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Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu, Corruption

World  (tags: Middle East, Israel, protests, demonstrations, activism )

- 290 days ago -
The demonstration was by far the largest of weekly anti-corruption protests sparked by corruption allegations against Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing.


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JL A (281)
Sunday December 3, 2017, 9:40 am
Thanks Freya--suggests US persons or policies allying themselves with Netanyahu may not serve our national interests

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday December 3, 2017, 1:48 pm
Shared news article over social media to raise and spread awareness.

Animae C (506)
Sunday December 3, 2017, 2:42 pm

TY Freya

fly bird (26)
Monday December 4, 2017, 12:11 am
heard about this, and not surprised.


fly bird (26)
Monday December 4, 2017, 12:16 am
Netanyahu may be Israel’s most unpopular prime minister in the nation’s history, his far-right Likud party getting only 23.4% of the popular vote in 2015 elections.

Israeli governance is always by coalition, the party winning the largest percentage of votes forming it, if able.

Likud has 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, a mandate to govern only with enough coalition partners for a majority – a razor thin margin for Netanyahu to remain prime minister with 61 seats.

According to Haaretz,
“(t)ens of thousands of people rallied in protest on Saturday night in Tel Aviv against government corruption and new legislation that critics say is intended to shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from police investigations.”

Others rallied in Jerusalem, Haifa and elsewhere, protesting against the “Recommendations Law” – called the “anti-police law” or “Netanyahu law” by critics.

It prohibits police from recommending prosecution of Israel officials after conducting an investigation into their shady practices – a virtual Netanyahu protection act.

He’s been investigated for alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

He inappropriately or illegally accepted lavish gifts from wealthy supporters, amounting to possible bribery.

He was caught on tape red-handed, negotiating a quid pro quo with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes for more favorable broadsheet coverage in return for legislation prohibiting distribution of the free daily Israel Hayom, YA’s main competitor, owned by Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson.

On November 26, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the proposed bill – despite strong objections from Israel’s law enforcement community.

It passed its first reading, two more required for it to become law. Likudnik MK David Amsalem introduced the measure with Netanyahu in mind.

In Tel Aviv, thousands protested against it near Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home – under the banner “March of Shame,” carrying signs criticizing Netanyahu regime corruption.

Zionist Union opposition leader Isaac Herzog tweeted protesters were motivated by a “strong sense of unfairness, from disgust with corruption and strong moral opposition to a law tailor-made for one man.”

Herzog urged them to lay siege to the Knesset to prevent the bill’s passage, second and third readings expected early this week.

On Facebook, Labor party leader Avi Gabby urged MKs to oppose the bill, saying

“(t)he recommendations bill will determine what side of history you stand on: on the side of corruption or the side of the Israeli people.”

Amsalem fast-tracked the measure for swift Knesset passage. After several cabinet members expressed reservations, it was revised.

It now lets police continue making recommendations to prosecutors, short of explicitly calling for indictments – in all cases except ones overseen by a prosecutor, usually high-profile ones like ongoing investigations into alleged Netanyahu bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

In its current revised form, still a work in progress, police are prohibited from making recommendations based on evidence for an indictment of Netanyahu – or any other high-level Israeli official.

Mandelblit, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Israel Police oppose the legislation. So do other Israelis believing no one is above the law.

Under every coalition regime in its history, Israel governed lawlessly, brutalizing Palestinians, stealing their land and resources, mass-incarcerating them for not being Jews, waging war on its neighbors, partnering with US high crimes.

Bribery, fraud, breach of trust and other civil crimes are minor by comparison – yet important enough to demand prosecution for offenders, including Netanyahu.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 12:45 am

Tens of thousands protest Israel's 'Crime Minister': Will it matter?

Nobody expected Saturday’s demonstration to be so enormous, but everyone was angry. Creative expressions of frustration were everywhere and demonstrators vowed to continue the protests — but what impact will they have?


What started as a ripple on Israeli social media networks over the weekend burst out into a full-blown, massive demonstration against the government on Saturday night, in the heart of Tel Aviv, under the title of “the walk of shame.” Israeli news outlets estimated that tens of thousands turned out spontaneously to vent their anger against government corruption.

Police closed off sections of Rothschild Boulevard and surrounding streets for part of the evening as crowds packed into the area around Independence Museum, where statehood was declared in 1948. People streamed in from Tel Aviv and other parts of the country. After speeches on topics ranging from equality for Ethiopian Israelis to police violence, to the ongoing occupation, and the connection between corruption and the erosion of democracy, demonstrators marched in a thick procession to Habima Square. Their chants focused almost exclusively on corruption, calling for Netanyahu to either “go home” or “go to Ma’asiyahu” — a prison where politicians have served sentences. They hoisted signs reading “Crime Minister,” and “Hatikva – 1,000, 2,000, 3,000,” a pun on the name of the country’s national anthem, “The Hope,” and the “hope” that the police investigations into Netanyahu’s alleged corruption will bring him down.

The trigger for the demonstration was the “Recommendations Law,” a bill designed to prevent the police from providing summaries of its investigations or recommendations about indictment to the Attorney General. It would also ban the publication or leaking of police findings. The wording of the bill is tailored carefully to apply to the investigations against Netanyahu. Despite widespread criticism, the bill passed a first reading in the Knesset on Monday, with an amendment that would allow the Attorney General to consult with the police on Netanyahu’s cases, but would still criminalize “unlawful” publication of police findings — with a jail sentence. The sponsors are fast tracking the bill; it is expected to face a second and third vote next week and could, if passed, go into effect almost immediately.

On Saturday night the anger was palpable. “They crossed a red line,” said Miriam Ziskind, a woman in her 70s who had come with friends from Beersheva. She was accompanied by Simcha Latman, an obstetrics nurse, and two others. “It took us three hours to get here and it will take us three hours to get back,” she said proudly. She is among a group of over 1,000 demonstrators who have been protesting for 54 weeks in Petach Tikva at the home of the attorney general, demanding deeper investigation into government corruption, specifically of Netanyahu, and calling for indictments. The Petach Tikva demonstrators decided to join forces on Saturday night with the Tel Aviv demonstration.

Many expressed surprise at the size of the sprawling crowd. Some had never been to a demonstration at all. Gil Shohat, a celebrity composer, pianist and conductor, said that he never demonstrates, but the name of this protest struck him as exactly right. “We’ve lost our most important gatekeeper, and that’s shame — our internal shame,” he said. Shohat did not come for a left or right-wing agenda, he said, but for “values, rule of law and democracy.” And, he said, “because I’m angry.”

With him was a violinist and author, Eyal Kless, no less outraged. “We’ve been hijacked by a mafia — not right or left. We need to wake up. As individuals none of us would let ourselves be cheated like this, but as a collective for some reason we let them.”

Particularly bitter sentiment was unleashed against coalition partner Moshe Kahlon, who supported a softer version of the Recommendations Law this week. “I have no expectations of Bibi – less than zero,” said Kless. “But the coalition partners – they need to stand up too, or they’re collaborators.” Others wielded signs showing Kahlon as a puppet.

However, beyond an outpouring of frustration, it was not clear that the demonstration would achieve any specific goal. Miriam Ziskind expressed hope that the vote on the Recommendations Law would be cancelled — a clear enough demand, but not one that would guarantee real steps against corruption at the top.

The leaders of the “Petach Tikva” protests are clearly digging in. They announced that they will hold their demonstration next week in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square — apparently hoping the crowds would grow rapidly, as they did during the social justice protests in the summer of 2011. But it should be remembered that those protests eventually petered out of their own accord without having achieved anything tangible.

Still, the events this week seem to have touched a nerve. The protest on Saturday night took place with little actual organization beforehand. Hand-scrawled signs far outnumbered printed ones. Instead of large banners and T-shirts with slogans, creativity was in force. One sign said “The Netanyahu Law —black flag,” with a scrap of black cloth fluttering above it. In addition to highlighting that the law was designed specifically to protect the prime minister, the sign recalls a famous ruling that soldiers must disobey “an illegal order, which has a black flag flying above it.”


fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 12:48 am
Tens of thousands protest government corruption in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu is currently facing three separate corruption probes, and his political allies are promoting legislation to shield him from accountability. (Read Dahlia Scheindlin’s report from the protest.)

Tens of thousands of Israelis packed into Tel Aviv’s posh Rothschild Boulevard Saturday night to protest government corruption, as well as new legislation that would shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from several active corruption investigations against him.

One recent failed piece of legislation would have granted immunity to the prime minister for corruption charges. The latest version, which would make it illegal to publicize the findings of corruption investigations, is being fast-tracked and could take effect in a matter of weeks.

Read more: Legal bullying in the service of the prime minister
Read more: Netanyahu scandal exposes corruption in the Israeli press

Peggy B (43)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 5:38 am

S J (130)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 7:57 am
Noted with thanks and hope, meows Freya

Roberto MARINI (88)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 8:31 am
thanks for posting this article

Janet B (0)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 3:13 pm

Knud Thirup (52)
Tuesday December 5, 2017, 4:13 pm

Marija M (28)
Wednesday December 6, 2017, 8:32 am
Thank you Freya.

Roberto MARINI (88)
Wednesday December 6, 2017, 9:34 am
thanks for sharing this article

Sheryl G (360)
Wednesday December 6, 2017, 2:51 pm
I was thinking the same thing JLA, but then Trump is an entity that doesn't read, doesn't know history, and sent an inexperienced person, his son in law, to do something that he shouldn't be stepping into.

Sheryl G (360)
Wednesday December 6, 2017, 2:52 pm
Oh yes, glad to see the people stepping up against their Corrupt One - and like our weasels over here "wha wha it's a witch hunt"..........sure it is - not.

Rachel Nichols (0)
Wednesday December 6, 2017, 4:03 pm

Ian Crory (31)
Thursday December 7, 2017, 9:23 am

Sylvie A (194)
Friday December 8, 2017, 3:31 am
Thank you for sharing.

Richard A (2)
Friday December 8, 2017, 10:55 am
Thank you.

fly bird (26)
Friday December 8, 2017, 5:03 pm
Video: Debunking Trump’s claims about “reality” in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, I appeared on Chicago Tonight, on WTTW public television, to debate President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel.”

You can watch the video above.

I was paired with Richard Baehr, a Chicago commentator who has for years struck the most extreme positions.

At the blog American Thinker, where much of his writing appears, Baehr has, for instance, promoted the conspiracy theory that French television journalists staged the footage of the killing in September 2000 in Gaza of the Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Durra.

Baehr has also long been fixated on the idea that Barack Obama, who increased US military subsidies to Israel to unprecedented heights, was actually a “third-world president” who had been waging a “war on Israel.”

Whose reality?

Baehr was in classic form, attempting to portray the failure of decades of the American-led so-called “peace process” on Palestinian “rejectionism” and a “rioter’s veto.”

He emphasized the talking point heard often in recent days that Trump’s move was just a logical and natural concession to reality.

In his speech on Wednesday, Trump described his endorsement of Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as “nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality.”

Trump added that Jerusalem is “the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli supreme court” as well as “the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.”

In the debate I pointed out that this “reality” was the direct consequence of Israel’s military rule and occupation which prevents millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians from free access to the city.

I posed the question of why Israel, alone, has been able to develop national institutions in the city.

For decades, Israel has been forcibly closing Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem, including, most famously in 2001 the Orient House.

Since then Israel has closed dozens of organizations and institutions in its effort to erase Jerusalem’s Palestinian identity, including theaters, women’s and educational associations, the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and the Arab Studies Society.

In 2009, Israel prevented the organization of events celebrating Jerusalem as the “Capital of Arab Culture.”

In the same year, Israeli occupation forces raided and shut down the opening night of the literary festival PalFest at the Palestinian National Theater.

Jerusalem spirit

It is also a reality that the UN Security Council has declared that all such Israeli measures to forcibly change the status, demographics and character of Jerusalem are “null and void” – though the so-called international community has done nothing to enforce its will.

This is all on top of Israel’s revocation of residency rights of Palestinian Jerusalemites, home demolitions, land confiscation, separation walls, arrests and other routine daily violence amid widespread settler-colonization.

At the same time as trying to eliminate the Palestinian presence, Israel has been funding and supporting Jewish extremist groups whose ultimate and apocalyptic goal is to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock and replace them with a Jewish temple.

Yet to its dismay, Israel has so far failed to crush Palestinian solidarity and cohesion in Jerusalem.

This was demonstrated last summer, when weeks of nonviolent civil disobedience by Palestinians in the city forced Israel into a humiliating retreat from its efforts to impose tighter restrictions on entry to the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The Jerusalem spirit was visible again Friday as enormous numbers of Palestinians took to the streets once again to defend their city:

Donna G (42)
Friday December 8, 2017, 5:08 pm
Netanyahu's corruption fits nicely with the corruption in our country's political system. What is worse is that Israel's capital has been moved to Jerusalem. Chuck Schumer said that Trump was being indecisive about it; so, he put the pressure on him to do it. So, what I wonder is what kind of impact will this have on efforts to bring a two state solution to Palestine and Israel?


fly bird (26)
Friday December 8, 2017, 5:16 pm
VIDEO: ANALYSIS: 'Huge implications' for moving US embassy to Jerusalem.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital may be symbolic, analysts say, but it will deeply affect Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims

fly bird (26)
Friday December 8, 2017, 5:20 pm
US stands alone as world condemns embassy move to Jerusalem at UN.

Israel praised America's decision to call Jerusalem capital and displays 'ancient coin' to justify its claim.

After two hours of speeches, the emergency UN Security Council session has ended with the majority of members siding with Palestine as America continues to stand-alone in its decision to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Holding an "ancient coin" in the UN Security Council chamber to justify its claim to Jerusalem, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon used his address to praise America for its actions.

"No UN vote can alter this historical fact. This council had the audacity or the chutzpah (to say) that Israel's presence on the Western wall has no legal validity and that it holds a flagrant violation of international law," Danon told the session.

He also criticized the international condemnation America has faced since its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and scolded the UN for "being responsible for one historical wrong after the other."
Meanwhile, Riyad Mansour, Palestine's UN ambassador, described Jerusalem as being the "red-line" and that "there can be no solution if there is no just solution to Jerusalem."

Before beginning his remarks in English, Mansour used the opportunity to praise Palestinians who had "resisted the Israeli occupation."

He added: "Our rights and resolutions. I thank those who call for the US administration to stop it's illegal and provocative decision which has no meaning except pleasing the occupying power of Israel.

"Israel has never been recognised as a sovereign over Jerusalem. Its status remains unresolved and continues to be a final status discussion."

'Common sense to move embassy'

US ambassador Nikki Haley described Trump's decision to move the embassy as "common sense" and that "change is hard."

Haley justified her comment on the basis of the majority of Israel's major government bodies being based in Jerusalem.

"For nearly 70 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel. The American people are less patient," Haley told the UN session.

"In 1995 the US Congress voted that Jerusalem should be recognised as the capital of Israel and that the embassy should be moved."

Haley was confident that America continued to have the confidence of both sides and cited past agreements where the White House lawn was the venue for past agreements between both sides.

Hundreds injured, one dead

The emergency session came as hundreds were injured during clashes across the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 300 people were injured during the clashes, with many suffering from rubber bullet wounds.

Some gained injuries after choking from tear gas inhalation and being hit by tear-gas canisters.

A 30-year-old Palestinian man, Mahmoud al-Masry, died in the Southern Gaza city of Khan Younis after inflicting injuries from rubber bullet wounds during clashes with Israeli soldiers.

fly bird (26)
Friday December 8, 2017, 5:48 pm
Is Sheldon Adelson behind Trump's decision on Jerusalem?

The Jewish-American casino mogul, also a major supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu, has reportedly grown impatient with Trump’s delays to follow through on his campaign promise to move the American embassy.

President Donald Trump is expected to announce U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, and possibly his intention to move the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. The move is a step toward fulfilling his campaign promise, during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

It’s still uncertain if Trump will go through with this plan, but the pressure on Trump goes deeper than a promise to voters. His biggest campaign contributor, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is showing growing impatience with Trump’s slowness in moving the embassy, which would be a provocation to Palestinians who claim Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. For this reason, past presidents have refused to move the embassy on grounds that it would upset potential talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Before Trump was even sworn in as president, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, showed a remarkable willingness to follow directions from Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The transition team appears to have worked at the request of Netanyahu to defeat a UN resolution criticizing Israel’s ongoing settlement construction. Reporting on Friday advanced the story, revealing that Kushner told former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to call members of the Security Council in an effort to stop the vote, a potential violation of the Logan Act, which criminalizes negotiations by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the U.S.

When the Trump White House hasn’t been quick enough to back Netanyahu or Adelson’s proposals, Adelson, who was reportedly in close contact with Kushner during the campaign, has been quick to express his displeasure.

Adelson, who once accused Palestinians of existing “to destroy Israel,” was reportedly “furious” with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in May for suggesting in a Meet The Press interview that moving the embassy should be contingent on the peace process. Axios reported:

[S]ources say the Las Vegas billionaire doesn’t buy the argument that the embassy move should be contingent on the peace process. He has told Trump that Palestinians are impossible negotiating partners and make demands that Israel can never meet.

Adelson and his wife Miriam spent more than $80 million on Republicans in 2016, and he gave $5 million to Trump’s inauguration.

Adelson and his wife Miriam also contributed $35 million to help elect Trump.

The Las Vegas Review Journal, which is owned by Adelson, wrote in October, “The Adelsons reportedly have been disappointed in Trump’s failure to keep a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on his first day in office.”

And before the mega-donor got on the Trump bandwagon, candidate Trump was outspoken about Adelson’s intentions in putting his money behind candidates. He infamously taunted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who in October 2015 was a frontrunner to secure Adelson’s backing, tweeting:

As Lobelog has documented, Trump dramatically changed his message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, saying that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem and wouldn’t call for a freeze on the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank, as he closed in on the nomination and sought to secure Adelson’s support for his general election campaign.

Unconditional support for Israel is Adelson’s “central value,” according to Newt Gingrich in 2012, when Adelson was funding his presidential campaign’s Super PAC.

That statement is worth revisiting now as Trump weighs a policy announcement on Jerusalem where his most generous campaign supporter is pushing for a change in U.S. policy that threatens to undermine the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and seriously throw into question the viability of a two-state-solution.

~~~ Does it matter, really? It's the same coveting, that never ends. If not one , another, pushing and pushing; the same, old strategies, hacve worked for the last 70 years, even though it is plain for all to see, who look and listen, what is really going on.
Wake up America!

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 10, 2017, 5:51 am
It's Only About Them: U.S. Jews' Outrage on the Wall, Silence on the Occupation Is Obscene.

When Gaza was left to choke, when the occupation hit 50, when Bibi and Trump were having a lovefest, the only issue American Jewish leaders made a scene about was egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall

In the first week of November last year, when my newsfeed was flooded with images of Reform and Conservative leaders being confronted by the Israeli policemen at the Western Wall plaza, I felt angry and confused.

For years, I had been an avid cheerleader of Women of the Wall. Learning about the ways that non-Orthodox forms of Judaism are disenfranchised by the Jewish state was one of many moments where I began to understand that Israel is not actually a state for all of its citizens.

But it seemed to me both that it was more important those leaders be at home, one week before such a fateful U.S. election, and that their continued refusal to link the Western Wall struggle to other inequalities in Israel was deeply misguided.

Six months later, this controversy has escalated, leading those Reform and Conservative leaders to cancel a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in protest of his abandonment of a deal that promised space for egalitarian worship at the Wall.

Commentators have already made compelling points about the absurdity of U.S. Jews’ surprise at the turn of events. Noam Sheizaf pointed out (U.S. Jews can’t expect Israel to be liberal only where they want it to) the community’s prime mistake: to assume that their interests can be separated from Israeli politics "and therefore shielded from the nativist and xenophobic ideological trends" now dominating Israel. Chemi Shalev wrote (Netanyahu to American Jews: Drop Dead) that U.S. Jews "know all too well that Netanyahu is the greatest enemy of their cherished ideals of pluralism and equality and liberal values...[which they betray] when they support a government they would find abhorrent under any other circumstances."

From the Israeli perspective, this protest is absurd. It reinforces the image that American Jews come to Israel to experience it as our personal playground but not to be in genuine solidarity with the real-life issues facing most of the people who actually live here.

As an American Jew, and a constituent of these leaders, I find it obscene that that Rabbis Rick Jacobs and Julie Schoenfeld are continuing to put this fight at the forefront of their agenda. Today our world is different than it was six months ago, and our movements’ inability to respond to those changes is a grave moral failure.

It is obscene that on the fiftieth anniversary of the occupation, as a quarter of a million West Bank Palestinians were denied entry to Jerusalem to pray and to celebrate during Ramadan, and as Palestinians in Gaza observed their fast and celebrations in the dark, with barely enough clean drinking water or electricity to survive, American Jewish leaders are upset that they can't just drop in for a visit and close a backroom deal with the prime minister.

Yes, some might roll their eyes at this. Why does everything have to be about the occupation? What about the challenge that this is, at its core, about fighting for a legitimate voice for non-Orthodox Jews in Israel, for pluralism and liberal values?

For me, every day that diaspora Jews come to Israel to paint ourselves as victims of the Jewish state while actively aiding and supporting that same state’s denial of millions of Palestinians’ rights, our cause is hypocritical. Every day that we demand a voice for ourselves as non-citizens, while remaining silent as Israel controls the lives of millions of non-citizens against their will, we are participating in a nationalist project that presupposes we Jews deserve more privileges than anyone else who lives here.

Every time that a broken promise at the Western Wall is a cause for diaspora escalation, while another round of settlement expansion, or another humanitarian cut from the people of Gaza is a cause for diaspora silence, we are actively supporting the occupation and the daily violence against Palestinians that it causes.

Even away from the the occupation, aren’t there enough burning causes back at home where this level of righteous anger would be more fittingly applied? White supremacists in the White House, a national rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, the spiteful health care bill Trump is trying to roll out?

Why are we non-Orthodox Jews only fighting for ourselves, at precisely the point where our energy and passion are so obviously, so desperately needed elsewhere?

Rick Jacobs recently tweeted: "we feel that at this moment after over 4 years of negotiations it is not clear that the current Israeli government honors its agreements." As if this is the one agreement this government has chosen not to honor in the last four years. The detachment from reality is embarrassing.

I cannot count the number of times over the years that I have been told by Jewish establishment leaders that if anti-occupation activists would just use more polite tones and tactics we could finally change things. Now those same American Jewish leaders have found out for themselves how far "behaving nicely"’ gets them with Israel’s government. We already knew that only if we disrupt business as usual can we create real, sustained, public pressure to end the crisis of ongoing American Jewish support for the occupation.

And when I see my community leaders boycotting a meeting with Netanyahu threatening the future stability of their relationship, I understand that it is not about our tactics. Their problem is with our issue. Our issue: the millions of Palestinians dispossessed by the state, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, our Israeli peers who are fighting to resist the spreading fascism in their country, who are persecuted as traitors.

But our communal leaders couldn't be bothered to confront Israel’s security forces or cancel a dinner with Netanyahu over any of that. The only dirty laundry they are willing to air is the one that smells like their own victimhood.

For a long time, I held my breath, hoping, praying that maybe the Western Wall escalation would be an opening for liberal American Jews to join the fight for freedom and dignity for all the people in Israel and Palestine. That expectation has been crudely exposed as magical thinking

So the next time an American Jewish establishment leader criticizes anti-occupation groups for refusing to meet them behind closed doors, we will remind them of this moment. This summer, when Gaza was left to choke on 2.5 hours of daily electricity, when the occupation hit 50 years, when 22 million Americans were facing the loss of their healthcare, when Bibi and Trump were having a love fest, when the one thing American Jewish leaders made a scene about was egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.

We will remind them that just like they did, we are bringing the crisis to the American Jewish public, hoping it will force a change.

And we will tell them, if and when they decide to open their eyes and their hearts to the vibrant and diverse communities, Palestinian, refugee, worker, women, queer, all fighting for their full and equal place at home in the U.S., and in Israel, that there is still room for them to join us. We have a long fight ahead of us all.

Simone Zimmerman is an organizer and activist from Los Angeles and a founding leader of IfNotNow, a movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation. Twitter: @simonerzim

Anne Haarhoff (52)
Monday December 11, 2017, 7:47 am
Thanks, Freya.

fly bird (26)
Monday December 11, 2017, 3:54 pm
4,290 supporters. let's get to 5,000.

Save Our Village from Israeli Bulldozers

As I write this letter, our village, Susiya, located in the South Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank of Palestine, is under immediate threat of demolition. The only way to stop the demolition is through international pressure.


On 22 November 2017 the Israeli State Attorney’s Office announced that within 15 days they plan to demolish 20 buildings, which represent one-fifth of our village. This will violate the fundamental human rights of around 100 villagers, half of them children. The 20 buildings are our homes and also provide shelter for our animals. The timing of the demolition - in the middle of winter - could not be more devastating. It will leave us vulnerable and exposed to freezing rain and harsh winds. Our health clinic which provides health services for around 500 people from our own and surrounding communities, is among the buildings they plan to demolish. The Israeli authorities also want to demolish our village council which provides services for 350 local residents.

UPDATE: On 5 December 2017 the Israeli State Attorney’s office announced that the state plans to demolish approximately 40% of the structures in the village of Susiya. The state’s notification reveals that the number of buildings slated for demolition suddenly doubled, without prior warning and contrary to the state’s previous commitments. This means that, where previously 20% of the structures were facing imminent demolition, now 40% of structures in the village – including the only school of the village and solar panels which are the only source of electricity – are facing immediate demolition. The school and the solar panels were built with European funding.

In 2012 we commissioned a master plan for our village, which was rejected several times by the Israeli authorities. The rejection prevents us from building houses together with the necessary infrastructure such as running water, electricity and paved roads to create a sustainable life in our village. It leaves us no choice but to remain on our land living in tents, under very difficult conditions, forbidden from building or repairing anything, in order to protect our land from the threat of annexation by the surrounding settlements. In the Israeli government’s recent response it was agreed to examine the legal principle of the planning issue. Yet despite the potential to develop a master plan for the village, the government states that it will demolish the 20 buildings immediately. And as we know from past experience, if they come to demolish once, nothing will prevent them coming back and trying to demolish the rest of our village.

The plan to demolish Susiya is a part of an extensive campaign of demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last year saw the largest number of demolitions in over a decade. This reality has nothing to do with democracy or the rule of law. Instead, the Israeli government has repeatedly violated its obligations to us as protected persons living under occupation. In accordance with international law, Israel has an obligation to provide for the needs of the local protected population, an obligation it openly shirks. Furthermore, it will be a war crime if the Israeli government forcefully displaces our village.

We therefore demand:

-No forced demolition of our village, Susiya
-The right to self-determination over the natural development of our village
-Acceptance of our master plan and thereby the planning and building of concrete houses and the necessary infrastructure

The Village Council of Susiya appeals to the international community to stand with us in all possible ways in the face of enforced expulsion by the Israeli state.

Nasser Nawajaa, Susiya Village Council spokesperson

With the support of voices of the international community


Grahame Morris MP, Chair, Labour Friends of Palestine & Middle East
Richard Burden MP, Labour Party
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party
Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader, Green Party
Paul Maskey MP, Sinn Féin
Elisha McCallion MP, Sinn Féin
Mickey Brady MP, Sinn Féin
Chris Hazzard MP, Sinn Féin
Barry McElduff MP, Sinn Féin
Francie Molloy MP, Sinn Féin
Michelle Gildernew MP, Sinn Féin
Tommy Sheppard MP, Scottish National Party
Stewart Hosie MP, Scottish National Party
Philippa Whitford MP, Scottish National Party
Lord Norman Warner, Crossbench
Bob Doris MSP, Scottish National Party
Ben McPherson MSP, Scottish National Party
Ruth Maguire MSP, Scottish National Party
Sandra White MSP, Scottish National Party
James Dornan MSP, Scottish National Party
Clare Haughey MSP, Scottish National Party
Ivan McKee MSP, Scottish National Party
Bill Kidd MSP, Scottish National Party
Pauline McNeill MSP, Scottish Labour Party
Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour Party
John Finnie MSP, Scottish Green Party
Rona MacKay MSP, Scottish Green Party
Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party (UK)
Keith Taylor MEP, UK Green Party (UK)
Jude Kirton-Darling, MEP, Labour Party (UK)
Luisa Morgantini former MEP, Italy
Ivo Vajgl MEP, Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia


Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB
Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT
Sally Hunt, General Secretary, UCU
Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Hugh Lanning, Chair, and Ben Jamal, Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Dr. Omer El Hamdoon, President of The Muslim Association of Britain
Rev Chris Rose, Director, Amos Trust
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine
Justice for Palestinians, Leamington Spa
Sara Apps, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK
Friends of Sabeel
Kairos Britain


Adam Hanieh, SOAS
Laleh Khalili, SOAS
Rafeef Ziadah, SOAS
Bill Bowring, Birkbeck
Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths
Ilan Pappé, Exeter
Judith Butler, Berkeley University of California
Mahmood Mamdani, Columbia University
Sara Ahmed, independent scholar and feminist writer
Aamer Anwar, Rector of Glasgow University and Human Rights Lawyer
Brian Eno, Musician, and campaigner
Ken Loach, Director
John Rees, Broadcaster, and writer


Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Agricultural Development Association
Arab Center for Agricultural Development
Alrowwad, Cultural and Arts Society
Arab Agronomists Association
Asala, Palestinian Businesswomen's Association
Bisan Center for Research and Development
Burj Al-luqluq, Social Center Society
Defense for Children International
Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine
Hawwa, Society for Culture and Arts
Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute
Health Work Committees Palestine
Legal Aid and Human Rights Center
Land Research Center
Ma’an Development Center
Mothers School Society
Najdeh Association
Popular Art Center
The Palestinian Farmers' Union
Palestinian Medical Relief Society
Palestinian Union of Health Care Committees
Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development
Rural Women’s Development Society
Society of St. Yves
Palestinian Youth Union
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling

European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Robert Soeterik, Chair, Netherlands Palestine Committee
Jeff Halper, Co-Founder, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Finland
Diensten Onderzoek Centrum Palestina, Netherlands
ViaVelo Palestina, Belgium
Plateforme Watermael-Boitsfort Palestine, Belgium
Asian Peasant Coalition (representing 43 member organisations across 11 Asian countries)
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines)
Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Unity for Genuine Agrarian Reform), Philippines
Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights), Philippines
Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochemical TNCs (RESIST), Philippines
The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine
Palestina Solidariteit
The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden
Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Netherlands Palestine Committee
BDS BerlinCheckpoint Singers, Brussels
Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Belgium
Stefano Casi, Vice President, Assopace Palestina, Italy

fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 12, 2017, 5:28 pm
The silent transfer of Palestinians from Jerusalem.

It is no accident that eight Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem wound up beyond the separation barrier. Since annexing Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has manipulated migratory trends toward an unstated goal: absorbing the land without the people.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday December 13, 2017, 6:11 am
Thousands march in Tel Aviv against corruption in Israel.

Thousands of Israelis marched through the country's capital on Saturday night in what organisers called a 'March of Shame' in protest against government corruption.

Thousands of Israelis marched in central Tel Aviv on Saturday night in what organisers called a "March of Shame" in protest against government corruption.

The turnout in the Israeli capital was estimated at around 10,000, sharply down from the tens of thousands who had marched a week earlier.

Marchers chanted "Bibi go home", using the nickname of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who is under police investigation over suspicions of various graft offences.

His close political ally MP David Bitan, parliamentary chairman of the ruling coalition, has also been grilled at length over separate allegations of bribery and links with organised crime during his time as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv.

Israeli police closed the upscale Rothschild Boulevard and a number of surrounding main thoroughfares for the march but did not give an estimate of attendance.

The protest was billed as being non-partisan and some marchers wore T-shirts with the slogan "Not right, not left, straight" in Hebrew.

Media commentators had predicted that fewer might take part in the demonstration as Netanyahu's popularity was boosted by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Netanyahu's warm relationship with Trump was widely credited with influencing what he called the president's "historic" and "courageous and just decision".

The controversial recognition, however, sparked a worldwide diplomatic backlash.

Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from affluent individuals including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who has also been questioned.

Milchan, a long-time friend of Netanyahu, reportedly sent him boxes of expensive cigars and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Netanyahu has also been questioned over a secret deal he allegedly sought for favourable coverage with the publisher of top-selling Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Investigators suspect that the alleged pact - believed not to have been finalised - would have seen him receive favourable newspaper coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.

The 68-year-old, who has been questioned by police six times in connection with the investigations, has maintained his innocence.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and says he has been the target of a campaign by political opponents.

Netanyahu has ramped up his hard-line rhetoric in the face of corruption allegations, attacking the media and giving speeches in West Bank settlements where he has vowed never to remove them.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday December 13, 2017, 11:45 pm
Videos ---- Jerusalem protests bring global attention to Israeli brutality.

Videos and photos showing the brutality of Israel’s occupation are streaming out of Palestine and circulating across the world as protests against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem raged on for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday.

Meanwhile two Palestinian fighters with the armed wing of Islamic Jihad were killed in an explosion in Gaza on Tuesday.

The Gaza health ministry said the pair were assassinated in an Israeli military drone strike but the army denied responsibility, suggesting that a weapon carried by the fighters exploded prematurely. Islamic Jihad later dropped its claim that the men had been killed in a drone strike.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society told media that 124 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

A Palestinian boy was reportedly shot and gravely injured by Israeli forces during confrontations near the settlement of Ariel in the West Bank on Tuesday. Palestinian outlets identified the injured youth as Hamed al-Masri, 15.

Israeli soldiers initially claimed that al-Masri was attempting to stab soldiers when he was shot but an army spokesperson later said that the youth was not carrying a knife and was instead among a group of Palestinians “suspected of an attempt to attack on the border.”

A photo of al-Masri circulated on social media after the incident:

Another Palestinian protester was reported to have been shot and wounded in the thigh by Israeli forces in Jerusalem on Monday night:

The injured youth, Mousa Jamil al-Qadmani, is currently being detained by Israel.

Video shows protesters raising the Palestinian flag atop the Israeli fence along Gaza’s eastern boundary on Tuesday before Israeli forces fire on them with what appears to be tear gas:

Israeli forces fired sound grenades to forcibly disperse Palestinians who had assembled to march on Salah al-Din street in East Jerusalem on Tuesday in protest of Trump’s announcement.

Israeli police were seen on video assaulting and taking a Palestinian flag from a pair of women protesters at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday:


In the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday, a Palestinian youth was shown on video facing off against an Israeli soldier, causing him to run away:

Israeli soldiers were photographed attempting to extinguish a fire that had caught on their boots during the same Bethlehem demonstration:

Palestinian protesters confronted Israeli troops at the Palestine Technical College near Arroub refugee camp in the Hebron area of the West Bank on Tuesday:

Israeli forces were seen detaining student Ibrahim Nasir, removing him from a Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance while he was apparently suffering respiratory distress, and transferring him to an Israeli ambulance:

On Monday the Israeli government accused the Palestine Red Crescent Society of “transporting rioters to [a] violent riot targeting IDF forces” during a protest in al-Bireh, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, that same day.

COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation regime, tweeted a video showing two youths with their faces covered and wearing flags tied like capes around their necks exiting from the back of a Red Crescent ambulance:

The Red Crescent denied Israel’s allegations that it transported protesters, stating that the footage shows a female protester who had been exiting the ambulance with a friend after being treated by paramedics for injuries sustained during the protest.

Another video is said to show Israeli forces detaining a Palestinian youth who had fallen off his bike during a confrontation in the West Bank town of Jericho on Monday. In the video, a soldier wearing an Israeli flag tied around his neck like a cape is seen taking the youth away:

A video said to have been recorded in Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem on Tuesday shows heavily armed Israeli forces detaining three small Palestinian boys:

Palestinians also marched in Ramallah on Tuesday:

And at Huwwara checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus:

And Palestinians in Israel protested in front of the US embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night:

Syrians also protested in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights against Trump’s declaration:

And in a testament to the optics of Israeli brutality, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, referred to a now iconic photo of a Palestinian boy being arrested by tens of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron last week:

“Look at how the Israeli terrorists are dragging him while being blindfolded,” Erdogan told an assembly of his AK Party.

The boy shown in the photo, 16-year-old Fawzi al-Juneidi, is currently being held by Israel:

Another photo of a Palestinian being detained in Hebron last week resonated in Turkey.

The photo shows Muhammad Tawil, who has Down syndrome.

A group of Turkish citizens with Down syndrome stood in solidarity with Tawil:

fly bird (26)
Friday December 15, 2017, 1:56 pm
Israel’s Stall-Forever ‘Peace’ Plan.
September 23, 2017

Despite boosting the idea of Mideast peace, President Trump shields Israel in its resistance to a workable agreement with the Palestinians, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explained in a Sept. 19 speech.
Paul R. Pillar

President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom the President has entrusted with, among many other things, searching for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, said regarding that task: “We don’t want a history lesson. How does that help us get peace? Let’s not focus on that. We’ve read enough books.”

He’s wrong. Without taking into account the history of this conflict, one will never understand it adequately, much less be able to identify formulas that will furnish the necessary respect for, and meet the minimum needs of, both sides.

One could go way back, but let us instead skip to the point in history when war-exhausted Britain, responsible for administering the mandate of Palestine, was facing increasing violence from the contending communities of, on one hand, Arabs who had lived in Palestine for centuries, and on the other hand, Zionists who had begun to settle there over the previous few decades.

Britain dumped the problem into the lap of the United Nations, where the General Assembly approved in 1947 a partition plan for Palestine that would create two new states, one controlled by Jews and one by Arabs. The resolution approving the plan is the one internationally certified birth certificate of the State of Israel.

The population of Palestine at the time was about two-thirds Arab and slightly less than one-third Jewish, with the bulk of the latter representing immigration in the 30 years since the Balfour Declaration. Jews owned less than 7 percent of the land. Under the partition plan, however, the Jewish state would receive 56 percent of Palestine and the Arab state 43 percent, with the remaining one percent being an international zone in Jerusalem. The population of the projected Arab state would be almost entirely Arab, while the Jewish-controlled state would be 45 percent Arab.

In the war that subsequently broke out, the superior skill and organization of the Zionist forces resulted in conquest of territory beyond the boundaries of the Jewish state in the UN partition plan, such that, at the time of the resulting armistice, the new State of Israel comprised 78 percent of Palestine, with Arabs left in control of 22 percent. Large population displacement occurred during the war. More than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled from, or fled from, their homes. Between 400 and 600 Palestinian villages were sacked, and Palestinian city life was virtually extinguished. This set of events is what Palestinians came to refer to as the Nakba or catastrophe.

A Single Story

This history is part of a single continuous story of issues that are discussed today as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the so-called peace process. One cannot excise that history. It is an inseparable part of attitudes, emotions, positions, and demands that exist today.

In the seven decades since those events of the late 1940s, Israel has grown into the state that is unquestionably the most militarily powerful in the entire Middle East, as well as being in many respects economically powerful. The next big accretion of territory under Israel’s control came from its conquests in the 1967 war, which Israel started with an attack on Egypt amid brinksmanship in the Gulf of Aqaba by Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Since that war, Israel has sustained a program of colonization of the conquered territories. Approximately 600,000 Jewish settlers now live outside Israel’s 1967 boundaries, in the West Bank and the eastern part of what Israel defines as Jerusalem.

Palestinian Arabs, in contrast, have remained sunken in a state of weakness and subjugation. For those in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, this status has included, among many other things, having nearly every aspect of life, from building of homes to daily movement to places of livelihood, subjected to the strictures of Israeli military occupation.

For those in the Gaza Strip, the subjugation has taken a different form, in which Israel has maintained control of air, sea, and, with varying degrees of Egyptian regime cooperation, land access to the Strip. With a suffocating blockade in effect much of the time, punctuated by the destruction of periodic military offensives, the Strip is one of the more miserable densely populated pieces of territory in the world.

Changes of Posture

The political and diplomatic positions of both sides have changed significantly over these seven decades. Whatever movement there has been in a direction that would appear to make resolution of the conflict more possible has come in response to some form of force or pressure. This has been true on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. A detailed accounting of such changes, and of the circumstances that have led to them, can be found in the excellent book by Nathan Thrall, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, published this year under the title The Only Language They Understand.

On the Israeli side, for example, Israel’s limited territorial withdrawals from Syria and the Sinai following the 1973 war were in response to the shock of military setbacks and vulnerability that the war exposed, together with pressure from the United States, which had been stung by the Arab oil embargo. Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s acceptance at Camp David in 1978 of a framework for a projected, eventual negotiated resolution of the conflict was in response to pressure applied by Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s agreement in 1991 to attend a peace conference in Madrid was in direct response to pressure from Secretary of State James Baker in the form of a threat to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees for housing for Russian emigrants — which, by the way, was the last time the United States applied this sort of pressure on Israel.

The record refutes the idea that reassurance to Israel is what is most required to obtain Israel flexibility regarding the conflict with the Palestinians. But this idea persists because it is so politically comfortable here in the United States.

The same sort of dynamic has taken place on the Palestinian side. The positions and postures of the Palestinian mainstream have undergone a great evolution from a refusal to have any dealing with Israel and the waging of armed struggle against it, to explicit recognition of the State of Israel, commitment to a negotiated resolution of the conflict, commitment to two states living side-by-side in peace, and even an acceptance of pre-1967 Israeli military conquests and a reduction of territorial aspirations for a Palestinian state to the 22 percent of land that was left. The background to this evolution has been setback after setback to the Palestinians, including military defeats in Jordan and Lebanon, exile to Tunisia, and political weakness that is most apparent right here in the United States.

An Asymmetrical Conflict

While the two sides have exhibited similar histories regarding the relationship between pressure and flexibility, we are left with a huge asymmetry. There is an enormous difference in strength, obviously militarily but also economically and in terms of political leverage in the United States.

There has been a large difference in physical and human consequences. Far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in this conflict. Even going back to the Arab riots in Palestine in the 1930s, the ratio of Arabs to Jews killed was about ten-to-one. The discrepancy has been even greater in more recent conflict. During Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip in 2014, 2,100 Palestinians were killed, about two-thirds of whom were civilians. Israeli deaths from all causes totaled 72, all but six of whom were soldiers. The ratio in the last previous war in Gaza, in 2008-2009, was similar: 14 Israelis killed; over 1,400 Palestinians killed.

The asymmetry is also one between an occupier and the occupied. This seems to get overlooked in mentions of whether Palestinian leaders want a negotiated settlement. For the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, a negotiated two-state solution would be better than what they have now, and the overwhelming majority of Palestinians realize that it would be. They also realize that an agreement negotiated with Israel is the only way a two-state solution would ever be reached.

Conditions that Palestinian leaders have sometimes attached to negotiations should not be that hard to understand. A freeze on more construction of Israeli settlements is understandable because such construction obviously narrows the negotiating space for any peace agreement, and because nobody’s patience is unlimited for something called a peace process to be dragged out endlessly while more such facts on the ground continue to be established unilaterally, making a two-state solution ever harder to achieve.

Resistance to acceding to Israeli demands about calling Israel a “Jewish state” reflects how this demand was never made of Egypt or Jordan when they made peace treaties with Israel, how such descriptive demands are not part of normal recognition and diplomacy between states, how the PLO long ago explicitly recognized the State of Israel, how acceding to the Israeli demand would be an explicit Palestinian declaration that their Arab brethren within Israel are second-class citizens, and how such accession would be a step toward excusing Israel from accepting any responsibility, even symbolically, for the events of the late 1940s.

The asymmetry extends to how much there is left for either side to concede. Again, it is part of the basic difference between an occupier, who has the power to end an occupation, and the occupied, who does not. For the Palestinians, the story of this conflict, and of the diplomacy surrounding it, has been a tale of successive reductions in what they expect, and what they are expected to expect.

From being what was still the large majority of residents of Palestine even at the time of Israel’s creation, they have seen their prospective home go down to 43 percent of Palestine under the U.N. partition plan, to 22 percent after the warfare of the 1940s. And since the 1967 war, they have seen the 22 percent become not a floor but a ceiling in anything that is talked about as a future Palestinian state. The discourse is about a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what had been their homeland.

Having been backed to a wall, there is very little room for still more backing up, at least in any way consistent with any Palestinian leader meeting the most basic nationalist aspirations and demand for respect for his people, failing which the leader himself forfeits respect and support.

On the Israeli side, one of the relevant pieces of background is the rightward trend in Israeli politics that has continued ever since Begin’s Likud displaced Labor as Israel’s dominant political party. Some members of Netanyahu’s government have been more direct than he has been in calling for things such as immediate annexation by Israel of most of the West Bank.

Israel and the Status Quo

Another relevant piece of background, consistent with the observation that the only significant movement in the position of either side has come when that side has been under pressure, is that the Israeli government simply does not feel sufficient motivation to end the occupation and reach an agreement with the Palestinians. From that government’s viewpoint, the status quo is tolerable, even comfortable.

Israeli has its overwhelming regional military superiority. It has its prosperity; it is among the richest one-fifth of the countries in the world in GDP per capita, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. As suggested by the previously mentioned casualty figures, the immediate physical and human costs of the conflict itself are sustainable and below levels that would make them a significant political liability for leaders. The ugly aspects of occupation are walled off, literally, and beyond the line of sight of most Israelis, meaning that they do not represent any kind of political imperative to change the status quo.

Sure, there is international criticism, but that is something else that Israeli leaders have long experience living with, deflecting, and even turning to their domestic political advantage as protectors of the nation against what are described as unfair critics and even enemies of Israel.

Most important of all, there is the unquestioning backing of the United States, and the political lock that underlies it. That backing takes the form of $3.8 billion in annual subsidies with no strings attached, no compensatory demands being made about Israeli policy, and a diplomatic posture that makes it news when, as once occurred late in the Obama administration, the United States merely abstained on, rather than vetoing, as it repeatedly has done, a U.N. Security Council resolution expressing the critical view that the overwhelming majority of the international community has of Israel’s colonization project in the territories.

Weigh all this against what the Israeli government would face internally if it were to move to end the occupation and help to create a Palestinian state. This would immediately create a severe domestic political crisis within the dominant political right, featuring the resistance of a settler population that now constitutes about a tenth of Israel’s entire Jewish population. It is easy to see why the current government is not attracted to a change of its current course.

It has been observed, correctly, that of three major possible attributes of the current, and future, State of Israel — namely, being Jewish, being democratic, and being in control of all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River — Israel can be any two of those things, but it is impossible for it to be all three. It is impossible because of demographic facts about the peoples who live in that land.

Israeli leaders in power do not usually address that trilemma explicitly and publicly, but occasionally we get a more direct glimpse of the priorities. The Israeli minister of justice, Ayelet Shaked, has made clear she considers the democracy part to be subordinate to the Jewishness part. She has said that it was “not primarily Roman law or the democratic tradition of the Athenian polis that shaped and forged the modern democratic tradition in Europe or the United States, but Jewish tradition — joined, of course, by other traditions. It is precisely when we wish to promote advanced processes of democratization in Israel that we must deepen its Jewish identity.”

As for the role of civil and political rights in general, Shaked says, “Zionism should not – and I’m saying here that it will not – bow its head to a system of individual rights interpreted in a universal manner.”

Obsolete Transitional Arrangements

Meanwhile, on the Palestinian side, political dysfunction persists that is partly a legacy of failed peace process efforts of the past. The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is the recognized interlocutor for peace negotiations, is Mahmoud Abbas, who gets more attention for his other role as head of the Palestinian Authority.

The P.A. was established under the Oslo process in the 1990s to be only a transitional mechanism. It was supposed to yield to something more permanent, like a real Palestinian state, in five or so years. The P.A. long ago passed its sell-by date. Many Palestinians now regard it, with good reason, as mostly an administrative auxiliary to the Israeli occupation. Stasis has set in. Abbas is now in the 13th year of what was supposed to have been a four-year term as P.A. president.

The P.A., and the Fatah-dominated PLO, also do not represent all of the Palestinian body politic. They do not represent refugees, and they do not represent the stream of opinion embodied in Hamas, which won the last free and fair Palestinian parliamentary election, has made clear it is prepared to live in peace in a Palestinian state side-by-side with the State of Israel, and has tried to observe the cease-fires negotiated after the last two Gaza wars.

Israel and the United States refused to accept that election result, and Israel has done everything it can to sustain division between Hamas and Abbas’s P.A., such as by withholding tax receipts owed to the Palestinians when the P.A. has made a move to resolve differences with Hamas. We can expect the same Israeli reaction to an initiative announced by Hamas this week, in which it says it will dissolve its own administration of Gaza in favor of a new joint administration with the P.A. and participation in fresh Palestinian elections.

Recent internal developments on the Israeli side, and specifically Netanyahu’s legal and political problems stemming from multiple corruption cases, only make matters worse regarding any peace process. The prime minister’s response has been to tie himself ever more closely to the right-wing coalition partners whose support he needs to stay in office. That means more of an inflexible hard line on anything having to do with the Palestinians. Netanyahu recently said to an audience of West Bank settlers, “We are here to stay forever. We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle.”

Many informed observers believe that the two-state solution is dead. I don’t believe it is dead in the sense of technical feasibility. Despite how far the Israeli colonization of the West Bank has gone, it still would be possible to construct a peace agreement along lines that have been well known for quite some time, based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps, and creative ways to deal with sticky issues such as right of return and control of holy places in Jerusalem.

But what the pessimistic observers accurately note, besides the ever-narrowing bargaining space from construction of additional facts on the ground, is how much of the edifice on which the so-called peace process is based has been regarded by one side as a basis for avoiding an ultimate peace agreement rather than building one. The Oslo formula that created the P.A. was based, on Israeli insistence, on the 1978 Camp David framework agreement, which in turn was based on an autonomy plan from Begin that was designed not to establish Palestinian self-determination but to prevent it.

This has been a matter of peace processing indefinitely while the side in control has created still more facts on the ground. Begin’s successor Yitzhak Shamir was quite candid about this when he said, ”I would have carried on autonomy talks for ten years, and meanwhile we would have reached half a million people in Judea and Samaria.”

Trump’s Posture

And now we have, in the country with the greatest potential outside leverage over all this, the Trump administration. Donald Trump said some things early in his campaign about being even-handed, but then he made his peace with (the intensely pro-Israeli billionaire) Sheldon Adelson, and from the time he spoke later during the campaign to AIPAC, most of what he has said and done on this issue would have easily passed muster in the Israeli prime minister’s office.

His son-in-law the envoy comes from a family with connections to West Bank settlements. Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer, whom he has appointed as ambassador to Israel, has direct personal involvement in aiding a West Bank settlement, has likened liberal, pro-peace American Jews to Nazi collaborators, and recently departed from a long-established U.S. diplomatic lexicon by referring to the “alleged occupation”.

Trump has backed away from the two-state solution, which had been the explicit U.S. objective of the previous couple of administrations, Republican and Democratic, and the implicit objective of the couple of administrations before that, Republican and Democratic. In an extraordinary statement, the State Department spokeswoman recently said that to recommit to the two-state solution would constitute “bias.”

As former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer commented in an op-ed, “her words indicate that the Trump administration itself is extremely biased — in favor of hardliners in … Netanyahu’s coalition who want the United States and Israel to abandon the two- state outcome.”

Those hardliners, and the Trump administration, have recently been looking to what is referred to as the “outside-in” concept — the idea the other Arab states will lean on the Palestinians to accept something less than a real state. But if the key to a peace settlement rested with those other Arab states, then Israel could pick up off the table what has been on the table for 15 years: the Arab League peace initiative, which offers full recognition of, and peace with, Israel by all Arab states and a formal declaration that the Arab-Israeli conflict is over, in return for an end to the occupation and establishment of a Palestinian state.

Genuine peace with the region still requires genuine peace with the Palestinians. Neither the Saudis nor other Arab leaders will sign off on bantustans for their Arab brethren in Palestine.

And so the prospect is for this long-running conflict to continue to run, with all of the substantial human, economic, political, and diplomatic costs that the conflict has entailed. Only a two-state solution can realize the national aspirations both of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Without it, Israel will continue not to have recognized borders, not be at peace with its region, and not be anything other than a heavily militarized state and in many ways a pariah state. It will, as Netanyahu has put it, “live forever by the sword.”

Without a two-state solution, Palestinians will continue to endure their all-too-well documented subjugation and suffering, and will exhibit the severe discontent that breeds extremism.

And without such a solution, the United States will continue to be associated with acceptance of this festering and undesirable situation, will be seen as condoning and supporting what the overwhelming majority of the world considers a gross injustice, and will continue to be the target of violent extremists who, again and again, cite this issue as one of their principal motivators and rallying cries.

(Pillar was speaking to the Worcester, Massachusetts, World Affairs Council.)

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 16, 2017, 4:41 pm
From DC to Jerusalem: fighting displacement and colonization.
November 28, 2017

Earlier this month, the Washington DC Palestine solidarity community welcomed Jerusalem activist Fayrouz Sharqawi, Advocacy Coordinator at the organization Grassroots Jerusalem. Sharqawi was on a two-week speaking tour including stops in Boston, New York, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In DC, she held events with the Palestine Center, the Middle East Institute, and local advocacy group Organizing Neighborhood Equity ONE DC. The event with ONE DC put Sharqawi in conversation with Brookland Manor tenant leader Cheryl Brunson and community organizer Yasmina Mrabet. This momentous meeting of hearts and minds highlighted the parallel resistance of women fighting to protect their homes and communities in both occupied East Jerusalem and gentrified Washington DC.

Graphics displayed on the event page compared the numbers. One image showed the statistical decline of African American residents in DC: the once-majority Black city has lost nearly a third of its African American population over the past four decades, due to aggressive redevelopment and a corresponding influx of wealthier, predominantly-white new residents. A second graphic shows that over 200,000 Israeli settlers have moved into East Jerusalem since 1967, while tens of thousands of Palestinian locals have been stripped of their residency status or blocked from registering their children as residents.

Andrew Kadi, moderator for the event and an organizer with event sponsor DC for Palestine, explained why local Palestinian activists were so determined to connect Fayrouz Sharqawi with those confronting displacement here in Washington: “Anyone who thinks of Jerusalem–and what the U.S.-funded Israeli military and government are doing there – should also be conscious of policies that produce similar results here in DC,” he said over email. “Palestinians in Jerusalem, similar to long-time black and brown residents of DC, are struggling against racist policing, being stripped of housing, underfunded services, and mass incarceration, all of which results in displacement….We could stop funding Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and use that money to address some of these issues locally.”

Engineered population transfer

One of the first themes to emerge during the event was the similarity in city planning processes that engineer the displacement of unwanted populations. Sharqawi cited the Israeli government’s “Jerusalem 2020” master plan, which explicitly advocates for “demographic balance” between Jewish Israeli and non-Jewish Palestinian populations. In order to achieve this parity, Sharqawi explained, the Palestinian population would need to be forcibly reduced from 40 percent to 30 percent over the next three years.

The Israeli government promotes this outcome through a variety of policies. A practice similar to eminent domain is frequently used to evict Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from land where the Israeli government plans parks or museums. When Palestinian families apply for permits to build on their own land, or simply make additions or improvements to an existing home, 94 percent of the applications are met with rejection. Those who build without permission risk home demolition. They are charged for the cost of the demolition and often plunged into simultaneous homelessness and bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, here in DC, developers reassured city officials that “natural attrition” would leave 100 Brookland Manor units vacant prior to their proposed redevelopment scheme. It’s a mystery where they came up with this figure, considering that the population of the subsidized apartment complex has held steady for 50 years. One might argue that the complex is actually consistently over-capacity, as many current residents are on waits lists to obtain larger units.

ONE DC community organizer Yasmina Mrabet explained that this predicted “attrition” is anything but natural: the developer, MidCity Financial, is running an calculated campaign to get rid of long-time residents. With the current tenants gone, they plan to reduce all the unit sizes–eliminating the larger apartments in favor of an increased number of one- and two-bedroom units. By increasing the total number of units, the developer can superficially market the project as an incredible affordable housing initiative when in fact they are dramatically decreasing the total low-income population on the property in order to free up space for more than 100 luxury units.

The result is not just displacement but also the callous separation of families and the deliberate destruction of a longtime community. Tenant leader Cheryl Brunson, a Brookland Manor resident of over 25 years, described the welcoming and kid-friendly culture of the complex and the neighborhood. The large garden apartments include units with four, five and even six bedrooms, accommodating extended families that thrive off living together. The property has a pool and a playground. Brunson shared stories of community members watching each other’s children, raising their grandkids, and sharing food and clothing with neighbors who have less.

Since tenants started organizing, the developer’s tactics have become more and more aggressive. Today, the pool and the playground are fenced off and unused. Private security officers from a company contracted by the developer give residents infractions for sitting outside, playing ball, or simply leaning on the fence while waiting for a ride. The same minor “offenses” can get non-resident friends and family members placed on a list of people banned from the property, and then residents receive additional infractions for “illegally” hosting them. Accumulated infractions are used as a pretense to ruthlessly evict families.

Mrabet recounted that, when pressed to explain the economic reasons why MidCity Financial can’t simply replace all 535 units at their current size in order to retain all current residents, one developer gave the overtly racist and classist answer that, “it’s not just a question of economics, but a question of sociology.” Mrabet translated for the audience, “They don’t want the people who are already there, they don’t want to keep a working class black community–they want to bring in a wealthier, whiter clientele.” When tenants turned to their elected City Council member Kenyan McDuffie for help, he instead echoed the developer’s racist rhetoric, commenting that he does not support a one-for-one unit replacement “because people need to learn self-sufficiency.” Like in Israel, DC government rhetoric constantly blames poverty and unemployment on the oppressed instead of on those in power.

Violent policing practices

The matrix of spatial control and intimidation in both Jerusalem and DC is inseparable from what Kadi referred to as “criminalization of the body.” All three speakers described aggressive policing practices designed to break bodies and minds by traumatizing and provoking residents.

When Cheryl Brunson talked about young people being constantly harassed by both the police and private security for simply playing ball outside, Fayrouz Sharqawi commented that the Israeli police similarly beat up or detain young Palestinians for eating seeds or smoking in public. Likewise, Brunson’s tales of police arbitrarily applying sidewalk ordinances (such as by telling organizers they can’t speak with tenants outside the building) and aggressively detaining young men closely paralleled Sharqawi’s descriptions of Israeli police holding young people for hours at the station “without even trying to give a legal excuse.”

This kind of policing is as much a form of psychological warfare as it is physical violence, pointed out both Mrabet and Sharqawi. In DC, the police and the developers work hand in glove to demoralize people. For example, one day Brunson’s grandson was traumatically chased by the police in a case of mistaken identity. Not long afterwards MidCity falsely accused her of owing $5000 in unpaid rent and dragged her through a long process of proving her case. Another resident had the tragic experience of her son committing suicide in her apartment, and police came to the scene to investigate the scene. The next day she was issued an eviction notice by MidCity for having a gun on the property: the gun her son brought into her apartment to kill himself.

Like in Jerusalem, the compounding stress of the environment takes its toll on every aspect of the community; with so many battles to fight at every turn, people are more likely to give up or turn on each other. Mrabet described MidCity’s efforts to confuse people and pit them against each other: the developer will send out mailings to all the residents warning them not to get tricked by outside organizations (referring to ONE DC) and inviting them to meetings on the design of the future building. In this way, they purposefully cultivate the narrative that “good” residents will get a unit in the new building while the “bad” residents will not. Mrabet recounted the arduous work of getting skeptical and paranoid tenants involved in the fight for fair redevelopment.

Despite the parallel social stigmas, policing, and bureaucratic violence faced by Palestinians and DC residents, Sharqawi noted that there are some significant differences when it comes to available organizing and advocacy tactics. East Jerusalem Palestinians are cut off from the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority government by the apartheid wall, but they are not Israeli citizens either. Thus they have no political representation. What they do have is a uniquely precarious residential status within the Israeli legal framework, purposefully crafted so that the Israeli government can easily revoke residency rights. In this case Palestinians are not just physically displaced from their homes, but also permanently barred from residing in East Jerusalem.

Mrabet described how their campaign brought unprecedented numbers of supporters to city zoning commission meetings. Sharqawi pointed out that, unlike Brookland Manor residents, Jerusalem Palestinians cannot take their case to City Council, or pack the house of a zoning meeting, or go after their council member. The total lack of political representation plus their stateless status means that Palestinians don’t have these civic avenues to strategically utilize. As a result, international solidarity is all the more urgent.

Grassroots solutions, international solidarity

As community organizations, both Grassroots Jerusalem and ONE DC are dedicated to asking people “what can I do for you?” They seek to empower and unite people as much as they work to redress the immediate symptoms of state and corporate violence. Both Sharqawi and Mrabet were clear to distinguish between NGO charity and true community organizing. Sharqawi described how Jerusalem residents get stuck relying on the emergency aid of the United Nations and NGOs because they have few political and legal avenues of their own in which to fight for permanent solutions. She pointed out the universal irony in the fact that the same neoliberal, corporatist system that drives displacement then puts up funding for the mainstream NGOs that claim to provide solutions.

Grassroots Jerusalem is thus seeking to “organize and coordinate all the efforts happening on the ground.” Sharqawi explained that some people think they can’t do anything about the political reality, but in fact “the people do have the power to battle these policies.” As an example during the presentation, she described the grassroots response to the new metal detectors and checkpoints installed at al-Aqsa mosque. Spontaneous civil disobedience brought out thousands of protestors who prayed together in the streets until Israel eventually backed off and removed the new checkpoints.

In order to build a sense of agency in place, one specific project Grassroots Jerusalem has focused on is mapping: residents old and young are invited to draw maps of their neighborhood, taking note of shops, trees, and other landmarks. Interns trained in GIS mapping translate the drawings into formal maps and post them to the organization’s website. This project captures essential documentation of Palestinian space while simultaneously giving people an opportunity to build community. Sharqawi said the overarching goal is to get people to envision their own Jerusalem future: what do they want to see ten years from now?

Sharqawi’s emphasis on “finding resources from the community, for the community” resonated with ONE DC’s own philosophy. As Mrabet explained, the organization focuses not just on housing but also on building grassroots power through labor. This led ONE DC to found the Black Workers Center, a worker-led space dedicated to promoting worker coops, time-banking, and workplace organizing skills. With a nod to the recent 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Mrabet referenced the socialist vision of workers regaining power through democratic ownership of the means of production.

The event closed with speakers’ comments on how to support their movements. Sharqawi appealed to international solidarity: because Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, it is urgent that international pressure operates in tandem with their own organizing on the ground. She encouraged the audience to get involved with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, founded in 2005 by Palestinian civil society. Likewise, Mrabet called on supporters from around the world to link struggles by joining ONE DC as a member.

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 17, 2017, 2:17 pm
70 Years Later, Israel Continues to Ignore What It Doesn’t Like in Partition Resolution.
10 December 2017

United Nations Report

By Ian Williams

IT IS NOW 70 years since the U.N. General Assembly voted for Resolution 181 to partition Palestine between an Arab and a Jewish state. When pro-Israel commentators demand to know why the U.N. is “obsessed” with Israel and the Middle East question, this is why. The partition of Mandatory Palestine and dispossession of its people are the original sins of the world organization when it collectively overrode the very principles it had just written into its charter.

The Arab side understandably boycotted the U.N.’s Special Committee on Palestine. After all, they were being invited to help map out the cuts for their own vivisection and did not agree with the process, since it did flout most of the principles for which the post-War U.N. was supposed to stand. However, firm principles are not always conducive to sound policy, and the Palestinian absence allowed the Zionist side to shape the agenda and the details for the committee members—who, minutes show, were already predisposed to see the Jewish refugees and settlers in a very sympathetic light.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently discovered the papers of Paul Mohn, Sweden’s deputy representative to the commission. David Horowitz, the Jewish Agency emissary to the U.N., wrote at the time that Mohn is the person “who more than anyone else established the boundaries of the future Hebrew state.”

It has always been a mystery why delegates thought it was acceptable to draw boundaries in complete disregard to the wishes, and in some cases even the existence, of the actual population living there. Mohn seems to have been the actual drafter of the gerrymandered boundaries, and his papers explain his partiality to Zionist demands, based on family revulsion against anti-Semitism going back to the Dreyfus case and exacerbated as it obviously was for committee members by the recent Nazi genocide.

Mohn’s papers seem to indicate that it was only at the end of its mission, when it had been persuaded to recommend partition, that the committee realized that it was supposed to map the actual boundaries, which Mohn undertook almost singlehandedly.

But that does not explain their insouciance toward the very existence, let alone the rights, of the Bedouin, who were the majority inhabitants of the Negev—which the committee handed over to the Jewish state despite a complete absence of Jews there!—let alone to the sensibilities of the Palestinians gerrymandered into a 45 percent minority in cantons with 55 percent Jews. Looking at their comments at the time it is chillingly clear that the committee members did not idealistically expect the Arabs and Jews to live happily ever after in binational harmony. Not at all. The Palestinians were supposed to take the hint and move out, as of course many of them did, when the hint was reinforced with bayonets and news of the massacre at Deir Yassin.

For extra resonance, we should also remember that it was Mohn’s maps and recommendations to make Jerusalem a corpus separatum under U.N. trusteeship that results in Israel’s claimed capital to be a diplomatic desert devoid of embassies. You will not be surprised that this and other inconvenient sections of 181 were overlooked when Vice President Mike Pence joined the bumptious Israeli ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, in celebrating the 70th anniversary.

Those celebrations notwithstanding, Israeli celebration of Resolution 181 tends to be ambivalent. Back in 1947, its passage was greeted with enthusiasm as the foundation of the Jewish state, but since then, there is that Jerusalem thing. How do you celebrate a resolution that explicitly bars you from control of your “eternal capital”? That was compounded a year later when Resolution 194, passed almost simultaneously with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enshrined the right of return or compensation to the dispossessed Palestinians.

Israel’s response, which could be discounted, and that of its American patron, which is harder to sideline, has been to diminish the legitimacy of the U.N. General Assembly, particularly since Washington lost its guaranteed majority in the 1960s with the influx of newly independent nations. It is now firmly asserted that Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.

Inadvertently expressing his country’s ambivalence, Ambassador Danon on the one hand denounces the U.N. as totally biased against Israel, while on the other trumpeting every minor voting success it has. In 2016, he wrote to the secretary-general asking for kosher food in U.N. catering to “ensure that the parliament of nations be open and respectful to the traditions of the Jewish people.” Fair enough—if he could ensure that Israeli politicians paid heed to the parliament of nations! It is not as if Israel has been particularly good at following Security Council resolutions, let alone those of the General Assembly!


With so many important members of the U.N. in effect deciding that they do not have a dog in the fight on issues of principle, like the Palestinian question, it is heartening to see the work of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty has not always been closely associated with human rights, nor even those of Palestinians, but those of us who saw Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein at work, for example on the Balkans, are not so surprised by the effective and independent work he is now doing as High Commissioner of Human Rights, in the face of relentless pressure from the Saudis, who have reportedly called Amman to ask King Abdullah to rein in his brother, and of course from the West and Israel.

Currently he is holding steady on the completion of a database of companies operating in Israel’s West Bank settlements. The U.N. Human Rights Council ordered its compilation in March of 2016, mandating the OHCHR to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on Palestinians.” Hundreds of companies have been approached, and neither they nor their Israeli hosts are happy.

Israel and its friends failed to stop the database research, but as the irrepressible Danon put it to The Associated Press, “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.” Washington’s permanent representative, Nikki Haley, in her avatar as joint representative for AIPAC and Danon, can be relied upon to bring the White House into the fray, but so far it is going ahead.

If or when published, it will be an authoritative guide for BDS supporters worldwide to fine tune their decisions. It also presents an interesting dilemma for the U.S., whose diplomats are frequently at the fore in denouncing human rights violations—often deservedly so. Its ultimate weapon would be to walk out of the Human Rights Council—but the U.S. has been voted off in the past, and the Council survived long enough for Washington to use some unseemly pressure to get back on again! If it did walk out, Israel would be left with “supporters” who abstain when their arms are twisted by the U.S. and who thus could not be guaranteed to hold the line in Washington’s absence.

Even though it’s been a long time since anyone expected consistency or logic from any U.S. administration, what type of international profile will it present if it tries to stop publication of information on which companies are operating in territory which the State Department considers occupied, and in settlements which the Security Council and the International Court of Justice have deemed illegal?

To bring us back to the beginning, Vice President Pence, attending (of course) the Israeli mission’s celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Resolution 181, was explaining why in June President Donald Trump, like all his predecessors, signed a waiver to legislation mandating the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. It was, of course, because of 181’s clauses on Jerusalem!

fly bird (26)
Thursday December 28, 2017, 10:43 pm
Israeli lawmaker given security after insulting Palestinians.
26 December 2017

Israel's parliament has decided to give a controversial rightwing lawmaker a security detail after a widely-shared video showed him insulting Palestinians heading to visit detained relatives, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Oren Hazan, a provocative figure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, dispensed the abuse on Monday after boarding a bus of Palestinians allowed to exit the Gaza Strip to see family members held in an Israeli jail.

"Your relatives belong in the ground," he says in the footage, demanding that passengers denounce "terrorist acts" against Israel.

"Your son is a dog," he tells a woman from the coastal enclave.

Hazan used the stunt to criticise Israel's policy of allowing permits for such visits while Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas allegedly hold three civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

One woman replies: "Speak to Hamas to see your children, not us."

Footage of the incident has been shared widely on Palestinian and Israeli social media, and prompted a rare response from a spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas.

"Instead of sending an idiot to carry out childish acts... try to resolve the issue with courage and without intimidating women," Abu Obeida said in a statement to the Israeli authorities.

It is not the first time Hazan has sparked controversy.

In 2015, he was suspended from his position as deputy speaker of Israel's parliament after a televised report accused him of involvement in pimping and drugs.

This May, Hazan was heavily criticised after taking a selfie with US President Donald Trump as he landed in Israel.

In August, Netanyahu intervened to stop Hazan meeting a Jordanian lawmaker on the border, fearing a fistfight.

fly bird (26)
Friday December 29, 2017, 1:48 pm
#IamAhed or #StandUpForAhed

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 10, 2018, 5:14 pm
Israel/OPT: Military must end excessive force to avoid further bloodshed and deaths
21 December 2017
Ahead of planned protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territories tomorrow, and in the wake of the deaths of four Palestinian protesters and the injuring of hundreds of others in the last two weeks, Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to put an end to the excessive force that has been part of its response to demonstrations and clashes resulting from the decision by the US administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Respect for the right to peaceful protest is an obligation binding on Israel and, even where violence erupts, the Israeli security forces must use the minimum force necessary to address it.”

Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

“Israeli authorities must stop using excessive force against protesters once and for all. The fact that live ammunition has been used during protests in Gaza and the West Bank is particularly shocking. Under international human rights law lethal force can only be used when lives are at imminent risk, which clearly was not the case in the examples we have documented,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Respect for the right to peaceful protest is an obligation binding on Israel and, even where violence erupts, the Israeli security forces must use the minimum force necessary to address it, while allowing peaceful marches and demonstrations to continue.”

Over the last two weeks, four Palestinians, three in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank, have been killed by the Israeli authorities during demonstrations and ensuing clashes. Figures issued by the Palestinian ministry of health indicate that more than 3,000 others have been injured and, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, more than 400 have been arrested.

Israeli forces have used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at a number of demonstrations, sometimes in response to protesters throwing stones and, in the case of the West Bank, Molotov cocktails. Particularly alarming has been the Israeli army’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in Gaza during demonstrations at or near the fence that separates the Strip and Israel. One of those killed was 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was shot in the head by a soldier on 15 December. At the time he was shot, he was sitting with a group of young protesters near Nahal Oz, a heavily militarized area, where barbed wire separated them from the Israeli army, positioned approximately 15 metres away. According to eyewitnesses, Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was wheelchair-bound after losing both his legs in an Israeli air strike in 2008, was waving a Palestinian flag and chanting slogans. He was in possession of a slingshot, which he did not use. Israeli military investigations have concluded there were “no moral or professional failures” identified in this killing.

The other two Palestinian protesters killed in the Gaza Strip were Mahmoud Abdelmajid al-Masri on 8 December and Yasser Naji Sukkar on 15 December. The fourth Palestinian protester killed – in the West Bank – was Basel Mustafa Ibrahim, also on 15 December.

“There’s no denying that Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza threw stones at Israeli soldiers, but it’s hard to believe how any of them posed an imminent danger to the lives of well-equipped soldiers protected by concrete blocks,” said Philip Luther.

“The Israeli authorities have consistently refused to investigate killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers or police or at least not done so to international standards. As long as Israeli officers are not held to account for abusing their powers, the pattern of unlawful killings will continue, and Palestinians will be denied their right to peaceful protest without fear of injury or death.

“If further bloodshed is to be avoided as these demonstrations continue, the Israeli authorities must properly investigate all incidents in which arbitrary and otherwise abusive force appears to have been used and bring those suspected of being responsible to justice. This is all the more important when serious injury and loss of life are involved. Israel must also reform its investigation systems to ensure their impartiality and independence. A failure to do so will only perpetuate years of impunity.”

Three other Palestinians, two armed group members and one civilian, have been killed as a result of Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups. The air strikes targeted a military site used by Hamas in Beit Lahya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Another Palestinian was killed in al-Bireh in the West Bank on 15 December by Israeli soldiers who said he had attempted to stab one of them.


US President Donald Trump’s recent decisions to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv has caused widespread condemnation and protest in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and around the world.

This decision has implied a “unified” Jerusalem and implicitly recognized the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in disregard of the mass violations of Palestinian human rights resulting from Israel’s annexation policies.

Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem was formalized in domestic law in 1980. It has been repeatedly condemned by the international community through various UN Security Council resolutions.

For more than 10 years, Gaza’s 2 million residents have been subjected to collective punishment as a result of Israel’s illegal blockade. Between October 2015 and September 2016, Amnesty International documented the killings of 21 protesters in Gaza, including a 10-year-old child.
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