Forget “anti-semitism, this is real racism: israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

Israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

MEMO | March 12, 2019

DNA test sample [File photo]

DNA test sample [File photo]

Israel’s rabbinate “has been performing genetic testing on Israelis from the former Soviet Union, to check if they are ‘genetically Jewish’ as a condition for marriage registration”, according to Ynet.

The new site reported that “at least 20 couples have come forward after having been asked to undergo the procedure in the past year.”

“Although the existence of such tests was initially denied by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau admitted to having requested that some couples prove their Jewish status,” Ynet added, noting that “Lau claimed those were isolated incidents and there was no coercion.”

Ynet’s investigation revealed that “the complicated procedure was undertaken not only by the couples themselves but also by their relatives.”

“In one instance, a young woman who went to the rabbinate before her wedding was asked to conduct a DNA test along with her mother and her aunt, in order to eliminate the possibility that her mother was adopted,” the article stated.

“The young woman was told that if she refused the request, her marriage application would be denied,” Ynet added. “The rabbinate has control over Jewish religious rites in Israel.”

“According to the evidence accumulated by Ynet, these instances are examples of what appears to be a growing phenomenon where those applying to register for marriage, are being asked to undergo genetic testing if they want to have their requests granted,” the paper stated.

“Unfortunately, there are immigrants who, despite their eligibility under the Law of Return, are not defined as Jews according to Halacha,” said Lau in response. “In a few cases, there are those who claim to be Jews, but don’t possess the necessary documents to confirm it…or we find contradictions between their statements and what we would uncover about them”.

“In these cases we suggest undergoing DNA tests that would strengthen their claims,” he said. “It’s never forced upon anyone and only used to assist applicants in the research process.”

Two Palestinian children killed in home fire after israel (apartheid state) blocks fire trucks

Two Palestinian children killed in home fire after Israel blocks fire trucks

Two Palestinian children killed in home fire after Israel blocks fire trucks

Palestinian children were killed in a blaze at their home after Israeli forces prevented the fire brigade from reaching them in time in Hebron, West Bank

Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian fire truck from reaching a home fire, resulting in the deaths of two small children. This is just one example of a trend: Israelis detain or damage ambulances and attack medics on a regular basis.

reposted from Middle East Monitor

Two Palestinian children have been killed in a blaze at their home in occupied Hebron after the Israeli authorities prevented the fire brigade from reaching them in time.

The two children – one of whom is believed to have been just 18-months old – were burned to death in a fire at their home in the Al-Salaymeh neighbourhood of Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank. One was reported dead late last night, while the second succumbed to the burns received this morning after receiving emergency treatment at the nearby Hebron government hospital. A third child, thought to be the dead children’s brother, also suffered severe burns in the incident and remains in intensive care, according to hospital Director Dr Walid Zalloum.

The names of the three children have not been released formally, but Palestinian news site Palestine Today named the two who were killed as four-year-old Wael Al-Rajabi and his 18-month-old sister Malik. The local police spokesman, Colonel Loai Arziqat, confirmed in a press statement that two children had died, but did not offer further information.

Though the emergency services were called, the fire brigade was prevented from reaching the scene by Israeli soldiers. In a video filmed last night at 21:50 local time (19:50 GMT), the fire engine can be seen trying to drive down a narrow street. The truck comes to a stop at a road block obstructing the way, while local residents implore the Israeli soldiers stationed there to “open the gate quickly, for the children.”

The Israeli soldiers, however, did not yield to the onlookers’ pleas, delaying the emergency services’ response and preventing them from reaching the property. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Ongoing outrage

Israel is no stranger to restricting emergency services’ access to Palestinians in need. According to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), citing the Palestine Red Crescent Society, since 2015 Israel has prevented ambulances from crossing checkpoints on 123 occasions. In addition, there were 386 attacks against Red Crescent teams across the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) during the same period, as well as 105 ambulances damaged.

In December, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian child then prevented him from receiving potentially life-saving medical treatment; he died soon thereafter. Seventeen-year-old Mahmoud Nakhle was shot as Israeli forces suppressed protests around Al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. A few minutes later, the soldiers chased off a Palestinian ambulance, threatening the driver with their rifles and not giving Nakhle first aid themselves. Only after a quarter of an hour did the soldiers allow an ambulance to be summoned, but Nakhle died en route to hospital.

Under international law, as the occupying power Israel is forbidden from preventing access to medical care and emergency services to the people living under its occupation. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, “The occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.”

In addition, “Personnel of the International Red Crescent Movement must be allowed to carry out their humanitarian activities.” Israel, however, continues to breach this and other articles of international laws and conventions with impunity

The Inequitable Spirit of Zionism Grips the Globe

Zara Ali

In spite of how contemporary intellectuals tend to perceive Zionism depending upon their personal affiliations and individual inclinations, irrespective of the various known versions of this rather modern creed, and regardless of the assortment of interpretations presented as an argument by proponents of each, the truth of the matter is mankind has not furnished and history has not witnessed another idea as inherently devious and inhumane in its essence as Zionism – no matter how you sugar-coat it.  And you do not have to be an historian, academic, activist, or carry any other fancy intellectual title to understand this – you just have to be a human being with the most basic common sense and the most elementary concept of common civility.

Formally introduced to the world in 1897, ostensibly as a response to the rise of anti-semitism in Europe, Zionism essentially intended to infuse the world Jewry with the passion of pan-Jewish nationalism in a bid to Return to Zion i.e. to establish a Jewish homeland in the Promised Holy Land – a Jewish state in historic Palestine wherein Jews will no longer face the discrimination extended to their minority existence elsewhere.  This was Theodore Herzl’s (the founding father of the Zionist movement)‘secular’ answer to over 2,000 years of Jewish Diaspora all the while drawing upon Jewish religious connection to Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael.

Hence migration of European Jews to Palestine and the Jewish purchase of Palestinian land commenced with an aim to ‘create facts on the ground’ despite orthodox Jews’ initial opposition to Zionism.  As had been originally proposed by Zevi Hirsch Kalischeras, as far back as in 1836, the Rothschild embarked on a mission to grab Palestinian land by hook or by crook – employing deceptive tactics that are nowadays peddled as ‘cooperation from treacherous absentee Palestinian Arab landlords’.  The first Kibbutz was established in 1909 by European Jews and from 1922-35 the Jewish population, which had already risen from a meagre 3% in 1880 to 9% in 1922, soared as high as 27%.  During this period, the deep-seated Scriptural belief that Palestine was promised to them by God combined with the anti-Semitic effect of various ‘controlled conflicts’ instigated by Western Imperialism, remained critical in propelling Jews toward their ‘ancestral home’.

Well abetted by the clandestine Sykes-Picot Agreement that in 1916 proposed British and French ‘spheres of influence’ in a colonised South-western Asia in the aftermath of the yet to occur fall of Ottomans (1918-1922), the unstinting patronage extended by the infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917, and the cover of legitimacy provided by the League of Nations’ British Mandate of Palestine in 1923, not to forget Hitler’s rise to power in the run up to WW2, the migration of Jews on one hand and the rather strategic displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians on the other, continued.  Arabs did raise their voice, and episodes of mob violence against the Jews also occurred, but by and large the Arab opposition to the British designs impelled by the Zionists, was ruthlessly suppressed.  The Arab revolt of 1936-39 was squashed by the British colonists not only by employing Zionist Militia but also by making effective use of the rather self-centred territorial interest of the disingenuous non-Palestinian Arab elite.  Despite the façade of the 1939 White Paper that limited Jewish migration and land purchase, in an alleged attempt to mark an end to the British-Zionist alliance, the clandestine affair between the two never came to an end at any point in time – not to this day.  By 1948 when the British Mandate of Palestine was about to end, the deliberate distribution of Jewish settlements which had progressively spread on the Palestinian lands, came to determine the map of partition proposed by United Nations  – later adopted by the UN General Assembly as Resolution 181.  The UN Plan of Partition awarded 55% of the land to Israel, encompassing many a cities with Palestinian Arab majority and the vital coastline from Haifa to Jaffa, thereby depriving the indigenous Palestinian population of key agricultural lands and seaports.  Arabs rejected the proposed partition, and argued it violated the principle of national self-determination outlined in United Nations’ charter however the Jewish Agency for Palestine accepted the same.  And soon after, the 1948 war broke out.  The British departed at the end of their Mandate (which interestingly coincided with the start of the war) but assisted by shipments of arms from the West, the Zionist paramilitary groups set out on the path of violent genocide – large scale attacks, massacres, destruction of entire villages – all aimed at expulsion of Palestinians from Eretz Yisrael.  The neighbouring Arab states i.e. Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Jordan invaded what was now Israel – they claimed they sought to save Palestine from the Zionists – the armistice agreements signed in 1949 and what ensued however did tend to suggest somewhat otherwise – with around 78% of historic Palestine confiscated by Israel, East Jerusalem and the hill country i.e. the West Bank ended up under Jordan while Egypt assumed control of the coastal plain around the Gaza strip effectually putting an end to the likelihood of a Palestinian state as initially proposed in the UN Partition Plan.  Despite the fact the state of Israel had been recognised by the international community (with the exception of 31 nations) based on its 1948 borders, following the second Arab-Israel war in 1967, Israel came to occupy not only the rest of Palestine i.e. East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, but also the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.  And in spite of UN resolution 242 adopted in 1967, the Zionist state continues to occupy the aforementioned regions with the exception of Sinai.  Not only that, Israel in fact claims ‘innocence’ on the pretext that the status of these territories was ambiguous and that Israel took control of East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan while the Gaza strip was taken from Egypt’s dominion.  Essentially the pre-emptively dispersed expanse of less arable land, which was meant to constitute the Palestinian state as per the United Nations’ flawed Partition Plan in 1948, was first bestowed upon Jordan and Egypt in exchange of a truce in 1948 and then seized by the Zionist entity in 1967 when the passage of 19 years had efficaciously cooled down the heated uproar against the stealing of Palestine while the intensity of commotion caused by the merciless displacement of well over 700,000 Palestinians had been dampened partly because of the fast evolving Geo-political panorama and to a degree due to the increasingly selfish interests of the nations of the world.

With inordinate impunity furnished by a mute West and a meek East that have been held hostage to the absolute financial power of the Rothschild for at least a century, the Zionist entity has since brazenly persisted in its disdain for anything remotely humane, ethical, or rational.  The story of the colossal injustice perpetrated by it has unfolded progressively, and revealed the most ignoble facets of human existence.  It has not only exposed the unscrupulous spirit sitting at the core of Zionism itself, but also underlined the fact if permitted man’s weakness of flesh renders him rather predisposed to not only endorsing the most unlawful of acts but also glorifying them as the most virtuous.

Fernando Barral, the Spanish psychiatrist who in 1970 interviewed the deceased Zionist puppet, the decorated American War Veteran-Senator John McCain, thus articulated McCain’s psychological constitution:  “From the moral and ideological point of view he showed us he is an insensitive individual without human depth, who does not show the slightest concern, who does not appear to have thought about the criminal acts he committed against a population from the almost absolute impunity of his airplane…  I noted he was hardened, that he spoke of banal things as if he were at a cocktail party.”  Today the images of mockingly gleeful snipers of ‘the most moral army in the world’ defending a stolen territory with live ammunition, callously fired upon unarmed and effectively imprisoned rightful owners of the land, demanding their recognised right to return home (UN Resolution 194), categorically depict a similar psychological make-up – apparently quite naturally bred by Zionism.

Had there been no real time large-scale evidence falling in line with the aforementioned assessment, and had we observed only a few odd instances of behaviour characterised by an absolute lack of intellect and conscience at the individual level, we may not have been able to ascertain the nature of what actually sits at the core of Zionism and rules the Zionist mind-set.   And had not countless shameful tales emerged from the long history of brutality embodied by the actions of the Zionist entity subsequent to its unlawful inception, custodians of Zionism could have still had some weight to their argument.  But in the face of innumerable ignominious real time manifestations of pan-Jewish nationalism, not a hologram of occurrences in a different subset of time and space, and the unceasing exhibition of unscrupulousness on part of Israel and her lobbyists, allies and friends, it sounds ridiculously bizarre to continue contending the innocence and purity of Zionism’s nationalistic character.

In fact the attempt to debate the veracity of Zionism as a purely nationalist notion intended to unite world Jewry in the ‘Promised Holy Land’ and to ‘address threats toEretz Yisrael’ thereafter, only serves to highlight Zionism’s inherent inequity.  After all did not the initiators of the Zionist movement imagine to make ‘home’ for a marginalised people, adherents of Judaism, on a land that essentially belonged to someone else, because the self-proclaimed  ‘chosen race’ held the Scriptural belief this land had been promised to it by God? “Can you think of another historical moment when people ‘returned’ to an imaginary ‘homeland’ after 2,000 years and asked the indigenous population to move out to make room for the former ‘residents?”

The problem is truth is self-evident and it cannot be suppressed forever – you can just not kill the thing.  Unless one does not have qualms about living a deeply delusional existence, with a dysfunctional psyche, and a dead conscience, one may not find it possible to see Zionism as much more than an epitome of intellectual and moral depravity – a classic religio-political conglomerate, which remained in the making for eons before its deliberate conception in the 19th century and has since effectively dominated the globe, in unison with Colonialism and Capitalism – infusing planet earth with a very unwholesome spirit – the spirit of Pre-eminence and Exceptionalism – with the sole objective of world-wide subjugation of the common man to the coldblooded, illogical and decadent core of the Zionist psyche.  In fact it will not be an exaggeration to state the Zionist philosophy has made it permissible for ‘Might is Right’ to emerge as a widely practiced modern day norm – not just at the macro but also at the micro level – and nothing could have been more tragic for mankind than returning to the Law of the Jungle in the 21st century.

Thus today we literally have an ‘Axis of Evil’ that dominates the power centres of the modern world.  It comprises of the serpent-like 1% global elite in control of the treasure of an entire planet – it manipulates the common man only to rob him of his right to life – it wages wars indiscriminately at the drop of the hat wherever and whenever deemed profitable and under whichever pretext it fancies – it tramples upon the life and honour of entire nations leaving behind ardently created quagmires studded with five-star destruction and misery – it lies passionately and deceives unceasingly with outright contempt for human intellect – it infiltrates naïve minds with a plethora of unwholesome notions only to muddle the boundary between truth and falsehood and do away with the very notion of ‘right and wrong’.  And it does it all with the sole objective of transforming the mass population of this globe into a gathering of zombies, intellectually depraved and morally corrupt obedient slaves, who could be effortlessly employed to serve the will and the whim of the ‘chosen few’.

From Palestine to Kashmir injustice reigns – from Libya to Afghanistan discord rules – Iraq and Syria stand in absolute ruins – Yemen writhes under the burden of genocide – black lives in Africa never mattered and they still do not count – multitudes of migrants continue to pour into a Europe made affluent by the stealing of others’ wealth as they escape what now stands distraught by White man’s wars only to encounter hatred from other White men – and all the while the authors of this harrowing tale continue to dismiss ‘the whining yelpings of base-bred mongrel-multitudes’ with utmost arrogance thereby manifesting the rewritten Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the Iron-handed, the unfit shall flee before them. Cursed are the Haters of Battle, subjugation is their portion”

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (21 February – 27 February)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations (21 – 27 February 2019)

01 Mar 6:13 AM

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 21 – 27 February, 2019.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip, and killed a Palestinian child in eastern Gaza City. 117 civilians, including 19 children, eight women, a journalist, and a paramedic, were wounded. The injuries of three were reported serious.

Shooting:

 

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 48th week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use force as well during the incursions into the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded 117 civilians, including 19 children, 8 women, a journalist, and a paramedic, while participating in the Return March. The injury of three of them was reported serious. In the West Bank, 4 civilians, including a child, were wounded by the Israeli forces in different shooting incidents.

 

In the Gaza Strip, in new crime of excessive use of force, on 22 February 2019, Israeli forces killed Yousef al-Dayiah (14), from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. Yousef was wounded at approximately 16:50 after being hit with a live bullet to the chest while present 50 meters away from the border fence, east of al-Shuja’aiyia neighborhood. His death was declared at 18:10.

 

In the same context, Israeli forces wounded 117 civilians, including 19 children, 8 women, a journalist, and a paramedic. The injury of three of them was reported serious.

 

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 21 to 27 February 2019 According to the Governorate

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 29 6 4 0 0 2
Gaza City 51 7 4 0 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 13 2 0 0 0 0
Khan Yunis 22 4 0 1 1 1
Rafah 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total 117 19 8 1 1 3

 

  • As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods. During the reporting period, PCHR documented 11 incidents were as follows: 6 incidents in western al-Sodaniyia shore, 4 incidents off al-Waha resort and 1 incident off Khan Yunis shore.

 

  • As part of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands.

 

  • On 23 February 2019, =Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuza’ah village.

 

  • On 25 February 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds, east of Dir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip. On 26 February 2019, the Israeli shooting recurred at agricultural lands, east of Dir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip. No casualties and damages to property were reported.

 

  • In the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded four Palestinian civilians, including a child and a journalist, in different shooting incidents.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 81 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 55 Palestinians, including 3 children. Moreover, the Israeli forces conducted a wide-scale arrest campaign in occupied East Jerusalem, where they arrested 73 civilians, including a child. Among the arrestees were the governor of Jerusalem, the two leaders Khader ‘Adnan and Tareq Qa’dan, and the two sheikhs ‘Abed al-‘Azim Suhlob and Najeh Bakirat. Moreover, the Israeli forces insulted Palestinian civilians, whose houses were stormed in addition to confiscating their money and vehicles.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 24 February 2019, Israeli forces moved around 100 meters into the west of the border fence with Israeli, east of al-Buriej Camp in the center of the Gaza Strip.

 

On 26 February 2019, the Israeli forces moved 100 meters into the southeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli vehicles leveled and combed lands previously leveled.

 

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • As part of Israeli settlers’ attacks and demolition, on 21 February 2019, Israeli soldiers accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration Officer uprooted 300 olive seedlings planted 2 years ago from a plot of land belonging to al-Warasnah and al-‘Ayaydah familes in Was Aseer area, east of al-Shayyoukh village, north of Hebron. The soldiers confiscated the seedlings under the pretext that the land belongs to the state lands.

 

On 27 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into Khelet al-Dabi’ village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They uprooted 50 olive seedlings planted a year ago from a plot of land belonging to ‘Ali Mohamed Jaber Dababsah.

 

  • As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented during the reporting period 4 attacks carried out by Israeli settlers. Those attacks were as follows:

 

On 21 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Talmoun” settlement, punctured the tires of 10 vehicles belonging to the residents of Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. They also wrote 2 racist slogans and drew David Star on 2 of the mentioned vehicles.

 

On the same day, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement, attacked ‘Oreef village, south of Nablus from the eastern side. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers threw stones at Palestinian civilians, who gathered to confront the setters. As a result, Hamam Anwar ‘Abed al-Hafiz Shehahda (18), was hit with a stone to the right leg, causing rupture in ligaments and fracture in his right leg.

 

On 22 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Bani Qadim “ and “ Asfar“ settlement, which is established on Palestinian civilians’ lands, east of al-Shayyoukh village, north of Hebron, uprooted 200 olive seedlings planted 2 years ago in Mares Ras al-Hait area.

 

On 23 February 2019, an Israeli settler attacked Husam ‘Abed al-Raheem Abu Hadeed (48) and punched him while heading to his work in the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee.

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 its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

 

 

Gaza Strip:

 

 

 

On Friday, 22 February 2019; the 48th week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces wounded 117 civilians, including 19 children, 8 women and a paramedic. The injuries of three of them were reported as serious. The incidents were as follows:

 

  • Northern Gaza City: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 29 civilians, including six children and four women. Sixteen of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, eight were directly hit with tear gas canisters and five with rubber bullets. The injuries of two of them were reported serious while the others’ injuries were between moderate and minor.

 

  • Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the killing of Yussuf Sa’eed Hussein al-Daya (14), from Zeitoun neighborhood, east Gaza City. At approximately 16:30, Yussuf was hit with a live bullet to the chest while he was around 50 meters away from the border fence, east of Shuja’iyya neighborhood. His death was declared at 18:10. Furthermore, 51 civilians, including seven children and four woman were wounded. Twenty-three of them were hit were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 25 with were directly hit with tear gas canisters and three with rubber bullets.

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and throwing tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the injury of 13 civilians. Eight of them were hit with a live bullet and shrapnel and five were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

 

  • Khan Yunis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in Khuza’a village resulted in the injury of 22 civilians, including four children and a paramedic. Four of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 18 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified the injury of one of them as serious others’ injuries were between moderate and minor. The wounded paramedic was identified as Fares Hassouna Ahmad al-Qedra (30), who was hit with a tear gas canister to the head, and the wounded journalist was identified as Muneeb Sameer Ahmad Abu Hatab (23), who was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest.

 

  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of two civilians with live bullets and shrapnel.

 

 

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, on 22 February 2019, a peaceful demonstration started in front of ‘Ali al-Bakka’ Mosque. Dozens of civilians, from Hebron, along with local and international human rights defenders participated in the demonstration to commemorate the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre “the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre”. This massacre was carried out by an Israeli settler namely Baruch Goldstein against the worshipers at al-Ibrahimi Mosque on 25 February 1994. The demonstrators also called for opening al-Shohadah Street, which was closed since the mentioned date. The demonstration entitled: “Dismantle the Ghetto” and organized by national parties in the city. The participants raised Palestinian flags and banners calling for ending the closure in the center of Hebron and chanted national slogans. They then arrived at the municipality old building near Ossama Ibn al-Monqeth School and gathered, while a large force of Israeli soldiers were in the place. After that, the participants headed to the entrance to the closed al-Shuhada Street, where Shotir (al-Shuhahda) military checkpoint established. They chanted slogans for around 15 minutes in front of the checkpoint before throwing stone at the soldiers. Dozens of Israeli border guard officers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the participants and stone-throwers and chased them on Wad al-Tuffah Street. As a result, many participants suffered tear gas inhalation. In the meantime, the Israeli border guard officers attacked press crews and prevented them from approaching the checkpoint. Moreover, the Israeli border guard officers pushed the participants by hands and threatened a number of them of opening fire at them if they present in the area. The young men continued to throw stones at the Israeli border guard officers, who fired rubber bullets at them. A number of the Israeli border guard officers surrounded the press crews, forced them to retreat and fired sound bombs at them. As a result, Mashhour Hassan al-Wahwah (35), a photojournalist at the Palestine News Agency “Wafa”, sustained shrapnel wound to his left foot. A journalist, Moss’ab Shawer al-Tamimy, said to the PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli border guard officers violently attacked the journalists, pushed them and shouted at them. He added that an Israeli border guard officer pointed the rifle at his chest and threatened him of opening fire at him if he would not leave. He added that the journalists were forced to leave after firing a sound bomb, which deliberately fell over them.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders headed to al-Naqar agricultural area, which is located in the northern side of al-Moghir village, northeast of Ramallah, in order to peacefully protest against Israeli settlers’ attempts to seize and confiscate Palestinians’ lands. When the Palestinian civilians arrived at the area, Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstrators. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, were hit with live bullets and taken via a PRCS ambulance to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive treatment.
  • 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:

 

  • On Thursday, 21 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, from occupied Jerusalem, claiming that they participated in opening al-Rahma Gate. The arrested civilians identified as Fadi al-Motwer, Hijazi Abu Subieh, Jehad Qus, and Murad Misk were then taken to an investigation center in the city.

 

  • On Friday, 22 February 2019, Israeli forces raided dozens of houses in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs. They then arrested 38 civilians and took them to an investigation center. PCHR keeps the names of the arrested civilians.

 

  • On Saturday, 23 February 2019, Israeli forces raided many houses in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs. They then arrested 4 civilians under the pretext of participating in opening al-Rahma Gate, which was closed since 2003 upon a court decision, in al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City. The arrested civilians were identified as Naser Qus, Head of Palestinian Prisoner’s Club; ‘Ali ‘Ajjaj; Hussni al-Kilani; and Samer al-Qabbani, a guard at the al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

  • On Sunday, 24 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested Shiekh ‘Abed al-‘Azim Suhlob, Khateeb of al-Aqsa Mosque; and Shiekh Najeh Bakirat; Director of Heritage Foundation  at al-Aqsa Mosque. Both of them were arrested under the pretext of participating in opening al-Rahma Gate. The Israeli authorities handed them a decision to deport them from the al-Aqsa Mosque for 7 days.

 

  • On Tuesday, 26 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Izariyia village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Mahmoud Khakled Damdoum (25) and Ahmed Jawad Othman (14).

 

  • On Wednesday, 27 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to the governor of Jerusalem ‘Adnan Gaith and arrested them. He was then taken to al-Maskobiyia Police Center in West Jerusalem. On the same day evening, the Israeli forces released him upon the Magistrate Court decision.

 

  • On Wednesday, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched dozens of houses, arrested 22 civilians and then took them to investigation centers. PCHR keeps the names of the arrested civilians.

 

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 

Israeli forces’ attacks:

 

  • On Thursday, 21 February 2019, Israeli soldiers accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration Officer uprooted 300 olive seedlings planted 2 years ago from a plot of land belonging to al-Warasnah and al-‘Ayaydah familes in Was Aseer area, east of al-Shayyoukh village, north of Hebron. The soldiers confiscated the seedlings under the pretext that the land belongs to the state lands. It should be noted that it was the second time that the Israeli forces and settlers attacked the lands. In February 2019, the Israeli settlers uprooted 400 olive seedlings from the mentioned plot of land. Before their withdrawal, they handed a notice to the family members, who arrived at the area, ordering them to evacuate the land during 45 days and challenge before the competent authorities.

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces accompanied with military vehicles and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Ethna, west of Hebron, and stationed in the western area. The Israeli Civil Administration officer handed Tayseer Mohamed Tamizah a notice to stop construction work in a 50-sqaure-meter agricultural room built with bricks, under the pretext of non-licensing.

 

  • At approximately 11:00 on Monday, 25 February 2019, Israeli forces accompanied with 2 vehicles and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Qinan Nayyas area, east of al-Shayyoukh village, north of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officer handed 3 civilians notices to stop construction work in their houses, under the pretext of non-licensing in area classified as Area C, according to Oslo Agreement. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities targeted the lands of the mentioned area. In 2015, the Israel authorities declared the confiscation of 100 dunums from those lands under the pretext of being state lands. The notices were as follows:
    • A 180- square-meter house built of concrete and belongs to Mohamed Hamdan Hammad Haliyqah (32).
    • A 150-sqaure-meter under-construction house built of concrete and belong to Ahmed Jaber Mohamed Warasnah (28).
    • A 70-sqaure-meter house built of concrete and belongs to Mohamed Ahmed Warasnah (50).

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 27 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into Khelet al-Dabi’ village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They uprooted 50 olive seedlings planted a year ago from a plot of land belonging to ‘Ali Mohamed Jaber Dababsah. Khelet al-Dabi’ village is located in the east of Yatta village, where 100 persons live. Most of the village’s houses are built with bricks and roofed with tine plates. The Israeli forces handed the village residents notices to stop construction work in addition to demolition notices. The Israeli forces also handed the residents decisions to evacuate their lands under the pretext of being state lands.

 

Israeli settlers’ attacks:

 

  • At Thursday dawn hours, on 21 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “ Talmoun” settlement, punctured the tires of 10 vehicles belonging to the residents of Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. They also wrote 2 racist slogans and drew David Star on 2 of the mentioned vehicles. Akram Abu Fakhidah said to PCHR’s fieldworker that when they checked the surveillance cameras fixed on his shop door, it turned out that 2 masked persons one of them carrying a bag wrote slogans and punctured the tires of his truck. He added that the two persons wandered on the street, punctured the tires of vehicles parked on the street sides and wrote racist slogans. Akram stressed that the two persons were settlers because they wrote slogans in Hebrew and drew David Star. The attacked vehicles belong to:
    • Hamidan Mohamed Mahmoud Dar Sa’d.
    • Sa’d Mohamed Dar Sa’d.
    • Akram Abu Fakhidah.
    • Montaser Nofal.
    • Kareem Saleh Dar Sa’d.
    • Adham Mazloum.

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Thursday, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement, attacked ‘Oreef village, south of Nablus from the eastern side. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers threw stones at Palestinian civilians, who gathered to confront the setters. As a result, Hamam Anwar ‘Abed al-Hafiz Shehahda (18), was hit with a stone to the right leg, causing rupture in ligaments and fracture in his right leg. He was then taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

 

  • On Friday, 22 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Bani Qadim “ and “ Asfar“ settlement, which is established on Palestinian civilians’ lands, east of al-Shayyoukh village, north of Hebron, uprooted 200 olive seedlings planted 2 years ago in Mares Ras al-Hait area. The olive seedlings belong to al-Warasnah Family. Yousef Warasnah (47) said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “My family owns hundreds of dumuns in eastern al-Shayyoukh village. In the previous years, we planted part of the land with olive seedlings and reclaimed another part through funded projects. Two months ago, we planted 200 olive seedlings cost NIS 2300. On Friday, 23 February 2019, I headed with my family to plant olive seedlings. When we arrived at the land, we found the olive seedlings planted 2 months ago were uprooted and damaged. The Palestinian shepherds told me that the Israeli settlers uprooted the seedlings and damaged them.”

 

 

  • At approximately 07:30 on Saturday, 23 February 2019, an Israeli settler, who lives in a settlement outpost in Hebron’s Old City, attacked Husam ‘Abed al-Raheem Abu Hadeed (48) and punched him while heading to his work in the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee. As a result, he sustained bruises, swelling over left side of head and severe pain in his jaw. Husam said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “I was heading to my workplace in Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, where I work as a warehouse secretary. I passed through Abu al-Rish checkpoint, south of the al-Ibrahimi Mosque. When I arrived at al-Shari’a Court, I saw a number of Israeli soldiers along with an Israeli settler in his twenties stood in the area. After I walked around 20 meters, the settler chased me and cursed me. Few minutes later, the settler attacked and punched me to my head. I shouted at the Israeli border guard officers, who were 20 meters away. They came and took the settler. I headed to my work and then went to a medical center, because I was suffering from swelling over the left side of my head and severe pain in my jaw.”

 

 

  • 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.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

 

Netanyahu Finds israeli (apartheid state) Ultra-Right Parties Suited to His Political Purposes

Netanyahu Finds Israeli Ultra-Right Parties Suited to His Political Purposes

The members of Otsma Yehudit are thugs and some have been designated as terrorists, and Netanyahu has more stately manners. But their objectives and their actions are in perfect sync.

JERUSALEM, OCCUPIED PALESTINE As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters into an alliance with the Israeli equivalent of neo-Nazis, media outlets — including the Washington Post and The Forward — and even AIPAC express uneasiness. However, for Netanyahu, this political partnership makes sense ideologically and politically. Netanyahu shares the racist-nationalist ideology of these extremist groups and, since there is a mad rush to the right within Israel’s political parties, Netanyahu, wanting to win the race, is now in an alliance with the most right-wing group on the Israeli political map — and that is saying a lot!

The Partners

Otsma Yehudit, or Jewish Might, states in its party platform, in the “Enemies of Israel” section:

The fight against the enemies of Israel will be toal and without compromise. There will be no compromises or negotiations. The party will act to enforce Israeli sovereignty on all parts of Eretz Israel that were liberated in the 1967 war and it will work to sort out the status of the enemies of Israel in the Arab states that surround Israel.”

The platform also states that the party will act to see that all the enemies of Israel will emigrate and leave the country, returning to their countries of origin — and this out of a desire to keep Israel’s Jewish character. The party will fight without compromise to end the theft of land and will act to redeem the lands of Israel in the Naqab, the Galilee and elsewhere in the spirit of the JNF.

On the issue of Government and Morals, the charter states that the Jewish character of the state will take precedence over any “universal values:” “We do not wish to lose the Jewish state by war or peace or Western Democracy.”

To clarify some of the terminology, the “enemies of Israel” are the Palestinians, whom this party calls to expel. Their countries of origin are, according to this party, other Arab states. The general prevailing view among radical Zionists is that Palestine belongs to the Jews and that the Palestinians are invaders

The JNF, or Jewish National Fund, has been the major force behind Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the covering of destroyed Palestinian villages with forests. On its website JNF claims that “We planted more than a quarter-billion trees in what was once a barren desert.” Which is true — except for the part about it being a barren desert. JNF further states that “We see the Negev and Galilee regions blooming with new families attracted by vibrant communities, meaningful work and affordable housing.” Again this is true — except for the fact that these new vibrant communities exclude the indigenous Palestinian Bedouin for whom the Naqab has been home since time immemorial. Furthermore, all of the development takes place on Bedouin lands.

Habayit Hayehudi (the Jewish Home) was established by Naftali Bennett, who now serves as Minister of Education. Bennett left the party to create a new party — a secular, right-wing party for “Israeli, right-wing Jews” — called “Yamin Hadash” or New Right.

Though one is a religious party using religious values as its core values, and the other calls for unity between religious and secular Israeli Jews, on the issue of the Land of Israel they are identical: The Land of Israel belongs to the Jews; Jews and only Jews have national rights on the land; there will be no compromises or negotiations on the land; settling the land with Jews is a national priority. They also claim they believe that minorities should have citizenship rights.

This last clause is problematic because if it is a Jewish state with Jewish symbols and priority is given to the settling of the land with Jews, this already negates the possibility that equal rights will be offered to the minorities. These minorities, who are the Palestinians, are in fact the majority between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, so once again there is a clear inconsistency here that can be attributed to the fact that they have no intention of giving any rights to Palestinians.

In addition to that, Palestinians, being the indigenous people of the land, should be provided not only citizenship rights but national rights.

Though these two parties are now running against each other, it is likely that they will sit together in a coalition government once Netanyahu is elected.

 

The main player

The only stable party that remains significant in today’s Israeli political map is the Likud party, which is headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Its charter resembles that of the other parties, which so many find hard to stomach:

Protecting the rights of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel as an eternal and unquestionable right. Developing and settling all parts of the land of Israel and extending Israeli sovereignty onto all parts of the Land of Israel.”

The Likud too calls for equal rights to all citizens and encouraging minorities to be included in the state. Since the Likud has a history of governing otherwise, particularly in the last decade under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is clear that these calls are merely lip service.

 

Hypocrisy

In an interview I gave recently, I stated that the entire orchestra of people and organizations that criticize Netanyahu for his political alliance with these right-wing parties is pure hypocrisy. He shares their ideology and it makes political sense for him to align with them. Comparing them to the KKK or to Neo-nazis is not wrong, but one must remember that they are the cutting edge of Zionism and the State of Israel.

They are the “soldiers” who push the limits and allow the official state policies to move forward. The members of Otsma Yehudit are thugs and some have been designated as terrorists, and Netanyahu has more stately manners. But their objectives and their actions are in perfect sync.

Top Photo | An election campaign poster with the image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies among ballot papers at his party’s election headquarters, in Tel Aviv. Dan Balilty | AP

Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

israel (apartheid state) Pharmaceutical Firms Test Medicines on Palestinian Prisoners

Israel Pharmaceutical Firms Test Medicines on Palestinian Prisoners
By Middle East Monitor

Israeli Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed yesterday that the Israeli occupation authorities issues permits to large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners, Felesteen.ps reported.

The Hebrew University lecturer also revealed that the Israeli military firms are testing weapons on Palestinian children and carry out these tests in the Palestinian neighbourhoods of occupied Jerusalem.

Speaking in Columbia University in New York City, Shalhoub-Kevorkian said that she collected the data while carrying out a research project for the Hebrew University

“Palestinian spaces are laboratories,” she said. “The invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army.”

In her talk, entitled “Disturbing Spaces – Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem”, the professor added:

“They check for which bombs to use, gas bombs or stink bombs. Whether to put plastic sacks or cloth sacks. To beat us with their rifles or to kick us with boots.”

Last week, Israeli authorities refused to hand over the body of Fares Baroud, who passed away inside Israeli prisons after suffering from a number of diseases. His family fear that he could have been used for such tests and Israel is afraid this could be revealed through forensic investigations.

5,000 tests on prisoners

In July 1997, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported remarks for Dalia Itzik, chairman of a parliamentary committee, acknowledged that the Israeli Ministry of Health had given pharmaceutical firms permits to test their new drugs of inmates, noting that 5,000 tests had already been carried out.

Robrecht Vanderbeeken, the cultural secretary of Belgium’s ACOD trade union, warned in August 2018 the population of the Gaza Strip is being “starved to death, poisoned, and children are kidnapped and murdered for their organs.”

This follows previous warnings from Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour who said the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces “were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power.”

Featured image: Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons [Source: Almanar News English/Twitter]

Britons who fight for israel (apartheid state) must also be held to account when they return to the UK

Britons who fight for Israel must also be held to account when they return to the UK

Israel soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron on 16 November 2012 [ Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | February 25, 2019

The thorny issue of foreign soldiers serving in the Israeli military is back in the headlines, triggered by the debate over the future of Shamima Begum, the British schoolgirl who ran away from home to join terror group Daesh in Syria. Thousands of young men and women from around the world, including Britain, Canada and America, volunteer to fight in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), which faces regular accusations of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses. The IDF’s treatment of Palestinians is brutal, even for an occupation army.

A letter written by the Britain’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, back in 2014 to the then Home Secretary Theresa May has just resurfaced. “I am aware of the Government’s policy of detaining and prosecuting those British citizens travelling to fight in the current Middle East conflicts,” wrote the Labour MP. “Will you be warning any British citizens considering engagement with the IDF that, in line with established British Government practice (e.g. the deprivation of British citizenship from, to date, at least 40 UK passport holders who have been involved in the Syrian civil war), such engagement may put their British citizenship in jeopardy?”

McDonnell wrote to May given the seriousness of the then Israeli military offensive on the Palestinians in Gaza and the apparent escalation of Israeli attacks. “I urge you to address these questions promptly so that any British citizen currently participating or planning to participate in these attacks is warned of the potential consequences and thus may be deterred from acting in this way.” He demanded that action should be taken against British-Israeli dual nationals, pointing out that some may even be implicated in war crimes, at the height of the aerial bombardment on Gaza in which hundreds of innocent women, men and their children were killed.

Several years down the line, and now Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, once one of the most powerful Muslim women in the British government, has said that British citizens who volunteer for the Israeli army should be prosecuted like others who fight for foreign forces. The former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said that people should only be legally allowed to fight for the country where they are registered as a citizen. Warsi quit her role in the Foreign Office back in 2014 after calling the war in Gaza “morally indefensible”. Since then she appears to have been airbrushed from Conservative Party politics.

The British government’s current policy on the issue is, suggested Baroness Warsi, flawed and contains loopholes. “If you go out there and fight for any group,” she explained, “you will be subject to prosecution when you get back. If you go out and fight for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, I presume, under our law, that is okay. That can’t be right.” She claimed that the only reason we allow the loophole to exist is because of the IDF. “We are not brave enough to say that if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only.” The Yorkshire-born baroness said that this message has to go out loud and clear. She has made her views known at a time when Muslims in Britain continue to face questions about their loyalty.

“We don’t talk about it in relation to other communities,” she added. “We accept that other communities hold multiple identities. Let’s just shut down this loophole. If you don’t fight for Britain, you do not fight.”

Mick Napier, a co-founder of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) pointed out that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations all consider the IDF to be guilty of the most egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Clearly any British citizens serving in that army have questions to answer because they may have witnessed or been involved in war crimes. This must not be swept under the carpet.”

Indeed, he added, there is “well-documented evidence” of war crimes carried out by Israel on the Palestinian people and their children. “Those involved should be held to account under international law. Israel’s soldiers, regardless of nationality, like the misguided characters who joined Daesh, have to be held accountable for their actions.”

IDF recruits don’t necessarily have to be born in Israel or even hold dual citizenship. Anyone can join through the so-called “Mahal” programme if they meet specific background and age requirements. While British citizens fighting for some foreign forces have faced prosecution on their return to Britain, those who temporarily join up with the IDF have not. Nor have those fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria faced prosecution even though Britain’s NATO ally Turkey regards many of the Kurdish militia groups as terrorist organisations.

Israel’s Mahal initiative is for men under the age of 24 and women under 21. Applicants don’t have to hold Israeli citizenship or even be practising Jews. If they can prove that they have at least one Jewish grandparent they can sign up for 18 months in the IDF.

The whole question of loyalty and citizenship has been in the headlines a lot over the past few days. It can have serious implications. Last week, for example, an American appeal court ruled that a $1 billion lawsuit by Palestinians and Palestinian Americans against casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and other supporters of Israel for genocide and other war crimes can go forward. The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling dismissing the case because it felt that a court could not rule on political and foreign policy issues.

The lawsuit, reported MEMO, alleges a conspiracy by the pro-Israel defendants to expel non-Jews from the West Bank and Jerusalem, and accused them of committing or aiding in genocide and other war crimes. The other defendants named in the lawsuit include Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim; construction and support companies such as Hewlett Packard and Volvo; and 13 non-profit organisations. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said that the court can decide whether the defendants named in the lawsuit conspired to remove non-Jews from the West Bank or committed war crimes “without touching the sovereignty question, if it concluded that Israeli settlers are committing genocide.”

Meanwhile, the British Government will this week ask MPs to outlaw membership or support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah in any form; those who ignore the new legislation will face up to 10 years’ in prison. The plan to extend the existing ban on Hezbollah’s military wing to the organisation as a whole, even though Hezbollah MPs serve in the government, in Beirut will be discussed on Friday.

The British government announced that the group will be “proscribed” from this Friday as a terrorist organisation over its “attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East”; ministers claim that they can no longer distinguish between Hezbollah the political party and its already-banned military wing.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is embroiled in the citizenship row over runaway Daesh bride Shamima Begum, announced the move. “My priority is to protect the British people,” he claimed. “As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology, which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.”

Other groups earmarked for British designation as terrorist organisations include Ansaroul Islam and JNIM, which operate in the Sahel region in Africa; and the Turkish Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKC), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front/Armed Propaganda Units (DHKC/SPB), which are aliases of the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party—Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi) which is already proscribed. Organisations which are believed to be aliases of Daesh, including: Jaysh Khalid Bin Walid and Khalid Ibn Walid Army, are also scheduled to be banned by the British.

Will a strong stance be taken against British citizens who enlist in the Israel Defence Forces? It is unlikely, given the strong Zionist leanings of government ministers and MPs across the House of Commons. It is not that long ago, remember, that the British government changed the procedures governing universal jurisdiction to accommodate visits by Israeli politicians believed to be responsible for war crimes.

This is not about saying that those fighting for Daesh are the same as those in IDF uniforms. It is about having laws and applying the law to everyone. IDF members have, literally, got away with murder for many years. The British government must apply the same principles to everyone, so that Britons who fight for Israel will also be held to account when they return to the UK. Isn’t that what democracy and the rule of law is all about?

israel (apartheid state) burying nuclear waste in Syria’s Golan: UN

Israel burying nuclear waste in Syria’s Golan: UN

UN troops stand near a watch tower at Syria's Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on September 27, 2018. (Photo By AFP)UN troops stand near a watch tower at Syria’s Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on September 27, 2018. (Photo By AFP)

UN chief Antonio Guterres will unveil Monday a report which accuses Israel of burying radioactive nuclear waste in the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory under occupation for over five decades.

Guterres will submit the report – which is based on Syria’s charges against Israel – to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the panel’s 40th session, set to open in Geneva Monday and run through March 22.

“The Syrian Arab Republic noted that Israel continued to bury nuclear waste with radioactive content in 20 different areas populated by Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly in the vicinity of al-Sheikh Mountain,” the report says.

“The practice has put the lives and health of Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan in jeopardy, and constituted a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny having atomic bombs. The regime is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Israel is not a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which aims is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology.

Tel Aviv seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since.

Over the past decades, Israel has built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls on the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

The UN report further accuses Israel of “providing logistical support to terrorist groups,” such as the Nusrah Front which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Israel, the report says, is providing terrorist groups with weapons, ammunition, money and medical care to frighten the local population and to maintain a no-go zone along the Syrian border.

The report also censures Israel’s decision “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan” as “null and void and without international legal effect,” calling on the regime to “rescind forthwith its decision”.

The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from militant groups.

Tel Aviv has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Read more: 

Israel’s angry response 

The UN report drew an angry reaction from Israel, with its foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon dismissing it at “another false report from the UNHRC which specializes in attacking Israel.”

The UNHRC had initially said that at this four-week session it would publish for the first time its data base on companies doing businesses with illegal Israeli settlements. Israel has reportedly worked behind the scenes to prevent the publication of the data base.

Read more:

The UN body is also expected to debate Israeli actions against Palestinians along the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories.

The End of the Observer Mission in Hebron

Source

It acted as a restraint on the settlers’ worst excesses, writes Jonathan Cook.

By Jonathan Cook
Jonathan-Cook.net

You might imagine that a report by a multinational observer force documenting a 20-year reign of terror by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers against Palestinians, in a city under occupation, would provoke condemnation from European and U.S. politicians.

But you would be wrong. The leaking in December of the report on conditions in the city of Hebron, home to 200,000 Palestinians, barely caused a ripple.

About 40,000 separate cases of abuse had been quietly recorded since 1997 by dozens of monitors from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. Some incidents constituted war crimes.

Exposure of the confidential report has now provided the pretext for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expel the international observers. He shuttered their mission in Hebron this month, in apparent violation of Israel’s obligations under the 25-year-old Oslo peace accords.

Israel hopes once again to draw a veil over its violent colonization of the heart of the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city. The process of clearing tens of thousands of inhabitants from central Hebron is already well advanced.

Any chance of rousing the international community into even minimal protest was stamped out by the U.S. last week. It blocked a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council expressing “regret” at Israel’s decision, and on Friday added that ending the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was an “internal matter” for Israel.

Hebron. (Marcin Monko via Flickr)

Hebron. (Marcin Monko via Flickr)

The TIPH was established in 1997 after a diplomatic protocol split the city into two zones, controlled separately by Israel and a Palestinian Authority created by the Oslo accords.

The “temporary” in its name was a reference to the expected five-year duration of the Oslo process. The need for TIPH, most assumed, would vanish when Israel ended the occupation and a Palestinian state was built in its place.

Israel Granted Free Hand in Hebron

While Oslo put the Palestinian Authority formally in charge of densely populated regions of the occupied territories, Israel was effectively given a free hand in Hebron to entrench its belligerent hold on Palestinian life.

Several hundred extremist Jewish settlers have gradually expanded their illegal enclave in the city center, backed by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Many Palestinian residents have been forced out while the rest are all but imprisoned in their homes.

TIPH faced an impossible task from the outset: to “maintain normal life” for Hebron’s Palestinians in the face of Israel’s structural violence.

Until the report was leaked, its documentation of Israel’s takeover of Hebron and the settlers’ violent attacks had remained private, shared only among the states participating in the task force.

However, the presence of observers did curb the settlers’ worst excesses, helping Palestinian children get to school unharmed and allowing their parents to venture out to work and shop. That assistance is now at an end.

Burial Plot of Abraham

Hebron has been a magnet for extremist settlers because it includes a site revered in Judaism: the reputed burial plot of Abraham, father to the three main monotheistic religions.

But that same place in Hebron became central to Muslim worship centuries ago, with the Ibrahimi mosque established at the site.

Israel’s policy has been gradually to prise away the Palestinians’ hold on the mosque, as well the urban space around it. Half of the building has been restricted to Jewish prayer, but in practice the entire site is under Israeli military control.

As the TIPH report notes, Palestinian Muslims must now pass through several checkpoints to reach the mosque and are subjected to invasive body searches. The muezzin’s call to prayer is regularly silenced to avoid disturbing Jews.

Faced with these pressures, according to TIPH, the number of Palestinians praying there has dropped by half over the past 15 years.

In Hebron, as at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy site is treated solely as an obstacle – one that must be removed so that Israel can assert exclusive sovereignty over all of the Palestinians’ former homeland.

 The Ibrahimi Mosque. (PalFest via Flickr)

The Ibrahimi Mosque. (PalFest via Flickr)

The Massacre of 1994

A forerunner of TIPH was set up in 1994, shortly after Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli army doctor, entered the Ibrahimi mosque and shot more than 150 Muslims at prayer, killing 29. Israeli soldiers aided Goldstein, inadvertently or otherwise, by barring the worshippers’ escape while they were being sprayed with bullets.

The massacre should have provided the opportunity for Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister of the time, to banish Hebron’s settlers and ensure the Oslo process remained on track. Instead he put the Palestinian population under prolonged curfew.

That curfew never really ended. It became the basis of an apartheid policy that has endlessly indulged Jewish settlers as they harass and abuse their Palestinian neighbors.

Israel’s hope is that most will get the message and leave.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power for a decade, more settlers are moving in, driving out Palestinians. Today Hebron’s old market, once the commercial hub of the southern West Bank, is a ghost town, and Palestinians are too terrified to enter large sections of their own city.

TIPH’s report concluded that, far from guaranteeing “normal life,” Israel had made Hebron more divided and dangerous for Palestinians than ever before.

In 2016 another army medic, Elor Azaria, used his rifle to shoot in the head a prone and badly wounded Palestinian youth. Unlike Goldstein’s massacre, the incident was caught on video.

Israelis barely cared until Azaria was arrested. Then large sections of the public, joined by politicians, rallied to his cause, hailing him a hero.

Despite doing very little publicly, TIPH’s presence in Hebron had served as some kind of restraint on the settlers and soldiers. Now the fear is that there will be more Azarias.

Palestinians rightly suspect that the expulsion of the observer force is the latest move in efforts by Israel and the U.S. to weaken mechanisms for protecting Palestinian human rights.

Netanyahu has incited against local and international human rights organizations constantly, accusing them of being foreign agents and making it ever harder for them to operate effectively.

And last year U.S. President Donald Trump cut all aid to UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency, which plays a vital role in caring for Palestinians and upholding their right to return to their former lands.

Not only are the institutions Palestinians rely on for support being dismembered but so now are the organizations that record the crimes Israel has been committing.

That, Israel hopes, will ensure that an international observer post which has long had no teeth will soon will soon lose its sight too as Israel begins a process of annexing the most prized areas of the West Bank – with Hebron top of the list.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. He blogs at https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/.

Zionism Contradicts Judaism

Zionism Contradicts Judaism

New York historian, journalist, and lecturer, Alfred M. Lilienthal, was the leading 20th century American Jewish spokesman against the Zionist project of creating a Jewish state in Palestine. His views gained a wide audience in the United States when his essay, “Israel’s Flag Is Not My Flag,” was published in the September 1949 Reader’s Digest. The following is an excerpt from that article, which was written in the form of a letter to his mother:

The plain fact is that we Jews are not a race and we should not let the Zionists persuade us that we are. Proof to the contrary lies in Palestine, plain for all to see. You had my letter, Mother, from my Army furlough there. I was second to none in my enthusiasm for. what my co-religionists had done for a desert brought to bloom, for clean new cities rising out of age-old sand dunes. All of these wonders had come to pass while only a few fanatics talked of statehood. One evening I went to see a performance of an opera in Jerusalem. In that theater lobby you could distinguish almost at a glance the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazic Jew from Poland, the Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jew from North Africa or Turkey, the German Jew, Jews from a score of countries all differing in dress, language, manners and mental attitudes. I had visual proof of the arguments of anthropologists. who laugh at the notion of a distinct Jewish race.

Anyone who tells me those foreign Jews are exclusively my people that I should be closer to them than to Bob McCormick, the kid on the block with whom I used to play ball: or to Nick Galbraith, who roomed next to me at Cornell; or Dave Du Vivier with whom I studied in law school that man is talking dangerous nonsense. I have also learned, Mother, that when something. goes wrong in my relations with non-Jews. I avoid the habit of thinking that it happened just because I am a Jew. Such self-pity is comforting, but it is usually wrong and therefore dangerous.

It is dangerous, indeed, because it is precisely the sort of paranoia and us-against-the-world mentality upon which the very dangerous little state of Israel is founded. Take it from Lilienthal, as bad ideas go, this Israel foolishness has to be just about the worst.

The sentiments that Lilienthal expressed in that article, I dare say, were also the sentiments of a very large proportion of American Jews at the time. It is certainly the sort of sensible approach to the Israel issue that I encountered among the first group of Jews that I rubbed shoulders with in graduate school at the University of North Carolina, 1968-1972. In my first year I shared an apartment with two of them and my office mate was also Jewish for most of the time I was there. Several other of my student colleagues in the economics department were also Jewish, as were a few of my professors. Almost all of them were sort of standard left-liberal in their politics and as a consequence their sentiments probably leaned naturally toward the plight of the native Palestinians. The one exception was a professor for whom I was a teaching assistant for one semester, and I was amazed by his extreme Zionist, Israel-first attitude. It was really a brand-new experience for me, and I frankly found it shocking. My thought at the time—which I dared not express to him—was that he was really living in the wrong country. In fact, his son, he told me, was planning to emigrate to Israel. From my admittedly very small sample, I got the impression that his views were that of a quite small minority of American Jews.

Perhaps Lilienthal’s best known book is the brief little 1969 volume, What Price Israel? The reviewing customer, Herbert Fleschner, of Washington, DC, sums it up very well:

This highly intelligent, well-educated man was Jewish. He was strictly against the creation of the State of Israel and said that it would spawn great problems in the Middle East. So it has. The Zionist creators of the State of Israel operated by lies, deception, trickery, subterfuge, and even harassed their own Jewish people in order to force them to immigrate to Palestine. They even had the power to manipulate the delegates of the United Nations who made recommendations for this situation at that time. Enter King David Hotel Bombing into your search engine, and you will discover Menachem Begin, former Prime Minister of Israel, was a Zionist terrorist, who masterminded this bombing, resulting in the death of a great number of people, including the British High Command whose job it was to keep law and order under the British Mandate. An excellent read for those of you who are not afraid to discover the truth. Remember, Lilienthal was Jewish.

He might also have suggested a search of “Menachem Begin Deir Yassin Massacre” to get a bit more of the flavor of the terrorist role that Begin played in the creation of the state of Israel. One of the better articles one comes up with is “Deir Yassin: The Massacre that Sparked the Nakba” by Britt Wilkins on Counterpunch.

The Zionist Connection II

One can also learn quite a bit about Deir Yassin and its foundational importance to Israel in Chapter Five, entitled “What Palestinians?”, of Lilienthal’s 1978, 904-page magnum opusThe Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? The flavor of that book is well-captured by the opening of his 24th and penultimate chapter, which is headed by a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.”

In a controversial 1970 Commentary article, Robert Alter raised a most basic question:

Does a Jewish state belong in an area where, even as late as 1947, the majority of the population was Arab? How can Israel be imagined, even in the most diffuse sense, as a continuation of the moral heritage of Judaism if its existence depends upon a manifest historical injustice? (link added)

That Judaic heritage is clear and unmistakable and has been unwavering. Where Zionism is particularist and segregationalist, Judaism has been universalist and integrationalist. Judaism, like its offspring monotheistic faiths, Christianity and Islam, has always represented a moral choice, a spiritual link between man and his Creator in whose ethos there is little room for narrow chauvinism. Whereas Zionism staked its claim to a land that had not belonged to Jews for 2,000 years, Judaism’s power to survive has always depended on its being unrelated to any particular geographic tract. The Jews were chosen by the Lord neither to possess a specific piece of land nor to be favored over others of his children. They were selected for the task of spreading the message that there is one and only one God.

In exchanging their birthright for the “mess” of statehood, and staking the future of American Judaism on the roulette of power politics, Jewish leaders surrendered to the noxious dualism of religion and nationalism.

Fifty years ago, these same Jews had vigorously opposed being classified with Italian, Germans, Czechs, French, etc. on an ethnic basis rather than with Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Muslims, etc., as a religious community. But with the triumph of the Zionist revival in Palestine, the ethnicity of the Jew elsewhere shifted; and without protest the subtle transmutation from Jewish Americans, a religious grouping, into American Jews, an ethnic-national entity, was accomplished. (link added)

To conceal the dual national attachment, the link with Israel was passed off as a religious tie, the worship of Israelism increasingly supplanting Judaism. It was much simpler to write a check to the UJA, and pleasanter than to attend synagogue services. The new idolatry had no time for immutable principles and universal values. Jews accepted situations they otherwise would have rejected, but now welcomed in the name of Israel. (link added)

Opposed to violence and war, Jews accepted Israel’s acts of military might and aggression. Opposed to union of church and state, they accepted such a unity wherever Israel was involved. Long dedicated to integration into the body politic, they moved toward separateness and segregation. Judaistic tradition had placed its followers alongside those who struggled against the limitation of human and civil rights. In the name of Israelism, they sanctioned the suppression of Palestinian Arab civil and human rights within Israel proper and in the occupied territories. Expressed another way, Jews have come to lose their own traditional universal, human ethos through their identification with Israelism. Intellectual and staunch defenders of Israel Arthur Waskow noted pertinently, “and it’s not just politics the Jewish institutions want to avoid; it’s God, too. Try talking of God to a rabbi!—he’s too busy trying to raise money for Israel or the synagogue mortgage.”

Many people might be surprised to learn that today there are still quite a few people who call themselves Jews who think like Lilienthal did. They, like he, would agree that modern-day Israel exemplifies the sort of behavior that the prophets of the Old Testament deplored among the descendants of Abraham. The largest organized group of such people call themselves Neturei Karta. The following is from the “About Us” section of their web site:

The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them.

Neturei Karta deplore the systematic uprooting of ancient Jewish communities by the Zionists, the shedding of Jewish and non-Jewish blood for the sake of Zionist sovereignty and the Neturei Karta favor a peaceful transition from the present Zionist rule to a non-Zionist entity.

According to Judaic Law the Torah has the last word. There is no such thing as a majority of Jews who happen to be Jewish by birth who can alter Torah Law in any way. In fact even the greatest rabbi or as Maimonides writes, “even the greatest prophet” [referring actually to an authentic prophet], has no right to distort or amend even one letter of the Torah.

Rabbi Blau stated shortly before his death that the acceptance by the United Nations of the Zionist state as a member state constituted a grave injustice to the Jewish people. Neturei Karta hope that this great error will be corrected at the earliest opportunity. The Neturei Karta regret that the Zionist state has usurped the holy name of Israel and that the Zionists so often pretend to speak in the name of the Jewish people and assume the right to act on our behalf. Only those rabbis who have not been affected or influenced by the poison of Zionism, can be considered the spiritual leaders of today’s Jewry.

The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!

The United States really ought to be just about the last place where the Zionist ideology should resonate. The foundational premise for the creation of the state of Israel in the heart of the Arab world is that Jews are discriminated against in countries where they are minorities and in danger of even worse things happening to them, and therefore they must have a state of their own. Nowhere is this premise more absurd than in the United States, which has especially been a land of opportunity for Jews. The statement submitted to the Versailles Peace Conference at the end of World War I by a group of prominent U.S. Jews was, as a consequence, quite representative of Jewish sentiment in the country at the time:

As a future form of government for Palestine will undoubtedly be considered by the approaching Peace Conference, we, the undersigned citizens of the United States, unite in this statement, setting forth our objections to the organization of a Jewish State in Palestine as proposed by the Zionist Societies in this country and Europe and to the segregation of the Jews as a nationalistic unit in any country.

We feel that in so doing we are voicing the opinion of the majority of American Jews born in this country and of those foreign born who have lived here long enough to thoroughly assimilate American political and social conditions. The American Zionists represent, according to the most recent statistics available, only a small proportion of the Jews living in this country, about 150,000 out of 3,500,000. (American Jewish Year Book, 1918, Philadelphia).

At the outset we wish to indicate our entire sympathy with the efforts of Zionists which aim to secure for Jews at present living in lands of oppression a refuge in Palestine or elsewhere, where they may freely develop their capabilities and carry on their activities as free citizens.

But we raise our voices in warning and protest against the demand of the Zionists for the reorganisation of the Jews as a national unit, to whom, now or in the future, territorial sovereignty in Palestine shall be committed. This demand not only misrepresents the trend of the history of the Jews, who ceased to be a nation 2000 years ago, but involves the limitation and possible annulment of the larger claims of Jews for full citizenship and human rights in all lands in which those rights are not yet secure. For the very reason that the new era upon which the world is entering aims to establish government everywhere on principles of true democracy, we reject the Zionistic project of a “national home for the Jewish people in Palestine”.

Zionism arose as a result of the intolerable conditions under which Jews have been forced to live in Russia and Roumania. But it is evident that for the Jewish population of these countries, variously estimated at from six to ten millions, Palestine can become no homeland. Even with the improvement of the neglected condition of this country, its limited area can offer no solution. The Jewish question in Russia and Roumania can be settled only within those countries by the grant of full rights of citizenship to Jews.

We are all the more opposed to the Zionists, because they, themselves, distinctly repudiate the solely ameliorative program. They demand and hail with delight the “Balfour Declaration” to establish “a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine”, i.e., a home not merely for Jews living in countries in which they are oppressed, but for Jews universally. No Jew, wherever he may live, can consider himself free from the implications of such a grant.

Leading British and French Anti-Zionists

That very cynical war measure known as the Balfour Declaration, designed to enlist world Jewry on its side by promising other people’s land to the Jews, hardly had the overwhelming support of British Jews, either. The one Jewish member of the British cabinet at the time, Edwin Montagu, was, in fact, about as anti-Zionist as Lilienthal, as we see from his observations here:

Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on the Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will shake British soil from his shoes and go back to agricultural pursuits in Palestine, he has always seemed to me to have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and to have admitted that he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain, or to be treated as an Englishman. I have always understood that those who indulged in this creed were largely animated by the restrictions upon and refusal of liberty to Jews in Russia. But at the very time when these Jews have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorized to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the “national home of the Jewish people”. I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mahommedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine. Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test.

Montagu’s prediction was absolutely accurate with respect to what Zionism has meant for the Muslim and Christian residents of Palestine. The consequent rise of ill will toward Jews in other countries that he foresaw, however, has been forestalled by something that he could hardly have envisioned, that is the creation of the “Holocaustianity” religion, which we shall discuss later, and by the sheer power of money to control public opinion.

Perhaps the most prominent Jewish political figure in France at the time of the Dreyfus Affair around the end of the 19th century was Chamber of Deputies member, Joseph Reinach. His crystal ball at that time with respect to the prospects for Zionism might have been a bit faulty, but he took a similar view to Montagu’s in an article in the newspaper, Le Figaro:

The sole result of this campaign, which in any case is destined for a pitiful failure, would be to give the impression…that those Frenchmen who belong to the Jewish faith are subordinating the idea of the fatherland to I cannot imagine what sort of solidarity which existed in a vague way during barbarous times, which was prevalent no doubt at the origin of civilized societies, but which in modern societies is an anachronism.

Unfortunately, that vicious anachronism is ruling the roost these days. Lilienthal attributes its pivotal rise in the dominant world power coming out of World War II, the United States, to the wave of Jewish immigrants in the early part of the 20th century from Eastern Europe, where they were accustomed to living in a separate “state within a state.” They brought with them, in a word, the ghetto mentality. They might have been virtually all descendants of Khazarian converts to Judaism and not blood heirs to ancient Israel, but they bought heavily into the tribal “chosen people” idea. Arch-Zionist Alan Dershowitz unintentionally revealed the controlling mentality on Fox News in an interview. My grandmother, born in Poland, always wanted to know, he said, “Is it good for the Jews?”

It is not said, but what is implied, is that nobody else and nothing else counts for anything. That is the precise opposite of the universalist sentiment that Lilienthal extols in the Judaism that he embraces, but, unfortunately, it tends to represent the Judaism of the shtetl that so many 20th century immigrants brought with them to the United States.

The Zionist success in the U.S. has also been made possible by the strategic use of money. A case in point, as we learn from Lilienthal, is the transformation of the Jewish-owned New York Times from anti-Zionist to pro-Zionist. They were among the last holdouts in the early 1940’s until succumbing to a massive boycott from their major advertisers, without whose support they would have gone out of business. From that time on they have been little more than propagandists for Israel, just like all the other heavily Jewish-controlled major news organs.

Most recently, the newly elected Muslim Congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, in observing the power of Jewish money in influencing lawmakers, has illustrated the power of money in controlling the news media. They all ganged up on her, calling her anti-Semitic for noting what everyone knows is true. What is illustrated here is that she just didn’t go nearly far enough when she just blamed Jewish money for its power over Republicans. They wield the same power over American politicians of all political stripes and over the news media as well, across the political spectrum.

Why are the Democrats so Russophobic these days other than the fact that Russia is thwarting Israeli ambitions in Syria and in the Middle East generally? The card that the Zionists are predictably playing against her is what Lilienthal calls “anti-anti-Semitism.” They use it like a gun, and, says Lilienthal, “Who is strong enough to remove the gun ever-pointed at the White House by the combined hands of supine politicians, the controlled media and the Zionist lobby?” (p. 808, The Zionist Connection II) The only shortcoming in his observation is that it’s not just the White House at which it is aimed, and he implies that it is only a figurative gun.

Lilienthal also says that it is “Israelism” that has replaced Judaism as the religion of many Jewish Americans. One might say that it is just a subcategory or a supporting tenet of Israelism, but the actual faux religion that has replaced Judaism and they would have it replace Christianity and other religions as well, is what Jérôme Bourbon, the editor of the Paris weekly, Rivarol, calls “Holocaustianity”:

Not only did Professor [Robert] Faurisson by his research and famous phrase of 60 words threaten the ideological foundations of the world order issuing from World War II, but he also called in question the religion, or counter-religion, of “Holocaustianity.” It is a veritable religion, demanding respect and submission. Its false god requires a homage of adoration, a constant burning of incense before it, a flame to be lit like at Yad Vashem, flowers to be offered, and wailing to go up to Heaven, like at the pilgrimages and processions to Auschwitz and elsewhere, while people must beat their breast, crying out “Never again.”

“Holocaustianity,” taught from primary school to the end of one’s days, by television, cinema and every form of entertainment, does in fact ape all features of the Catholic religion. It has its martyrs (the Six Million), its Saints (Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank), its miracles (“Holocaust” survivors), its stigmatists (tattooed camp-inmates), its pilgrimages (to Auschwitz, etc.), its temples and cathedrals (“Holocaust” museums and memorials), its alms-giving to obtain pardon (never-ending reparation payments to Israel and to “Holocaust” survivors), its relics (camp inmates’ teeth, hair, shoes, etc.), its lives of the Saints (books by Elie WieselAnne Frank, etc.), its torture chambers (gas-chambers), its Gospel (the verdict of the post-war Nuremberg military tribunal), its High Priests and Pontiffs (Simon Wiesenthal), its Inquisition (anti-Revisionist civil law-courts), its laws against blasphemy (strictly forbidding any questioning of the “Holocaust”), its Holy City (modern Jerusalem), its preachers and guardians (all instructors and associations in politics, the media, religion, trade unions, sports and economics), its religious Congregations (World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, AIPAC, etc., etc.), its Hell (for all nationalists – except Israelis! –, all revisionists, all believers in the deicide and in the New Testament replacing the Old, etc.), and its faithful (almost all of mankind).

However, not only does “Holocaustianity” ape Christianity, it also turns it inside out: instead of love, hate; instead of truth, lies; instead of forgiveness, Talmudic vengeance; instead of respect for elders, the hunting down of aged camp-guards; instead of the spirit of poverty, the pursuit of reparation payments; instead of humility, the drive to dominate; instead of sharing, the pursuit of personal gain, instead of charity, blackmail: instead of respect for others, lynching: instead of quiet and discretion, publicity and noisy accusations in the media; instead of the boundless justice of God, the brazen injustice of conquerors setting themselves up as judges of the conquered, and so on and so on. (links added)

David Martin

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

Michelle Alexander

By Michelle Alexander

Opinion Columnist

On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line.

Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement.

King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.

I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.

Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.

Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.

Reading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.

We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel.

And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population.

Of course, there will be those who say that we can’t know for sure what King would do or think regarding Israel-Palestine today. That is true. The evidence regarding King’s views on Israel is complicated and contradictory.

Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee denounced Israel’s actions against Palestinians, King found himself conflicted. Like many black leaders of the time, he recognized European Jewry as a persecuted, oppressed and homeless people striving to build a nation of their own, and he wanted to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which had been a critically important ally in the civil rights movement.

Ultimately, King canceled a pilgrimage to Israel in 1967 after Israel captured the West Bank. During a phone call about the visit with his advisers, he said, “I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt.”

He continued to support Israel’s right to exist but also said on national television that it would be necessary for Israel to return parts of its conquered territory to achieve true peace and security and to avoid exacerbating the conflict. There was no way King could publicly reconcile his commitment to nonviolence and justice for all people, everywhere, with what had transpired after the 1967 war.

Today, we can only speculate about where King would stand. Yet I find myself in agreement with the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who concluded that, if King had the opportunity to study the current situation in the same way he had studied Vietnam, “his unequivocal opposition to violence, colonialism, racism and militarism would have made him an incisive critic of Israel’s current policies.”

Indeed, King’s views may have evolved alongside many other spiritually grounded thinkers, like Rabbi Brian Walt, who has spoken publicly about the reasons that he abandoned his faith in what he viewed as political Zionism. To him, he recently explained to me, liberal Zionism meant that he believed in the creation of a Jewish state that would be a desperately needed safe haven and cultural center for Jewish people around the world, “a state that would reflect as well as honor the highest ideals of the Jewish tradition.” He said he grew up in South Africa in a family that shared those views and identified as a liberal Zionist, until his experiences in the occupied territories forever changed him.

During more than 20 visits to the West Bank and Gaza, he saw horrific human rights abuses, including Palestinian homes being bulldozed while people cried — children’s toys strewn over one demolished site — and saw Palestinian lands being confiscated to make way for new illegal settlements subsidized by the Israeli government. He was forced to reckon with the reality that these demolitions, settlements and acts of violent dispossession were not rogue moves, but fully supported and enabled by the Israeli military. For him, the turning point was witnessing legalized discrimination against Palestinians — including streets for Jews only — which, he said, was worse in some ways than what he had witnessed as a boy in South Africa.

Not so long ago, it was fairly rare to hear this perspective. That is no longer the case.

Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, aims to educate the American public about “the forced displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment and that continues to this day.” Growing numbers of people of all faiths and backgrounds have spoken out with more boldness and courage. American organizations such as If Not Now support young American Jews as they struggle to break the deadly silence that still exists among too many people regarding the occupation, and hundreds of secular and faith-based groups have joined the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

In view of these developments, it seems the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end. There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic.

This is not to say that anti-Semitism is not real. Neo-Nazism is resurging in Germany within a growing anti-immigrant movement. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose 57 percent in 2017, and many of us are still mourning what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history. We must be mindful in this climate that, while criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, it can slide there.

Fortunately, people like the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II are leading by example, pledging allegiance to the fight against anti-Semitism while also demonstrating unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people struggling to survive under Israeli occupation.

He declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.”

Guided by this kind of moral clarity, faith groups are taking action. In 2016, the pension board of the United Methodist Church excluded from its multibillion-dollar pension fund Israeli banks whose loans for settlement construction violate international law. Similarly, the United Church of Christ the year before passed a resolution calling for divestments and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court.

None of this is to say that the tide has turned entirely or that retaliation has ceased against those who express strong support for Palestinian rights. To the contrary, just as King received fierce, overwhelming criticism for his speech condemning the Vietnam War — 168 major newspapers, including The Times, denounced the address the following day — those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash.

Bahia Amawi, an American speech pathologist of Palestinian descent, was recently terminated for refusing to sign a contract that contains an anti-boycott pledge stating that she does not, and will not, participate in boycotting the State of Israel. In November, Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for giving a speech in support of Palestinian rights that was grossly misinterpreted as expressing support for violence. Canary Mission continues to pose a serious threat to student activists.

And just over a week ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, apparently under pressure mainly from segments of the Jewish community and others, rescinded an honor it bestowed upon the civil rights icon Angela Davis, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and supports B.D.S.

But that attack backfired. Within 48 hours, academics and activists had mobilized in response. The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, as well as the Birmingham School Board and the City Council, expressed outrage at the institute’s decision. The council unanimously passed a resolution in Davis’ honor, and an alternative event is being organized to celebrate her decades-long commitment to liberation for all.

I cannot say for certain that King would applaud Birmingham for its zealous defense of Angela Davis’s solidarity with Palestinian people. But I do. In this new year, I aim to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice.

Michelle Alexander became a New York Times columnist in 2018. She is a civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 19, 2019, on Page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

Extremist Rabbis’ Hatred Advisory Opinions Promote Settlements, Encourage Terrorism to Abuse Palestinians

Israeli settlements in West Bank

January 30, 2019

By: Madeeha Araj,

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements said in his weekly report that the investigations into the killing of Palestinian woman Aisha Moh’d Rabi from Bedia village, who died after throwing stones at her husband’s car in Oct. 018 showed that the terrorist attacks were carried out by a new Jewish terrorist organization against the Palestinians’ property and mosques. The Israeli Prosecution presented diluted indictment against the settler murderer of Aisha, saying it was “unintentional killing”. According to the indictment filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Court in Lod, the accused threw a stone weighing around 2 kilos at the Rabi vehicle and killed her near the Za’tara checkpoint south of Nablus.

According to Hebrew sources, the prosecution didn’t intend to file an indictment against other suspected, who were arrested on their involvement in her killing. According to the indictment, the accused and a number of his fellow are members of the Jewish religious institute “Berri Hae’ts” in the settlement of Rahalim, they were at the institute the day she was killed, as they stumbled on a nearby hill overlooking St. 60, and attacked her. Israeli intelligence arrested 5 minors from a settlement near the Za’tara checkpoint on suspicion of “Jewish terrorism” and later found that they are suspected of involvement in the killing of Aisha, but later on 4 of them were released.

Within this context, the ultra-Orthodox rabbi of Safed, a member of Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Council, Shmuel Eliahu known for issuing provocative opinions against Arabs, revealed a meeting with a number of extremist settlers accused of the killing after they were released from prison. In a sermon posted on YouTube, he said, you are the ones who are paving the way for the religious movement to reach power. He called on the settlers not to fear the prison, which he said was “graduates the kings” and leading them to the leadership of the State, saying that we must make the change. Two years ago, he also issued several opinions urging to harm the Palestinians and their property, allowing Jews to steal Arab property for allegedly being “thieves.” The rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Levyorfakal, said that whoever killed Arabs was a friend. Israeli PM Netanyahu described him as an Israeli leader. For his part, the Israeli Rabbi, Rosen has said that the Lord commanded Joshua ben Nun to kill the giant men, women, children, babies, and even the beasts, adding the Palestinians are the giants of this era, and therefore should be treated as the ancient giants.

In another context, the Israeli occupation authorities plan to evacuate the students of the Khalil Sakakini and Al-Quds Preparatory Schools in the Old City of Jerusalem by providing students with incentives and facilities for transferring them to other schools that follow the municipality of the occupation outside the walls of the Old City. The school principal was informed that it will be closed in 1.9.2019. The students will be transferred to other schools without any explanation for this serious decision. The schools include 385 Palestinian girls, stretches over 200 square meters. It is a-120-year-old building.  They were used as hospital and then as a headquarter for the Ottoman Caliphate. In 1917, the British Mandate turned it into a “police station”.

On the other hand, in Jerusalem, the Central District Court issued a temporary order for the confiscation of a 2.7 dunums in the Mount of Olives area, where the late, Yasser Arafat owned 135 m. of them. Moreover, more than 800 Palestinian families are threatened by forced eviction in their homes in favor for Jewish settlement groups. Israeli courts have filed sues against hundreds of Palestinian families demanding the eviction of their homes. The danger of forced eviction threatens dozens of Palestinian families after an Israeli court ruled in favor of a settlement organization to evict the home of a Palestinian family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, claiming it is owned by settlers.

For his part, Nikolai Miladinov, the UN envoy to the Middle East peace process, attacked Israel’s policies and activities, especially military operations in the Palestinian territories. In a briefing to the Security Council on the Palestinian situation, Miladinov expressed his concern over the increase Israeli military operations in areas A and B in the West Bank. He noted that during the past period, Israel has allowed the construction of 3,100 settlement units in settlements in Area C and prepares plans for the construction of 2,500 additional settlement units and tenders for another 650 units in various settlements, most of which will be built in areas of the West Bank. Nablus and Hebron, besides legitimizing more than one settlement in Hebron. He noted that there are efforts to implement the law of confiscating Palestinian lands and whitening the settlements, which raises fears of annexation in the future. Pointing out that the law will apply to 66 outposts. He stressed the position of the United Nations and the international community that settlements were illegal and represented an obstacle before peace.

For its part, the Israeli Civil Administration confiscated and uprooted about 60 olive trees from the Palestinian lands and demolished retaining walls surrounding agricultural land near the Jab’a military checkpoint. In a development that draws attention that accompanies the campaign for the early elections of the Knesset, the “Nahla” Settlement Movement organized a demonstration outside the headquarter of the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister in West Jerusalem demanding the settlement of more than 2 million Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, demanding the settlement right to strengthen settlement in the Palestinian territories. Nahla also calls for the adoption of a clear settlement agenda and lift the “settlement freeze laws” on the settlements, claiming that “the Arabs are building continuously and sustainably.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Tales of torture from israel’s prisons

Tales of Torture From Israel’s Prisons

As Israel prepares to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners, we asked six former inmates about their experiences.

by &
Palestinian boys raise up their hands with chains, during a protest to show their solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, May 4, 2017 [File: Hussein Malla/AP)

Palestinian boys raise up their hands with chains, during a protest to show their solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, May 4, 2017 [File: Hussein Malla/AP)

Earlier this month, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced plans to “worsen” already horrific conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails.

According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are nearly 5,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 230 children and 54 women. Of that number, 481 prisoners are held without trial – under the guise of an unlawful practice known as “administrative detention”. 

Speaking to reporters on January 2, Erdan disclosed some aspects of his plan, but a sinister context was missing from the story.

The minister said the prisoners will be denied “cooking rights”, yet failed to mention that many prisoners, especially during the first stage of their detention, are tortured and denied food altogether. “The plan also includes preventing members of the Knesset from visiting Palestinian detainees,” Erdan added but did not mention how hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are already denied access to lawyers and family visitations on a regular basis.

There is no reason to doubt the Israeli minister’s words when he vows to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners. However, the horrific conditions under which thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli jails – which itself is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention – are already at a stage that can only be described as inhumane as they fail the minimum standards set by international and humanitarian laws.

No one is as qualified to describe Israeli prison conditions as Palestinian prisoners, who experienced every form of physical and psychological torture, and have spent years, sometimes decades, fending for their humanity every hour of every day.

We spoke to six freed prisoners, including two women and a child, who shared their stories with us, with the hope that their testimonies would help the world understand the true context of Erdan’s latest plan.

I was only 16 when I decided to wear an explosive belt and blow myself up among Israeli occupation soldiers. It was all I could do to avenge Muhammad al-Durrah, the 12-year-old Palestinian child who was brutally killed by Israeli soldiers in front of television cameras in September 2000. When I saw the footage of Muhammad huddling by his father’s side, as soldiers showered them both with bullets, I felt powerless. That poor child. But I was arrested, and those who helped me train for my mission were killed three months after my detention.

Wafa’ Samir Ibrahim al-Bis was born in the Jablaiya refugee camp in Gaza. She was 16-years-old when she was detained on May 20, 2005. She was sentenced to 12-years in prison after she was convicted of attempting to carry out a suicide mission targeting Israeli soldiers. She was released in 2011 in a prisoner swap between the Palestinian Resistance and Israel [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

I was tortured for years inside the Ramleh prison’s infamous Cell nine, a torture chamber they designated for people like me. I was hanged from the ceiling and beaten. They put a black bag on my head as they beat and interrogated me for many hours and days. They released dogs and mice in my cell. I couldn’t sleep for days at a time. They stripped me naked and left me like that for days on end. They didn’t allow me to meet with a lawyer or even receive visits from the Red Cross.

They had me sleep on an old, dirty mattress that was as hard as nails. I was in solitary confinement in Cell number nine for two years. I felt that I was buried alive. Once they hanged me for three days nonstop. I screamed as loud as I could, but no one would untie me.

When I was in prison, I felt so lonely. Then one day, I saw a little cat walking among the rooms, so I kept throwing her food so that she would be my friend. Eventually, she started coming inside my cell and would stay with me for hours. When the guards discovered that she was keeping me company, they slit her throat in front of me. I cried for her more than I cried for my own fate.

A few days later, I asked the guard for a cup of tea. She came back and said: “stick your hand out to grab the cup”. I did, but instead she poured boiling water on my hand, causing third-degree burns. I have scars from this incident to this day and I still need help treating my hand.

I cry for Israa’ Ja’abis, whose whole body has been burned yet she remains in an Israeli jail.

I often think of all the women prisoners I left behind.

In May 2015, I wanted to visit my family living in the West Bank. I was missing them terribly as I hadn’t seen them for years. But as soon as I arrived to the Beit Hanoun (Eretz) Crossing, I was detained by Israeli soldiers.

My ordeal on that day started at about 7:30 in the morning. Soldiers searched me in such a humiliating way. They probed every part of my body. They forced me to undress completely. I stayed in that condition till midnight.

In the end, they chained my hands and feet, and blindfolded me. I begged the officer in charge to allow me to call my family because they were still waiting on the other side of the crossing. The soldiers agreed on the condition that I use the exact phrase: “I am not coming home tonight,” and nothing more.

Sana’a Mohammed Hussein al-Hafi was born in the West Bank. She moved to the Gaza Strip after meeting her future husband. She spent 10 months in prison and a further five months under house arrest for transferring money to a ‘hostile entity (Hamas)’ [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

Then more soldiers arrived. They threw me in the back of a large military truck. I felt the presence of many dogs and men surrounding me. The dogs barked and the men laughed. I was so scared.

I was taken to the Ashkelon military compound, where I was searched again in the exact same degrading manner, and placed in a very small cell with a dim light. It smelled terrible. It was very cold although it was early summer. The bed was tiny and filthy. The covers too. The soldiers took all of my possessions, including my watch.

I couldn’t sleep, as I was interrogated every few hours. I would sit on a wooden chair for long periods of time to be subjected to the same routine, filled with shouting and insults and dirty language. I was kept in the Ashkelon compound for seven days. They allowed me to shower once, with very cold water.

At night, I heard voices of men and women being tortured; angry shouts in Hebrew and broken Arabic; doors slamming in a most disturbing manner.

At the end of that week, I was transferred to HaSharon prison, where I was relieved to be with other Palestinian female prisoners, some minors, some mothers like me, and some old ladies.

Every two or three days, I was taken out of my cell for more interrogation. I would leave at dawn and return around midnight. Occasionally, I was put in a large military truck with other women and taken to military court. We were either chained individually or to each other. We would wait for hours only to be told that the court session had been postponed to a later date.

In our cells, we struggled to survive under harsh conditions and medical neglect. Once an old woman prisoner collapsed. She had diabetes and was receiving no medical attention. We all started screaming and crying. Somehow, she survived.

I was in prison for ten months. When I was finally released from prison, I was put under house arrest in Jerusalem for another 5 months. I missed my family. I thought about them every hour of every day. No words can describe how harrowing that experience was, to have your freedom taken away, to live without dignity and without rights.

No words.

The day I saw my mother
Fuad Qassim al-Razam

I have experienced both psychological and physical torture in Israeli jails, which forced me to confess to things I did and didn’t do.

Fuad Qassim al-Razam was born in the Palestinian city of Jerusalem. He spent 31 years in prison for killing an Israeli soldier and an armed settler among other charges [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

The first phase of detention is usually the most difficult because the torture is most intense and the methods are most brutal. I was denied food and sleep and I was left hanging from the ceiling for hours. At times I was left standing in the rain, naked, tied to a pole, with a bag on my head. I would be left in that condition the whole day, while occasionally getting punched, kicked and hit with sticks by soldiers.

I was forbidden from seeing my family for years, and when I finally was allowed to see my mother, she was dying. An ambulance brought her to Beir Al-Saba’ prison, and I was taken in my shackles to see her. She was in terrible health and could no longer speak. I remember the tubes coming out of her hands and nose. Her arms were bruised and blue from where the needles entered her frail skin.

I knew it would be the last time I would ever see her, so I read some Quran to her before they took me back to my cell. She died 20 days later. I know she was proud of me. When I was released, I was not allowed to read verses from the Quran by her grave as I was deported to Gaza immediately after the prisoner exchange in 2011.

One day I will visit her grave.

‘They burned my genitals’
Mohammed Abul-Aziz Abu Shawish

I was arrested by Israel seven times; the first time I was six-years-old. That was in 1970. Then, they accused me of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. I was arrested again when I was a teenager. That time I was beaten up and an Israeli officer lit a match under my genitals. They stripped my clothes off and placed my underwear in my mouth to muffle my screams. I felt pain when I tried to use the bathroom for many days after that incident.

Mohammed Abul-Aziz Abu Shawish was born in the Nuseirat Refugee camp in Gaza in 1964. His family is originally from Barqa, a village in southern Palestine that was ethnically-cleansed in 1948. He spent 9 years in prison after being charged with possessing a weapon and being a member of the Fatah movement [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

My last imprisonment was the longest. I was detained on April 23, 1985, and remained in jail for 9 years to be released after the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Even in prison, our fight for our rights never ceased. We fought through hunger strikes and they fought us back with isolation and torture. As soon as the prison administration would concede to our demands, to end our strike, they would slowly deprive us from everything we had achieved. They would withhold food, prevent family visitations, even prevent us from meeting with our own prison mates. They often confiscated our books and other educational materials for no reason whatsoever.

When I was released on January 8, 1994, I joined the prisoner rehabilitation unit in the Labour Ministry. I tried my best to help my fellow freed prisoners. Since I retired, I wrote a book entitled: Before My Tormentor is Dead, detailing the years of my imprisonment.

I am not a trained writer, I just want the world to know of our plight.

‘They detained my family’
Shadi Farah

I was arrested on December 30, 2015, when I was only 12-years-old. I was released on November 29, 2018. At the time, I was the youngest Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails.

Shadi Farah was arrested in his home in Jerusalem at the age of 12. He was accused of trying to kill Israeli soldiers with a knife they found at his house [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

My interrogation took place in the Maskoubiah prison in Jerusalem, specifically in Cell number four. After days of physical torture, sleep deprivation and severe beating, they imprisoned my whole family – my mom and dad and sisters and brothers.

They told me that my family was held captive because of me and they would only be released if I confessed to my crimes. They swore at me with profanity I cannot repeat. They threatened to do unspeakable things to my mom and sisters.

After each torture session, I would return to my cell so desperate to sleep. But then soldiers would wake me up by slapping my face, kicking me with their boots and punching me in the stomach.

I love my family, and when they used to prevent them from visiting me, it broke my heart.

‘Prisoners are heros’
Jihad Jamil Abu-Ghabn

In prison, my jailers tried to break my spirit and take away my dignity, not just through violence, but also through specific techniques meant to humiliate and demoralise me.

Jihad Jamil Abu-Ghabn spent nearly 24 years in Israeli jails for participating in the first Intifada and for being involved in the killing of an Israeli settler. He was released in 2011 [Courtesy of Ramzy Baroud and Abdallah Aljamal]

They often placed a bag with a most foul smell over my head, which led me to vomit repeatedly inside the bag. When the bag was removed, I would be left with a swollen face and a massive headache from the intermittent deprivation of oxygen.

Throughout my interrogation (which lasted for months), they had me sit on a chair with uneven legs for hours on end. I could never find a comfortable position, which left me with permanent pain in my back and neck.

At times they would introduce ‘prisoners’ to my cell, claiming to be genuine members of the Palestinian Resistance. I would later discover that these prisoners were actually collaborators who were trying to trick me into confessing. We called these collaborators assafir (birds).

Palestinian prisoners are heroes. No words can describe their legendary steadfastness and unfathomable sacrifices.

Yousef Aljamal contributed to this article.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

Bombs Over Damascus: Has israel (apartheid state) Crossed a Russian Red Line in Syria?

Bombs Over Damascus: Has Israel Crossed a Russian Red Line in Syria?

Friday, citing Russian sources the Palestinian-run, London-based, pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Russia has told Israel it will not tolerate further air strikes near the Damascus International Airport:

According to the report, which cited Russian sources, Moscow has told Jerusalem that it intends to renovate the Damascus International Airport, and that further attacks by Israel will not be welcomed.

The Russians say that the air strikes are causing airlines from the region that want to resume operations in Syria to reconsider their decision.

However, instead of this bringing calm, Israel instead launched a yet another series of attack around Damascus and against its main airport:

For two days in a row, Israel Defence Forces have been carrying out strikes on what the IDF claims are Iranian targets in Syria.

The Russian military has announced that tSyrian air defences had destroyed over 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs, when repelling an Israeli strike.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Israeli strike killed four Syrian servicemen and injured 6 others. In addition to this, the air raid has “partially damaged the infrastructure of the Damascus international airport”, the statement says.

The announcement comes shortly after the IDF press service announced that Israel had targeted alleged “military facilities of [Iranian unit] Quds Force in Syria, including weapons depots, mainly in the area of Damascus International Airport, Iranian intelligence center, Iranian training camp” in response to a missile strike in disputed Golan Heights. According to the IDF, during the raid, dozens of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were fired, despite an unequivocal warning not to allow open fire.

Following earlier Syrian TV reports after Damascus had been rocked by powerful blasts, a Syrian military source told Sputnik that Syria’s air defences were able to shoot down a significant part of Israeli guided missiles.

So there are two possibilities. Perhaps Al-Quds, misunderstood its sources or just plain made up the story, or else the Israelis intentionally launched a second series of strikes just to show they will not respect any Russian red lines

israel (apartheid state) to Shut Down UNRWA Schools in East Jerusalem without Notification

Israel to Shut Down UNRWA Schools in East Jerusalem without Notification

UNRWA has been helping Palestinian refugees since 1949. (Photo: via Facebook)

Israeli authorities are set to shut down schools in occupied East Jerusalem run by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as of next year.

The move would come as the latest strike against UNRWA, which suffered a financial crisis in 2018 due to the United States ending all its financial funds to the agency, in addition to Israel increasingly restricting its activities in East Jerusalem.

 

Israel’s National Security Council decided during a meeting last month, to revoke permits allowing UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood to operate, starting as of next year.

The decision would replace UNRWA schools with schools run by the Jerusalem Municipality, using curriculum by the Israeli Education Ministry.

 

According to UNRWA, the agency runs seven schools in two refugee camps that are located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, which serve about 3,000 students enrolled.

UNRWA spokesperson, Sami Meshasha, said in a statement that the Agency has not received any official notice from Israeli authorities regarding the reports after Israeli media reported that Israeli officials are set to revoke permits for UNRWA-run schools in East Jerusalem as of next year.

Meshasha said,

“UNRWA’s existence in Jerusalem is not a gift from Israel.”

 

He added,

“There are bilateral agreements binding on Israel to respect the Agency’s installations, jurisdiction and immunity in Jerusalem. In addition, Israel is a party to the 1946 Refugee Convention, and such attempts are in violation of this Convention.”

According to UNRWA, the agency runs seven schools in two refugee camps that are located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, which serve about 3,000 students enrolled.

 

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said that Israel’s decision to shut down UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem,

“Aims at ethnically cleansing the Palestinian citizens living in Shufat refugee camp.”

UNRWA currently provides services to some 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the occupied Palestinian territories, and the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

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.

Who gets to vote in israel’s (apartheid state) version of democracy?

Who gets to vote in Israel’s democracy

Michael Omer-Man

Israel is about to hold elections, but not everyone living under Israeli rule gets to vote. A breakdown of who has rights and who doesn’t.

Archive photo of a Palestinian citizen of Israel casting a ballot in Abu Gosh, a village outside of Jerusalem, February 10, 2009. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Archive photo of a Palestinian citizen of Israel casting a ballot in Abu Gosh, a village outside of Jerusalem, February 10, 2009. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

On April 9, 2019, Israel will hold general elections. Israelis will head to the polls to choose their elected leaders and representatives. If they are unhappy with the way things are going, like citizens of democracies around the world, their votes will help shape the ideological and political direction of the government and the institutions it controls.

In a vacuum, that sounds like fairly standard democratic practice. But there is nothing standard about Israel’s democracy.

Israeli citizens get to vote in Israeli elections, choosing elected leaders and how they rule the country. But the Israeli government doesn’t just rule over Israeli citizens, or just over Israel, for that matter.

Nearly 14 million people live under Israeli rule. The extent of that control varies, as does the ability of those 14 million people to exercise control over the policies, personalities, and institutions that determine so much about their day-to-day lives.

At the end of 2018, the population of Israel was approximately 8,972,000 people. That includes more than 330,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who do not have Israeli citizenship and thus do not have the right to vote in national elections. It also includes more than 214,000 Jewish Israeli citizens who live in occupied East Jerusalem and more than 435,000 Jewish Israelis who live in the occupied West Bank

Then there is the West Bank, which has been governed undemocratically by the Israeli military since it occupied the territory in 1967. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed again and again, the Israel will not give up military control over the West Bank — ever.

In that territory, over which Israel plans to rule in perpetuity, live more than 2,623,000 Palestinians — over 2,953,000 including East Jerusalem Palestinians — who do not have the right to vote in Israeli elections. In the West Bank, Israel and its army are responsible for everything from road infrastructure, deciding who may live where, who may build where and what, who is allowed to move between different parts of the territory and when, who is allowed in and out of the West Bank, who is allowed to hold a political protest (only Jews), what the laws are and how they are enforced, and whether they will ever be granted independence.

Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers arrest a Palestinian woman after she allegedly tried to cross a checkpoint with a knife, Hebron, West Bank, on September 27, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers arrest a Palestinian woman after she allegedly tried to cross a checkpoint with a knife, Hebron, West Bank, on September 27, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The 435,000 Jewish Israelis who live in the West Bank have the right to vote in elections that can determine every one of those policies. They have elected representatives who can work to rectify any grievances they might have regarding how those policies affect their lives. The 2,623,000 Palestinians living in the same territory do not have the right to vote in elections that determine any of those policies. When their lives are negatively affected by the democratic country that rules over so many aspects of their lives, they have zero recourse within that democratic system to address their grievances.

Then there is the Gaza Strip. Despite having withdrawn its troops from inside the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel and its military still control a great number of significant aspects of life in the strip and the way it is governed. Israel determines what may be imported and exported; who can come in and out of the territory; and who can travel between the West Bank and Gaza. It has unilaterally claimed a buffer zone of farmland inside Gazan territory and enforces who may enter it; it determines and enforces limits to where Palestinian fishermen can fish; it controls the flow of electricity; and even had to give its permission for cash from a third country to be brought into Gaza to pay civil servants’ salaries.

None of the 1,961,000 people living in Gaza get to vote in the democratic elections that could affect those policies, including how much violence Israel uses against them.

Palestinians participate in the Great Return March near the Gaza-Israel fence, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 30, 2018. (Abdel Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinians participate in the Great Return March near the Gaza-Israel fence, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 30, 2018. (Abdel Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

So when Israel goes to vote this April, when everyone is talking about democracy, remember that out of the more-than 13,556,000 people whose lives are directly affected by Israeli policy, only 8,642,000, or around 64 percent of them have the right to participate in that democracy.

In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Israel exercises absolute and direct control on a daily basis, 650,000 Jewish settlers can vote while 2,953,000 Palestinians in the exact same territory cannot. Put differently, of the 3,603,000 people living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, only 18 percent, or fewer than one in five can vote in the elections that affect almost every aspect of their lives.

And of the 6,463,000 Palestinians living under varying degrees of Israeli rule in territory fully or partially controlled by Israel, only 1,548,000 — 24 percent, or fewer than one in four — have the right to vote in Israeli elections.

Some statistical notes: Aside from the numbers of Jews and Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem, which are from the end of 2016, and therefore can be assumed to be lower than the actual figures, all of the numbers given are official end-of-2018 projections published by the Palestinian Census Bureau and the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, respectively. Both agencies include Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem in their figures, so the aggregate numbers were adjusted accordingly in order to not double count. Lastly, the figures do not refer only to the population of voting age, but the entire population, and therefore does not technically refer to voter eligibility in the current election but rather to whether someone will ever have the right to vote under the current regime’s rules of suffrage. In addition, there is a small number of East Jerusalem Palestinians who have acquired Israeli citizenship over the years, in addition to a small number of Palestinian citizens of Israel who have moved to West and East Jerusalem

War on #BDS: How AIPAC-israel (apartheid state) agenda became US priority

War on BDS: How AIPAC-Israel agenda became US priority

Source: Middle East Monitor

The Israeli-US war declared on the Palestinian boycott movement is coming to a head, culminating in a well-orchestrated effort aimed at suffocating any form of tangible protest of the ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestine.

But an Israeli ‘victory’, even with blind US government support, is still too elusive if at all guaranteed. Killing unarmed protesters at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel is often whitewashed as Israel ‘defending itself’. However, legislating unconstitutional laws against the rights of ordinary people to boycott a state that practices war crimes might not be an easy endeavor.

The fact that 26 US states have already passed legislation or some form of condemnation of the civil act of boycott, as championed in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) should, in fact, raise more awareness of the iniquitous Israeli influence on the United States, rather than actually thwarting BDS.

The US Senate first bill of 2019 (S.B.1) titled: “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019” called on state and local governments to withhold contracts from any individual or business entity that boycotts Israel.

The bill was defeated, which is a promising sign. However, it must be noted as profound, if not altogether outrageous, that a country that is subsisting in a government shutdown and political crisis would find it both compelling and necessary to push for such a law in defense of a foreign country.

The bill will reappear again, of course. Alas, Americans should now get used to the idea that Israel’s priorities, however skewed and irrational in defense of its illegal military occupation of Palestine, will become the main rally cry for the US government for years to come.

While such a notion has proved true in the past, never before did ordinary Americans find themselves the main target in the political agenda of the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Even the mere protest of this agenda is being shunned. Iconic US civil rights activist, Angela Davis, 74, deservingly celebrated for her contribution to American society for decades, was denied an award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute because of her defense of Palestinians and support of BDS.

This witch-hunt, which has now reached the most admired intellectuals of American society is affecting ordinary citizens everywhere as well, which is an alarming development in Israel’s unchecked power in the United States.

But how did Israel and its supporters acquire such disproportionate influence over the US government and society as a whole?

In short, the Lobby.

Cheered on by American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other pro-Israel lobbies, the US Congress is now leading the Israeli war on Palestinians and their supporters. In the process, they are attempting to demolish the very core of American democratic values.

The build-up to this particular battle, which will certainly be accentuated in 2019, began when AIPAC declared in its “2017 Lobbying Agenda” (PDF) that criminalizing the boycott of Israel is a top priority.

Cuomo  | BDS | Israel

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs a first-in-the-nation Executive Order directing the divestment of public funds supporting BDS against Israel. Kevin P. Coughlin | Office of Governor Cuomo

The US Congress, which has historically proven subservient to the Israeli government and its lobbies, enthusiastically embraced AIPAC’s efforts. This resulted in the Senate Bill S.720, also known as the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act”, which aimed to ban the boycott of Israel and its illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The bill almost immediately gained the support of 48 Senators and 234 House members. Unsurprisingly, it was drafted mostly by AIPAC itself.

Punishment for those who violate the proposed law ranged from $250,000 to $1 million and 10 years imprisonment.

Anti-Palestinian measures in the US are nothing new. In fact, ardent support for Israel and the complete disregard for Palestinians is the only aspect which Democrats and Republicans have in common. It will remain to be seen if the inclusion of progressive and Muslim women in this current House lineup will change or at least challenge that reality.

For now, the sad truth is that the very individuals who were meant to guard the Constitution are the ones openly violating it. The First Amendment to the US Constitution has been the pillar in defense of the people’s right to free speech, freedom of the press, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

This right has, however, often been curtailed when it applies to Israel. The Center for Constitutional Rights refers to this fact as “The Palestine Exception“.

Dire as it may seem, there is something positive in this. For many years, it has been wrongly perceived that Israel’s solicitation of American support against Palestinians and Arabs is by no means a foreign country meddling or interfering in the US political system or undermining US democracy.

However, the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” is the most egregious of such interventions, for it strikes down the First Amendment, the very foundation of American democracy, by using America’s own legislators as its executors.

But none of this will succeed because simply put, noble ideas cannot be defeated.

Moreover, for Israel, this is a new kind of battle, one which it is foolishly attempting to fight using the traditional tactics of threats and intimidation and backed by blind US support.

The more the lobby tries to defeat BDS the more it exposes itself and its stranglehold on the American government and media.

Israel is no student of history. It has learned nothing from the experience of the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. It is no surprise that Israel remained the last supporter of the Apartheid regime in that country before it fell.

For true champions of human rights, regardless of their race, religion or citizenship, this is their moment as no meaningful change ever occurs without people being united in struggle and sacrifice.

Top Photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, March 6, 2018, in Washington. Jose Luis Magana | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is http://www.ramzybaroud.net.

UN says israeli (apartheid state) government-backed groups ‘delegitimizing’ human rights NGOs

UN says Israeli government-backed groups ‘delegitimizing’ human rights NGOs
Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians with plastic bullets during a protest after Israeli forces made raid on houses and shops in Ramallah, West Bank on January 7, 2019. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )

A United Nations agency has stated humanitarian operations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are being “undermined by delegitimization, access restrictions, and administrative constraints”.

According to UN OCHA, “attempts to delegitimize humanitarian and human rights organizations operating in the oPt, particularly NGOs, have been on the rise in recent years”.

This has had “a negative impact on the ability of these organisations to deliver assistance and advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights”, the agency added.

The situation is “further compounded by longstanding access restrictions imposed on humanitarian staff and operations, restrictive legislation and attacks on human rights defenders”, UN OCHA said.

UN OCHA believes that “the bulk of the delegitimization attempts have been advanced by a network of Israeli civil society groups and some associated organizations elsewhere, with the apparent support of the Israeli government”.

READ: Humanitarian aid is overtly politicised, just not in favour of the Palestinians 

“Targeted defamation and smear campaigns allege violations of counter-terrorism legislation and international law, or political action against Israel”, the statement continued.

According to UN OCHA, “most of these allegations are baseless or misrepresent and distort critical factual or legal elements”.

“Humanitarian organizations operating in the oPt adhere strictly to the principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity, and implement rigorous UN, donor and internal standards to ensure compliance with these principles, and all relevant bodies of law. Donor governments additionally impose guidelines that reflect political sensitivities in the oPt context”.

The “accusations being made against humanitarian organizations operating in the oPt have resulted in a range of negative impacts”, the agency elaborated, including “the allocation of time and resources to address allegations; some donors defunding certain activities to avoid risks; impediments by Israeli banks to the transferring of funds and procedures to close down accounts; refusal of Israeli venues to host events involving certain NGOs; and the potential undermining of information disseminated by organizations whose reputation has been damaged”.

Israel SITREP: The Christ-hating Israelis are at it again

Remember this:

or, for that matter, this:

Well, our Israeli friends have done it again, check out this article by RT: (just ignore all the explaining away and other cop-outs in the text of the RT article).
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‘McJesus’ statue sparks riot at museum in Israel as protesters call for removal of ‘offensive’ art

An art exhibit featuring a crucified Ronald McDonald caused chaos in the Israeli city of Haifa last week, after members of the country’s Arab Christian minority took offence at the depiction and protested outside the museum.Hundreds of Christian protesters called for the statue, titled ‘McJesus,’ to be removed from the museum, with Israeli police saying that some rioters even hurled a firebomb at the building and threw stones, shattering windows and injuring officers. Crowds were eventually dispersed with tear gas and stun grenades, according to the Associated Press.

Embedded video

The Wolf Report@thewolfreports

Christian Palestinians protesting in front of the Haifa Museum to the sculpture “McJesus” by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen, depicting Ronald McDonalds clown on the cross.

However, it seems the protesters missed the point of the exhibit, which was not intended to be an attack on Christianity, but instead meant as an artist’s statement on capitalism, corporate domination and how modern society and culture worship false gods. The exhibit also includes Barbie-doll boxes with Jesus and the Virgin Mary inside.

The sudden focus on the exhibit came as a surprise to Museum Director Nissim Tal, however, since the art in question had been on display for months already without issue. It is believed that photos of the controversial statue recently published on social media prompted the protests.

The work has also been shown in other countries without problems, although Israel’s Christians make up a tiny percentage of the population in a country which is already rife with ethnic and religious tensions.

Wadie Abu Nassar, an adviser to church leaders who have demanded the exhibit’s removal, told the AP it was necessary to understand that freedom of expression “is interpreted in different ways” in different societies. “If this work was directed against non-Christians, the world would be turned upside down,” he said.

The museum has refused to remove the artwork, saying that it must uphold freedom of expression and resist pressure. “If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum,” Tal said, adding: “We will be defending freedom of speech, freedom of art, and freedom of culture, and will not take it down.”

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, who has earlier been accused of supporting censorship after pushing legislation commanding national “loyalty” in art, also called for the exhibit to be taken down, saying it was “disrespectful.”

The museum has hung a curtain over the entrance to the exhibit and put up a sign saying that it is not intended to offend, but that is the “maximum” it will do, its director added. Protesters, however, have refused to give up, with one reportedly camping outside the museum in a tent with a sign calling on artists to “respect religions.”

In another twist, the Finnish artist who produced the ‘McJesus’ statue, Jani Leinonen, also wants the work taken out of the Haifa museum, but not because he doesn’t want to offend. Leinonen said he supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians.

Nadine Nashef@nanninenashef

The McJesus Saga keeps getting better and better. Apparently Finnish artist Jani Leinonen is a activist/supporter and wants his work taken out of the Haifa museum. He wasn’t aware it was being exhibited there. 😂

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Bottom line is this: if it is anti-Christian, then even a BDS-supporting goy will get his 15 minutes of fame in the “only democracy in the Middle-East”.

These guys, and the al-Qaeda crazies, are the forces which the West chose to support in the Middle-East.

Bravo!

The Saker

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