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After Months of Death Threats, Palestinian Professor Resigns Over Students' Trip to Auschwitz

World  (tags: Mohammed Dajani leaves post at Al Quds U )

- 1409 days ago -
He was hreatened, demonized, and excoriated for taking students on a field trip to Auschwitz to teach tolerance and empathy. The guardians of the "'Palestinians' are innocent victims of a genocidal apartheid Jewish State" myth couldn't stand for that.

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Beth S (330)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 9:41 am
A Palestinian professor who took his students on a field trip to Auschwitz has resigned from his post following months-long campaign of death threats, campus riots and intimidation against him.

Prof Mohammed Dajani, head of the American Studies Department and director of the library at Al Quds University, was denounced as a "traitor" and "collaborator" by some of his colleagues, students and members of the public, after he organised the trip to the site of the Nazi concentration camp in Poland. It was announced that Prof Dajani was also "fired" from the university staff union, despite never having joined the organisation in the first place.

27 Palestinian students attended the trip in March as part of a project to learn more about the Holocaust and teach tolerance and empathy. The programme, run in conjunction with an Israeli and a German university, also took Israeli students on trips to meet Palestinians living in refugee camps.

Prof Dajani condemned the campaign of "incitement" directed against him in an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz, saying that he submitted his resignation as "a litmus test to see whether the university administration supports academic freedom and freedom of action and of expression as they claim, or not". He said he had hoped the university president would "take a stand" by refusing to accept his resignation.

"I put my job on the line to expose the double-talk we live", Prof Dajani told Haaretz. "We say we are for democracy and we practice autocracy, we say we are for freedom of speech and academic freedom, yet we deny people to practice it".

Relations between Al Quds University and Israel deteriorated sharply following the Israel-Gaza war in 2008. In recent years, the university has been criticised for increasingly turning a blind eye to demonstrations glorifying violence on its campus. In March 2014, Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh resigned after masked pro-Hamas demonstrators carrying replica rockets and lauding attacks on Israel held several rallies on university grounds.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Al Quds University emphasised that the trip was “an external activity carried out by Professor Dajani in his private capacity”, and had “nothing to do with the University”. The Al Quds students who accompanied Dajani “had also gone in their private capacities”.

Al Quds University also noted the measures it took to counter the backlash directed at Prof Dajani, including hiring two personal security guards for Prof Dajani “to accompany him while on campus, in case he felt threatened”.

The university also forced the staff union to rescind its decision to fire Dajani, and made clear to both the staff and the students’ union - after the latter had distributed leaflets condemning the visit to Auschwitz - “that their actions conflicted with the university mission of upholding individual freedoms”.

The university also objected to Prof Dajani’s accusations - “‘academic freedom’ was not an issue in Professor Dajani’s case in any way, shape or form”, the statement said.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 1:06 pm
Re-instate him the truth is always the truth no matter how unpalatable it may be to people.

. (0)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 1:43 pm
Just outrageous.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 4:44 pm
This man is one who tells the truth+has clarity. Shameful he was harassed 4 being a wonderful teacher. Ridiculous. Thanks Beth

Stan B (123)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 5:56 pm
The Holocaust didn't really happen. Any of the Palestinian leadership will confirm that.
This professor is exactly the kind of leader the Palestinians need but won't get because he has too much integrity.

Sheri Schongold (7)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 6:12 pm
The Jews did it, the Jews did it. That's the mantra of the Palestinians. I feel sorry for this professor as he was trying to show the truth. He was aware that this would happen and he still tried to show the truth. They will never learn because they don't want to. It's easier to blame the Jews for everything than admit they may be wrong. Professor Dajani, I salute you,

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:05 am
Well put Stan and Sheri. Thanks Beth.

Bruce C D (89)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 6:35 am
Sorry, Beth, your little editorial doesn't stand up. Whatever happened in this instance doesn't change what Zionism has done to Palestinians. It doesn't change the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by Israel which still aren't allowed to return back to their homes after decades. It doesn't change the other illegal land grabs by Israel or the illegal settlements in occupied territory. It doesn't change that they Palestinians were colonized by Europeans and made to pay the heaviest price for centuries of European persecution of Jews.

The University appears to have done right by the professor. I applaud what the professor did, and I applaud those Palestinian students who visited Auschwitz. I don't necessarily agree that this is a matter of academic freedom, because the University did not threaten him or ask for his resignation; they stood by him. I condemn the threats against the Professor made by some students and staff, or any other individuals. However, it isn't that hard to understand given the conditions Palestinians are forced to live under by Israel, with the long history of persecution and oppression they have suffered, why those attitudes exist. If it was Americans in Palestinian's shoes, I don't doubt it would have been even worse. It also seems to me that Israelis who have spoken the truth about this conflict have also faced threats and sanctions from other Jewish-Israelis.

Not so nice attempt to slickly put the hasbara spin on things, though.

Lona Goudswaard (80)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 10:42 am
I applaud Prof Mohammed Dajani for arranging Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz AND for taking Israeli students on trips to meet Palestinians living in refugee camps. And I applaud both groups of students for attending this program in March. However I fail to see where his beef with the University comes from which led him to resign from his post. As I understand it the trip to Auschwitz and to the refugee camp were a private initiative and in no way connected to the University, nor has the University prevented him (and the students) from doing this. Nor has it (the administration) taken part in the abuse and intimidation but in fact made the union rescind his dismissal and made clear to them “that their actions conflicted with the university mission of upholding individual freedoms”

I would like to have seen this article explain why Prof. Dajani felt it necessary to resign and now feels the university hasn't supported academic freedom and freedom of action and of expression by accepting his resignation. From the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Beth S (330)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 3:13 pm
Lona, good thoughts.

I think that it's clear that Prof Dajani resigned because of threats of death and/or bodily harm to him, as well as the mobs, incitement, atmosphere of hostility.

As brave and unusually empathetic as he is, he does not need to sacrifice his life, limb and health for it.

Beth S (330)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 3:13 pm

What a load of Palestinian PR drivel. Do you not take into account that the vast majority of Palestinian suffering in Gaza is caused by the PLO and, more especially, Hamas? Hiding terrorists in with the population and abusing them causes more suffering than anything Israel could have done. Lebanon no longer allows aid to Gaza through their gate as Hamas steals this free aid and sells it, forcibly. Hamas controls the population and whether or not they can leave. Very often they refuse because they can. Medical drugs have been left on the docks because they have refused to allow it in so people suffer.

The PLO withhold the money given to them for the Palestinian welfare and use it to support terrorists and line their pockets.

You do not mention the summer camps where 8 year olds are taught to kill Israelis, a war crime which the UN fails to mention every year. The kindergarten plays (aged 3 or 4 years) where Palestinians kill Israeli soldiers.

And, as for these 750,000 Palestinians, where do you get your misinformation from? Perhaps as many as 30,000 may have the right of return but have not made the claim. In the meantime, there are some 20% of the population who are Palestinian and in Gaza 0% of the population are not.

And people, like yourself, ignore the suffering of Palestinians in Muslim controlled countries and merely point to Israel who do what they can. In fact, there should be no Palestinians in these countries but Muslims will not follow International law and accept that they are actually residents of their country despite having lived there for 4 or 5 generations. Or those thrown out of Kuwait and some have been held in jail and their families still do not where they are or if they are alive.

. (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 4:47 pm
Noted & posted

Lona Goudswaard (80)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 4:27 am
No, sorry Beth, but your answer is speculation and Prof Dajani himself didn't give it as a reason. H said it was a litmus test to see "whether the e university administration supports academic freedom and freedom of action and of expression as they claim, or not". Given what the university did for him and didn't do to him, I still don't understand his reasoning.

Beth S (330)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 10:13 am
I would venture that the vast majority of people receiving death threats -- albeit that they're common in this part of the world -- would not stay around for long. IF that was not the major factor, then it clearly had to play into it, or he would not have made the statement.

He must know, himself, that there is no real academic freedom in virtually any university where he lives. I don't see how he could have really wondered. Perhaps it is more of his statement to those outside of the university system -- to the world, perhaps, in a very public way -- that there definitively is no academic freedom there, and all of those who have argued that there was have been shown quite clearly that in academically free institutions, tenured professors do not receive death threats, mob incitement and constant harassment, and I'm sure with the blessings of the administration for something like this.

It appears to me that he MAY actually be making a statement far deeper than whether this or other Palestinian universities have true academic freedom, but MAY be making sending a non-verbal signal that challenges Palestinians at their core, that the Palestinian mindset has become what many of us have known for a long time: psychopathic, indifferent to the suffering of others, unable to separate out truth from revision, puerile, emotionally stunted human beings, as the world has rewarded them handsomely for this behavior.

Alvin King (2)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 10:44 am

Bruce C D (89)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 1:16 pm
Beth, you're contradicting yourself in your response and you're not answering the arguments by denying and trying to cover up the truth. Denials, lies, partial truths, slinging more mud to obfuscate--all are typical hasbara disingenuous tactics.

Denying Israel's ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians is no different than denying the Holocaust. To be clear, the comparison isn't being made to the atrocities, but to the denials. I don't condone denial of the Shoah in the Muslim world, but at least I can understand how it is largely predicated on--and in response to--denial of the Nakba. But what Nakba denial is based upon is historical revisionism to avoid unpleasant truths about Israel.

It's ironic that as more and more Israeli's have come to accept Jewish ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as mounting evidence has made the fact irrefutable, even though it was never any great secret, and even as they indefensibly excuse it as "necessary" to creating a Jewish state, we still see non-Israeli's continuing to profusely attempt denial of the historical record. Why is that, do you suppose? Is it because, unlike Israeli's, they cannot justify for themselves admitting to the evils of Plan Dalet?

Bruce C D (89)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 1:22 pm
You said:
"...that the Palestinian mindset has become what many of us have known for a long time: psychopathic, indifferent to the suffering of others, unable to separate out truth from revision, puerile, emotionally stunted human beings, as the world has rewarded them handsomely for this behavior. "

Just insert "Jewish" or "African-American" and it becomes apparent for all to see how you have put your racism on full display. I didn't have much doubt before, but thanks for making that abundantly clear.

Roger G (154)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 2:18 pm
noted, thanks

Evelyn B (62)
Friday June 13, 2014, 3:55 am
I find it very sad to see use of an example that Palestinians are far from all being the monsters that the "hate" promoters like to present them as.
Had you followed through to the Haaretz article on which the auther of this article built (& edited out much of the constructive sections)
The next Palestinian revolution, as seen through the eyes of a moderate scholar
, you'd have left less space for vituperous comments and more for the constructive dialogue needed to move towards resolution - but unfortunately, that wasn't really what you are interested in.

Instead, you opened the door to exposal of ignorance.
The Holocaust? Were any Palestinians responsible for the Holocaust? Far from it. Until they saw their homes and lands being taken - often with extreme violence by militia, e.g. in Deir Yassin - many Palestinians were amongst those who helped the refugees arriving on their shores. Few, if any, Palestinians deny the historical reality (although diatribes may occasionally play down the Holocaust - because the Palestinians have paid, and are paying, the price of the Jewish suffering under the Holocaust. How can they deny the events that brought so many to their country in the late 1940s? The events that are referred to frequently, to shut up criticism of the State of Israel, knowing the Western guilt feelings over how such horrors were allowed to happen. Stan B's comment is unfounded.

The University has been very much more reasonable than was Columbia College, Chicago - who closed a course, effectively fired a professor for showing 5 Broken Cameras to his students, due to criticism of anti-semitism/ racism - misplaced since this film is made jointly by an Israeli & a Palestinian - (and the university had to back down under pressure concerning academic freedom). Similar attacks, using "anti-semitism" as a weapon, have happened on other campuses in the US.

Dajani would be disgusted by the way his case is being used here for exactly the opposite of his beliefs and principles.

What you (excepting Bruce) choose to ignore & wipe from any thoughte is:
Fact 1: There are Palestinians who work with Israelis to counter abuse and develop the dialogue which will be essential for any peace building.
Fact 2: 27 children from Palestinian families were not prevented by their families from going to learn more about the Holocaust
Fact 3: an unspecified number of Israeli students were allowed to go and visit Palestinian camps (& their visit clearly created no problem with the camp residents). Bearing in mind than many Jewish Israelis have no direct contact with any Palestinians but -on the cont rary - are led to fear them, such a field trip is also sign of open-minded families willing - if not actively wanting - their families to understand the other side.

Yes - some hot heads proferred threats to Dajani. Like their counterparts among the Israelis (e.g. the extremist settlers, the "price-taggers"), there is always some risk that someone might carry through the threats - although the rate of carrying out threats appears to be higher among those supporting "price-tagging". Neither side are right, or constructive, when they sign up for hate action ....

But there are also - in much larger numbers - Palestinians who work for non-violent resistence within their land. There are also a sizeable number of non-Arab Israelis who are peace activists. Dajani comments (in Haaretz article) that he realises they are not structured; he hopes to mobilise a means of strengthening their mutual support through providing a political movement through creating Wasatia.

Shalom, Salaam

Bruce is right to say that ignoring 30+ years of human rights abuses against the Palestinians is no more justifiable than denying the Holocaust.

I assume that when Beth says that there is no real academic freedom in virtually any university where he lives, she is referring to the area between the Jordan & the Mediterranean. Actually, when referring to discussion & criticism of leaderships in the area, there's probably more freedom than in many American campuses - where criticism of the State of Israel is often (erroneously) conflated with anti-semitism & racism, resulting in curbing freedom to discuss all the different perspectives. But psychological & physical walls inhibit free and open exchange within universities located between the Jordan & the Med.

Evelyn B (62)
Friday June 13, 2014, 4:18 am
Incidentally, Beth - so easy to put all blame on "the others" - but neither honest nor accurate. When essential supplies are blocked from reaching an area, little can be done to alleviate suffering. Actually, Hamas' popular support in Gaza is largely due to the way that they DO respond to needs, distribute food & aid (including collecting from those who have a little more, to share with the poorest. That is actually true Islamic practice - unlike some of the discriminatory policies (e.g. against women) that extremists promote, which which is not deep-rooted in Islam, it builds on culture. Fatah has had a less good reputation for sharing correctly & fairly what resources reached them - and this difference was critical in swinging voters to vote for Hamas. (The same thing happened in Egypt & Tunisia - the Brotherhood was seen as not being so corrupt, so trustworthy.)

But Aid & taxes, necessary for public works, social servies etc, are channelled through Israel - and are not released systematically & regularly. So even the most honest parties cannot meet a fraction of the needs of the growing numbers of poor. Add to the picture the way that property & services are destroyed or damaged, meaning expenditure has to go on repairs & rebuilding instead of expanding availability of services. Again - if some dishonesty has hard a part in failure to alleviate suffering, the policies & actions of the State of Israel have also contributed greatly. In the WB, the situation is deteriorating continuously through outpost land grabbing, settlements, pollution of available water sources, and the Wall that cuts villagers off from their means of livelihood. No - blaming Hamas & the PA for ALL causes of suffering of the Palestinian people reflects a closed mind.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace - even to those who don't really want it!

Gillian M (218)
Friday June 13, 2014, 1:31 pm
Evelyn, yes, Hamas responds to the peoples' needs, what a joke! Do you read funny magazines?

Hamas hides in the population to ensure that Israel is blamed for civilian deaths. They have left drugs on the docks because they can. They refuse to allow people to leave for medical treatment being offered to them in Israel. Lebanon no longer allows aid into Gaza through them because Hamas steals it and forcibly sells it. They shoot civilians who do not want them to have meetings in their house.

The entry to Gaza is deliberately kept as ruins for visitors.

Evelyn B (62)
Saturday June 14, 2014, 4:06 pm
Ge - I've seldom read so much mis-information in so few lines!
Hamas - as part of its religious obligations - uses zaqat to provide assistance to families in difficulty. This is totally separate from it's militant activities. The fact that the poor, & those whose homes have been destroyed by Israeli attacks etc, could expect little timely help from the PA, but received it from Hamas, led to the votes for Hamas in the elections. There may be some misuse of supplies by dishonest individuals - but it is not Hamas policy to steal such supplies as they manage to collect.

Where you get the idea that people from Gaza could pop over for medical help from Israel if only Hamas allowed them to, I don't know. You clearly haven't been in the lines trying to get through the Israeli checkpoints. Even within the WB, the checkpoints hinder passage of those in urgent need of medical assistance ... The situation for Gaza is even worse; Poeple can only cross "in exceptional humanitarian cases" ... and most medical care doesn't qualify. Even Israelis know that there is a blockade around Gaza! The Gaza flotillas (which incidentally include many Jews, & some Holocaust survivors) have been trying to get medical supplies in. On what docks did Hamas leave drugs??? How does Lebanon come into this?

As for your last phrase .... are you suggesting that Israel would allow reconstruction right up to the border??? What value are ruins to the people of Gaza? .... Oh - you mean so that all those tourist buses running visitors on tours of Gaza can observe ruins? There are hundreds & hundreds of visotors going to see Gaza, of course?????

I hope that one day you'll have the courage to check out a wider range of sources for your statements, rather than sticking to a limited range, predominently ones that hate Palestinians & Muslims. I won't hold my breath, though ... It would require a major, painful, effort to recognise that IDF soldiers cause civilian deaths, Hamas (& Muslims in general) can't be blamed to each & every wrong that occurs in the area.

Shalom, Salaam Ge -

Gillian M (218)
Sunday June 15, 2014, 11:33 am
Evelyn, stop quoting Hama's propaganda and the taqiyya that is required by Muslims to mislead the non-Muslim.

As for the ruins in Gaza, Hamas allows few people in but they have to convince foreigners and UNWRA how hard done by Gazans are, it's called PR or how to lie to people who want to believe in the crap. I have seen a documentary where the cameras were allowed in to absolutely nothing. However, I have seen the photos of the water park, the 2 shopping malls, the comfortable apartments, the full food markets, the luxury 5* hotels, leisure facilities and numerous restaurants. Now, why were these not shown? Why do you not mention these?

In fact, I have to ask if you've been to Gaza and seen all of this. No, what a surprise!

As for the Lebanon, did you not read what I said about aid going into Gaza, some of it USED to go through Lebanon until they got fed up with Hamas and their behaviour. As for docks, do look at maps. As for the sea blockade, why do I have to keep repeating myself, it is legal and is to stop the rockets coming in that Hamas is launching against Israel or are you going to tell me that doesn't happen? That civilians, especially children, don't suffer? Yet if Israel tries to stop Hamas the screaming from the UN!

I hope that one day you'll have the courage to check out a wider range of sources for your statements, rather than sticking to a limited range, predominantly ones that hate Israel & Jewss. I won't hold my breath, though ... It would require a major, painful, effort to recognise that Hamas terrorists cause civilian deaths, Hamas (& Muslims in general) are to be blamed for virtually each & every wrong that occurs in the area.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Monday June 16, 2014, 1:56 pm

To Bruce and Evelyn - you're spot on with your open and thoughtful comments and, therefore, incur the "love" of everybody as demonstrated in the various replies - LOL. Kudos to you and Green Stars on the way. The one big mistake you both make is ... to speak the truth based on facts on the ground and that is a "no go"!

Evelyn, you said it all with this para:
"I find it very sad to see use of an example that Palestinians are far from all being the monsters that the "hate" promoters like to present them as. Had you followed through to the Haaretz article on which the auther of this article built ... you'd have left less space for vituperous comments and more for the constructive dialogue needed to move towards resolution - but unfortunately, that wasn't really what you are interested in."

The absolute best joke I've read in a long time though is the comment that the sea blockade is legal. One must have one heck of a twisted and brainwashed mind to come up with something of that ilk. Other than that ... nothing new in the West ...

Nothing to add to all of your comments, Bruce and Evelyn. Thank you and stay safe!

Evelyn B (62)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 6:00 am
Ge M - error. Yes - I have been to Gaza - several times. You clearly have not.

Are you so stuck that you have to plagiarise my comments, just change a few words?

For your information, Gaza had a border with Egypt, but not with Lebanon.
You admit a sea blockade - yet suggest that the docks are busy?
I am more than aware of civilians suffering, especially children - and the statistics show far higher injuries & deaths among Palestinians than among Israelis. Anything you don't like (any suggestion that there are any at fault beside the Muslims & Hamas ...) you close your eyes to. Unfortunately, there are wrongs done by both sides - and recognising that is a first step towards peace. Denial of human rights abuses & killings by IDF creates a heavily one-sided picture - especially as the IDF (& extremist settlers) are well armed. Pretending that any criticism of Israel is Jew-hating & Hamas spiel is simply self-delusional. Fortunately, you don't speak for all Jews, let alone for all Jewish Israelis .... many of these recognise reality, and are actively seeking the kind of justice and respect of human rights that can provide a foundation for building peace.

Despite your style, Ge - I wish you
Shalom, Salaam, Peace ... in your heart

fly bird (26)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 11:24 am
Ge, you do not, indeed, speak for all Jews. Furthermore, the post is misleading. Read the comments. Criticism of Israeli policies is not Jew-hating. Double standards and bigotry will not help. Enough said.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 11:29 am

Evelyn I must admit - you're admirable! But I belive you're barking up the wrong tree so to say. Gilian - or as she calls herself now "Ge" - has her eyes so thightly shut that she'll not be able to read your comment leave alone comprehend it.

That is ... on a second thought ... it’s a big mitzvah (good deed) to give laughter, you know ... maybe this was her true intention and we misunderstand her all along?! I remember a certain "Elaine" on C2 who insisted that Sadam Hussein smuggled weapons through the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza to go ... straight ... to Syria - maybe there we have the missing link? Go figure ... ;-)!

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 12:50 pm
Evelyn, so have seen the actual quality of life that you and other Palestinians lie about. Good. In the meantime your taqiyya is recognised so do give it up. As for the rest of it, I have never said that Israel is perfect and has never made mistakes, I have made this statement on many occasions. But Israel makes the effort to do what is right and NO ONE EVER says that. Israel does much that is good but also has to protect its citizens which NO ONE EVER acknowledges. NO ONE EVER comments on Israeli suffering because Israeli residents don't count. I have said on many occasions that Israel is guilty even when proven innocent and Palestinians are innocent even when known and proven to be guilty. Look at the 3 boys kidnapped by Hamas and everyone praises the kidnappers and blames Israel. If you child was kidnapped would you be happy with the praise, I'm sure that Eleanor is laughing with glee along with the other Palestinians who have shown such joy.

Nowhere have I said that the docks are busy just that they exist, shame that you don't truly understand what I write or do you deliberately change what is said to try to make an untrue point. But that is a Palestinian trick.

And as for not speaking for all Jews, no, just the ones who have a real understanding for what is happening.

I would like to point out that it is not Israelis who are taking hundreds of Muslims in Iraq and murdering them, I'm just waiting for them to be blamed.


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 3:07 pm

Well … well … Evelyn … If you’re life is in danger you’re allowed to use “taqiyya” but naturally only if you’re a Shia … as this is a Shia only thing; but then ... why bother with such details as this ominous word sounds and looks so good to the gullible people and not many really understand it. So – here’s my offer: if your life is threatened come over here and I give you indefinite shelter!

I also learn from Gilian that you’re a Palestinian (“…you and other Palestinians …”) – interesting – and so am I … as I’m “laughing … with the other Palestinians”; so she says! Heck – I have to check out my parents if they’re crypto Palestinians. I was always under the impression that you and I are Western non Muslim women and now this! Gilian managed to totally confuse me. Now what?

What do you think, Evelyn, can Gilian come up with something more other than that flimsy “and everyone praises the kidnappers”? I also wonder what proof she can come up with that it was indeed Hamas … other than Bibi saying so. But I assume she doesn’t need to as we know the sources of her “wisdom”, don’t we?

A Yiddish saying comes to mind but I refrain – . Stay safe and sleep tight you … Shia Palestinian you … LOL!

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 3:28 pm

An interesting take by Richard Silverstein on the kidnapping - worth reading (

Palestinians Militants Kidnap Three Israeli Teenagers
inMideast Peace

Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by presumed Palestinian militants near Hebron yesterday, while hitchhiking through the West Bank. The three, one of whom is a dual U.S. citizen, were students at a West Bank yeshiva. It’s believed they were kidnapped near the Palestinian town, which is a hotbed of hatred and anger at the 500 Israeli settlers living there.

The yeshiva, Makor Chaim, is located in Gush Etzion, and is part of the settlement bloc which Israel is expected to retain should there ever be a peace agreement. Settlers there are known as more moderate than others living in more remote settlements. The yeshiva is affiliated with Hasidism, and not the type of radical extremism represented by Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar. Though, in truth, these are settlers as well.

A Palestinian militant group which is reputed by Israeli media to be associated with the Sunni-extremist group, ISIS, took credit for the operation. In a related matter, the NY Times even went so far as to associate ISIS with Al Qaeda, though this seems based on outdated information, not taking into account that Al Qaeda renounced any association with ISIS several months ago. Isabel Kershner and the Times’ foreign editor apparently don’t keep up on the Islamist playbook.

Several months ago, the IDF executed three members of the Palestinian Islamist group in a cave in the South Hebron Hills. The kidnapping is supposedly avenging the killings. Though the army later claimed the militants had been found with weapons and bombs and were prepared for a terror attack, I never saw any evidence of this. The IDF regularly uses these sorts of unsupported charges to obscure outright assassinations in cold blood. We know this in cases where there were witnesses or video. In this case, neither were available. So given the IDF’s brazen track record for lying, I’m not prepared to accept its version of the killings.

We know that one of the Israeli victims used his cell phone to call 911 the night of the kidnapping. But he could not speak and, unfortunately, the Israeli police, never known for their competence or diligence, did not start a search until the following morning after the family reported the disappearance.

Israel was quick to inform the U.S. that one of the victims, Naftali Frenkel, is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, thereby implicating us in resolving the crime. To John Kerry, Netanyahu made the absolutely outrageous claim that the crime was the direct result of Fatah bringing a “terror group” into the PA unity government. Lost on the clueless prime minister was the fact that the area in which the boys were kidnapped was under Israeli security control. As Zvi Barel wrote in Haaretz:

The missing teens reside in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, and were most likely kidnapped in that region. How can Abbas be held responsible for what happens in an area under Israeli control?

It would be like, a Palestinian security official complained, blaming him for a Tel Aviv car accident. Nor is this the way to gain Palestinian cooperation in resolving the crime.

It’s the height of cynicism for Israel to blame anyone but itself (and the kidnappers) for this. In fact, every time Bibi needs to deflect criticism from a security failure he exploits Palestinians. This ranges from the Eilat terror attack, for which Sinai Islamists were responsible. Instead, Bibi blamed a Gaza militant group, launching attacks which killed 30 innocent Gazans. Now, the Shin Bet’s failure to foil this attack leads to falsely blaming the PA. Israel can’t send F-16s to bomb the West Bank, as he can Gaza. But there will be severe repercussions for the civilians of the West Bank. Collective punishment, illegal under international law, will be the new normal for the next weeks or even months. This is how Barel sees it:

…There is a creeping suspicion that framing Abbas as responsible for the recent events has another purpose: Justifying a collective punishment against the Palestinian Authority and its citizens. With that goal, Israel will try to construct a legitimate justification for labeling the PA as a terrorist organization…and demand it be boycotted, even by Arab states. It also presents Israel with a good opportunity to “prove” that it was not Israel that derailed the peace process – for how can you negotiate with an authority that has embraced Hamas into its ranks.

This Israeli government’s modus operandi is to bitch and moan to the world and expect that the world will somehow care. If you are the king of the heap and a global superpower as the U.S. was under Lords Cheney and Bush, that might work. But when you’re Israel and only think you’re a superpower, it’s not terribly successful. But that doesn’t stop Bibi from trying. Apparently, he doesn’t know any other way. Moderation and civility are not part of his repertoire.

This too is kidnapping (Defense for Children International)

The Times reporting of the story included the usual clueless characterizations of life under Occupation. Here is how Isabel Kershner portrayed the security situation in the West Bank (for Israelis, not Palestinians):
Occasional violence in the West Bank continues to claim victims on both sides, but kidnappings of Israelis have been rare in recent years. Yet the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said it had foiled more than 60 plots to abduct Israelis in the West Bank since the start of 2013.

As usual, the report portrays the situation as Israelis see it and has little or no understanding or concern for how Palestinians see it. “Occasional violence” is how an Israeli perceives the security situation, since Palestinians have engaged in a low level of violence over the past few years. But for Palestinians living in the West Bank, life is an endless series of violent incidents by Israeli security forces.

Speaking of kidnapping: what do we call the nightly IDF incursions which invade sleeping villages and roust entire families out of their beds as the army searches for God knows what, and often takes away a boy or father who’ve done nothing wrong. IDF soldiers themselves acknowledge that these actions are often designed not to capture militants, but to keep the population on edge and frightened. This is kidnapping too. But not done on a small scale of ones or twos or threes. This is state-sanctioned kidnapping.

And let’s not forget the hundreds of Palestinian boys who are sitting in Israeli prisons in violation of international law. Some of them are abused in detention with soldiers cocking their weapons, pretending to kill them. Kershner isn’t shedding a tear for any of that on behalf of the Palestinians. She barely has a clue it’s even happening. It’s what allows to keep churning out pap like this.

Don’t get me wrong. Kidnapping young boys, whether Israeli or Palestinian, is a low blow. If anything happens to these boys, the perpetrators should be made to pay the price (though not the summary execution Israeli forces would mete out to them). But while I’m disgusted by kidnapping boys on a hiking trip, what am I to say of an Israeli general who does virtually the same? Let’s save some outrage for him as well, shall we?


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday June 17, 2014, 3:30 pm
Oops - this was supposed to go in the other forum, sorry. But it looks good here too ...

Evelyn B (62)
Wednesday June 18, 2014, 1:59 am
That's a good article, Eleonora.

I can't help thinking that these 3 youth would object strongly to being described as "boys" or "kids" ... although it does make them sound much more vulnerable ..... better for mobilising anger ... whereas I would be surprised if they have not already had training in self defence & weapons.

But having said that, all abductions are abhorrent - be it from homes or when hiking. Retaliation for previous executions would be no excuse, although that detail could shed some light on motivation. If the Islamist extremist group (NB - not Hamas ...) are responsible, they have really done Netanyahu a service. Unfortunately, there are groups - a small minority of the Palestinian population - who have been driven over the edge by the continuous crushing of Palestinians' rights. In smany ways, it is miraculous that most Palestinians opt for different levels of passive (non-violent) resistance - because even just struggling to live from day to day is resistance to the pressures to drive Palestinians to give up, flee, join the millions of Palestinians in exile.

Ros -as you say: "people should learn to be more tolerant of others......too hard for some. "

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