Archive | October 9th, 2011

Israel’s top critic attacked by Jewish Group

NOVANEWS
Ronan Macfield

London, (Pal Telegraph) – A number of so-called “Pro Palestinian campaigners” are planning a picket against the musician and activist, Gilad Atzmon, in London Monday, 10/10/2011. The campaigners suggest that Atzmon is harmful for the Palestinian solidarity. However, the man is reported to be one of the top critics of Israel and its deadly policies in the Middle East.

A group of the so-called Pro-Palestinian campaigners, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-Big) have called for a picket tomorrow where Atzmon will be launching his new Book, “The Wandering Who”. The Book tackles the Jewish-identity politics and how some Jews in the Diaspora support Israel.

Further, it reveals a very solid fact that some of the so-called Pro Palestinian Jewish groups are working to support Palestinians. Their support of Palestine is conditional where they have Israel’s benefit as a top priority.

The J-Big’s call has been spread by a fanatic persona who is attempting to silence Atzmon from criticizing Israel and its Jewish supporters.  Experts suggested that J-Big is harming the Palestinian solidarity movement in the UK as it brings in some personal conflicts in regard of very-Jewish issues to the arena of Palestine activism.

Tahir Mahdi, a Palestinian activists based in London expressed his deep concern over the move of J-BIG. He thinks that their move is dividing the Palestinian solidarity in the UK.

“I think Jewish business should be discussed in-house. Jews should take their own conflicts away from the solidarity groups. J-BIG did great job to boycott Israeli goods. Now, they are deviating from their own discourse. If they have issues with Atzmon, then they should keep it away from our Palestinian struggle. I don’t understand why they are trying to hijack the movement.” Said Mahdi

Atzmon’s Book Launch is scheduled tomorrow, October 10th at 7.30pm. It will take place at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA. The launch is open for public.

Palestinian and Pro Palestinian activists are expected to attend the event.

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Tony Blair Exposed By The Palestinians At Last

NOVANEWS
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Tony Blair, “peace Messiah” to the Middle East has been rumbled at last by even the timid leaders of the PLO. They’ve finally stated what the world knew all along, that he is biased in favour of the Apartheid state and even lobbied the EU to vote against the Palestinian bid to have full recognition as a member state at the UN.

Blair, the war criminal, has been very busy flying to the Middle East but not to negotiate peace but to line his own pockets. As duplicitous as he is bloody, this master of spin and deceit seems to have reached the end of the road as peace envoy. How long before he runs for president of Europe?

 

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TORAH JEWS-PROBABLY THE ONLY JEWISH ETHICAL COLLECTIVE

NOVANEWS
GILAD ATZMON

Gilad Atzmon: As far as I am concerned Torah Jews are the only peaceful Jewish collective that is also coherent,  ethical and authentic. They are also totally modest.  I have never heard any of these Rabbis telling Palestinians or solidarity activists how to run the Palestinian state or how manage to solidarity movement.

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RED SCRIBBLINGS: THE BLUNDERING WHO?

NOVANEWS
GILAD ATZMON

 A MARXIST PERSPECTIVE

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon:  This is a thought provoking reading of The Wandering Who from a Marxist perspective. It certainly proves that Left ideology can still produce an intellectual insight.

Gilad Atzmon_DSC0108b

 

Gilad Atzmon’s first substantive political book has caused a significant public controversy, particularly as it has been published by Zero Books, a well known publisher of what could perhaps be cynically dubbed as radical chic, works by various up-and-coming left-wing intellectuals and thinkers. A number of other authors have protested against its publication, accusing Atzmon of being close to a Nazi and certainly a Holocaust Denier. Aztmon, a very outspoken and passionate opponent of the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, the country of his birth, is one of a small fringe of radicalised pro-Palestinian Israel Jews, who have not only rejected Zionism as a project necessarily involving the expulsion of the native Arab population of Palestine to make way for Jewish settlers, but have also drawn conclusions about the nature of ‘Jewishness’ as an identity. These appear to be a mixture of sometimes useful, sometimes off-the-wall criticisms of the notions of Jewish ‘nationhood’ or identity explicit in Zionism and Atzmon argues, implicit in other Jewish, secular political trends, with much more dubious extrapolations about 19th and 20th Century history, and particularly the persecution and massacre of Jews by Nazi Germany.

A lot of the book consists of re-edits of essays that Atzmon already published either on his website, or various other publications. Many of them contain virulent attacks on the activities of leading American and other Jewish organisations, which he accurately accuses of suppressing even mildly and thoroughly non-radical opposition to pro-Israel US policies. On this he is on strong ground, at least empircally, as one of the most striking things about the US attitude to the Middle East is how easy it is to shut up criticisms of Israel even from thoroughly mainstream US bourgeois politicians. Organisations such as AIPAC have only to click their fingers and Presidents make humiliating U-turns after having made some statement that the Israel lobby deems to be against Israel’s interests. This has at times lead to a peculiar situation when the foriegn policy of the United States, still the most powerful country in the world, appears to many thoroughly respectable bourgeois political observers, let alone anyone to the left of that, to be subservient to that of Israel.

This phenomenon has itself given rise to major controveries in the US and elsewhere, with accusations coming from many, not just the Zionists, that those highlighting the empircal facts about this are in some way speaking of a world Jewish conspiracy. Johm Mearshiemer and Stephen Walt, two prominent, mainstream centre-right academics, made a major contribution to this issue a few years ago with an essay, and then a full-length book, titled ‘the Israel Lobby’ which pointed out that the functioning of pro-Israel, largely Jewish lobbying groups and political action committees like AIPAC, were contrary to US interests in that they stopped full debate about what those interests involve. But this begged the question, how is this possible? Defenders of Israel averred that even to raise this question was tantamount to agreeing with the thesis of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that there is a sinister Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Which of course, was one of the key tenets of the ideology of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party, the way they justified to themselves their campaign to exterminate the Jews in the ‘final solution’, the genocide of European Jews during WWII.

This is a political minefield. When one does a serious study of the influence of Jews who with political links to Israel in positions of power in US governments going back decades, you find that it is completely out of proportion to the number of Jews in the American population, which is only around 3%. What inevitably causes concern to many not-particularly radical Americans is not so much that they are Jews, but their ties to Israel. The empirical facts are verifiable; if, as many say, it feeds anti-semitism to even discuss these somewhat unusual figures, the question arises whether it undermines, or in reality helps, anti-semitism to sweep this under the carpet and deny that it is a legitimate subject for discussion.

One suspects that the latter may do more to feed conspiracy theories about Jewish influence over the government than the former. Given that one of the basic tenets of democracy is that all government figures and officials, individually and collectively, should be open and accountable about everything that they do and stand for politically. The allegation that to question this disparity, and the reason for it, is in itself racist is likely to fuel resentment and a further rise in conspiracy theories about Jews.

Atzmon waded into this minefield a few years ago with an essay titled ‘The Protocols of the Elders of London’ (2005). In it he stated some basic facts about this disparity and concluded:

“We have to ask ourselves what motivates American Jews to gain such political power. Is it a genuine care for American interests? …. Since America currently enjoys the status of the world’s only super power and since all the Jews listed above declare themselves as devoted Zionists,we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously. American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least. Whether the Americans enjoy the deterioration of their state’s affairs will no doubt be revealed soon.”

Petrol on the flames. Atzmon was little known outside Jazz at the time, but he gained notoriety for this and other remarks in the same vein. He gained the enmity of Zionists, that is a given. He also made enemies of leftist Jews who are principled opponents of Israel and Zionism, for his attacks on Jewish identity, and a prolonged and very bitter conflict with them has ensued, with them more or less treating him a far-right, dangerous anti-semite. Yet there are several things about this that do not add up when people say that he is a racist or far right figure.

Most of all there is his musical involvement. His music is a true melange of Jewish, Arab and black American Jazz, which many who most admire the capacity of musical innovation to break down barriers would probably get very enthused about. I certainly appreciate such things, and appreciate his work. Some have compared him to Richard Wagner, but this seems incongruous, as Wagner was a very important and innovative figure on the mainstream of German art and culture, but despite a brief revolutionary period in his youth, he was not exactly known for creating a melange of many different ethnic styles and influences in his music. If he had done this, he would not have become such a major cultural and artistic influence on German nationalists (and worse).

Atzmon is a Jewish heretic, the very opposite of this. His heresy, however, is not directed against the Jewish religion, about which he does not really have that much critical to say. His attack is rather against secular ‘Jewishness’ which he sees as a basically racist and supremacist ideology. In other words, being Jewish can be justified logically if someone believes in Judaism, but Jewishness makes no sense in the absence of God. Jewishness is thus an artificial attempt to make a quasi-national identity out of a religious tradition, and since it is not based on any distinct territory and cannot therefore play the role that many other territorially-based national identities have played – in absorbing newcomers to the territory, assimilating them and thus renewing the ‘nation’ with ‘new blood’ (so to speak) – it must therefore have a very narrow and restrictive ‘ethnic’ basis. It cannot but be tribal and racist in conception, even though for Atzmon the Jews’ belief that they are a racial or ethnic group is also false.

That appears to be one of his key arguments, and this dovetails very well with more coherent innovators who attempt to deal with the Jewish question such as Shlomo Sand, the Tel Aviv history professor who wrote The Invention of the Jewish People’ (2010). But whereas Sands produces much historical evidence to argue that the Jewish ‘national’ identity, that was the basis not only for Zionism but other forms of quasi-nationalism such as Bundism, was purely an invention of ideologues imitating the more growing and successful forms of European nationalism in particular, Atzmon goes further.

And this is where allegations of anti-semitism find purchase. Because Atzmon’s concept of Jewish ‘identity’ appears to ascribe almost demonic powers to the bearers of this secular Jewish identity. Certainly the power to exert influence, way out of proportion to their numbers, over the government of the United States. How does the mere possession of a racist Jewish identity allow the American Jews (or even Zionists) to try to control the world, and to exert such an influence over the US as a superpower? What is the secret that is lodged within the secular Jewish identity that enables them to do that? Is it the racism and chauvinism that is allegedly lodged within that identity that gives them such powers? If it is, then surely it is something very dangerous that could potentially be detected, isolated and imitated by any other racist or chauvinist movement elsewhere in the world to allow them to exert such apparent control over the ruling class of a much larger and more powerful nation. Remember that the Jewish population in the US is less than 3%. How on earth do they do it?

Atzmon is dismissive of Marxism. He has spent years studying Philosophy at post-graduate level, and is able to give a pretty good account of the innovations of Kant, Wittgenstein et al. At one point in his book he dismisses Marxist historical materialism as ‘psuedo-scientific’. But he cannot explain this logical problem, and does not even try. Marxism can however, explain it. It is not that difficult. The US ruling class, which is overwhelmingly European derived and non-Jewish, though with a minority Jewish component, is committed, in its overwhelming majority, to a strategic military and political alliance with Israel. Its purpose in doing so is to divide and render powerless the Arab population as much as possible, and thus make easier US and allied control of the world’s most important strategic energy resources.

However, the American ruling class is also aware that this is a policy with risks. One day it might blow up in its face. Despite its best efforts, and that of Israel, one day there might be a unified Arab and Middle Eastern revolution. Or some other unforeseen development that is just as serious for the US. If that happens, it will need someone to blame. And this is where a kind of ruling class version of ‘affirmative action’ for devoutly pro-US, pro-Israel Jews, comes in. They are very useful as long as things are seen to be going well in the Middle East for the US. They will be even more useful – as scapegoats – if something goes wrong. Its a win-win scenario for the US ruling class – a bit like an insurance policy. And of course, as long as things are judged to be going OK, the Jewish beneficiaries of this ethnic/ideological selection can be given a lot of leeway to sit on and shut up discordant voices even among the mainstream. It just means that there is more that they can be blamed for if things go wrong. But in materialist terms, it is the wealth and power of the US ruling class, still the most powerful on the planet, that weighs most heavily here. Not the various Jewish neocon ideologues it considers so useful at this point. Atzmon, with his philosophical penchant for heavyweight, usually idealist bourgeois philosophers, is blind to this obvious materialist analysis.

Atzmon is self-evidently not motivated by racism. The allegation does not make sense, he describes himself as a ‘proud, self-hating Jew’. Elswhere  he has decribed himself as a ‘Hebrew-speaking Palestinian’ and an ‘ex-Jew’. If he were a racist/essentialist, he would not believe in the possibility of renouncing Jewishness, which is what he continually urges those who in his terms adhere to a ‘tribal Jewish identity’ to do. He advocates assimilation, not persecution, let alone genocide. The idea that there is anything racist about advocating voluntary assimilation is something that could only occur to seperatists, such as Zionists, and those on the left who tail them. Which is not to say that some of Atzmon’s ill-judged, provocative rhetoric does not raise some understandable suspicions about him. That is one of his worst blunders.

And in fact, he manages in his book to score some telling points even against left-wing or revolutionary socialist activists who define themselves politically as being Jewish. He cites a well-known case of a socialist, atheist Jewish couple who insisted on having their baby son circumcised despite their non-belief in Judaism as a religion – because they wanted to been seen as a ‘legitimate’ part of the Jewish community. This is indeed incongruous – one cannot imagine a publicly atheist couple of Christian background insisting on having their child baptised. And circumcision is rather more drastic – and permanent – than being dunked in a font. We are talking of a communal identity that is not national in any meaningful sense, but is linked to religion even when there is no belief, contrary to the norms of most actual nations, even initially very religious ones, where the decline of religious belief tends to simply mean the decline of religious practices.

More to the point is his defence of the Palestinians against his own government and people, and his identification with them. This takes considerable courage, to defy the society in which one is born and defend a persecuted people. Indeed Atzmon goes further in identifying himself as a ‘Hebrew-speaking Palestinian’. Atzmon speaks eloquently of his disgust at finding himself, as a military bandsman, expected to play for Israeli soldiers guarding Arabs who had been incarcerated in a camp during the 1982 Lebanon invasion. His realisation that Israel was running concentration camps played a major role in driving him away from his Zionist upbringing and into an emotional, though not always coherent, rejection of the racism of the society in which he was born. Any decent socialist or even liberal person must empathise with this.

On the other hand, there is his scepticism about the Nazi genocide. His remarks about this have been contradictory and hard to pin down. Probably the explanation is he has not fully made up his mind about it. He has been repeatedly accused of holocaust denial, usually by the Jewish left that he excoriates, somewhat unconvincingly, as being crypto-zionist (though among the Jewish leftists that are attacking him are some of the most outspoken anti-Zionists, hated for it by Israel supporters, that you will find anywhere). He has vehemently denied that he rejects the historical reality of the Nazi genocide. But at the same time he has made statements that imply that he considers that it may have been exaggerated, that he is sceptical of the existence of gas chambers, that many people died from disease and shooting, not from industrialised killing in death factories like Auschwitz. He talks at length about what he calls the ‘Holocaust religion’ in Israel, and even goes so far as to say in his book that the Holocaust has replaced Judaism as the religion of the Jews.

Two different things have to be separated here. One is the historical events of the Nazi genocide. Numerous testimonies, from Germans, from British, American and Russian, Polish and other East European, and of course Jewish sources exist that narrate in great detail the extermination of millions of European Jews, along with Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, communists, socialists and others. Then there is the Israeli version, in which the other victims somehow seem to disappear – Jews only tend to feature – and the overwhelming message is that this is inevitable while Jews are not compacted together in their own state, and that therefore everything must be done to ensure the ‘security’ of Israel, particularly its ‘security’ against the Palestinians who were expelled from its territory and the satisfaction of whose elementary demand for justice and equality means that Israel cannot continue to exist as an exclusive Jewish state.

It is perfectly comprehensible that a radicalised fringe of Israel Jews, subjected to the latter narrative for the whole of their lives and seeing through the grotesque cynicism and racism behind it, should not see much difference between the former historical truth and the latter cynically modified version. It may be comprehensible, but it is still a very damaging blunder. Atzmon cannot be accused of seeking the line of least resistance, and that is a good thing when seeking to face down Zionist witchhunters and bully-boys. But with this blunder, he has made adversaries of people who should be allies, and caused no end of confusion and rancour. Atzmon’s monumental blunder is actually the product of seeing everything through an Israeli-centric set of blinkers, which he would do well to throw away if he is fuffill his proclaimed ambition to join with the rest of humanity in a struggle for liberation, not least the liberation of Israel’s victims.

On the other hand, many of Atzmon’s most vehement critics, on the Western and/or Jewish/diaspora left, have their own Western-centric blinkers which prevent them from analysing why it is that a fringe of radicalised Jews, mainly of Israeli origin are inclined to at least be sceptical and question the historical truth of the Nazi genocide. There is also a strange element of guilty liberalism from those who can comprehend why many Arabs may be susceptible to demonology about Jews, in whose name the Israeli state oppresses them, but when a minority of alientated, radicalised Israeli Jews express similar views and suspicions, suddenly start growling about how they have become neo-Nazis etc. It actually shows a curious lack of empathy to be unable to comprehend this, which must in fact be political in origin, and be derived from an element of liberalism, western-centric arrogance and even some element of disapora Jewish communalism in some cases. In any case, some of Atzmon’s most outspoken critics are just as politically foolish as Atzmon himself.

So there is some useful and interesting stuff in this book, but mixed up with paranoid nonsense that indeed could be useful to genuine anti-semites – if such creatures were politically active and had real purchase today. Fortunately they don’t, at least not in the advanced capitalist countries of the West. Anti-semitism does have a purchase in the former Eastern bloc, but this is something that is likely to dissipate, not because of any benevolence of the body politic in Eastern Europe, but simply because it is a left-over paranoia from a different historical epoch. The identification of Jews with revolution and later communism- which was the basis for the classic racist anti-semitism that characterised the 19th and early 20th centuries – has long since ceased to have any even tenuous connection with reality. Latent, long-standing prejudices from previous times were driven underground under Stalinism, but paradoxically because of that being pushed down, they were preserved in the depths, only to re-emerge with the collapse of the Stalinist regimes.

And of course, there is the question of anti-semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, which is more or less a product of impotent rage at the Zionist colonisation project, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, not to mention the potent Israeli nuclear threat to the Middle East region. That a radicalised element of Israeli Jews, such as Atzmon, is prepared to stand up to Zionism to the point of identifying with the Palestinians is to be welcomed. That some of them are not immune from the kind of demonology about Jews that prevails in the Arab world is unfortunate, but hardly a big surprise given that they are subject to similar pressures, on taking the side of the Arabs, as the Arabs themselves and some will react in the way that quite a few Arabs do.

This can only be resolved by debate and discussion, which may at times be hard, but which must not involve demonisation of people whose basic tendency is to side with the oppressed against the oppressor, even if they do make rather large blunders. This review, which does not pull any punches in terms of criticism, will hopefully contribute to that process and help promote the discussion that is necessary.

You can now order Gilad Atzmon’s New Book onAmazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

 

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on RED SCRIBBLINGS: THE BLUNDERING WHO?

THE LONG ARM OF ISRAEL

NOVANEWS
GILAD ATZMON

We have learned in the last few days that some Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist elements are planning to interfere with Zero Books’ The Wandering Whobook launch this Monday.

Your support for the book and also for the freedom of speech is most welcome.

Book Launch: A Panel Discussion on ‘Jewish Identity Politics’

Monday, 10th October, 2011, 7:00 pm

Resource for London

356 Holloway Road

London N7 6PA

The truth of the matter is that Israel’s long arm is not necessarily just the Mossad as you may have thought. The title fits nicely to some of our so-called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist stooges.

Predictably, half a dozen Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists, who have been terrorizing the Palestinian solidarity movement and activists for decades are also very unhappy with my new book The Wandering Who. This is understandable for my new book doesn’t just expose Zionist cultural and ideological morbidity, it also exposes the level of duplicity that is entangled with Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist discourse. The book depicts a clear ideological continuum between the ADL and the so-called Jewish progressive cells. In fact, The Wandering Who openly criticises any form of Jewish secular political discourse Zionist and anti Zionist for being racially oriented. Jewish political activism and identity politics are basically nothing but different forms of a racially exclusive political exercise.

It didn’t take me by complete surprise to find out that J-Big  (Jews Only Israeli Boycott Campaign) are operating relentlessly against the book. I always asked myself, how long is it going to take before J-Big contaminates my song with one of their Ava Nagilas  or any other Jewish folklore anthem. It is almost amusing to follow the distorted Jewish progressive interpretation of the BDS. Instead of mounting pressure on Israel or its Hasbara agents, J-BIG is now trying to suppress intellectual exchange within our movement.

In recent years I have gathered information about Jewish ‘anti Zionist’ leaders operating constantly against other Palestinian solidarity activists. I have seen Sara Kershnar and Mich Levy of the ‘Jewish Anti Zionist Network (IJAN) operating against myself and others in the USA and in Germany. I have exposed Naomi Wimborne Idrissi operating in a clandestine manner within our movement.  I have exposed the infamous  Roland Rance and his Wikipedia Jews network vandalising activists’ Wikipedia entries.

I recently published a short video that allowed leading Palestinian solidarity activists to tell our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’ stooges what we think of them and their ‘activism’.

http://youtu.be/TNngjZ1COJA

While our ‘anti Zionist Zionists’ prefer to operate in a conspiratorial manner behind the scene. Tony Greenstein, bless him, voluntarily provides us with a glimpse into Jewish anti Zionist deceit. Greenstein’s site is probably the ultimate spectacle of a Jewish ‘progressive’ tantrum.

Greenstein is certainly desperate to stop The Wandering Who. Following the most vile Talmudic tactics he smears every person who supports the book. But to his dismay he found out recently that both himself and his ADL stooges are actually cornered and isolated, standing against some of the most respected humanists in this world.

 

Here are some of the recent endorsements for The Wandering Who:

Endorsements:

“Gilad Atzmon decided to open Pandora’s Box, and ignite a debate that has been frustratingly dormant for too long. His experiences are most authentic, views are hard-hitting, and, at times, provocative. It must be read and discussed.”

Ramzy Baroud,  Palestine Chronicle

“A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.”

 Professor Richard Falk

‘Essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.’

 Professor John J. Mearsheimer 

“Atzmon’s insight into the organism created by the Zionist movement is explosive.”

Professor William A. Cook

“A pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!”

 Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo

“Gilad’s escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless”

Robert Wyatt

“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!” Eric Walberg,

 Al Aharam Weekly

“It is more than an academic exercise. It is a revelation!” Lauren Booth, 

Press TV

“A brilliant analysis that makes what appear to be contradictions in Jewish identity based political behavior not only comprehensible but predictable.”

Jeff Blankfort

 “Atzmon has the courage – so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals”

Professor James Petras

“Having known Gilad for 25 years, I read the book in English, I heard it in Hebrew and reflected on it in Arabic. Gilad Atzmon is astonishingly courageous”

 Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool

“A fascinating achievement”

Dr Oren Ben Dor

“Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.”

Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

“Gilad Atzmon is the Moses of our time, calling all of us out of the Egypt of our boneheaded nationalisms and racialisms and exceptionalisms and chosen-people-isms toward some form of humanistic universalism.”

 Dr. Kevin Barrett

 “Perhaps only a musician could have written this sensitive, perceptive lament over how so many Jews, believing themselves to be doing ‘what is good for the Jews,’ have managed to carve the heart out of the Palestinian nation and make this tragedy look like the natural order of things.”

Kathleen  Christison

To read more: http://www.gilad.co.uk/the-wandering-who/


 You can now order the book on Amazon.com  orAmazon.co.uk

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on THE LONG ARM OF ISRAEL

The UN is part of Palestine’s problem

NOVANEWS

Frank Barat

The Electronic Intifada 

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations, 23 September 2011.

At the United Nations building in New York City on Friday, 23 September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) addresses the General Assembly in his bid to obtain full recognition of Palestine, as a state, in the United Nations.

As President Obama, and Prime Ministers Cameron and Netanyahu were when they spoke, Mahmoud Abbas is sharply dressed and wears a suit.

There is only one major difference between him and the others, but a crucial one: Mahmoud Abbas gives his speech in Arabic.

Mahmoud Abbas wears the imperialists’ clothes but does not speak the imperialists’ language of choice. Abbas, in the eyes of Obama, Cameron and Netanyahu, represents the “other” — the “majority world” (often mistakenly called “developing world”), the oppressed. He represents the people that, for them, do not count.

For all the talk about the PA bid putting the US and Israel under pressure, for all the nervousness shown by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, USPresident Barack Obama and the rest, they do not, at the end of the day, care the slightest about it.

They do not care if all the polls in the world showed that the majority of people asked are in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state and they do not care if Abbas wears a suit or not.

Abbas could have worn Arafat’s famous kuffiyeh, the checkered scarf that has become a Palestinian nationalist symbol; the result would have been the same. In their heads, there will always be masters (them) and servants (the others). Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians, today, still represent the other.

And the other does not have a voice, even at the UN.

The UN is one of the most undemocratic bodies in the world. After all, five permanent members have the right to veto anything they disagree with. The decisions of those five members, the masters — United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China — overrule the actions that the rest of the world is sometimes willing to take.

In a way, this arrangement mirrors internationally what goes on in most countries: A powerful elite living the high-life and making decisions for everyone else while the majority of humanity is struggling to make ends meet.

The UN is therefore part of the problem and will never bring justice to the Palestinians. It is precisely this body which exacerbated in 1947 the mess the Palestinians are currently in by passing a resolution calling for the partition of Palestine without the consent of its indigenous people. Thus, the UN violated the Palestinians’ right to self-determination at the very moment other colonized peoples were exercising theirs.

Since then, dozens of resolutions have been adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council upholding the Palestinians’ right of self-determination, demanding an end of occupation and colonization and Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands, and the right of return of the refugees.

Yet without exception, those resolutions have been violated by Israel with total impunity. Why? Because Israel is part of the masters’ clique. Israel is in their club and represents the same interests.

While it is easy to understand the PA’s motivations in making a move at theUN — taking matters for the first time in a long time into their own hands, not succumbing to pressure, making a statement — it has unfortunately very little chance to make any real difference on the ground. By going to the UN, the PAcontinues to accept the rules of its master/oppressor.

In history, there has never been a case of a master relinquishing power for philosophical and altruistic reasons.

Did the slave masters suddenly decide that it was morally reprehensible to use other people as slaves? Did the segregationists in the US decide that Rosa Parks, after all, should be able to sit in the seat of her choice when going on a bus?

Did white South Africans, after the Sharpeville massacre, think that killing black women, kids and innocents was not what their beloved God or nationalist ideology had in mind? Did Hosni Mubarak after more than thirty years in power think that it was time to have a real democracy in Egypt?

They did not.

Those struggles were won by people’s power. When the people said NO. When the people, despite eventually facing terrible consequences, organized, took on the streets, marched, chanted, went on strike, united, rebelled and said “we will not have it your way any longer.”

What will make the road shorter for the Palestinians — who have already struggled and endured for so long — is to mobilize as much international solidarity as possible, to shift the balance in favor of the people faster.

And this is on the way. Palestinian civil society has done precisely this with its 2005 civil society call for boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS).

All over the world, people acting on the BDS call are building a movement, and building momemtum that no one can control because it comes from the bottom up, is in constant evolution and keeps re-inventing itself. A movement based on human rights and international law.

This movement, accompanied by other initiatives such as the International Solidarity Movement, the Free Gaza Movement, the flotillas and “flytilla,” the Viva Palestina convoys, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and many other creative and spontaneous actions hav isolated and delegitimized Israel, a rogue state, far more effectively than years of endless and fruitless negotiations.

People are taking matters into their own hands; they are writing and making, history. The masters know that this has happened many time in the past. The thought of it happening again sends shivers into their expensive suits.


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Mahmoud Ab-A$$: the Second Coming

NOVANEWS

by Linah Alsaafin

One could be forgiven for thinking de facto President Mahmoud Abbas seemed like the second coming since Jesus of Nazareth not only by the reception he was given at the UNGeneral Assembly when he spoke there on Friday but by the reaction throughout his speech from crowds amassed in West Bank cities.

Abbas’ speech, calling for admission of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations, was surprising in that it was unusually strongly worded and lacked the usual skirting of core issues regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Characteristically, Abbas’ public addresses to audiences reflect the interests of the Palestine Authority (PA) and not of the Palestinian people, highlighting the importance of negotiations with Israel to achieve any lasting peace agreement as the sole tactic, effectively undermining resistance in all of its forms to the occupying regime.

At the UN, Abbas used terms like “ethnic cleasning”,al-Nakba, “apartheid policies” and racist annexation Wall”. To the short-sighted and the outsider, the speech was indeed befitting of being a historical platform to voice the issue of Palestine. It encapsulated the suffering the Palestinians have endured for 63 years, from the horrors of their ethnic cleansing in 1948 to the unbearable life under the continuous settlement building which aids the apartheid and racist policies that are inherent in every aspect of Palestinians’ lives.

The speech also mentioned Gaza, which is still suffering under siege and from air raids that account for extra-judicial killings. It was a perfect speech, succinctly and without being overly garrulous capturing Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and making Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech sound like the incessant whining of a spoiled kid.

Or was it? The stalwart speech certainly diverted some of the initial skeptical views on thePA’s bid for statehood. For the indifferent, it won their support, and for those opposed it either strengthened their opposition or cracked their resolve. Talk now isn’t about whether the UN bid for statehood is detrimental or beneficial; it has now come to optimistic discussions of what this bid could do for Palestinians.

The argument is now about how the “internationalization” of the Palestine/Israel conflict is a good thing because it is rarely that the world fixes its attention on this small country except when there is bloodshed and misery, and this attention can now be channeled into genuine support for an end to the Israeli occupation.

“A very good speech”

Issa Amro, the director of the Hebron based Youth Against Settlements, was animatedly expressing his approval of Abbas’ speech in between sips of mint tea.

“It was a very good speech,” he told me. “He [Abbas] didn’t leave anything out. He talked about the Nakba, the Naksa, the prisoners, the settlements…it was a speech that was comprehensive of what every Palestinian wanted to hear.”

I asked him about the reaction of the people who had gathered in Hebron’s city center to watch the speech on a large screen. Mainstream media focused their attention primarily on the reaction in Ramallah, where jubilant crowds were celebrating as if they had already been granted statehood.

“The mood was positive. You know, people in Hebron are mostly Hamas supporters, but they were smiling throughout the speech. Thousands of people were present, which is something very rare in Hebron since we barely have large protests or gatherings.”

I pointed out that the proposed statehood bid was based on the 1967 borders, and that partitioning the land wasn’t going to work in the interests of most Palestinians.

Amro looked at me solemnly. “Listen, you think we’re ever going to forget about Haifa and Yafa? Of course not! But first, we have to gather what we have and then work toward regaining the rest.”

A risky approach

Settling for a two-state solution, no matter how temporary, has drastic consequences. Under the title of “State,” Palestine can be attacked by Israel not as an occupied territory (which carries its own legal implications as the Geneva Convention clearly stipulates that the occupier must protect the occupied), but as an equal.

But this is all theoretical of course. The West Bank and Gaza will not be granted statehood as the US president, with re-elections on the horizion, vowed to veto it. In the midst of renewed blind faith in the bid, Palestinians have forgotten or simply ignored the question of the PA’s legitimacy in carrying out such an act.

Legal expert Professor Guy Goodwin clearly pointed out that the PA is a “subsidiary body meaning it cannot break away from the parent body [the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)], assume greater powers, or establish itself independently from the PNC[Palestinian National Council]. It is only competent to carry out powers conferred to it by PNC.”

The PA’s control is restricted as it has “limited legislative and executive competence, territorial jurisdiction and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in areas it is allocated accordingly.” The problem of representation, in which the six million Palestinian refugees in the diaspora could lose if the PLO, recognized and toted as the sole legitimate representative body for Palestinians everywhere (the diaspora, the 1967 occupied territories, the Palestinians living in the 1948 areas) wasn’t such a big deal anymore as Mahmoud Abbas graciously received standing ovations.

Abbas “never popular”

Mahmoud Abbas was never popular with the Palestinian people. Even before his presidency and during his tenure as Prime Minister, the late PA chairman Yassir Arafat was open about his suspicions of Abbas, accusing him of “betraying the interests of the Palestinian people.” Arafat’s associates added to the suspicions by pointing the finger at Abbas, saying he conspired with Israel to keep Arafat under siege in Ramallah during 2002.

It’s not just his lack of charisma either. Abbas never bothered to conceal his frank collaboration with Israel. Whether it was acquiring the services of the Israeli Shin Bet security forces to travel around the West Bank, or having previous knoweldge of and supporting Operation Cast Lead, or calling on Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalitwhilst neglecting to mention or at the very least equating Shalit with the eight thousand Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails.

Nor has Abbas been shy about coordinating security efforts with Israel under the guise of avoiding Palestinian confrontations which could end up in violence but which in reality serve the Israeli settlers’ interests more and simultaneously undermines unarmed popular resistance.

Most importantly there were the leaked Palestine Papers, which exposed the length Abbas and the rest of the unelected PA negotiating team were willing to concede the rights of the Palestinians, specifically the Right of Return, and the lands given away for the same “horrific picture of the settlement campaign” he articulated in his speech.

For all these reasons, the Palestinian street never thought much of Abbas where he paled in comparison with the inflated symbolism of Yassir Arafat. With his “historic speech” Abbas may satisfy himself with the knowledge that he has crept up the ladder of icons, cementing his legacy as the (autocrat) who laid the application for a Palestinian statehood at the UN’s feet.

The negotiations between the PA and Israel did not start last year in September. That was the timeline given in Abbas’ speech. No, the negotiations have been going on for almost two decades, and while it is nothing short of absurd for Israel and the Quartet, specifically the outraged US, to self-righteously lecture on, nay demand a return to negotiations as the only way to reach a peace settlement, they can rest assured that that it is what Abbas had in mind the whole time.

He wants to use the tactic of going to the UN as leverage that would put the ball in his court once he restarts negotiations, something he has promised to do over and over. Nelson Mandela once said that “only free men can negotiate” and these failed talks between thePA and Israel which have come at the expense of Palestinians and the increasing loss of their rights only give the illusion to the outside world that the relationship is between two partners, two equals, not the occupier and the occupied.

Enthusiasm without analysis

The supporters present at the Muqata’a compound in Ramallah today were bused in from the surrounding villages, most of which support Abbas’ Fatah faction, and other parts of the West Bank. They are lacking in knowledge of the implications and consequences of thePA’s UN bid for statehood, and have become desensitized to the situation on the ground which translates into a positive reaction at face value regarding the subject of Palestine receiving international attention.

This much was clear from my interviews with a number of people representing different aspects of society in Ramallah. They all wanted a state on the 1967 lines, “to be accepted as a country like the rest of the countries in the world”. When asked about the refugees from the 1948 areas (the parts of Palestine on which Israel was established in 1948), they reiterated that no state would be meaningful if the Right of Return was not implemented. When I pointed out this contradiction, most were confused.

Issa Amro indicated that the issue now is trusting the PA. Given its history of corruption and collaboration, this seemed a bit naïve. I believe in a one secular state for all, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. That however, is kryptonite to Zionism whose adherents sees the conflict not as a war or religions, as it slyly paints, but rather as battle of demography over geography.

A long way to go, but hope remains

Accepting the millions of refugees back into Palestine on a human rights approach would mean that the Israeli Jews would become a minority, and fuel the hysterical hasbara notion of “driving the Jews into the sea.” Yet we have a long way to go. The only Israelis who are not morally horrified by a one state solution where Palestinians are treated as equals and where none of this Jewish superiority based on Messianic revelations exists are the anarchists, those completely against the system.

Still, hope remains. The whole UN statehood drama could provide an opening for the Boycott, Divesment, and Sanctions movement to grow even more and become more popular, as it seeks to end Israel’s impunity and hold it accountable for all of its atrocities committed against the Palestinians ever since the months leading up to Israel’s independence.

It is a grassroots movement, similar to the one in Apartheid South Africa, and along with supporting the unarmed popular resistance, the steps for achieving peace, justice and equality in the country become even closer.

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Full text of “State of Palestine” UN application letter and documents

 by Ali Abunimah

The Electronic Intifada has obtained a copy of the full text of the application for UN membership for the “State of Palestine” presented yesterday by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The package contains 5 documents that we publish here. They are:

  • A note from the President of the Security Council transmitting the application to other members;

  • A cover letter from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the President of the Security Council conveying the Palestinian application;

  • A “Declaration of the State of Palestine” signed by Mahmoud Abbas;

  • A cover letter for the application to the Secretary-General signed by Mahmoud Abbas;

  • The application itself – a two-page document again signed by Abbas.

Safeguarding or endangering self-determination?

It is notable that the cover letter signed by Abbas states:

This application for membership is being submitted based on the Palestinian people’s natural, legal and historic rights and based on United Nations General Assembly resolution 181(II) of 29 November 1947 as well as the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine of 15 November 1988 and the acknowledgment by the General Assembly of this Declaration in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988.

It is notable that the letter gives such prominence to resolution 181, the 1947 “partition” resolution which recommended the partition of Palestine without the consent of its indigenous people.

The partition was, as I have argued elsewhere, a negation of the right of Palestinians, as a people anticipating decolonization, to self-determination.

The full application mentions other resolutions, including resolution 194, affirming the right of return of refugees, but an initial reading of the documents shows that they mash together all sorts of concepts including “self-determination,” “statehood,” the “the vision of a two-State solution” and accord undue weight to statements of the “Quartet” an ad hoc body that had consistently undermined Palestinian rights.

In any case, these documents will certainly need more analysis.

SG Letter on Palestine Membership

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Into the Mentality of the Occupier/Oppressor

by Kim Petersen

What is an intellectual? Some say it is the educated lot in the ivory towers of academia. Sure, many of those professors are intellectuals, but many of them are also challenged outside their field. Intellectuality is a concept that transcends university degrees.

So how to define an intellectual? An intellectual is someone who thinks beyond the strictures imposed by upbringing, education, societal norms, dominant media, etc. to arrive in agreement with other conclusions or to form one’s own conclusions. It is more than simply thinking outside a box or applying critical thinking to issues and challenges because intellectuality also demands honesty and integrity.

Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual. He is someone seemingly unbound by a specific group or milieu. Atzmon turned away from the Zionism of his father and the – what he calls — Nazism of his fellow Jews in Israel. Atzmon recalls the plight of captured Palestinian freedom fighters at the Ansar internment camp during his time in the Israeli military: “The place was a concentration camp. The inmates were the ‘Jews’, and I was nothing but a ‘Nazi’.” He has discarded the scoundrel’s refuge of patriotism. He has rejected what is morally anathema inculcation, propaganda, mendacious narrative, and supremacism of Jewish “culture.” Atzmon realizes that we all are human beings; we all possess 23 pairs of chromosomes.

Atzmon exposes a twisting of history, a narrative that lies about who the Jewish people are, lies about a historical and contemporary dispossession, occupation, and oppression carried out by his kinsfolk. That is an exceedingly difficult dilemma for most people to recognize, acknowledge, and overcome. It is especially difficult to fight because when such a colossal crime is denied, whether consciously or through gullibility, by the masses of one’s kinsfolk (Atzmon states: “Israel is largely supported by world Jewry institutionally, financially and spiritually.”), it estranges one from one’s tribe.

Atzmon has written The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics wherein he answers the titular question. Atzmon is interested in identity: who are the Jews? He differentiates “between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion), and Jewish-ness (the ideology).” Jews, Atzmon notes, do not form an ethnicity. He describes Jewish society as an amalgam. It is assimilationist for Jews and separatist from Goyim.

The Jews and the Jewish state come first for Zionists. Atzmon details how financial, economic, and political control are sought. He cites “the first and prominent Zionist prophet Theodor Herzl” as to “what political Zionism is all about: getting superpowers to serve the Zionist cause.” The abject speech by US president Barack Obama rejecting Palestinian statehood is a prime example of serving Zionism.

He cuts through the hasbara: “For most Israelis, shalom doesn’t mean ‘peace’, it means security, and for Jews only.”

When it comes to history, Atzmon seeks truth even when it is ugly. Like any good scientist or historian, Atzmon believes a theory or narrative that has been disproven is one that should be disregarded for a superior explanation. Historical revisionism for Atzmon is part of the search for the closest approximation to the truth. When a clearer picture emerges of history, then amending the narrative to reflect the new facts and clearer picture is demanded.

The narrative is important, and many Jews are highly skilled in discourse. Atzmon writes that Zionists realised that full control over language would allow them to impose their worldview on subsequent generations of Jews. Israel Shamir in his book, Masters of Discourse, illuminated how pervasive the Jewish narrative is in many societies.

But the Jews are not always so clever in their attempts to control the message. Atzmon relates how the IDF prevented all foreign media from entering Gaza, not to propagandize the Goyim but to keep Israelis and Zionist Jews from seeing themselves through the eyes of the Goyim. Atzmon describes this approach as “completely countereffective”: “the Israelis ended up seeing themselves through the gaze of Arabs, Iranians, Muslims. … Humiliated and pulverised, Israelis saw their true nature exposed.”

Atzmon explains, “… it is not the idea of being unethical that torments Israelis and their supporters, but the idea of being ‘caught out’ as such.”

Atzmon identifies a hypocrisy in Jews identifying as Jews. “Some Jews,” he writes, “may, for instance, proudly carry the Jewish banner (Jews for Peace, Jews for Justice, Jews for Jesus and so on) as if they believe that the ‘J’ word contains special righteous attributions. However, they will also be gravely offended if they are called a ‘Jew’ by others. Suggesting to a Jew that ‘he is a Jew’ or ‘behaves like a Jew’ can be regarded as a serious ‘racist’ offence.”

Jews for Peace exemplifies Jewish separation. However, as for offensive labeling, context is important. When the speaker is equating group membership with a negative attribute and stereotyping all members with that attribute (although untrue), then that is indeed a racist offense and umbrage at such labeling is warranted.

Wondering about Atzmon

Atzmon knows who he is: “I regard myself a ‘Hebrew-speaking Palestinian’, I do not seek anyone’s approval to do so. I also regard myself as a ‘proud, self-hating Jew’ and again, I do not need anyone’s approval.”

Why does Atzmon describe himself as a self-hating Jew? He does not hate himself, but he hates what being a Jew – to him — represents, especially a Zionist Jew: “ Zionism is all about the abolition of the other, the re-creation of conditions in which Jews can celebrate their symptoms, in which they can love themselves for who they are – or, at least, who they think they are.”

It is not just the message that Jews manipulate, according to Atzmon, but also the economic system. Atzmon cites Milton Friedmann who made it clear: “Jews do benefit from hard capitalism and competitive markets.”

In fact, again citing Friedmann, Jews were never about sharing and caring economies and their ideologies: “Jews or Jewish intellectuals are not really against capitalism, it was just the ‘special circumstances of the nineteenth century that drove Jews to the left, and the subconscious attempts by Jews to demonstrate to themselves and the world the fallacy of the anti-Semitic stereotype’. It was neither ideology nor ethics.”

How does one understand a people without a history? Atzmon says, “It is an established fact that virtually no Jewish history texts were written between the first and early-nineteenth centuries. That Judaism is based on a religious historical myth may have something to do with this.”

Atzmon dispenses with biblical fiction — “an ideological text that is being made to serve social and political ends” and the mythical exile of Jews (citing the work of Israeli historian Shlomo Sand).

The Wandering Who? examines the political landscape, wondering about the “overwhelming” overrepresentation of Jews in the political institutions of the United Kingdom and United States. This is a fact, but should one blame Jews for taking advantage of the political system and the voting tendencies of the citizenry? Politics in western so-called democracies is, after all, about forming groups that can gain political power.

Atzmon criticizes the leaders in the UK and US, asking: “And what qualifications did [Tony] Blair or [George W.] Bush possess before taking the wheel?” Atzmon supplies the answer: “none.” He continues, “Our lives, our future and the future of our children are in the hands of ludicrous, clueless characters.” Here Atzmon digresses weakly and too far from his core thesis. Ad hominem should be unpersuasive in intelligent discourse, and Atzmon fails to address what are the qualifications that Bush and Blair lack; what qualifications does Atzmon propose are necessary?

In a speech arguing against Palestinian statehood, United States president Barack Obama said: “There is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades…” Atzmon demurs: “… the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved in 25 minutes once both people decide to live together.”

However, according to Atzmon, “The only people who can bring peace about are the Palestinians, because Palestine, against all odds and in spite of the endless suffering, humiliation and oppression, is still an  ethically-driven ecumenical society.”

The Wandering Who? reveals the infatuation with self and the Jewish struggle for identity; it presents a reasoned and principled account into understanding the mentality of an occupier and oppressor.

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Zionist police arrest 18-year-old Jewish suspect in mosque arson case

NOVANEWS

 

Israeli police said Thursday they have arrested a suspect in a mosque burning that sparked violent protests in an Arab village earlier this week.

Police gave few details about the suspect, but his lawyer identified him as an 18-year-old seminary student with ties to one of the most hardline Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Monday’s arson attack in Tuba-Zangria, a Bedouin village in northern Israel, set off a protest that were dispersed by police. The blaze damaged carpets and interior walls inside the mosque, and Israeli media said copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, were also burned.

Later in the day, Israel’s chief rabbis, President Shimon Peres and Christian and Druse religious leaders visited the village to condemn the attack and express solidarity with residents.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect was arrested Monday, shortly after the incident, but a gag order had prevented publication of the arrest.

Lawyer Adi Keidar, who is representing the suspect, said his client was a student at a religious seminary in Yitzhar, an ultranationalist settlement deep inside the northern West Bank. The student denied the allegations and is exercising his right to remain silent, Keidar said.

In August, Israeli authorities barred him from going to the settlement, he added. The suspect was one of 12 people served administrative orders on suspicion of planning violent attacks against Palestinians.

In Monday’s attack, the assailants scrawled the words “price tag” on the mosque — a reference to a Jewish settler tactic of attacking Palestinian targets to protest government activities against settlements. Authorities periodically dismantle illegally built structures in the West Bank.

The West Bank has experienced a jump in settler violence, including arson and graffiti attacks on mosques and vandalism of Palestinian farmland. The arson attack was a rare case of settler violence inside Israel proper.

On Thursday, Palestinian residents in the West Bank village of Qusra discovered nearly 200 olive and fig trees that were uprooted or destroyed. Villagers accused settlers of being behind the attack.

The Israeli military said the damage occurred hours after soldiers had blocked a group of settlers from trying to enter the village.

In a statement, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem accused the military of not doing enough to protect Palestinian civilians from settler attacks. It called on Israel to “put a stop to these attacks and take all necessary measures to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

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