramedics. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces wounded 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, during their participation in Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqiliya.

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 13 – 19 June 2019 According to the Governorate

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 6 2 0 0 0 0
Gaza City 19 5 0 0 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 25 11 0 0 0 1
Khan Yunis 5 1 0 0 0 0
Rafah 40 15 1 0 4 0
Total 95 34 1 0 4 1

 

As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating an ongoing Israeli policy of targeting fishermen’s livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 3 incidents off the western Rafah Shore in the southern Gaza Strip.

 

As part of the Israeli airstrikes, on 13 June 2019, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at an agricultural land, east of al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.

 

On 14 June 2019, Israeli drones launched 2 missiles at al-Mina military site belonging to the Palestinian armed groups, west of Khan Younis.  Minutes later, the Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the same site, causing damage to it.  However, no injuries were reported.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 16 June 2019, Israeli forces opened fire at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan al-Kabirah, east of Khan Youni.  No injuries were reported.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 13 June 2019, Israeli soldiers opened fire at agricultural lands, east of al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City.  However, no injuries were reported.

 

On 16 June 2019, Israeli forces opened fire at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan al-Kabirah, east of Khan Younis.  Howoever, no injuries were reported.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded 4 civilians, including 1 child, while participating in the Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqiliya, north of the West Bank.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 58 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 other incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 34 Palestinians, including 1 child and 1 woman, in the West Bank while 17 other civilians, including 6 children, were arrested from Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 04 June 2019, Israeli forces moved 100 meters into al-Shokah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.  They combed lands in front of the Return encampment before redeploying along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

As part of settlement expansion, demolitions and house demolition notices, on 18 June2019, two brothers namely Basel and Hatem al-‘Abbasi self-demolished their residential buildings in ‘Ein al-Lozah neighborhood, in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, applying the Israeli municipality’s decision, under the pretext of building without a license.  Al-‘Abbasi Family clarified that the building is comprised of 2 stories; each of which is around 170 square meters and still under-construction.  The family added that they started building it in early May and was preparing to move and live in it.

 

On 18 June 2019, an Israeli municipality bulldozer demolished an under-construction building in Sho’afat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, after forcing its owner to self-demolish parts of it last week.  The 2-story and 300-square-meter building belongs to ‘Emran ‘Alqam and is comprised of 4 residential apartments where ‘Alqam family members were supposed to live.

 

In the same context, on 13 June 2019, , the Israeli Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Wadi al-Humus area in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and obstructing the Israeli soldiers’ work. Mohamed Abu Tair, Member of the Defense Committee of Wadi al-Humus houses, said that Wadi al-Humus case started when Israeli forces distributed collective demolition orders of 16 residential buildings upon the Israeli Military Commander decision under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall between occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. Thus, the village residents decided to appeal the decision before the Israeli Supreme Court, but the court refused the appeal and upheld the Israeli Military Commander’s decision about demolishing all houses near the annexation wall and preventing Palestinians from using their lands located up to 250 meters away from the wall.

 

Settlement activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • As part of the house demolitions and notices, on 13 June 2019, the Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Israeli Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration cut and confiscated steels from a shop used for selling scrap in Fqeiqes village under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission from the Israeli competent authorities.

 

  • On 17 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Kherbit al-Halawa in al-Masafer area southeast of Hebron. They demolished 3 dwellings built of bricks and tin plates, rendering 21 civilians, including 13 children, homeless.

 

  • On the same day, Israeli forces moved into Kherbit al-Dabi’, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles demolished two residential rooms built of bricks and tin plates, rendering 12 persons, including 7 children, homeless. They laso confiscated solar panels, which supply the rooms with electricity.

 

  • On the same day, the Israeli forces confiscated iron arches for a plant nursery built on an area of 300 square meters in Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron.

 

  • On 19 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-Karama crossing area, east of Jericho. They demolished an under-construction 240-square-meter house belonging to Shadi Ibrahim Sunuqrot, from occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a license in Area C as classified in the Oslo Accords.

 

As part of settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, Israeli settlers carried out 7 attacjs against Palestinian civilians and their property during the reporting period.  The attacks were as follows:

 

On 13 June 2019, a group of settlers from “Yitsahar” Settlement established to the southeastern side of ‘Einabus village, south of Nablus, attacked the central village and wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the walls of the Old Mosque, village clinic and a house.  The residents of the village then caught the settlers and forced them to leave the village.

 

On the same day, settlers severely beat up with a stick Mohammed Yehia al-Tamimi (42) and his son Rami (15), from Deir Nizam village, northwest of Ramallah, when they were both in an agricultural area belonging to Mohammed near “Halmish” settlement established  along the borders of that area, northwest of the city.

 

On the next day, under the eyes of the SIraeli forces, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost established on Palestinians lands of Tal al-Ramidah neighbourhood in Hebron, attacked members of Abu ‘Eishah Family, who were building a wall in the vicinity of their house.  The settlers also destroyed the timber, which was fixed in the place to put the concrete inside.

 

On 17 June 2019, a group of settlers punctured the tires of 3 vehciles belonging to Hasan Ibrahim Hamayel (33) and Hussein ‘Atef Hamayel (30) from Kafr Malek village, northeast of Ramallah, and wrote racist slogans on them.

 

On the same day, a group of settlers from “Giv’at Asaf” settlement set fire to agricultural lands of Biteen and Burqah villages, east of Ramallah.  As a result, 35 olive trees, 5 Fig trees, and 2 grape vines were burnt.

 

On 18 June 2019, a group of settlers carried several attacks in Deirsita village, north of Salfit, as they punctured the tires of 18 vehciles and wrote hostile slogans that included threats to escalate their attacks against civilians on the walls of many houses in al-Khayousah and al-Njeimah neighborhoods, west of the abovementioned village.  Of those slogans was “People of Israel is Alive and Stones Equal Death.”

 

 

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 

Thursday, 13 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 00:30, Israeli forces moved into Bedia village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Abbas Mahmoud Ahmed Salamah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:40, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sha’ban Mahmoud ‘Ouweisi (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Mousa Zarinah (49) and then arrested his wife Lailah and his son Mousa (23). It should be noted that 3 days ago the Israeli forces demolished 4 barracks and a residential room belonging to Mohammed Zarinah in Beir ‘Ounah area in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem.

 

  • Around the same time, an Israeli force accompanied with several military vehicles moved into Hebron and stationed in al-Sheikh neighborhood. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Yazan Yusri Abu suneinah (30) and Ramadan Mohammed No’man Jaber (15).

 

  • At approximately 02:45, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at an agricultural land, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

 

  • At approximately 13:00, an Israeli force accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. The soldiers surrounded a house belonging to Mofeed Mousa Abdul Majid Shadid (33) and then demolished it. The Israeli forces arrested the abovementioned civilians and later withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a shop for car spare parts and then arrested Mohammed ‘Adel Mohammed ‘Enayah (30).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (9) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron; Surif, al-Hadab and Beit ‘Omrah villages in Hebron; ‘Atil, Deir al-Ghusouna, Zeta and Baqah al-Sharqiyah villages in Tulkarm, and ‘Azzoun village in Qalqiliyah.

 

Friday, 14 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 00:54, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at al-Mina site belonging to Palestinian armed groups, west of Khan Younis. Few minutes later, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the same site. As a result, the site sustained damage, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the shore, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hadab al-Fawar village and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Heborn; Bedia village in Salfit; Tulkarm, Noor Shams and Tulkarm refugee camps in  Tulkarm, ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyah and Ramallah.

 

Saturday, 15 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Suheib Abdul Hamid Abu Jarour (33) and then arrested him. They also confiscated NIS 1000 from the family, handing them a transcript of the confiscated money.

 

  • At approximately 05:40, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of the central Gaza Strip shores, chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within less than one nautical mile and forced them to leave the sea, but no injuries were reported. It should be noted that the Israeli forces have closed the sea and prevented fishermen from sailing freely since last Wednesday evening.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Samou’a, al-Thaheriyah, Yatta, and al-Majd villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 16 June 2019

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Mahmoud Nabil Taqatqah (18) and Mahmoud ‘Ali Taqatqah (18).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Lo’ai ‘Eid al-Razeq al-Tamimi (33) and Karim Saleh al-Tamimi (25) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 08:10, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Youni, fired live bullets at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (7) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Maithaloun village, southeast of Jenin; Qasrah village, southeast of Nablus; Hebron and al-Fawar refugee camp, west of the city; Juyous and ‘Azzoun villages, east of the city.

 

Monday, 17 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Amour neighborhood in Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 8 civilians and took them to an unknown destination.

(PCHR keeps the names of the arrestees)

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Belal Talal Abu Baker (22).

 

  • Around the same time, the Israeli forces moved into Deir Ghassanah village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Aysar Sharif al-Sha’ibi (21) and Karim Hatem al-Barghuthi (48).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forced moved into Northern ‘Asirah village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Diya’a Yaseen Abdul Fattah Jarar’ah (24).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested 3 civilians namely Ahmed Hamdan al-‘Alami (25), Warad Husein ‘Aadi (22) and Ahmed Karim Mohammed Ekhleil (18).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Amjad Ibrahim Hammad (35) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kafel Hares and Kafer al-Deek villages in Salfit and Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus.

 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019:

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and then withdrew from the village. However, no arrests were reported. Some of the houses’ owners were identified as Mahmoud ‘Eid ‘Awad, Mohammed Abdul ‘Aziz ‘Awad, Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Awad, Mohamed Hassan ‘Aadi and ‘Ali Mohammed Ekhleil.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Rema village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Mustafa ‘Asidah (28) and then arrested him. It should be mentioned that Mahmoud was a former prisoner in the Israeli jails where he served 3 years.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir, Bani Na’im, al-Thaheriyah and Beit al-Roush villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Halhoul, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-Nabi Younis area. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Asem ‘Emad al-Tawaihah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, an Israeli force accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron, and stationed in Roq’ah neighborhood. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Saif ‘Ayed Abu Fanous (26) and Ibrahim ‘Essa al-Shawahin (25) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Thaheriyah, al-Samou’a, Beit Marsam villages, and al-Fawar refugee camp in Hebron.

 

 

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip within the so-called “Great March of Return and Breaking Siege” and in the West Bank against the settlements, confiscation of lands, and Israeli crimes. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations on the 61st Friday, the border area witnessed large participation from Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstrations were fully peaceful. The incidents during the reporting period were as follows:

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • Northern Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at Palestinian demonstrations, which continued from 16:30 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 6 demonstrators, including 2 children. Three of them were hit with rubber bullets, and one was directly hit with a tear gas canister.

 

  • Gaza City: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 19 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children. Seven of them were hit with rubber bullets, and 7 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at the demonstrators resulted in the injury of 25 demonstrators, including 11 children. Fourteen of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, and 11 were hit with teargas canister and rubber bullets. Doctors classified the injury of a child, who was hit with a live bullet to the chest, as serious. Moreover, others suffered tear gas inhalation and received medical treatment on the spot.

 

  • Khan Younis: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at the demonstrations, which continued from 16:30 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 5 demonstrators, including a child, with directly-hit tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. Those directly wounded were transferred to Nasser, European and Algerian Hospitals, while the other wounded received medical treatment on the spot and in medical points.

 

  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at the demonstrations, which continued from 16:00 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 40 demonstrators, including 15 children and 4 paramedics. Three of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, and 37 were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded paramedics were identified as Sabreen Jaber Abdul Rahim Qeshtah (28), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the head; Mohammed Saleh Ahmed Sheikh al-‘Eid, who was hit with a rubber bullet to the left leg; Tawfiq Ibrahim Salman al-Mashwakhi (58), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the right shoulder; and Taiseer Abdul ‘Aziz Jom’ah al-‘Ajili (42), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the back. It should be noted that Sabreen and Mohammed work at the Pulse of Life Youth Team while Tawfiq and Taiseer work at the Palestinian Civil Defense.

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday afternoon, 14 June 2019, a group of Palestinians organized a peaceful demonstration which started from the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, and headed to the eastern village entrance, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of “Kedumim” settlement The demonstrators chanted national slogans demanding end of the occupation and protesting the Israeli forces’ crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. . The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms while the soldiers immediately fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, were hit with rubber bullets.

(PCHR keeps the names of those injured)

 

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

 

 

Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank. 

 Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(12-18 June 2019)

Category 12 June 13 June 14 June 15 June 16 June 17 June  18 June
Patients 119 54 5 128 104 116
Companions 103 46 2 114 90 102
Personal needs 22 17 4 19 14 23
Families of prisoners 17
Arabs fromIsrael 5 11 13 16 4 3
Diplomats 80 5
Meetings in Erez
International workers 30 39 17 14 32 31
TravelersAbroad 1 43 6 1 56
Business people+ BMC 471 441 1 800 527 455
Economic and agriculture    interviews
Security interviews 3 3 2 5
Death cases
Companions’ Deaths
Return to the West Bank
Christians’ Holidays
Conferences and Training courses 1
Permits’ renewal 1
VIPs 1 1
AmbulancesPatient 3 4 1 1 3 2
Ambulancescompanion 2 2 1 3 3

 

 

Following table illustrates temporary and permanent checkpoints and arrests at these checkpoints in the West Bank between 13 – 19 June 2019

 

Governorate Permanent temporary Temporary checkpoints Closed Roads Arrested persons
Jerusalem 13 6
Nablus 10 13 2
Jenin 5 7
Ramallah 11 8 4
Tulkarm 7 3 1
Tubas 2 3 1
Salfit 3 7 1 2
Qalqiliyia 5 5 4
Hebron 20 33 15
Bethlehem 11 5 2
Jericho 5 2
Al-Karama Crossing 1
Total 92 92 30 2

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces arrested 2 civilians near “Ariel” settlement, north of Salfit, namely Sajed Nawaf Souf (19) and Murad Ra’ed Souf (24), from Hares village, northwest of the city and released them later.

 

  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 01:50 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested 6 civilians identified as Mahmoud ‘Esam Shanti (15), Wadee’ Murad Suliman (13), Yaseen Mahmoud Manasrah (11), Jehad Fares Ghateet (17), Ameer Mohamed Salhiyah (17), and Salah Ayoub Abu al-Humus (15).

 

  • On the same day morning, Israeli police arrested Basem al-Halaq(61), Head of the Construction Department at the Islamic Endowments (Awqaf); Taha ‘Owidah (51), an engineer at the Department; and Mohamed al-Hadrah (37), an employee at the Department. All of them were arrested while present near al-Qataneen Gate, one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They were then taken to an investigation center in the city.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 16 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Mahmoud Hasan al-Shawish (18), Mahmoud Miswadah (20), and ‘Areen al-Za’aneen (24).

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces moved into al-Wad neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Khalil Ibrahim al-Tarahouni (32), Mohamed Khaled Sharifah (20) and ‘Obada Sameer Najeeb (21).

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Hizma village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Daher Sa’ied (32) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Khaled Abu al-Hawa (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • House Demolitions:

 

  • At approximately 21:00 on Monday, 18 June 2019, the two siblings Basel and Haten al-‘Abasi self-demolished their building in ‘Ain al-Louz village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to implement the Israeli Municipality decision under the pretext of non-licensing. Al-‘Abasi family clarified that the under-construction building was comprised of 2 floors, each one was around 170 square meters. The family added that last May they started to build it, but the Israeli Municipality issued a demolition order a week ago and did not give them time to license it. The family pointed out that the municipality order forced them to self-demolish the building or the municipality bulldozers will do so and the family will be forced to pay the demolition costs.

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 18 June 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building in Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, after ordering its owner to self-demolish parts of it a week ago. The building belonging to ‘Imran ‘Alqam was comprised of 2 floors, each of them included four 300-square-meter apartments. It should be noted that ‘Alqam started to self-demolish his building on Monday, 10 June 2019, along with his relatives to avoid paying the demolition costs. The Israeli Municipality staff headed to the area and ordered him to use a bulldozer while demolishing the building, but he refused for fear of causing damage to his neighbors’ houses and then stopped the demolition. As a result, the municipality decided to demolish the building. ‘Alqam said that he previously attempted to license the building, but the municipality refused under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall. It should be noted that the building is adjacent to “Bazat Ze’ev“ settlement, which is established on Beit Hunina village’s lands, and only settlers are allowed to build on it .

 

  • In the same context, on Thursday, 13 June 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Wadi al-Humus area in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and obstructing the Israeli soldiers’ work. Mohamed Abu Tair, Member of the Defense Committee in Wadi al-Humus, said that Wadi al-Humus case started when Israeli forces distributed collective demolition orders for 16 residential buildings upon the Israeli Military Commander decision, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall, between occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. The village residents decided to appeal the decision before the Israeli Supreme Court, but the court refused and upheld the Israeli Military Commander decision about demolishing all houses near the annexation wall and preventing Palestinians from using their lands located up to 250 meters away from the wall. Abu Tair clarified that the Israeli forces claimed that they want to vacate this area for security reasons and to help the Israeli soldiers pursuing Palestinians from the West Bank if the latter attempt to sneak into occupied Jerusalem. Abu Tair pointed out that the buildings are comprised of 120 residential apartments as 11 buildings are located in Area A, which is under the Palestinian Authority control, and 3 buildings are located in Area C while 2 buildings are located in Area B. He added that the area is marginalized by the municipality because it does not belong to it. Moreover, the Israeli forces prevent Palestinian civilians from the West Bank from entering the area, noting that this area is supposed to be within the Palestinian local governance. He added that around 100 families, comprising of 500 persons, were supposed to live in these buildings and some of these buildings are already inhabited while others are under construction. Furthermore, the residents of Wadi al-Humus neighborhood in Surbaher village organized a protest on Sunday, 17 June 2019, against the Israeli Supreme Court decision. During the protest, the residents established a tent near the houses threatened to be demolished before the Israeli forces moved into the area and forcibly dismantled it. Belal al-Kasawani, one of the residents affected by the decision, said that he attempted several times to license his house, but the Israeli court refused under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and “threaten the security of the State.” Al-Kasawani also added that he paid a lot of money to build his house and shelter his children and now they became homeless.

 

  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by 2 military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a truck moved into Faqiqis village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers cut and confiscated steels from a shop used for selling scrap and located on the roadsides, under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission from the Israeli competent authorities. The shop belongs to Omar Ahmed al-Atrash (30).
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a digger, and a bulldozer moved into Kherbit al-Halawa in al-Masafer area southeast of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles started to demolish three 40-sqaure-meter houses built of bricks and tin plates. Those houses were donated by GVC. As a result, 21 civilians, including 13 children, became homeless. The houses were demolished under the pretext of non-licensing. The demolished houses belong to:

 

  1. Mohamed ‘Ali Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 12 persons, including 6 children.
  2. Mohamed Ahmed Isma’il Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 4 persons, including 2 children.
  3. Yaser Khalil Yunis Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 5 persons, including 3 children.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a digger, and a bulldozer moved into Kherbit al-Dabi’, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles demolished two 40-sqaure-meter residential rooms built of bricks and tin plates. The rooms belong to Mohamed ‘Ali Mohamed Dababsah, whose family is comprised of 12 persons, including 7 children. It should be noted that the Israeli Civil Administration officers confiscated solar panels that supply the rooms with electricity.

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Monday, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a mounted-crane truck and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They then stationed in Beit Za’tah area, adjacent to Bypass Road (60). The Israeli forces dismantled iron arches for a plant nursery built on an area of 300 square meters and then confiscated them. The nursery belongs to Mahdi Mujahed Jameel Museef (31), from Beit Ummer village. The Israeli forces handed him a 30-day transcript of the confiscated arches in case he wants to take back the iron arches. The demolition and confiscation came under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission. It should be noted that Mahdi started to build his plant nursery in October 2018 and then he received a notice to stop construction works.

 

  • At approximately 09:30 on Wednesday, 19 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a bulldozer moved into al-Karama crossing area, east of Jericho. The Israeli bulldozer demolished an under-construction 240-sqaure-meter house belonging to Shadi Ibrahim Sanaqrat, from occupied Jerusalem. The house was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing and being in area classified as Area C.

 

  • Settlers’ aatcks against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • Israeli settlers’ attacks:

 

  • On Thursday morning, 13 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement established in the southeastern side of Ainabous village, southeast of Nablus, attacked the center of the village and wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the walls of the Old Mosque (Mosque of the Forty Martyrs), the village clinic and a house belonging to Tariq Al-Sulwadi. After that, the village residents saw the settlers and made them leave the village.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers severely beat Mohammed Yehia Al-Tamimi (42), from Deir Nitham, north west of Ramallah, with a stick while he was in an agricultural area belonging to him near “Helmish” settlement, which is established along the borders of the abovementioned area, northwest of the city. Mohammed said that he was surprisingly attacked by two settlers, who severely beat him along with his son Rami (15), noting that Rami suffers an “Impaired mobility”. As a result, Mohamed and his son sustained bruises throughout their bodies, and Rami was taken to nearby Bait Rima emergency center to receive medical treatment.

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 14 June 2019, for the second day in a row and in light of Israeli tight measures, dozens of Israeli settlers moved into Solomon’s Pools area, south of Bethlehem, under the Israeli forces’ protection. Eyewitnesses said that about 100 Israeli settlers, raided Solomon’s Pools area and a high hill overlooking the Qirtas village, which is classified within Area (A). Eyewitnesses said that the armed settlers accompanied with their sniffer dogs wandered in the pools and nearby forests and then bathed in the pools, claiming that it is a holy area for Jews. The eyewitnesses said that the settlers, who moved into the area, were youngsters aged between 16 to 17 years old. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities always bring them to this area before they join the conscription to incite settlers and tell them that this area is for Jews and they must preserve it. The settlers move into this area from time to time under the Israeli forces’ protection. It should be noted that Solomon’s Pools are under the full control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) because it is located in Area (A).

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 16 June 2019, a group of settlers, from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost established in Tal Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron, attacked members of Abu Aysha Family while they were building a cement wall around their house. It should be noted that the family got an approval from the Israeli Civil Administration to build the wall. The Israeli forces were in the area and did not disperse the settlers, who destroyed the wood fixed in around the house as a prelude to pour the concrete in them. It should be noted that this is the second time that the settlers attacked Abu Aysha family while building the abovementioned wall.

 

  • On Monday morning, 17 June 2019, a group of settlers punctured the tiers of 4 vehicles belonging to Hassan Ibrahim Hamayel (33) and Hussain ‘Atef Hamayel (30) in Kafr Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They then wrote racist slogans on the vehicles. Hussain ‘Atef said that they were surprised with the Israeli moving into the village and attacking around 4 vehicles parked in front of their owners’ houses. He added that the settlers wrote racist slogans on the vehicles.
  • On Monday, 17 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Givat Asaf “ settlement, set fire to agricultural lands belonging to Beteen and Barqah villages, east of Ramallah. As a result, around 35 olive trees, 5 fig trees and 2 grape vines were burnt. The agricultural lands belong to Esam Darwish (40) and Bahjat Darwish (44).

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 18 June 2019, a group of settlers attacked Dirsitiyia village, north of Salfit, where they punctured 18 vehicle’s tiers and wrote racist slogans on the houses’ walls in the “Khayousa” and “Njaima” neighborhoods, west of the abovementioned village. PCHR keeps the names of the vehicles’ owners.

 

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………

Public Document

For further information please visit our website www.pchrgaza.org or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email pchr@pchrgaza.org or telephone +972 08 282 4776 – 282 5893.

I am on trial in Germany for peacefully protesting Israeli apartheid

BDS activist Majed Abusalama shares a court statement he delivered after being tried for protesting an Israeli MK’s talk in Berlin

'It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community' (AFP)

‘It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community’ (AFP)

I am in the midst of a nightmare because I dared to call for equality, justice, freedom and dignity for Palestinians. My activism in Germany as part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has landed me before the court.

Last month, charges were levied against me and my two Jewish comrades, Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai. Together, we are known as the #humboldt3, because we peacefully protested a talk at Humboldt University in Berlin by Knesset member Aliza Lavie, who supported Israel’s 2014 war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

I have been deeply touched by the international support we have received throughout this ordeal. However, we still need all human rights defenders and friends of Palestine to stand with us, since we are going through a re-trial following Israeli pressure to convict us.

Many have told me that I will overcome – but what they might not know is that as a three-decade survivor of the Israeli occupation, the experience of violence, oppression and collective punishment has taught me to keep fighting for life.

In the courtroom, sitting as a criminal, I gave the following statement.

Shared humanity

I am standing here on trial as a criminal defendant, along with my comrades, as a result of us daring to speak up publicly against Israel’s crimes against humanity in my beloved Palestine. It came out of my responsibility as a humanist, and as a Palestinian, to respond to Aliza Lavie, who was in the coalition that decided to slaughter, displace, bombard, torture, imprison and obliterate my beloved people in 2014.

It was my moral duty to call her out for her crimes against humanity. Throughout the event, I was silent, only listening in pain as Lavie spoke. I saw her speaking with joy about her so-called democratic country – but in reality, she was rejoicing at the blood of my people, without any shame.

There was one image that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart: that of my friends who lost their limbs while protesting peacefully

There was one image that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart: that of my friends who lost their limbs while protesting peacefully for justice and freedom inside the Gaza ghetto.

I thought of all my family and friends living a brutal, horrific life under Israeli apartheid, imprisoned and illegally collectively punished.

I saw tens of thousands of homes destroyed in Israeli massacres. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been rendered homeless as a result of the 2014 Gaza massacre and other Israeli onslaughts.

Your honour, if you were in my place – and you will not be, because you will never understand the feeling of waiting for a bomb to fall on your family’s or your neighbour’s home – you would understand how hard it is to live in this continuous horror.

Collective duty

I was shot in the leg with a live bullet while protesting peacefully – planting olive trees – at the Gaza fence in 2014. Lavie, who has been in the Knesset since 2013, is among those who bear responsibility for the bullet that disabled me for months, and damaged me for a lifetime.

Our actions at Humboldt University should be honoured, as it is the moral duty of every humanist to speak up against criminals, especially those complicit in crimes against humanity. As activists for human rights, this is our collective duty – not only in Israel, but also in Europe and specifically Germany, where we live.

We, human rights advocates, think it is our duty collectively to confront any criminal, not only in Israel, but also in Europe.

Gaza’s Great Return March: How Palestinians are reclaiming their land

Read More »

We, the Palestinians and Jews who escaped apartheid in Israel, are here in Germany to fulfill our civil and moral duty to fight for transnational solidarity, equality and justice – to rally all communities together around our shared humanity.

I came to live in Germany as a citizen of this world, hoping that I would no longer suffer under the confinement of Israeli apartheid. But I have discovered that Israeli apartheid is spreading to Germany.

Fear of speaking out

The thousands of Muslims and Palestinians in Germany do not feel safe to speak up. They feel they could be persecuted at any time, simply for shouting “Free Palestine” or dreaming to return freely to their homes, in accordance with the UN-mandated right of return. They fear persecution for calling for equality, dignity, freedom and justice in Gaza.

It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community

Your honour, for days, I was unable to sleep after encountering the fabrication of us being criminals for speaking up against Israeli apartheid. Yet I realise it is my duty as a future citizen of this country to change the discourse in Germany around Israel’s crimes.

It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community and for the implementation of international law in our land – and for our freedom to express ourselves and to protest in Germany.

I am standing in front of you today to demand justice, not only for myself and my comrades, but for all those pursuing justice and equality in Germany and Palestine.

The above statement has been edited for length and clarity.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Majed Abusalama
Majed Abusalama is a human rights defender, scholar and independent journalist who hails from Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza. He has been worked with International and Palestinian non-profit organisations on the intersections of sustainability, reforming aid, entrepreneurship, and organic conflict transformation. He tweets@MajedAbusalama.

Norman Finkelstein: Israel is An Apartheid State, Netanyahu is an Obnoxious, Racist, Jewish Supremacist

Norman Finkelstein Interview, March 20, 2019.
Transcript:
Jimmy Dore: Hi everybody! Welcome to the Jimmy Dore Show.
We have a special guest today. Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, Professor and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and received his PhD in Political Science from Princeton University.

Welcome, Norman Finkelstein. Thanks for being our guest.

Norman Finkelstein: Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Dore: You know, you’re an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I just wanted to… You know, most people don’t really know the cause of the conflict, they just know that there is a conflict and that the United States is friendly to Israel because they’re a democracy and they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, as people like to say.

So how would you explain this conflict to people who don’t really know much about it, which is most of the people in the United States, and they certainly don’t know much about it if they watch the TV news. So I don’t think your average person knows anything really about it. So how do you inform people about that conflict, well, how it started and what it’s about?

Norman Finkelstein: I think the most effective way to inform people is by way of analogy. Effectively, what happened to the Palestinian people over the past century is pretty close to what happened to the Native American population in the United States. If you take for example the fate of the Cherokee Indians, who originally resided in the Eastern coast of the United States, and they were gradually pushed, pushed, pushed, until they were ended up in Arkansas. And then they were pushed into a portion of Arkansas, which then, once all White settlers crowded in that portion, became Oklahoma. And so the Cherokee were effectively the victims of a policy of expulsion, “transfer” as you want to call it in the Israeli vernacular. And basically there are obviously differences, and one doesn’t want to pretend as if there are no differences, but to look at the big picture, the big picture I would say, it is not fundamentally different than what happened to the Native population in the US.

Jimmy Dore: Wow! I’ve never heard it described that way before. And you know, ironically, you know, most Americans aren’t too aware of how horrible that’s a chapter in our history either. So the United States gives aid and billions of dollars in funding to Israel every year, and people say that Israel is running an Apartheid State, and that Gaza is an open-air prison. Now are those two things true, and how could that be? How could that be if we’re supporting them?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, I think both are true. Israel both benefits from two facts. Number one: they benefit in the fact that there’s a convergence of interests between US ruling elites and Israel on many basic occasions. So for example, right now, there’s a convergence of interests between the US and Israel in strengthening Saudi Arabia, strengthening the Gulf and trying to contain Iran. That’s a fundamental convergence of interests, and that in part, probably in the most significant part, it explains US support for Israel.

But there is also another factor, and one shouldn’t pretend as if that other factor doesn’t exist, which is to say there’s a very powerful Israel lobby operating in the United States, not unlike the Gun lobby, the Cuba lobby, etc. The Israel lobby is another lobby, very effective, probably one of the most, if not the most effective lobbies operating in Washington. And its core component is a very powerful, articulate and organized American Jewish community, though even there you have to enter qualifications because among younger Jews, there’s certainly a diminishing of support for Israel. But the big picture is, both because of a convergence of interests and because of a powerful, articulate, organized, strategically placed lobby, a lobby that has a lot of influence in the media, a lot of influence in publishing, a lot of influence in journals of opinion, a lot of influence on Hollywood, that lobby has been a major factor in determining aspects of US policy towards Israel.

Now on the second point, I don’t really think it’s any longer controversial whether or not Israel is an Apartheid state. I don’t say this as a polemicist, I’m trying to be objective and dispassionate about the situation. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, now, you could say there are roughly about 12 or 13 million people, roughly. Now that includes the West Bank, it includes East Jerusalem, it includes Gaza. And Israel has controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, it’s controlled it now for more than a half-century. And the Israeli government has made clear it has no intention whatsoever of returning to the borders from the June 1967 war, that is pre-controlling West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So we can’t any longer talk about an occupation, we have to be talking about an annexation. The territories have been de facto annexed. After a half-century, that seems to me to be the reasonable conclusion, there has been a de facto annexation.

So of all that population that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, roughly, roughly speaking, about half has either second-class status or overwhelmingly no rights whatsoever within the State: no voting rights, and then from there down they don’t even have rights to property, property can be confiscated overnight and at whim, with the support of the  [Israeli] Courts. So it seems to me, again trying to be rational, trying to be objective and trying to be dispassionate, there’s no other term to describe a situation in which close to half the population, close to half the population either has second-class rights (that would be within Israel proper), or no rights whatsoever (which would be the West Bank and Gaza). That’s an Apartheid situation.

But again that shouldn’t shock us. You have to remember, I don’t know how old you are, but I have a vivid recollection during the last days of the [South African] Apartheid, Ronald Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, as did Margaret Thatcher. They were calling till the very end, you’re recalling, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the African National Congress, a terrorist organization. So if our government was until the very end, the end of Apartheid, if our government was supporting South Africa, because it’s sort of a bastion of Western-called, you know, Western civilization, whatever you want to call it, in Africa, so for the same reason, they support Israel in the Middle East.

Jimmy Dore: So you think it’s without… Because I you know you say it’s without question that Israel is an Apartheid State, which I agree with. But there are people who question it, people very loudly push back against that and they quote the numbers of Palestinians… Well they say there’s an Arab political party, that’s the third largest party in Israel, and all day they quote numbers of Palestinians who are allowed to vote… What do you say to those arguments?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the questions, because there’s no effective, no more effective way to have a discussion. And if someone of us has to play the devil’s advocate, in this case it should be you.

First of all, I tried to be clear, I said there’s a gradation of rights in the case of Israel. The Palestinians have second-class rights. Israel has now officially declared that it declared Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people. So I for example am Jewish, and if the United States were declared the Nation-State of the Christian people, I would certainly experience that declaration, especially once it becomes enacted in laws, I would certainly experience that as me being a second-class citizen, that is to say I don’t belong here. It’s the State of the Christian people, it’s not my State.

But having said that, let’s keep in mind that it’s not only one component of the Palestinian population that’s under Israeli control or has been effectively annexed by Israel. The West Bank, people in the West Bank, they don’t vote in Israeli elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Knesset. The people in Gaza, they don’t vote in Israeli  elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Israeli Knesset. So far, the vast, the vast preponderance of Palestinians currently annexed to the Israeli State, they have no rights whatsoever.

Jimmy Dore: Okay, alright.

Norman Finkelstein: The only way you can get around that is by saying that well, there’s a peace process. But the Israeli government has already made clear, you’d have to be blinder than King Lear not to see that the Israeli government has said we’re not returning to the old Wars [pre-67 borders]. Once you’ve made that Statement, it’s a Declaration of annexation, and if it’s annexation, then you have to accept that when deciding whether or not Israel is an Apartheid State. It can’t be limited to Israel and its pre-67 border: it’s the whole area, including the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including Gaza.

Jimmy Dore: You know, I’ve heard people say that the majority of the Jewish people don’t support the policy of the Israeli government when it comes to Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. How could that be? And can you speak about the Likud party, which is like the extremist party, a right-wing party in Israel: what would you say is the percentage of support they actually have in the population inside of Israel and out?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, we should be clear that number one, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he’s been the head of State now for about a decade, and he’s gone through many elections. And even though he’s surrounded by what scandal after another, none of these scandals have actually made a big dent in his popularity. And the reason for that, I think, is pretty straightforward, it’s pretty uncontroversial at any rate in my opinion. That is to say Benjamin Netanyahu is an obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist. And on all of those descriptives: obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist, he’s wholly representative of the Israeli population. And the reason they keep reelecting him despite the scandals, which are always said to be imminently going to bring him down, despite the scandals that never bring him down, it’s because when they look at Benjamin Netanyahu, most of the Israeli population, they see themselves. And they vote for him because in his mental outlook, I wouldn’t really call it values because I don’t think people like Mr. Netanyahu have any values per se, but in terms of mental outlook, contempt for Arabs, contempt for Muslims… Actually, with all due respect to you, Mr. Dore, and to all your listeners, unless they’re Jewish, he has contempt for all of you. These are Jewish supremacists.

But he also happens to be in a separate category a racist, and now even though I don’t like to use the terminology, because it’s too simple and too sloganeering, it happens to be, I think, in these particular circumstances, it’s illuminating. Why do Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump get along so well? Why is Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the world? Well, the answer is simple: they both like walls. Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, Mr. Netanyahu wants to build a wall to keep out Arabs.

They both hate Black people. Mr. Netanyahu, when President Obama, the Head of State in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu, he didn’t see it at all amiss, he didn’t see it at all awry for him to come barging in the United States, barging into the Capitol building and instructing, telling Obama what American policy should be towards Iran. I dare say, and of course you’re free to contradict me, it’s inconceivable, it’s inconceivable, had there been a White Head of State, had it been George Bush or even a Jimmy Carter, had it been even a Jimmy Carter, Mr. Netanyahu would not have dared carry on the way he did with Obama. He’s a racist.

And just like Mr. Trump the racist loathes Muslims, so Mr. Netanyahu loathes Black people, which is why he made it a part of his policy to expel the Arab migrants [from Erythrea, Soudan…], about 30,000, who were fleeing a war situation, fleeing very serious, life challenging situations, and came as refugees to Israel. And he ruled it because you have to remember, Mr. Netanyahu he grew up, a large part of his life was spent in the United States. His father was a professor at Cornell University, and they hated Black people, the Schwartzs, the Schwartzs as it’s called, the Black people, they loathe them. And so now, for Mr. Netanyahu to have to face the prospect that the Schwartzs are invading Israel [is unbearable], so they have to go.

And so it’s that same mindset. It’s not values, it’s a mindset. You can choose what descriptive you want for that mindset: some people would say it’s a Nazi mindset, some people would say it’s a fascist mindset, some people would call it a right-wing racist White supremacist mindset, whatever you want to call it. And they have it, and that’s these ruling people.

It’s a sorry thing to have to say, but I’m not one of those people who in the name of political correctness recoil at generalizations. If you could say most White people in the American South, in the pre-Civil Rights era, if you could say most of them were mean, White racist supremacists, very few people would take issue with that quote-unquote “generalization”. But the moment you use exactly those same terms to describe Israel or Israelis, it suddenly becomes politically incorrect. I disagree. If you want to understand the Israeli mentality, these are the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, it’s very easy for an American to understand: just look at Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern States in the pre-Civil Rights era. That’s the mentality. That’s the Israeli mentality. And Mr. Netanyahu, in his mindset, he’s not very much different from a George Wallace or a Lester Maddox, with those who remember that era.

Jimmy Dore: So let me ask you: the Jewish people or the people of Israel, do they not see the tremendous irony that’s actually being played out right now, that the Israeli State was invented as a safe haven for the Jewish people because they’ve been persecuted, and now they turn around, and for the last couple of decades they’ve been doing the exact same thing or a very horrible thing, not the exact same thing, but a very similar thing to the Palestinian people, you know, making them be second-class citizens, stripping them of rights, controlling their movements in and out of wherever they go, and also having economic blockades and medical blockades… And you know, like we’ve said, it’s an open-air prison. Do they really miss the irony of that? Do they not see that?

Norman Finkelstein: Yes, I do think they don’t see it. I do think they miss the irony. First of all, remember that a large portion of Europeans who came to the United States, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, they were fleeing religious persecution. And then they proceeded to inflict a really quite grotesque crimes on the indigenous population when they came here. The fact of the matter is just as the European settlers, White settlers who came here, the Euro-Americans, they couldn’t conceive the domestic population, the indigenous population, they couldn’t conceive them as being human beings of the same order as themselves. They were savages. And in the same way, the Israeli people can’t conceive Arabs or Muslims as being on the same moral order as themselves. They’re terrorists or they’re savages. So I think it’s correct to say that they don’t see anything awry in the way they’re carrying on.

In fact, if you read most of the testimonies of Israelis on the situation there, most Israelis haven’t the slightest of interest in what goes on in the West Bank and Gaza. They live very good lives, they have a very high standard of living, they travel a lot, but for them, the West Bank and Gaza are far-off distant, almost exotic places for Israelis. I know that might come as a surprise, but remember, for example, when I was growing up living in New York City, it’s a compact city as I suppose you know, 99% of White New Yorkers talked about Harlem, were terrified of Harlem, but had never stepped foot in Harlem. They had never seen it, let alone physically placed themselves there. And there was a funny thing back then, when Europeans came over, visitors, you know, young people, you’d ask them where do you live, and they would all say “Harlem, of course”, [Laughter], yeah, because Harlem was exciting, you know, it was clubs, it was jazz… But for White New Yorkers, Harlem was some sight of terror. “Harlem?! You live in Harlem?! Oh my God!”

And I remember when I first went over to the Occupied Territories in 1988, I lived with some families in the West Bank, and when I told Israelis “You know, I went to the West Bank”, they’d say “You went to the West Bank?!” I mean their eyes buldged.  It’s a foreign place to them.

Jimmy Dore: That’s a fascinating… I mean it’s amazing these analogies you’re making, they’re very helpful actually.

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Outlaws openly running in israel’s (apartheid state) election

OUTLAWS OPENLY RUNNING IN ISRAEL’S ELECTION

Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who heads Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and could return to Knesset thanks to a Netanyahu-blessed union with Jewish Home, has ties to non-governmental organizations linked to Meir Kahane’s Kach Movement, outlawed in Israel and on US Treasury and State Department blacklists; to make matters worse, some of these NGOs get their funding from US Jews.

The Otzma Yehudit Party, including (L-R): Itamar Ben-Gvir, Michael Ben-Ari, Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel (Photo: Avi Mualem)

The tangled web of Israel’s extreme right, American Jewry and the US terror blacklist

Yehuda Shohat

There were quite a few smiles in the Jewish Home party, the most moderate of the right-wing religious-Zionist factions, after most of its members voted in favor of teaming up with Ozma Yehudit (Jewish Power) in the upcoming April 9 elections. And thus in an almost off-hand manner, these politicians de facto joined forces with former members of Kach—a racist movement outlawed in Israel and featured on the list of terror organizations at both the US State Department and the US Treasury.

US Jews were quick to express their shock and outrage over the union and the involvement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who put a lot of pressure on both sides and even made concessions of his own to make it happen.

Over the weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued harsh condemnation of the move, perhaps unaware that some of the funding for the organizations that succeeded Kach — with former members now directly linked to Otzma Yehudit —comes from US Jews, seemingly in violation of American anti-terror laws.

The Kach Movement, which was established by Rabbi Meir Kahane, and its younger sister organization Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives), which was founded after Kahane’s murder, were both outlawed in Israel following a terror attack carried out by Kach member Baruch Goldstein exactly 25 years ago, when he murdered 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

But since then, members of Kach have continued operating in different NGOs and organizations, in seemingly legitimate ways, and recently also returned to the political field in the form of Otzma Yehudit.

One of the key players in this story is Ben-Zion “Benzi” Gopstein, the head of the anti-assimilation Lehava organization (which is not a registered organization). Behind Lehava hides a network of other organizations, in which Gopstein allegedly has or had direct involvement.

Under Gopstein’s leadership, Lahava leads a racist and inciting line against Israeli minorities. Four years ago, when he was serving as defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon considered declaring Lehava a terror organization. In November 2017, the State Prosecutor’s Office recommended charging Gopstein with incitement, and the case is now awaiting a decision by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The first organization with which Gopstein’s name is linked is “Hemla” (Compassion)—an NGO that purports to aid young women from broken homes who are “at risk of assimilation,” a euphemism for marrying Arab men. Shortly after Gopstein became involved with the organization, it started receiving a regular budget of hundreds of thousands of shekels from the Welfare Ministry, which the NGO uses to operate a hostel in Jerusalem for “at-risk” women and teenage girls.

A 2014 investigative report already found many connections between Hemla and former Kahane activists. For example, Baruch Ben-Yosef, who founded an association seeking to remove Kach from the terror organizations list, received funding from Hemla. A member of Hemla’s committee, Elyakim Neiman, also serves as the chairman of Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, a Jerusalem seminary founded by Meir Kahane that is still considered a terror organization by the United States. Neiman is also among the founders of The Fund to Save the People of Israel, and when we sought to donate to Lehava, we were directed by Gopstein himself to The Fund to Save the People of Israel.

Gopstein was a paid employee of Hemla, working as a “lead PR in Israel”; he was also an authorized signatory at the NGO, alongside Elyakim Neiman. According to the NGO’s records, Gopstein was fired (although he says he quit), but it was nevertheless decided to “continue employing him for his assistance in raising funds for a probationary period,” which has since ended.

Who funds Hemla? Other than the Welfare Ministry, which in 2016 transferred over NIS 1 million to the NGO, we were able to uncover several other financers, such as the estate of the late Miriam Orin, the Love of Israel Fund, the “Your People’s Poor Fund,” and the Central Fund of Israel—an American fund headed by Jay Marcus.

The Central Fund of Israel, which doesn’t make its list of beneficiaries public, donated almost NIS 100,000 to Hemla in 2015, and tens of thousands of shekels in 2014. Many of the Americans who donated to the fund—both directly and indirectly—don’t know where the money eventually goes.

Another American organization that gives money to Hemla is the Traditional Fund, which also donates to a variety of right-wing organizations in Israel.

The Jewish idea

The second organization in the massive network is Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi (the Jewish Idea Yeshiva), which is listed as an NGO and was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1987 to spread his teachings. In addition to Kahane himself, other founders include Moshe Neiman, Michael Ben-Ari, Tiran Pollack, Gad Struman, Yekutiel (Mike) Ben-Yaakov and Baruch Marzel. The president of the yeshiva is Yehuda Kroizer and the CEO is Elyakim Neiman.

According to records from June 2018, Ben-Ari was a member of the audit committee of the NGO, which to this day remains on the US terror organizations list. In other words, it is illegal to donate to the organization, and Michael Ben-Ari, who could become a member of Israel’s parliament, is allegedly a member of an NGO on the US terror list.

From 2002 to 2005, the NGO reported the grants it gave out, with one of the main beneficiaries being Benzi Gopstein, whose wife Anat was a paid employee of the organization. In 2002, Gopstein got NIS 24,000 from the NGO, in 2004 the sum went up to NIS 26,000 and in 2005 it went back to NIS 24,000.

According to official records, Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi is funded by different American donors, among them two US organizations. The first is Charity of Light, a tax-exempt NGO that was first registered in New Jersey in 2001. Five years later, it became the Charity of Light – Hemla Fund. At the time, the NGO’s chairman was Levi Hazan, a known Kahanist who was sentenced to prison for his part in a 1984 shooting of a bus north of Ramallah, which left six Palestinians wounded.

The very same Hazan also appeared in the Israeli NGO Hemla’s records as a PR employee working abroad. Among the donors who gave money to this charity over the years is the Charitable Foundation of the IDT Corporation, an American telecommunications company founded by known Likud and Netanyahu donor Howard Jonas.

The second US donor organization is the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRaayon, an NGO registered in 1991 in Skokie, Illinois, which raises funds for Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, despite the fact that the latter is on the US terror list. A possible loophole allowing donations is the NGO’s use of the yeshiva’s Hebrew name, rather than the English translation that appears in the US terror lists.

As of 2015, Levi Hazan was this NGO’s director as well. According to the NGO’s records, from 2011 the organization donated to Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi sums ranging between $44,000 and $136,000 every year. This too is seemingly a criminal offense violating three different prohibitions on funding for terror organizations.

“There are different definitions within the State Department’s list of terror organizations,” says David Saperstein, a former senior State Department official. “The leaders of the organizations on the list are subject to all of the limitations of the law. Donors to these organizations are breaking the law and are subject to criminal sanctions, even if they don’t know where the money they donated went to.”

‘Price tag’ situation room

The next organization is Chasdei Meir, which is headed by Gopstein himself, according to different reports. Our investigation found no evidence the organization is registered in Israel, only in the United States. When we called the phone number the organization lists for donations, the woman who answered the phone gave us the bank account number and PO box belonging to the NGO “Hemla – Aid for the Needy.” Later, we learned we could also donate to the organization through Hemla’s donations center.

This isn’t a trivial matter. Unlike Hemla, which seemingly only aids needy women, Chasdei Meir is an organization that aids “residents of the hilltops.” According to past reports, Chasdei Meir was part of the “price tag” vandalism situation room, which was established in 2011 to avenge the demolition of structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad. The organization’s activity includes fundraising for the Hilltop Youth organization of extremist settlers, as well as planting trees near settlements and hills in the West Bank.

In 2010, Gopstein himself was quoted by Haaretz, saying “We have a group called the Chasdei Meir Charity Fund, which helps the outposts.” In a video Gopstein posted online in the past, he called for donations for Chasdei Meir to benefit activities in the West Bank.

The Chasdei Meir website was registered by Levi Hazan, and an examination of the organization’s funding sources found it raises tax-exempt funds in the US through Charity of Light. Conversely, the PO box and fax number on Chasdei Meir’s website belong to the HaRaayon HaYehudi NGO. An older version of the site included an address in the US, which is the same as the address listed for HaRaayon HaYehudi and Charity of Light.

The next NGO, The Fund to Save the People of Israel, was registered in 2011. Its declared objectives include the “fight against the phenomenon of assimilation; activity to benefit the victims of infiltrators and illegal migrant workers; activity and humanitarian aid; strengthening the settlement enterprise and the hold on the Land of Israel; legal assistance.”

The NGO’s founders are Elyakim Neiman, Yaron Adler, Israel Diskind, Ayala Ben-Gvir (Itamar Ben-Gvir’s wife), Benzi Gopstein, Levi Hazan and Matilda Harutz. According to its general assembly’s records from May 2018, Gopstein is an authorized signatory in the organization and is defined as the “NGO’s operator,” grossing NIS 66,764 annually.

The NGO’s email address is the same one that appeared in Chasdei Meir’s website—Gopstein’s personal email. One of the fund’s audit committee members was Yitzhak Gabbai, who was convicted and imprisoned for three years for his part in the arson attack at the Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.

As of 2016, the NGO’s incoming donations stood at some NIS 260,000 a year; among its donors over the years we found the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu Party (a far-right religious party founded by Baruch Marzel and Shalom Dov Wolpo), as well as the Segal Foundation for Israel, which was criticized by Israel’s Registrar of Associations for failing to do anything to reach its objectives.

‘Our fight is legal’

“Since the Kach Movement was outlawed, Kahane’s ideological successors have developed new systems to operate and get funding,” says Ran Cohen, one of the founders of the Democratic Bloc organization. “If they previously relied on political mechanisms, today they are using a network of NGOs that pose as charity and social organizations. In reality, they raise funds—both in Israel and abroad—to continue to incite and undermine the foundations of democracy. Money transferred from the state to such organizations is only one example of the way the government whitewashes Kahanism. The biggest example recently was the fact Netanyahu worked to ensure Gopstein and Marzel’s (Otzma Yehudit) party, which has Kahanist characteristics, gets into the Knesset.”

Benzi Gopstein offered the following response to the report: “These are lies. The goal of this report is to once again try to bring down the right-wing rule and prevent Otzma Yehudit from getting into the next Knesset. This won’t help; I will continue with the legal fight against assimilation in the Holy Land.”

Michael Ben-Ari offered the following response: “This is a collection of fabrications that have already been published and disproven years ago. But when the goal is to bring down the right-wing rule, journalistic ethics are being trampled.”

In an interesting coincidence, when we turned to the Hemla NGO for a response, we were directed to the Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi call center.

Later, Hemla offered the following response: “For nearly 20 years, the NGO has been operating a hostel for at-risk Haredi teenage girls, who went through serious abuse (and you should know all about this topic), and with God’s help we are able to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society. The NGO deals with the social and rehabilitative field and has no ties to any political body.

“Benzi Gopstein finished working for the NGO in October 2014, and since then there have been no ties between him and Hemla – Aid for the Needy. Anat Gopstein finished working for the NGO in April 2015, and since then there have been no ties between her and the NGO. Unfortunately, the media has already slammed the holy work our dedicated staff does at the hostel several times, and we demand an end to dealing with this matter, which has been behind us for many years.”

The Welfare Ministry offered the following response: “Hemla won a tender to operate a hostel for at-risk teenage girls from the Haredi sector, who are directed to social services in local authorities. The funding given to the NGO is for the operation of the hostel only.”

Mairav Zonszein contributed to this story.

Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ israeli (apartheid state) regime

Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ Israel

Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Tehran has condemned Israel’s recent move to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on Muslim countries and the international community to take “immediate” action and stop the “racist” regime.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday said Israel’s actions are a violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site to Muslims.

“The process of the massacre and ethnic-religious cleansing (of Palestinians) in al-Quds has been underway incessantly and in a systematic way since the occupation of Palestine (in 1948),” he added.

Qassemi further censured the “deadly silence” of the regional states in the face of such violations of Palestine’s historic and Islamic sites, calling on the international community, the UN in particular, to take “immediate” actions and stop the “racist” regime.

He hailed the Palestinian people’s resistance against the Israeli regime.

On Monday, Israeli soldiers placed locks and metal chains on the al-Rahma gate of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from entering the site, while several were arrested inside the holy site.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan news agency that 10 Palestinians sustained injuries on Tuesday evening after Israeli troops assaulted them at Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy).

Qassemi also took a swipe at certain regional states for participating in a recent US-organized Warsaw conference, noting that their participation and attempts to normalize ties with Israel have emboldened the occupying regime to commit such acts of aggression and violations.

The international gathering took place in the Polish capital from February 13 to 14.

The Palestinians, who boycotted the conference, strongly denounced the summit and the participation of Arab ministers.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wrote in a column published by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that the Warsaw conference lacked credibility as aimed to “normalize” the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

“By fully siding with the Israeli government, (the Americans) have tried to normalize the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination,” he said.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, called it “an attempt to bypass” the Arab Peace Initiative

israel (apartheid state) steps up attacks on Palestinian schools

Israel Steps Up Attacks on Palestinian Schools

Maureen Clare Murphy

Israeli forces shutter a school in the West Bank city of Nablus in October 2018.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

When Israeli occupation forces shot three secondary school students, critically injuring two of them, last week, it was hardly an isolated incident.

The students were injured after soldiers raided Tuqu village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, surrounding a high school. The military fired tear gas and live ammunition after being confronted by youths.

The frequency of such violence in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank has increased during the current academic year.

“Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli forces” include “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions,” according to a statement by United Nations officials.

The bulk of the 111 “interferences to education” in the West Bank documented by the UN in 2018 took place in the last four months of the year.

“More than half of the verified incidents involved live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades fired into or near schools by Israeli forces, impacting the delivery of education or injuring students,” according to the UN officials.

Israeli forces demolished or seized five Palestinian schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, last year, and 50 more are under threat of demolition.

“Orief secondary school for boys near Nablus has also been forced closed twice due to settler violence, and children from this school have been hospitalized with multiple injuries, including from gunshots,” the UN officials add.

Regular violence in Hebron

In the H2 area of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to hostile Israeli settlers, “tear gas is regularly used around schools, and new measures are being applied at checkpoints that expose students and teachers to violence – at one particularly affected H2 school, more than 20 such incidents were documented in 2018.”

Video published by the human rights group B’Tselem shows heavily armed Israeli Border Police forces apprehending students in Hebron’s city center as they were leaving school in December:

Two of the students detained by the Israeli officers were under the age of 12.

One of the boys, 13 years old, was taken to a police station, where he was “interrogated with no parent or other adult acting on his behalf present.”

He was held overnight without being given food or drink until the morning. He was released that afternoon after his father posted bail at a military court, deposited by the soldiers far away from his home.

Soldiers drove the boy to the entrance to al-Arroub refugee camp and removed his handcuffs. One of the soldiers punched the child on the head, causing him to fall to the ground, before they drove off.

Demolitions on permit pretext

Human Rights Watch also emphasizes Israel’s violations of Palestinian children’s right to education in its shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights review of Israel.

Israeli forces have demolished or confiscated Palestinian school buildings or property in the West Bank at least 16 times since the beginning of this decade, according to the rights group.

“Israeli authorities have justified the destruction or damage to schools on the basis that they lacked building permits from the Israeli military, but the military almost never grants Palestinians building permits in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where it exercises exclusive control,” Human Rights Watch states.

More than a third of Palestinian communities in Area C do not have primary schools and some 1,700 children are forced to walk five or more kilometers to school due to road closures and lack of infrastructure.

“The long distances and fear of harassment by settlers or the military lead some parents to take their children out of school,” Human Rights Watch adds.

Gaza schools attacked

The Israeli military also disrupts Palestinian children’s education in Gaza.

Schools in both Gaza and southern Israel were closed for at least one day during a three-day military escalation in the coastal enclave last November and some incurred severe damage.

More than half of Gaza’s schools were damaged during Israel’s 51-day assault on the territory in summer 2014.

“Israeli restrictions on the delivery of construction materials to Gaza and a lack of funding have impeded reconstruction of damaged or destroyed facilities,” Human Rights Watch notes.

During that military offensive, Israel hit three schools administered by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, being used as shelters, killing 45, including 17 children.

“The Israeli military alleged that Palestinian fighters were operating near the school, or had fired mortars ‘from the vicinity’ of it, but it has offered no information or evidence to support that claim,” Human Rights Watch adds.

One rocket fired from Gaza during that offensive hit a building used as a daycare in southern Israel, but caused no casualties.

 

OCHA: 10% increase in israeli (apartheid state) demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

OSCHA: 10% increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

Ma’an – January 20, 2019

BETHLEHEM – During 2018, Israel demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10% increase compared to 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in a new report.

The OCHA report stated, “While in Area C, which makes over 60% of the area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, the number of structures targeted in both years was approximately the same and stood at 270, occupied East Jerusalem recorded a 25% increase compared to 2017. Of all structures targeted during 2018, 56 were donor-funded humanitarian aid structures, representing a 46% decline, compared to 2017 figures.”

In December, said OCHA’s monthly report on West Bank demolitions and displacement, “39 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, the same as the 2018 monthly average, displacing 56 people and affecting over 270 others.”

OCHA added that two of this month’s demolitions were on punitive grounds and the rest were due to the lack of the difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.

The report confirmed that “about 70% of the structures targeted this month were in Area C. The largest incident took place on December 4th in the Beit Hanina – al-Marwaha neighborhood, a community on the ‘Jerusalem side’ of the wall barrier, where eight commercial structures were demolished and goods were confiscated.”

“Five families, who reported a financial loss of almost 1.5 million Israeli shekels (. $400,000), were affected. In another incident, the livelihoods of 70 people were affected by the demolition of a leather store on the margins of al-Bireh City near the Ramallah district.”

On December 5th, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized two structures in the Hebron district to be used as a school for 45 students. Three tents erected subsequently by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to replace the targeted structures were also seized.

OCHA mentioned that this is the seventh case during 2018 where educational structures were targeted under the pretext of “lack of building permits.” It is estimated that 50 West Bank schools, 42 in Area C and eight in East Jerusalem, have pending demolition orders against all or part of their facilities, according to the Education Cluster.

“In East Jerusalem, nine structures were targeted during December, nearly half the monthly average during the rest of 2018.”

“In one incident, Palestinians were forced to demolish a 20 year-old building home to two families, comprising 14 people. The families reported that since the start of the legal proceedings, they have paid the municipality 160,000 shekels ($43,382) in fines, in addition to 25,000 shekels ($6,778) they spent on the demolition itself.”

“During the month, the Israeli military carried out two punitive demolitions, bringing the total in 2018 to six, compared to nine in 2017.”

In addition, the report mentioned that in al-Amari refugee camp in the Ramallah district, Israeli forces blew up and destroyed a four-story building and severely damaged two adjacent buildings, displacing 23 people, including six children. The targeted building was home to the family of a man who reportedly killed an Israeli soldier with a brick during a search operation in the camp in May 2018.

Campaign to revoke Jewish National Fund charitable status important

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By Yves Engler · January 11, 2019

Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), under pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, began an audit of the Jewish National Fund.

The audit is significant. Beyond weakening the oldest Israel-focused charity in the country, it will put other Israeli charities in Canada on notice and reflects the growth of Palestine solidarity activism.

Fulfilling the time-consuming audit will be a bureaucratic headache for a group that has eleven offices across Canada and has raised $100 million over the past five years. Already, the credibility of the second most powerful Israel-oriented charity in Canada has taken a hit with the CBC exposé headlined “Canadian charity  used donations to fund projects linked to Israeli military” and related  stories. If the CRA revokes the JNF’s charitable status it would be devastating for fundraising and deter politicians/celebrities from attending their events.

Similar to the JNF, other registered charities support the Israeli military in direct contravention of CRA rules. Additionally, some of these organizations — like the JNF — fund projects supporting West Bank settlements, which Global Affairs Canada considers in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

At a broader level, critical attention on the JNF could lead to questioning of why Canadian taxpayers subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to a wealthy country. Despite a GDP per capita greater than Spain or Italy (and equal to Japan), hundreds of registered Canadian charities deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel. How many Canadian charities funnel money to Spain or Japan?

If the CRA revoked JNF’s charitable status it would boost Stop the JNF campaigns elsewhere. In England they convinced former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw as patron of the JNF (Theresa May seems to have also stayed away), and 68 members of parliament endorsed a bill to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

The CRA audit of a charity that’s found favour with numerous Canadian prime ministers is long in the making and reflects the growth of Palestinian solidarity consciousness. Born in a West Bank village demolished to make way for the JNF’s Canada Park, Ismail Zayid has been complaining to the CRA about its charitable status for 40 years. Lebanese Canadian Ron Saba “has been indefatigable over the years in writing to various Canadian government departments and officials, corporations, and media to rescind tax exemption status and endorsement of” what he calls the “racist JNF tax fraud”. During the Liberal party convention in 2006 Saba was widely smeared for drawing attention to leadership candidate Bob Rae’s ties to the JNF. Saba has put in multiple Access to Information requests regarding the JNF, demonstrating government spying of its critics and long-standing knowledge of the organization’s dubious practices. Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman sent the CRA a communication about a 2011 Independent Jewish Voices event in Ottawa stating: “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

Former Independent Jewish Voices coordinator Tyler Levitan was smeared for working diligently on the issue. In addition to important organizing, he discovered that the Ottawa Citizen sponsored JNF galas they covered and, suggesting a formal financial relationship, ran an ad for the JNF’s 2013 Ottawa Gala the day after the event.

At the Green Party convention in 2016 Corey Levine pushed a resolution to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional  discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” The effort brought the issue into the mainstream though she, IJV and the entire Green  Party were smeared  as “hard core  Jew haters” for even considering the resolution.

Fifteen months ago IJV and four individuals filed a detailed complaint to the CRA and Minister of National Revenue over the JNF. For a number of years IJV has run a “Stop the JNF” campaign and for more than a decade activists across the country have picketed local JNF fundraising galas. These efforts have benefited from many in Palestine/Israel, notably the work of Uri Davies and Adalah.

As I have written before, the campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status is important beyond winning the specific demand. It draws attention to the racism intrinsic to Zionism and highlights Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

The CRA is undoubtedly facing significant behind-the-scenes pressure to let the JNF off with little more than a slap on the wrists. So, it’s important that people send their MP  the CBC exposé and add their name to Independent Jewish Voices’ campaign  to revoke the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status.

israel (apartheid state) Seeks $250 Billion Compensation Related to Stealing Historic Palestine

Source

By Stephen Lendman,

The Jewish state gives chutzpah new meaning. It seeks $250 billion from seven Arab states and Iran in connection to its theft of historic Palestine – one of history’s great crimes.

It took 78% in 1948, the Palestinian Nakba, the remainder in June 1967, including the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, the UN-declared international city, illegally occupied by Israel, illegally declared its exclusive capital.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, set the tone during the Nakba for what followed, saying “(e)very attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion” – forcefully eliminating resistance, assuring Israeli control over historic Palestine.

According to Israeli Hadashot TV news, Israel demands Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria Tunisia and Yemen correct what it calls a “historic injustice” – a colossal perversion of truth.

It’s reinventing history, blaming countries it attacked and other regional ones for its illegal 1948 and 1967 land grabs – demanding they compensate Jews for the loss of property, assets and other possessions they left behind in Arab countries because of war the Jewish state waged against neighboring ones.

What Ilan Pappe described as “the ethnic cleaning of Palestine in 1948,” Edward Said called its “holocaust,” saying:

“Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities.” He called Nazi extermination “the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence.”

Occupied Palestinians “are as powerless as Jews were” under Hitler, devastated by “power used for evil purposes” subjugating them, denying their fundamental rights – compensation due to THEM from the Jewish state, NOT the other way around, NOT from countries harmed by Israeli high crimes, ongoing endlessly with full support and encouragement from the US and West.

Israel’s claim for $250 billion in compensation from other countries would be laughable if the high crimes leading to its creation and throughout its existence weren’t so serious – as pure evil as what Nazis did to Jews.

The Nakba was one of history’s great crimes, state terror on a massive scale against an entire population.

Israel’s 1948 war without mercy depopulated Palestinian cities, towns and villages, massacring innocent victims, raping their women, committing other atrocities – notably burning, bulldozing, blowing up, or stealing homes, property and other possessions, dispossessing around 800,000 Palestinians, preventing them from returning home.

Israel’s 1967 six-day war was planned “16 years in advance,” according to IDF general Mordechai Hod, saying “(w)e lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it.”

It was all about stealing the remaining 22% of historic Palestine not taken in 1948, including East Jerusalem.

It had nothing to do with self-defense to avoid annihilation, the falsified claim at the time – later debunked by PM Menachem Begin and IDF generals, admitting Israel faced no threats from Arab states.

General Haim Barlev later said

“(w)e were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

The world community did nothing to intervene against Israeli aggression, nor at any time throughout the Jewish state’s existence.

Militarism, institutionalized racism, and apartheid rule define the state of Israel, its young (male and female) children indoctrinated to be warriors.

Militarized education begins in kindergarten, at home, and in all other aspects of society – the line between military and civil society blurred.

Children are taught to believe Palestinians must be subjugated, violence against them is OK, along with destroying their property and killing them – notions ingrained in developing minds before they’re able to understand how they’re manipulated.

They’re taught to believe Arabs are inferior and Palestinians are enemies, military service essential, wars and other forms of violence natural, peace unattainable.

The history of the Jewish state isn’t pretty. Over half a century of illegal occupation continues. Israel aims to steal all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.

Its plan calls for confining Palestinians in isolated cantons on worthless scrubland, militarized rule controlling virtually all aspects of their lives, endless war against them continuing without declaring it.

The world community remains dismissive about what’s been going on for decades. The lives, rights and welfare of millions of Palestinians don’t matter.

Israeli law demands any no-peace/peace deal with Palestinians must compensate the Jewish exodus from Arab countries as explained above.

Palestinians are the aggrieved, not Jews. They warrant major compensation for Israel’s theft of their homeland, private property, and other possessions – along with damages for loss of their fundamental rights, illegal occupation, and brutalized treatment.

For over half a century, Palestinians have endured institutionalized Israeli persecution with no power over their daily lives, along with virtually every imaginable form of indignity.

Living under brutalizing occupation, they face daily state terror, economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of their fundamental rights affirmed under international law, arrest and imprisonment without just cause, torture, assassinations, bulldozing of their home, crops and orchards, along with daily assaults on their dignity for being Arabs in a Jewish state.

With no power to resist, they’re denied redress in international tribunals dismissive of their rights. Endless misery defines their daily lives.

THEY deserve compensation for over half a century of conflict, illegal occupation, dispossession, and forever immiseration, no end of it in sight – no justice unless and until their suffering ends, their fundamental rights restored.

The history of Occupied Palestine is the triumph of wrong over right, a festering injustice, an entire people harmed, no end to their suffering in sight, no interest in their rights and welfare by the world community.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Flash90)

Apartheid state continues to destroy real history, 1,200-year-old Islamic-period town found in israel, but you will never see it

Source

Nebi Zechariah once housed Christians and Muslims living together, and now it’s going to house a logistics center. Here’s why Israeli salvage digs almost always end in development

Ariel David
Ariel David

Archaeologists digging in central Israel have uncovered the remains of a prosperous rural town from the early Islamic period. They unearthed luxurious homes decorated with mosaics and arches, plastered water cisterns, and once-bustling oil presses and glass workshops from about a thousand years ago.

All of which most people will never get to see, as the area has already been handed over to developers, and the ruins will soon be covered or destroyed by the construction of a new logistics center for the nearby city of Modi’in.

The decision by the Israel Antiquities Authority to allow development on the site has caused consternation among some archaeologists and residents in Modi’in, who say regulators are too quick to greenlight projects even when important ancient remains have been found. The IAA counters that it must strike a balance between protecting antiquities and the needs of Israel’s economy; in this specific case, it says the excavation it conducted at the site documented and preserved knowledge of the early Islamic settlement.

The remains, located on a hill known as Nebi Zechariah or Chorvat Zechariah, emerged in early 2018 during a salvage dig – an archaeological excavation that precedes all building projects in Israel that break new land.

“In a salvage excavation, you never know what you are going to get,” says Avraham Tendler, the IAA archaeologist who led the dig. “I was expecting to find Hellenistic, Roman or Byzantine remains, so this [early Islamic town] was quite a surprise.”

Mainly Christian

Modi’in is a modern city built between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as a commuter town. It does not purport to be a reincarnation of the ancient town of Modiin, the precise location of which has been lost to time.

Nebi Zechariah, located northwest of the modern city, is surrounded by archaeological treasures, lining the ancient road connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem which ran by the site. Previous finds nearby include a Byzantine monastery, caves used by hermit monks from the same era, and an ornate burial from Roman times.

In this case, the archaeologists unearthed dozens of buildings in a well-planned town dated to the 9th-11th centuries, when the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates ruled the region.

The find is unexpected because the area around the modern-day city of Modi’in was thought to have been sparsely populated during the early Islamic period, Tendler explains. The dig, which extended over around 4,000 square meters, uncovered only a part of what must have been a fairly large settlement, he adds.

Even more interestingly, Nebi Zechariah may have been home to both Christian and Muslim communities. The archaeologists found crosses chiseled into the stones of the town’s olive presses and fragmentary Greek inscriptions, the written language commonly used by Christians in the region.  In one of the homes they also found a clay pilgrimage token, a Christian souvenir that was probably brought back from Egypt, Tendler reports.

But the researchers also unearthed glass weights with Arabic inscriptions – which were used to weigh coins with great precision – and a partial Arabic inscription that may cite a koranic verse.

No signs of a church or mosque have been found, but there is enough evidence to suggest the town had a mixed religious identity.

The idea that Nebi Zechariah’s population may have been mainly Christian is consistent with what we know from the archaeological record and contemporary chroniclers, which tell us that, especially in the rural areas, Christian communities continued to exist well after the Islamic conquest of the Levant, Tendler says.

Missing signs of violence

There is a longstanding debate amongst scholars over how violent and destructive the early Islamic occupation of the Holy Land was, and how problematic the relations between the various communities were.

Finds like Nebi Zechariah point to a relatively peaceful transition after Muslim armies seized the region from the Byzantine Empire in the first half of the 7th century, says Uzi Dahari, an archaeologist and former deputy director of the IAA.

“When the Muslims arrived, power changed hands but not much else happened, except for a slow process of conversion to Islam by part of the population, especially Christian Arabs and some Jews as well,” says Dahari, who was not involved in the dig at Nebi Zechariah.

Whoever the locals were, they certainly achieved a modicum of prosperity, given that Tendler’s team also unearthed jewelry and large homes with mosaic floors and arched ceilings. The large number of warehouses and workshops that produced oil, glass, wine and other commodities suggests that Nebi Zechariah served as an important farming and industrial center for Jerusalem and nearby Ramle, which was the provincial capital during the Caliphate, Tendler concludes.

The town declined during the Crusades, and was briefly revived in the Mameluke period between the 13th and 14th centuries before being definitively abandoned.

The name Nebi Zechariah refers to the father of John the Baptist – who is mentioned in the Gospels and the Koran – rather than the biblical prophet of the same name. However, the name dates to the Mameluk period, after the town was abandoned, and was probably linked to a burial place attributed to this holy figure, so we don’t know how the inhabitants of the early Islamic period called the place, Tendler says.

A wide assortment of spaces

In the foreseeable future, any further study of the ancient town will be confined to the finds that the archaeologists were able to remove from the site during their hurried four-months excavation last year.

As of last week, a sign perched atop Nebi Zechariah announced the upcoming construction of the new industrial and logistics center, offering “a wide assortment of spaces for industry, storage and logistics.”

Modi’in takes its name from the ancient village traditionally believed to have been the place of origin of the Maccabees, who in the 2nd century B.C.E. led the revolt against the Greeks celebrated by Jews during Hanukkah.

“But after the Greeks and the Maccabees and the Romans, people still lived here, though not a lot of attention has been paid to them,” says Marion Stone, a local preservation activist.  “A lot of evidence has been found, and a lot of remains have been destroyed.”

Given the many archaeological sites already found nearby, the area should never have been zoned for development, says Stone, who urged authorities to stop the destruction of the early Islamic town and make it accessible to visitors instead.

“This is a special site, it’s an amazing place, and to destroy something like that is just criminal,” Stone says.

The salvage dig, and the planned construction, only cover a small part of the much larger site, which will remain not only untouched by private development – but unexcavated, says Doron Ben Ami, the IAA’s chief archaeologist for Israel’s central district.

“Every excavation is a destructive act,” Ben Ami says. “The moment you dig, even if you don’t release the land for development, the remains themselves begin to suffer from erosion processes, so the less we dig, the more antiquities are preserved.”

As for the area that was investigated, it was well documented to preserve as much knowledge of it as possible, Ben Ami says.

Most of the remains will be covered and built over so that, theoretically, they might be unearthed again by future generations once the planned logistics center is no longer in use, he says. “This is the balance we have to find between preserving archaeological sites while being aware of the development needs of the country,” says Ben Ami. “The easiest thing to do would be to say categorically: ‘No, everything is important, don’t touch anything.’ It’s more complicated is to find a way to say yes, with certain limitations.”

But archaeologists interviewed by Haaretz say cases like Nebi Zechariah have less to do with a delicate balancing act between the needs of the past and the present, and more to do with the underlying problems of the system governing salvage excavations in Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is underfunded and would never be able to conduct digs at the myriad of building projects across the country on its meager state budget, explains Dahari, the former IAA deputy chief.

These excavations, including the one at Nebi Zechariah, are instead funded by the developer, creating an instant conflict of interest for the archaeological authorities.

While the IAA theoretically has the right to prevent works from going ahead, its financial dependence on the developers means there is pressure on it to release the land as quickly as possible, Dahari says.

Almost nothing gets saved

One might think that the Israeli authorities would favor preserving Jewish sites over Christian or Muslim ones. But when it comes to salvage excavations, there seems to be little room to save sites linked to any particular group or time period, says Yonatan Mizrahi, an archaeologist and CEO of Emek Shaveh, an NGO that works to protect cultural heritage. In almost all cases, the same fate awaits anything from prehistoric remains to coveted ruins from the time of the First or Second Temple.

“From the beginning, it is well understood by all parties that, after the excavations, the land will be released for development regardless to what is found at the site,” Mizrahi says.

It takes a really unique find to stop the bulldozers in their tracks. This happened, for example, when road works led to the discovery of a spectacular Roman-era mosaic in Lod in 1996.

But these exceptions are few and far between, says Mizrahi. “The IAA has no policy regarding what to save and what not to save, how to protect unique sites that are found,” he says. “Development is destroying antiquities and we haven’t prioritized any places to save.”

Where the cultural identity of a discovery does come into play is in mobilizing public pressure that can sometimes push authorities and developers to adapt their plans to the finds or give up on construction altogether, he notes. This may yet be the case with the First Temple remains that were recently uncovered in a huge salvage dig in Beit Shemesh ahead of a road expansion and which are now at the center of a roaring debate between scholars, residents and conservationists.

But there is much less interest in saving sites from the early Islamic period like Nebi Zechariah. “In Beit Shemesh they found a layer from the 7th century B.C.E., from the First Temple period, so people are now saying ‘this is part of our history.’” Mizrahi notes. “In cases like Nebi Zechariah there is much less pressure: no one says ‘it’s part of our history’ – but it is very much part of our history as well.”

Fired School Employee Sues Over israel (apartheid state) Loyalty Oath

Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

A Texas school employee has sued her school district because it fired her after she refused to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, as Marjorie Cohn reports.

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group.

“The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian – or McCarthyite – self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” Glenn Greenwald wrote at The Intercept.

Amwai: Knows firsthand oppression. (DemocracyNow/YouTube)

On Dec. 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.

“The point of boycotting any product that supports Israel is to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment, of the Palestinian people,” Amawi explained. “Having grown up as a Palestinian, I know firsthand the oppression and the struggle that Palestinians face on a daily basis.”

BDS

The BDS movement was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in 2005, calling upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

Even though it is a nonviolent movement, Israel sees BDS as a threat to its hegemony over the Palestinians. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, maintaining effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services, and continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Vikomerson: No progress without pressure on Israel. (Twitter)

“There will not be progress toward a just peace without pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Bringing about that pressure, through a global grassroots mobilization, is exactly what BDS is about.”

After Amawi’s firing, The New York Times editorial board wrote,

“It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the [BDS] movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, said in an email to The New York Times, “Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top” in order to “shield Israel from accountability.”

Barghouti called Shurat HaDin, the group behind the Donorbox action blocking the BDS account, a “repressive organization with clear connections to the far-right Israeli government” that is “engaging in McCarthyite … tactics … in a desperate attempt to undermine our ability to challenge Israel’s regime of apartheid and oppression.”

Twenty-six U.S. states have anti-BDS laws and 13 others are pending. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would have to be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in January, was supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) opposed the bill.

Boycotts’ 1st Amendment Protection

The law that triggered Amawi’s firing prohibits the State of Texas from entering into government contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. It defines “boycott Israel” to include “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”

Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, assembly and association. They have long been used to oppose injustice and urge political change. The Supreme Court has held that “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” The high court ruled that advocating and supporting boycotts “to bring about political, social, and economic change” – like boycotts of Israel – are indisputably protected by the First Amendment.

The National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote in a legal memorandum challenging anti-BDS legislation in New York that such laws “harken back to the McCarthy era when the state sought to deny the right to earn a livelihood to those who express controversial political views.” The memo says, “The courts long ago found such McCarthy-era legislation to be at war with the First Amendment,” as they “unconstitutionally target core political speech activities and infringe on the freedom to express political beliefs.”

Barghouti: McCarthyite tactics.  (YouTube/BBC)

Even staff members at the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opposed anti-BDS laws and admitted they are unconstitutional. Although the leadership officially favors outlawing BDS, ADL staff wrote in an internal 2016 memo that anti-BDS laws divert “community resources to an ineffective, unworkable, and unconstitutional endeavor.”

Greenwald cited the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech, tweeting, “The proliferation of these laws – where US citizens are barred from work or contracts unless they vow not to boycott Israel – is the single greatest free speech threat in the US.”

Demonstrating the incongruity of allowing Amawi to boycott any entity but Israel, Greenwald noted, “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the US, or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

The US government remains Israel’s lap dog on the world stage. On December 5 the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United States opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement continues to achieve victories. After more than 24,000 people complained to HSBC, the banking giant pulled out its investments in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Elbit sells military equipment, including drones, aircraft, artillery and weapon control systems to the Israeli army, US Air Force and British Royal Air Force. It also provides surveillance equipment to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

On the legal front, the ACLU has mounted successful court challenges to anti-BDS laws in Kansas and Arizona and has filed litigation in Arkansas and Texas.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. Her latest book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was recently published in an updated second edition.

Erdogan: Netanyahu is an ‘oppressor, cruel, at the head of state terror’

Source

‘Palestinians are under Israeli pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the Second World War,’ Erdogan said.

Tensions between Turkey and Israel ratcheted up on Sunday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “oppressor”.

Netanyahu hit back in a speech later the same day, calling Erdogan an “anti-Semitic dictator” who is “obsessed with Israel”.

Speaking to a group of youths, Erdogan said: “Do not kick the enemy you have brought down to the ground. You are not a Jew in Israel,” in an apparent reference to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.

The comments did not go unnoticed in Israel, however, with Netanyahu later criticised Turkey over what he claims an occupation of northern Cyprus.

“Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted.

This was swiftly met by reply from Ibrahim Kalin, one of Erdogan’s top aides.

“Bashing Erdogan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save [Netanyahu] from his domestic troubles,” Kalin wrote.

The Israeli prime minister has recently seen his cabinet rocked by the departure of defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, with many analysts predicting Israel will soon be pushed towards elections as a result.

Netanyahu is also facing multiple allegations of corruption in several cases levelled against him.

Erdogan entered the fray again.

“You are an oppressor, cruel and at the head of state terror,” Erdogan told the Israeli prime minister in a televised speech in Istanbul.

Erdogan lambasted Netanyahu for “occupying Palestine” and committing “sins, crimes against humanity, massacres”.

On December 14, Erdogan said Palestinians were subjected to “pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the Second World War,” referring to the Holocaust.

The Turkish president has previously called Israel “the world’s most fascist and racist state”.

In May, Ankara ordered the Israeli ambassador out of Turkey in response to Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Turkey is the only country in the world which has been frankly supporting the Palestinian cause and recognise the Israel is an occupation state. Current Turkish leaders do not accept forgetting the Israeli crimes against thousands of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.

Debunking Zionist dogma (myths)

Debunking Zionist dogma

Reality of Zionism

­

By Lawrence Davidson

A lack of originality

One thing that characterises dogmatists is a lack of originality. You buy into the dogma and that’s it. Your worldview is complete – and so are your rationalisations, defensive pronouncements and complaints.

I have been an opponent of the Zionist dogma for almost 50 years because it (1) denies Palestinians their civil and communal rights; (2) corrupts many Jews with a siren song of racially-based nationalism; (3) undermines the concepts of international law and human rights and (4) seduces the US government into supporting Zionist ethnic nationalist ambitions.

During the last 20 years I have noticed that the arguments used by the Zionists to defend their policies and practices have been quite consistent. This can’t be because they are convincing, since they are clearly losing the battle for public opinion. It may be that being a dogmatist simply robs you of any originality and flexibility.

Recently I was again struck by this consistency when I read a brief piece published on 12 December 2018 in the New York Times (NYT) by David Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee. The piece, entitled “Why anti-Zionism Is malign” (“malign” here meaning malevolent) was written in reaction to an earlier (7 December 2018) NYT editorial column by Michelle Goldberg entitled “Anti-Zionism Is not anti-Semitism”.

The Harris piece lays out some of the basic Zionist arguments in defence of Israel and their complaints about opposition positions. That being so, I thought it presented a good opportunity to briefly run through these points and, not for the first time or the last, debunk each in turn. So here goes.

Arguments and counter-arguments

Argument 1: Anti-Zionists are really anti-Semites.

For anyone with an accurate historical view of anti-Zionism and an accurate definition of historical anti-Semitism, Harris’s assertion is hard to understand. From the historical perspective it is comparing apples and oranges. The only way to merge the two is by realigning reality.

Zionism is a political dogma that insists on an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine. It operates like a political party line. Anti-Semitism is the age-old prejudice against Jews as Jews. The way the Zionists attempt to realign the world so that the two different concepts merge is by making the false claim that the state of Israel represents every Jew on the planet. If you buy into that claim, it seems to follow that anyone who is critical of Israel must also be critical of Jews per se.

In her 7 December column, Michelle Goldberg called this proposition into question when she noted that “There’s a long history of Jewish anti-Zionism or non-Zionism, both secular and religious,” and this testifies to the fact that “it’s entirely possible to oppose Jewish ethno-nationalism without being a bigot”. Harris and his “committee” claimed to be “outraged” by this fact-based claim.

And what are we to make of the following point, also noted by Goldberg? If many Jews do not support Zionism or Israel, there are a number of anti-Semites who do. And Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is courting them as potential allies.The case may be that to take up the cause of ethnic nationalism you have to be a bigot.

Argument 2: “To deny the Jewish people, of all the peoples on earth, the right to self-determination surely is discriminatory.” 

One big problem here: many anti-Zionists do not actually deny Jews of the “right of self-determination”. What they really stipulate is that the Jews (or any other people) should not realise self-determination through racist policies, that in this case, deny another people (the Palestinians) of self-determination.This is one of the Zionists’ moral blindspots – the inability to see, or care about, the real consequences of their actions and ends. The use of the phrase “of all peoples on earth” implies a sense of exceptionalism that (as in so many other cases past and present) excuses all manner of crimes through the process of special pleading.

Argument 3: “To single out Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, for demonisation and isolation, while ignoring egregious human rights violators aplenty, once again smacks of anti-Jewish hatred.”

There are three parts to this claim: (1) that Israel is “the only liberal democracy in the Middle East”; (2) that it is being singled out for demonisation and isolation while others are ignored; and (3) this process must be an expression of “anti-Jewish hatred”. Basically, there is a lot of whining going on here.

Alas, Israel is not a liberal democracy. It has always been the case that its ideologically driven aim is to give full political and civil rights to Israeli Jews only, and to this end it has used democratic facades to hide the truth. As a consequence, Israel has worked itself into an apartheid state status – and apartheid is a crime against humanity under international law.

The belated realisation of this fact by “liberal Zionists” has created a lot of angst. If liberal Jews are increasingly alienated by Israeli behaviour, just how liberal can that country be?

As to the use of the term “demonisation”: it simply does not apply. The bases for criticising Israel are drawn from the standards of International law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is no wild mud slinging here. The charges of Israeli racism are fact based.

To complain that those critical of Israel aren’t equally critical of others reminds one of the little kid who, when caught being really bad, says: “Hey, what about those other guys?” As if catching him in the act, while not simultaneously chasing after others, somehow taints the accusation that the kid is a delinquent.

There is also the fact that if anti-Zionists appear to treat Israel differently, it is because the Zionist state has earned its special place of blame. How so? Agents of the Zionist state have worked for decades, and all too successfully, to arrange US and other Western support of racist and illegal expansionist Israeli policies and practices. As Michelle Goldberg again suggests, the result is the corruption of “fundamental American [and other Western] values” and, one might add, the waste of billions of dollars in taxpayer money. That being the case, the Zionists deserve “special scrutiny”.

Argument 4: The Israelis have always wanted peace. However, their “efforts to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians” have been “spurned time and again for over 70 years”.

This is an ideologically skewed version of the “peace process”. It is, of course, true that both parties have made repeated peace proposals. However, those made by Israel would have always resulted in an unsustainable Palestinian mini-state, essentially disarmed, economically under the thumb of Israel and open to incursions by its powerful and paranoid neighbour. This might appear to Zionists such as David Harris as a good faith effort at peace – his questionable view of reality could make it seem that way – but no Palestinian could agree to what would be a surrender of their national rights.

Conclusion

Zionist presentations of their case, at least to the general public, almost always come in the form of knee-jerk reactions to various forms of criticism. This was certainly the case of David Harris’s presentation, written out of “outrage” at the rather mild criticism of Zionist positions offered by Michelle Goldberg (herself Jewish).

Harris offers no new ideas, no compromises, and certainly no mea culpas. Under the circumstances the confused and uncertain reader might approach the seeming impasse of argument and counter-argument this way: it is perhaps not an issue of what is “real”. Dogmatists of every sort have a hard time assessing objective reality. It is more a question of what sort of a world do we want to be “real”. Are the notions of international law and human rights a better or worst basis for our world than ethnocentric nationalism and religious exclusivity? We know the Zionist answer to this question and just how sensitive they are to any challenges. What then is your preference?

israeli (apartheid state) MK: ‘Our life more precious than Palestinians’ life’

Israeli MK: ‘Our Life More Precious Than Palestinians’ Life’

Commenting on burning Palestinian family in West Bank a few years ago, he said: ‘Burning a Palestinian family is not an act of terror.’

Extremist right wing Israeli Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich has called for illegal Jewish settlers to attack Palestinians, claiming that “life of Jews is more valuable than Palestinians’ life.”

On his twitter account, Smotrich wrote: “I call on my heroic [settler] friends and pioneers to come out tonight and close Route 60 along its entire length to the movement of Arab vehicles.

“If there are [Palestinian resistance] attacks [against illegal Jewish settlers], there will be no Arabs on the roads. Our lives precede their quality of life.”

Consequently, the Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din demanded that an investigation be opened into the Jewish Home politician as he tweeted a call for settler violence against Palestinians.

The organisation submitted this an official request to the Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, asking that he open a criminal probe into Smotrich’s call for violence against the Palestinians.

Illegal Israeli Jewish settlers responded to Smotrich’s tweet, gathered in the meant streets and attacked Palestinians.

Yesh Din says that, in the 24 hours after Smotrich’s tweet, it documented 25 attacks carried out by settlers against Palestinians.

The attacks included the shooting of live bullets at Palestinian homes in the nearby villages of Ein Yabrud and Beitin and the throwing of stones at Palestinian cars at Huwara and Kfar Qaddum junctions, all near Ofra on Route 60 of the occupied West Bank.

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