Archive | December 28th, 2011



Longshot No More: Ron Paul leads one poll and is second in another, going into the Iowa caucuses. That has sparked new worries about his isolationist views and extremist supporters.

Is GOP Candidate Outside the Mainstream — And Winning?

Washington — With polls predicting a  comfortable second-place finish — or even a shot at first — for Ron Paul in the  nation’s first GOP presidential test in Iowa, the Texas libertarian is laughing  all through the cornfields, and Jewish activists are starting to worry.

Once disregarded as marginal and unimportant, Paul, a staunch opponent of  U.S. military involvements abroad, is beginning to draw attention. And while no  one expects him to win the Republican nomination, his surge is seen as a problem  in itself.

“Extremists embrace his anti-government views,” said Abraham Foxman, national  director of the Anti-Defamation League, “so at the end, he legitimizes extreme  views on U.S. aid to Israel, and he legitimizes extreme views that are not only  racist and homophobic but also anti-Israeli, and at times anti-Semitic.”

Foxman stressed, however, that he does not view Paul as anti-Semitic though  some of his followers are.

Despite these concerns, experts don’t see any broader “Ron Paul phenomenon” taking hold in the Republican Party. Nor do they believe that an extreme form of  isolationism, which includes anti-Israel sentiment, is making its way into the  GOP mainstream. Paul, political analysts argue, has the right combination of  enthusiasm and organization to score big in Iowa’s quirky straw-poll system for  selecting a primary presidential favorite, but it won’t take him much  further.

A December 22 Rasmussen poll predicted Paul would receive 20% of the vote in  Iowa’s January 3 caucuses, coming in second after Mitt Romney. An Iowa State  University poll published a day earlier put Paul in the lead, with 27.5% of the  votes.

Paul, a congressman from Texas, has been the strongest and, at times, the  only libertarian voice within the Republican Party. A physician by profession,  Paul won the nickname “Dr. No,” which pretty well sums up his voting record. He  has been a consistent opponent of any legislation authorizing the use of  military power and views as unconstitutional federal entitlement programs such  as Social Security and Medicare, not to mention a lot of other things the  federal government does. Ron Paul’s campaign did not respond to requests to  interview the candidate.

While Paul’s views on domestic and international issues are a source of  concern for most in the Jewish community, critics point to his writings from the  1980s and ’90s as no less of a problem.

A newsletter called The Ron Paul Political Report included recurring extreme  racist comments and anti-Israel rhetoric, as well as endorsement of conspiracy  theories that Israel was behind the 1993 terror attack on New York’s World Trade  Center. Paul’s campaign attempted to distance the candidate from his namesake  publication, saying he did not write or authorize the articles in it.

Eric Dondero, a former aide to Paul, wrote on December 26 on the  RightWingNews website that Paul had said many times he “wishes the state of  Israel did not exist at all.” Dondero said that while he did not think Ron Paul  held anti-Semitic views, he is definitely “anti-Israel.”

Washington — In 2008, Paul’s run for the  Republican nomination drew little attention. He came in fifth in Iowa, with 10%  of the vote, and then watched his support disappear altogether as the primary  process moved on to other states.

Now, with daily mentions in the press, Paul’s surge has Jewish activists  edgy.

“I’m not saying that he is going to win or that the GOP is adopting his  views, but what he says does give legitimacy to the kind of things [Professor  John] Mearsheimer says,” argues Foxman, whose group has kept Paul on their radar  screens since he entered politics. Foxman was referring to the controversial  2007 book, “The Israel Lobby,” by Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which accused  the pro-Israel community of wrongfully shifting U.S. foreign policy in favor of  Israel and against America’s interest.

In statements in recent months, Paul has made it clear that he opposes U.S.  foreign aid to all countries, including Israel. He also opposes American  military intervention in Iran, even if it moves forward with its plans for  nuclear development. Many view Iran’s development as a covert nuclear weapons  program, one viewed by Israel as a mortal threat.

“They are not a threat to Israel,” Paul opined in a December 15 debate hosted  by Fox News. “Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear missiles, and they can take of  themselves.”

One consequence of Paul’s surge has been a war of words between Jewish  Democratic and Republican partisans. The Republican Jewish Coalition took a  precautionary step and refused to invite Paul to a candidates’ forum it hosted  on December 7. The RJC’s executive director, Matt Brooks, explained at the time  that Paul was left out because he was “outside the mainstream.”

Democrats dismissed this gesture as insufficient. David Harris, president and  CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, issued a call to Jewish  Republicans to speak out forcefully against Paul, whom he called a “clear and  present danger.” Harris said he does not think Paul is just a flash in the pan,  and therefore, Jewish Republicans should take the initiative and proactively  educate voters against him.

“They are a very clever organization,” responded RJC board member Ari  Fleischer. “Nothing will make them happier than seeing us waste our money on a  candidate who isn’t going anywhere.”

Fleischer, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, said that while  Paul is a “ferocious isolationist, whose views are a disaster to Israel,” there  is no chance his candidacy will go much further than Iowa.

Success in Iowa, said Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory  University, does not mean that Paul’s ideas are becoming more acceptable in the  Republican Party. “His positions on foreign policy are outside the Republican  mainstream,” he said. “He has a following that supports these views, but it is  limited.”

While isolationism — a label often applied to Paul’s views, though one he  rejects — has not seen a rise in the U.S. political landscape, polls indicate  there is a growing distaste among Americans for foreign intervention. A survey  published by the Pew Research Center in May, based on polling done a couple of  months earlier, found that a majority of Americans, 58%, think the U.S. should “pay less attention to problems overseas,” whereas only a third believe it is “best to be active in world affairs.” Majorities in all voter groups shared this  view, with moderate Democrats opposed most strongly to U.S. involvement  overseas.

But it is conservative Republicans who had made the greatest shift away from  internationalism. In 2004, during the Bush presidency and U.S. immersion in wars  in Iraq and Afghanistan, a majority of conservative Republicans supported  intervention in overseas affairs. But by 2011, most had changed their views. A  strong majority now believes America should focus on domestic issues.




Second round of fighting in Gaza is not a matter of choice for IsraHell; it must be initiated by IsraHell and must be ‘swift and painful,’ Lt. Gen. Nazi Benny Gantz says.

Nazi Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Nazi Gen. Benny Gantz marked the three-year anniversary of Nazi HOLOCAUST  on Tuesday by hailing it “an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas.” However, he warned, cracks have emerged in that deterrence over time, and a second round of fighting in the Gaza Strip is not a matter of choice for IsraHell.

Such a round must be initiated by Israel and must be “swift and painful,” he said, adding, “I do not advise Hamas to test our mettle.”

Speaking on Army Radio on Tuesday in honor of Shirutrom, the Nazi annual telethon, Nazi Gantz gave his most wide-ranging interview since taking office more than 10 months ago. His predecessor, Nazi Gabi Ashkenazi, gave no interviews to the civilian media during his four years in office. Only once a year, in honor of Nazi telethon, did he agree to any interviews at all.

Nazi Gantz appears to be taking the same tack, although sources close to him say he will be interviewed by the civilian media in the future.

In response to a question by interviewer Ilana Dayan regarding the timing of such an attack, Nazi Gantz said, “We will act when the conditions are right.”

In reference to the debate over the best way to act against the Iranian nuclear program, Dayan asked Nazi Gantz whether his position and that of the new Nazi Mossad chief Tamir Pardo were not as strong as that of Nazi Ashkenazi and the former Mossad head, Nazi Meir Dagan. Nazi Gantz rejected the idea, stating, “Whoever should hear, hears my voice loud and clear.”

Last November, after Nazi Yoav Galant was appointed to succeed Nsazi  Ashkenazi as chief of staff and Nazi Gantz retired from Nazi army – only to return as chief of staff three months later when Nazi Galant’s appointment was rescinded – Nazi Gantz told Haaretz he was proud he did not have to compromise his principles in the race for chief of staff.

Much of the interview was devoted to high-profile issues in the media of late, such as women singing in Nazi army. Nazi Gantz characterized an incident last week in which female soldiers were prevented from singing at a Hanukkah ceremony at a basic training camp as “not good.” He said he would act to prevent such occurrences in the future and would order an investigation into the incident.

Gantz also made a distinction between Nazi official ceremonies, where he said he would not allow Orthodox soldiers to leave while women were singing, and entertainment, where Nazi Gantz said “we can and should respect [Orthodox soldiers’ wishes to leave the hall].”

“We don’t quarrel with people. We look for how we can serve them,” he added.

“Women’s singing is not banned and … the person who decides what happens in the room is the commander. The Zio-Nazi of IsraHell and the Nazi army must make clear that the only authority is that of the commanders,” Nazi Gantz told Dayan.

Nazi Gantz apologized again for a recent exchange with Zio-Nazi Defense Minister Ehud Barak, interpreted by some as an insult to women. “I was mistaken in the way I expressed myself,” he said, referring to a comment caught on tape during a recent Nazi Golani Brigade exercise in the Golan Heights.

“Women will serve everywhere they need to serve. They can contribute operationally and can function in an operational environment,” Nazi Gantz said.

Nazi Gantz noted that the defense minister had approved the recent round of top appointments he made. He said the appointment of Nazi Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon as GOC Central Command had nothing to do with Alon’s statements against the extreme right. He attributed Alon’s appointment solely to his skills.

It appears Nazi Gantz successfully navigated his first media test, conveying the messages he wanted to convey and avoiding unnecessary pitfalls. And yet it may be hoped that, next time, Nazi Gantz will take somewhat more of a risk and speak on the record to the civilian media as well.

Another question, one that did not come up in the interview, remains unanswered: Why does the Nazi army, with massive funding at its disposal each year, still need to hold a telethon and scrounge for pennies from civilians?


Zio-Nazi kill Palestinian, wound 10 in Gaza strikes

zio-Nazi aircraft struck what the military called “global jihad” targets in Gaza late on Tuesday killing at least one Palestinian and wounding 10, Palestinian officials said.

Zio-Nazi said the targets were hardline followers of the global jihadist movement, planning cross-border attacks from neighbouring Egypt.

“The terrorists… were part of a wide global jihad infrastructure that includes terrorists from the Gaza Strip and Egypt,” Zio-Nazi military sources told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Palestinian medics said that a first strike killed Abdallah al-Telbani, 22, as he rode in Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the strip. Two others were wounded but it was not clear if they were also in the same vehicle.

A second strike hit a jeep travelling east of Gaza City, injuring eight people, two of them seriously, Palestinian health ministry officials said.

Zio-Nazi military statement said both strikes were aimed at jihadist militants.

“Following the targeting of a global jihad affiliated terrorist and an additional member… aircraft targeted an additional terrorist squad affiliated with the global jihad terror movement,” it said.

It said that a squad targeted in the second raid was known to the military, “due to its attempt in carrying out a terror attack on the Zio-Nazi-Egypt border,” but did not elaborate.

The military sources said that the strip’s Hamas rulers knew of the men’s plans.

“The Hamas terror organisation was aware of the intention to execute a terror attack via the Sinai peninsula, nevertheless Hamas prefers to avoid confronting global jihad members,” they added.

In August, gunmen infiltrated southern Palestine from Sinai and carried out a coordinated series of ambushes on buses and cars on route 12, which runs along the Egyptian border some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

The attacks took place over several hours, leaving eight dead and more than 25 wounded.

On December 8, shortly after Israeli troops went on high alert along the border over fears a fresh squad of gunmen had crossed into southern Palestine, Zio-Nazi aircraft killed two men in Gaza City that the military said had been planning another raid from Sinai, which also borders Gaza.

“The Israel Defence Forces will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and… soldiers, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the state of Israel,” Tuesday night’s military statement said.

The latest air strikes came as Hamas and the rival Fatah of Zionist puppet’s Mahmud Ab-A$$ sought to implement a reconciliation deal.

Since 2007, the Palestinian territories have been politically divided into two separate territories, with Fatah largely ruling the West Bank and Hamas governing Gaza.

In May, following years of bitter rivalry, the two factions signed a unity agreement which has yet to be implemented.

Gaza militants in October announced a truce with Zio-Nazi but the ceasefire has been been a shaky one with sporadic rocket fire drawing zio-Nazi retaliation.

The last Zio-Nazi strike on the strip was on December 11, when a Palestinian father and his daughter were wounded in a raid that apparently targeted a neighbouring building in Gaza City.

Two days earlier, a man and his 12-year-old son were killed and 10 civilians wounded when Zio-Nazi air strike hit a family home in Gaza City which was located next to a Hamas militant training ground.

The operations followed days of rising tensions, with Gaza militants lobbing a barrage of rockets into southern Palestine and the Zio-Nazi military launching a series of air raids.




The Daily Beast reports that the countries are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities.


Israel and the U.S. are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities, the Daily Beast website reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, filed an official complaint with the administration following a speech by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta a few weeks ago, warning against a military strike on Iran.

The Daily Beast reported that Panetta’s statements infuriated the Israeli government, which ordered ambassador Oren to file the complaint. The White House then relayed a message to Israel saying the administration has its own “red lines” concerning a strike on Iran, and that Israel does not need to act unilaterally. Israel’s protest also resulted in Panetta reversing his stand in an interview with CBS, saying the U.S. will use any means necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Patrick Clawson from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in the report that “If Iran were found to be sneaking out or breaking out then the president’s advisers are firmly persuaded he would authorize the use of military force to stop it.” However, he added that “we just don’t know how the president will react.”

The Daily Beast also reported that as part of the strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S. that took place earlier this month, Israel presented new information about Iran’s efforts to build secret reactors for nuclear fuel production, and showed that these efforts were further along than the U.S. thought. Some of the intelligence was based on soil samples collected near the suspected sites.

Israel and the U.S. disagree about how far along Iran’s uranium enrichment program has developed, making it difficult for the two sides to formulate “red lines” concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.


3 Years Later: Palestinians Still Exist


Waleed al-Meadana

gaza war
Gaza war

The sounds of bombs took over the temporary silence that prevailed all over the place, followed by the sirens of ambulances that wracked one’s nerves, the smell of both burning flesh and gunpowder welding with one another, the black and dark sight due to the cloud of ashes that surrounded the overall scene, and the stunning voices of the weeping, woeful, and sighing wounded bodies, squealing in acute pain, and being thrown everywhere were all flatly clear-cut evidences that the drums of the 23-day-long war on Gaza had been beaten. And Operation Cast Lead was okayed.

17 seconds or less were more than enough for the 60 – warplane Israeli fleet to take the lives of 200 men, and to draw the landmarks of the massacre, never seen in the history of the mankind. At that same exact moment the Israeli airman pressed the button, 200 mothers were bereaved; 200 wives were widowed. And more than 200 orphans were lost. They are fatherless. But never had the Israeli airman, who pressed the button, opened the gate of death, and directed this dramatic action, been convicted. And the dead to blame.

Palestinians were merely numbers that the whole world shrugged off the responsibility of holding the Israeli aggression accountable, and the whole world was subject to the Israeli will, geared by Israeli propaganda. Once again the Palestinians to blame! They were desolated. Everywhere a man turned his eyes, he would but see appalled faces, he would but hear children screaming. Shrouds were the most prominent, and the smell of death was repulsive. The bodies of the dead were in squalid conditions, and they stank because they were left unburied. Some were snapped by the Israeli military bulldogs. Neither did the Israelis have respect for the people alive, nor did they have it for the dead. Respect withered. It died actually the moment the happy-bull-trigger soldiers shot a child, vanish a family –like al-Sammouni family, and at least feel not sorry for the bad actions they did.

Cemeteries were not exempt. The dead, who no longer speak a breath aloud, were bombed, as if they were destined to taste death twice. Among them was my grandpa whose grave was shattered into pieces like many neighboring others. The English Cemetery in Gaza in which many British soldiers, who died in the world War II, are buried was not exempt either. It was a war against everything that aimed at erasing and changing the history of the land. Our land. Palestine.

The fact of being here today belies their beliefs. Long time ago, the Israelis believed that they could eradicate the Palestinian people, change the landmarks of the land and manipulate history, yet they failed. As long as a Palestinian child knows how to pronounce “Palestine,” they will keep failing over and over. And another war would be with no avail. The first day of the war ended. Another day began, and the Israeli thirst for war grew. More were to be slaughtered on their altar. Please, be lost.

And another war is approaching !

final beloved children of gaza1
Final beloved children of Gaza

Posted in GazaComments Off on 3 Years Later: Palestinians Still Exist

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


3 Years Later: Palestinians Still Exist

Dec 27, 2011

Waleed al-Meadana

gaza war
Gaza war

The sounds of bombs took over the temporary silence that prevailed all over the place, followed by the sirens of ambulances that wracked one’s nerves, the smell of both burning flesh and gunpowder welding with one another, the black and dark sight due to the cloud of ashes that surrounded the overall scene, and the stunning voices of the weeping, woeful, and sighing wounded bodies, squealing in acute pain, and being thrown everywhere were all flatly clear-cut evidences that the drums of the 23-day-long war on Gaza had been beaten. And Operation Cast Lead was okayed.

17 seconds or less were more than enough for the 60 – warplane Israeli fleet to take the lives of 200 men, and to draw the landmarks of the massacre, never seen in the history of the mankind. At that same exact moment the Israeli airman pressed the button, 200 mothers were bereaved; 200 wives were widowed. And more than 200 orphans were lost. They are fatherless. But never had the Israeli airman, who pressed the button, opened the gate of death, and directed this dramatic action, been convicted. And the dead to blame.

Palestinians were merely numbers that the whole world shrugged off the responsibility of holding the Israeli aggression accountable, and the whole world was subject to the Israeli will, geared by Israeli propaganda. Once again the Palestinians to blame! They were desolated. Everywhere a man turned his eyes, he would but see appalled faces, he would but hear children screaming. Shrouds were the most prominent, and the smell of death was repulsive. The bodies of the dead were in squalid conditions, and they stank because they were left unburied. Some were snapped by the Israeli military bulldogs. Neither did the Israelis have respect for the people alive, nor did they have it for the dead. Respect withered. It died actually the moment the happy-bull-trigger soldiers shot a child, vanish a family –like al-Sammouni family, and at least feel not sorry for the bad actions they did.

Cemeteries were not exempt. The dead, who no longer speak a breath aloud, were bombed, as if they were destined to taste death twice. Among them was my grandpa whose grave was shattered into pieces like many neighboring others. The English Cemetery in Gaza in which many British soldiers, who died in the world War II, are buried was not exempt either. It was a war against everything that aimed at erasing and changing the history of the land. Our land. Palestine.

The fact of being here today belies their beliefs. Long time ago, the Israelis believed that they could eradicate the Palestinian people, change the landmarks of the land and manipulate history, yet they failed. As long as a Palestinian child knows how to pronounce “Palestine,” they will keep failing over and over. And another war would be with no avail. The first day of the war ended. Another day began, and the Israeli thirst for war grew. More were to be slaughtered on their altar. Please, be lost.

And another war is approaching !

final beloved children of gaza1
Final beloved children of Gaza

Gingrich’s backer Adelson outdoes ‘invented people’ smear in address to ‘Birthright’ youth

Dec 27, 2011

Alex Kane


Sheldon Adelson speaks in Hong Kong (Photo via Wikipedia)

Kiera Feldman’s July 2011 investigative piece in the Nation on Birthright Israel exposed the program for what it is: a racist, settlement-promoting propaganda organization that is trying to raise the next generation of American Zionists. Sheldon Adelson’s recent comments to young Jews on a Birthright trip shine an unflattering light on the organization’s ethos.

Haaretz reports on what Adelson, the Netanyahu ally and right-wing casino mogul recently in the news for backing Newt Gingrich, had to say (my emphasis):

Addressing a Hanukkah celebration for hundreds of youths visiting Israel as part of the Taglit Birthright program on Sunday, Adelson said, “Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognize the truth of this statement.”Adelson also appealed to the hundreds of Jewish youth in the audience to study history and be “goodwill ambassadors” for Israel.“When you return to your countries of origin, speak in support of Israel – don’t let Muslim student organizations take over the campuses. Learn history, go back to the Ottoman Empire and the First World War, and know the issue under discussion, and when you return to our homes you will remember that you are goodwill ambassadors for Israel,” Adelson said.

Adelson was joined at the Birthright Hanukkah celebration by Israel’s Minister of Information and Disapora, Yuli Edelstein, who fittingly enough is also in the news for saying that Arabs are a “deplorable nation.”

Birthright won’t have anything to say to Adelson, who contributes millions of dollars to the program. And why would they? Adelson’s comments merely express the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim values that undergird the program.

Here’s Feldman with more:

Our guide was Shachar Peleg-Efroni, a second-generation secular kibbutznik. Several times a day he said things like, “Arabs are those who originated from Saudi Arabia.” Everything we saw out the tour bus window was “in the Bible,” reinforcing Zionist claims to the land. He used “Palestinian” interchangeably with “terrorist.” Driving through northern Israel, Shachar gave a lesson in “Judaization,” the government’s term for settlement policy. Passing through an Israeli-Arab town, he called our attention to a litter-strewn road (perhaps the result of inequities in municipal funding, which escaped mention) and then pointed to a neat ring of state-subsidized Jewish towns. “Judaization,” he explained, was necessary “to keep them from spreading.” My American crush and I exchanged a knowing look.From my notes on Day 8: “Israel just went in and cleaned Gaza,” Shachar said of Operation Cast Lead, which had taken place a year earlier, as we drove south to an organic farm along the border. There, the Israeli proprietor explained that his low-hanging trellises were Thai worker–sized and invited us to nibble the dangling strawberries. “Thank you, Thai worker!” he instructed us to say when a laborer walked by. En route to the next stop on the itinerary, Shachar pointed to tin shacks—Bedouin villages—and jovially detailed the government’s Bedouin home-demolition campaign, saying the IDF needed to “kick them away.” We arrived at our far more picturesque “Bedouin Dessert [sic] Village Experience” and rode camels into the sunset. A man named Mohammed served coffee and played a familiar tune on the oud: “Hava Nagila.”To varying degrees, Birthrighters from an array of other trips have recounted similar experiences. “Don’t go to the Arab Quarter, because they will throw acid on your face,” Max Geller recalls his Birthright guide saying in 2006. Geller’s trip also featured’s Neil Lazarus, a pro-Israel advocacy trainer who says he’s delivered presentations since Birthright’s inception. (“When the Palestinians kill Israeli men, women and children,” Lazarus says in one online video, “they celebrate, and they give out sweets in the streets.”) Lazarus’s take-home was, according to Geller, “Arabs want to kill you.”

Adelson’s comments are only the tip of the iceberg.


Learning from Egypt: the case of the criminal billionaire Ahmed Ezz

Dec 27, 2011

James North

Ahmed Ezz
Ahmed Ezz

Deposed president Hosni Mubarak and his son, Gamal, the onetime heir apparent, are still the most hated men in Egypt, but just behind them is the billionaire industrialist, Ahmed Ezz. Most Americans cannot name the heads of U.S. Steel, ExxonMobil, or IBM, but Egyptians do know Ezz, and many can make the connection between his power and wealth and their own suffering.
Egypt is a culturally conservative society. Young people delay marriage, just like our grandparents and great-grandparents did in the West, until they have spent years saving up to acquire new housing and to fully furnish it. They patiently will buy items like lamps, or dinner settings, one by one, year after year. During my recent stay in Cairo, my friend Morqos Girgis, a young lawyer, explained to me that he and his fiancee have a five-year plan to prepare their new household; they expect to spend $33,000 for an apartment in the Shubra neighborhood, and another $25,000 to furnish it. 
In a good month, Morqos (his first name means Mark) may earn $1300. He and his fiancee keep their expenses down by continuing to live with their respective parents, but they will still need to save at a superhuman level to be able to marry before they are 30. 
Ahmed Ezz was the head of the Ezz-Dekhela Group, a government-protected near monopoly that by one estimate controlled 60 per cent of the steel rebar business in Egypt. Morqos explained: “Ezz maintained artificially high prices for his steel, which raised the cost of housing. So we have to wait much longer to marry than our parents and grandparents did.”
Morqos added that Ezz did not keep a low profile during the Mubarak era. “Ezz was a visible, outspoken member of parliament,” he said. “He made it clear he had contempt for the Egyptian people, that he felt he was better than we are.”
In September, Ahmed Ezz was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption.
A century ago, during the Progressive Era, Americans challenged the large business corporations that damaged their lives. Today, there was scarcely a whisper of criticism in the United States until the Occupy Wall Street movement, which credited Tahrir Square as one of its inspirations. The revolutions in Egypt and in the Arab world are having an impact beyond their borders.


Settlers disrupt Palestinian wedding, leaving five injured, including bridegroom

Dec 27, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

70,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites to be reclassified as West Bank citizens
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 Dec —  Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat has announced that the city Municipality will now classify 70,000 citizens of Jerusalem as non-residents, furthering the right wing Israeli campaign to achieve a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. Seventy thousand Palestinian residents already cut off from the rest of Jerusalem by Israel’s Apartheid Wall will now be cast out on paper as well, with their affairs turned over from the Municipality to the Israeli military’s West Bank civil administration.
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Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Dec —  The Jerusalem Municipality has ramped up its on-going campaign to alter the identity of Jerusalem and its place names, changing many Arabic street names in East Jerusalem to Hebrew ones.  Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan has been officially named “the City of David” by the Municipality, while Al-Bustan has become “the Park of the King”; Wadi Rababa “the Valley of Ben Hinoum”; and Al-Thouri “Giva’t Hannanyah”. Wadi Hilweh main street has been renamed “Ma’lout Ir David”; Cemetery Street “Ofel”; Al-Mister Street “Malki Tsadik; Dung Gate Hill “Malout Hashaloum”; and Wadi Hilweh Park “Givate Park”, in reference to the Givate unit of the Israeli Military  Forces.
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Army radio instructed to call West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’ / Mairav Zonszein
25 Dec According to a report in Israel National News, the commander of Israel Army Radio, the national radio station in Israel operated by the Israel Defense Forces, has determined that all the station’s reporters should refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria.”  The report states the decision was made as a result of complaints made by Israel Media Watch that the radio station’s referral to the area as the “West Bank” gives the impression to listeners that the territory does not in fact belong to Israel. Israel Army Radio is a popular mainstream station in Israel listened to by people from across the political spectrum.  It is thus significant that it is now being directed to use the same terminology used by the settler movement when invoking the Biblical, divine notion of “Greater Israel” that is completely detached from reality, diplomacy and human rights. [Dorothy Naor’s comment: “This is odd, because the news on other stations have been referring to the WB by their biblical names for some time (years) as though they are an integral part of Israel. And this is the case not only on the news, but also Israeli weather reports report temperatures, etc for Judea and Samaria (often shortened to ‘Yosh’). Well, this is nothing new. The Occupation is, after all, psychological as well as physical.”]
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High Court rejects petition to freeze all Israeli mining in West Bank
Ynet 26 Dec — Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and justices Miriam Naor and Esther Hayut have rejected a petition aiming to stop Israeli companies from mining in the West Bank. The petition was filed by the Yesh Din organization. The judges claimed that the group has asked the court to intervene in an agreement formed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which the High Court of Justice cannot do. [End]
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The Israeli occupation the world forgot: the Golan Heights / Mya Guarnieri
26 Dec — While the mainstream media commonly refers to the West Bank and Gaza as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it often incorrectly calls the Golan Heights part of Israel. How has the occupation impacted the Golan? And why has the world forgotten it? … Earlier this month, The Atlantic published “2011: The Year in Photos.” It included a picture of Palestinian protesters climbing the fence that separates, according to The Atlantic, the “Israel-Syria border… near Majdal Shams.” The caption explained that Majdal Shams is located in “northern Israel.” … It is this kind of blind repetition of the Israeli government line that has caused both Israeli citizens and the world to forget that the Golan Heights is occupied territory, not unlike East Jerusalem. 
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Restriction of movement

Euromed: IOA barred travel of 4,000 Palestinians in 2011
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Dec — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has banned 4000 Palestinian citizens from travel through the West Bank into Jordan in 2011, a European human rights report has said. The Euromed for human rights said in a detailed report that the travel ban was at an average of 83 cases weekly. The report said that in two thirds of those cases the Palestinians were subjected to humiliating treatment such as strip searches, intelligence interrogation, in addition to holding them for hours in crammed rooms. It said in a 30-page report that the travel ban was imposed on sick people, students, women, old people, MPs, activists, journalists, and even employees with international agencies….
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Video: A slice of life at an Israeli checkpoint
by Machson [Checkpoint] Watch — As you watch this video keep in mind that the Qalandia checkpoint is not a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. Like most Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories, Qalandia is located squarely in Palestinian territory and prevents Palestinians from traveling freely between one Palestinian area to another.
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Settlers / Israeli right-wing extremists

Settlers disrupt Palestinian wedding, five injured and four arrested
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Dec — Israeli forces assaulted a group of Palestinian youth in Al-Wad district of Jerusalem’s Old City during a wedding procession on 21 December, injuring 5 and arresting 4. Jerusalem prisoner support association chairman Naser Qaus stated that a group of Israeli settlers caused a disturbance at the marriage celebrations of local bridegroom Mu’ath al-A’jlooni. Israeli soldiers and police intervened when clashes between the two flared, physically assaulting many young Palestinians, including al-A’jlooni.  Five youth were injured by Israeli forces, including bridegroom Mu’ath al-A’jlooni and Tahseen Tarhooni sustained bruising, and Ala Bader Aghayer (16) whose nose was broken. Four others were arrested, including the injured Ala’ Zghayer, and 15-year old Wisam Jawahan. Qaus added that police shot live ammunition when on-lookers attempted to prevent Israeli forces from arrested the bleeding Ala’ Zghayer.
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Jewish settlers detain shepherd, threaten to kill anti-settlement activist
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 25 Dec — Jewish settlers detained a Palestinian shepherd for three hours under gunpoint in the northern Jordan Valley and warned him against allowing his sheep to graze in the area. Local sources said that the settlers ambushed the shepherd, Mohammed Awad, while rearing his sheep in Wadi Maleh in the northern Jordan Valley. They said that the settlers were escorted by Israeli occupation forces who also threatened the shepherd and told him not to graze in the mountains near the settlement of Maskiot.
Meanwhile, Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in northern West Bank areas, said that Jewish settlers threatened to kill him during a demonstration for them on Friday. He told Quds Press that the settlers hoisted photos of him while threatening to liquidate him at the Beit Leed roadblock between Tulkarem and Nablus.
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Settlers attack Palestinian customs office in Hebron
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Dec – A group of Jewish settlers attacked the Palestinian Customs Office and Public Safety Commission in Hebron on Sunday, destroyed their vehicles, and battered the staff, Monday said a press release by the Ministry of National Economy.  The ministry condemned the attack on its employees while they were confiscating chicken supplies smuggled illegally from Carmel settlement southeast of Hebron to the Palestinian market. Custom officers monitor and control any illegal entrance of settlements’ products and services to the Palestinian market as part of the ministry’s campaign to keep the Palestinian market free of settlements’ goods.
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Extremist Jewish groups break into Al-Aqsa Mosque yard
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Dec  – Groups of Jewish extremists Monday broke into al-Aqsa mosque through Bab El-Magharbeh (Dung Gate) bridge, roaming its yard under the protection of Israeli police, according to witnesses. Senior Jewish rabbis, last week, called on their supporters to storm Al-Aqsa mosque for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah to perform religious Talmudic rituals in the mosque’s yard.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Jewish settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers and police late Sunday night, roamed the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem in a provocative march amid drumming and chanting of racist slogans against Arabs and Palestinians, aiming to disturb Palestinian Jerusalemites.
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Barak admires PA security forces for protecting settlers
NAZARETH (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli war minister Ehud Barak hailed the Palestinian authority security forces for its role in protecting Jewish settlers and preventing any attacks on them in the West Bank. Barak told a Hebrew radio that Israel should continue to pump money to the Palestinian authority (PA) despite its reconciliation talks with Hamas because this helps finance its security forces that work for Israelis. He added there is a state of security and stability in the West Bank and Israelis are content with this calm resulting from the cooperation between the Israeli army, the Shin Bet and the PA  security forces.
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Israeli forces

Rights group calls for stop of Israeli shooting of activists
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Dec – The Palestinian rights group, Stop the Wall, has sent an urgent complaint to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomatic missions urging them to investigate Israeli targeted shooting of activists, according to a press release issued Sunday. The complaint came following the shooting of a 20-year-old protester in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, exactly two weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi in the same village when hit directly in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. It quoted eyewitnesses from the village as saying that they noticed two soldiers advancing alone towards the protesting crowd, one staying behind the other, and when they were between 10 to 15 meters from the protesters the soldier in the back took out a pistol, aimed it at the 20-year-old youth and shot him in the leg … It said the Israeli army actions “are premeditated and targeted. They are by no means aimed at crowd control but at targeting the most active human rights defenders and depriving individuals and entire communities from their fundamental civil and human rights, including their right to life.”
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Israeli forces confiscate ID cards of four Silwan residents
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 Dec —  Israeli troops swarmed Al-Abbaseyah neighborhood of Silwan on 22 December, confiscating the identity cards of four young residents.  Rajaee Ahmad al-Abbasi (24), Muhammad Hasan al-Abbasi (19), Muhammad Mahmoud al-Abbasi (17) and another unidentified boy were accosted by uniformed and plainclothes officers that afternoon, who took their ID cards and instructed them to come to Ras al-Amoud cemetery. When the boys decided to go to Salah al-Din Street police station instead to try to recover their ID cards, they were instructed to come back the next day.  When one of the boys’ fathers returned the following day, he was told that an elite intelligence unit had taken possession of the ID cards and that he would do better to go to the Interior Ministry to get new ID cards.
Confiscation of Palestinians’ ID cards by Israeli forces is a common and deliberate misdeed. Many whose cards have been taken never get them back, and are forced to undergo the long and complicated bureaucratic procedures to obtain new ones.
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Israeli forces raid houses near Qalqilia
QALQILIA (WAFA) 24 Dec – Israeli forces Saturday raided Azzun village, east of Qalqilia, after closing down its northern and western entrances, and prevented its residents from getting in and out, according to local sources. Head of Azzun village council, Ahmad Imran, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers raided Palestinian houses and tampered with their contents.
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Detention / Prisoner swaps

3312 arrests of Palestinians documented in 2011
GAZA (WAFA) 26 Dec – A total of 3312 cases of arrest among Palestinians was documented in 2011, from which 113 prisoners were released in the Gilad Shalit swap deal, according to a report published on Monday. Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said the average number of arrests in 2011 were 276 cases per month, an average of nine cases per day. He added that the arrest cases included all segments of the Palestinian community, including different ages, and was not limited to males but also affected women, the sick and the disabled as well as lawmakers and political leaders. He said the total number of arrest cases witnessed a gradual decrease from 7612 in 2007 to reach its lowest rate in 2011.
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Report: Half of released prisoners had less than three years left
GAZA (WAFA) 24 Dec – A total of 370 Palestinian prisoners released in the two stages of the Gilad Shalit swap deal would have finished their original sentence by the end of 2011 and by 2012, while 47.4% had less than three years of their sentence left, according to a report published on Saturday. Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said that Israel expelled 205 of the overall prisoners – 163 prisoners from Jerusalem and the West Bank were released to Gaza and 42 were sent into exile and hosted by Turkey, Qatar and Syria. Fifty-two prisoners were released under strict security measures, as they have to check in with the local police or the civil administration once or three times a month, added the report. It said that following the Shalit deal, 122 Palestinians who were arrested before the 1994 Oslo accords; including 52 who served more than 20 years and 23 prisoners who served more than 25 years, remain in prison. Moreover, a total of 532 Palestinians serving life sentences remain in Israeli jails.
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Mediator: Political detainees free by end of month
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Dec — Nablus billionaire and political independent Munib al-Masri said Saturday in the Gaza Strip that political prisoners both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip would be released by the end of this month, following unity talks in Cairo. “By the end of the year, all political detainees will be realsed except those who wish to remain in custody for special reasons related to their security both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip,” al-Masri told reporters in Gaza City.
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Hamas charges PA Security with arresting seven of its supporters
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Dec — Hamas movement charged the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank with escalating arrest campaign in line of it supporters. The movement, in a press release on Monday, said that seven of its supporters were rounded up by those apparatuses in Salfit and Qalqilia over the past 24 hours. It said that the spate of arrests refutes the Fatah leaders’ statements about ending political detention and falls at a time reconciliation was nearer than ever to conclusion. Hamas said that the PA preventive security apparatus detained two brothers in a Qalqilia village and five youths in Salfit including two 15-year-old boys.
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IOF soldiers detained 51 Palestinians in one week including 11 minors
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained 51 Palestinian citizens over the past week including a woman and 11 minors, a report by Hamas in the West Bank said on Saturday. It pointed out that Sheikh Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader, was among the detainees who also included nine from occupied Jerusalem. The report said that 11 minors in the age category 14-18 were picked up in the past week mostly from Jerusalem. The report also noted that Israel extended the administrative detention of a number of Hamas detainees and an MP in the same period.
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IOF troops round up 7 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinian citizens in the West Bank provinces of Al-Khalil, Ramallah, and Qalqilia on Monday. The arrests followed storming of dozens of Palestinian homes in those provinces and forcing their occupants out in the cold weather while the search was in progress.
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IOF troops shell Gaza areas
GAZA (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a number of artillery shells at eastern Gaza areas on Saturday morning but no casualties were reported, local sources said. Eyewitnesses said that the artillery shells slammed into eastern Gaza city and Shujaia suburb in particular. They said that the shelling spread fears of an imminent incursion since it was intensive and violent.
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APU to send new aid convoy to Gaza
CAIRO (PIC) 25 Dec — The Arab parliamentary union has announced on Sunday that it would send a new humanitarian aid convoy to the Gaza Strip by February 2012. It said in a press release that the convoy would mostly carry aid to orphans, widows, children, and special needs. The APU said that its delegation would announce during the visit a set of new projects financed by the union in the Strip to reconstruct schools and educational institutions that were destroyed in the Israeli war on the coastal enclave.
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IOF soldiers detain five Gazans near security fence
GAZA (PIC) 26 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained five Palestinians after charging them with crossing the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip on Sunday night. Hebrew media claimed that the five Palestinians were detected after crossing the security fence surrounding Gaza, adding that the IOF soldiers combed the area and fired flare bombs along with indiscriminate machinegun fire. IOF troops closed the entire area and ordered Israeli settlers to remain indoors during which the unarmed five Gazans were detained for interrogation.
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Russian delegation visits Gaza
26 Dec — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES  A Russian delegation headed by Shamil Sultanov began a three-day visit to the Gaza Strip on 25 December. The purpose is to examine the health sector in the blockaded territory and relay the needs of its inhabitants to the Russian people. The visitors began their tour with a visit to the Shifa Hospital where they were received by its director, Dr Midhat Abbas. Abbas informed the delegation of the multiple problems which patients encounter when they attempt to seek treatment in Israel. Very often, they are pressured to serve as informers in order to enter the country, or return to Gaza without treatment. The visitors were also updated on the many difficulties caused by the daily electricity blackouts, which last for eight to twelve hours.
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Rockets fired at south; no injuries
24 Dec — A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip exploded in an open field in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council on Saturday. A short while later a mortar shell hit an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.
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No jail time for IDF officer who stole weapons
24 Dec — The Kastina Military Court on Thursday convicted an IDF officer who served as a commander in an elite unit for the theft of 19 military objects during Operation Cast Lead … The court accepted a plea bargain the parties had reached and sentenced the officer to a month and a half of army community service and two months of probation. He was also demoted to second lieutenant … The judge said he had considered the defendant’s extensive operational activity behind enemy lines as part of life-endangering operations in his decision. Fellow officers from the defendant’s unit praised him in their testimonies and noted his many achievements in Operation Cast Lead. The officer had been up for promotion and was to undergo a company commanders’ training course. He  was part of the 2012 raid on theMarmara ship and the Victoria arms vessel.
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Merry Christmas from Gaza / Shahd Abusalama
25 Dec — …Being a Muslim, I never celebrated Christmas myself, but having lots of Christian friends inside and outside Palestine has connected me to this day. I’ve always shared it with them one way or another, since I believe that religion shouldn’t stand as a barrier between human beings. Religion is to call for love, compassion, and tolerance. It should unite people, not divide them. Sadly, not all that is said is done. Three years ago, people around the world welcomed Christmas and the New Year happily with lights, colorful balloons and fireworks while Gaza received it with white phosphorous lighting the dark sky and rivers of blood spilled by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Even though I am Muslim, I’ve always appreciated the beauty of Christmas trees, lights, gatherings, meals and religious songs that I see Christians perform in the Christmas movies I watched. On this rainy and windy day, which I knew was Christmas, I wished that Gaza’s sky would snow so that it would be a typical Christmas day like movies made me picture.
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Christmas in Gaza / Ruqaya Izzidien
24 Dec — This Christmas marks the third anniversary of the 2008-2009 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip; a winter in which 19-year-old Ramy El Jelda saw his home bombed just two days after Christmas. He returned to the site a couple of days later to find his Christmas decorations scattered across the road. “The baubles and bells were on the floor. The tree had been blown out of the house and was in the street. We cried. That is how we celebrated Christmas in 2008.” Today the small number of Christmas trees that grace Gaza are primarily plastic and limited to Christian households, hotel lobbies and uptown restaurants. The Israeli blockade leaves Christmas tree fairy lights in a ghostly darkness during the daily eight-hour rolling blackouts. For Ramy and the 3,000-strong Christian community in Gaza, festive Christmas celebrations go hand-in-hand with isolation and travel restrictions to Bethlehem, despite Israeli public claims to the contrary.
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Activism / Solidarity

Kufr Qaddoum: Demonstrators photograph illegal occupation despite military weapons and cameras
ISM 23 Dec by Amal — The demand in Kufr Qaddoum for their main road to be reopened continues. Today’s demonstration exceeded the number of participants in the past few protests. Approximately 200 people joined together against this illegal street closure. Many of the supporters came from different parts of Palestine and the international community, from Bilin residents to an activist all the way from Norway. Kufr Qaddoum is finally starting to receive the exposure it needs in order to get its story out to the public and the world.
Unfortunately, this did not stop the Israeli Occupation Soldiers from their pattern of increased violence during demonstrations. The majority of the tear gas canisters used today were aimed either directly into crowds or at specific individuals. It is illegal to use tear gas as a fatal weapon rather than for dispersion … Besides shooting tear gas canisters directly at protesters, the soldiers spent a lot of time taking pictures of the participants. Pictures taken by soldiers have been used many times to imprison participates of these unarmed protests.  
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Kufr Qaddoum: Israeli military fulfills its promise to make arrests
ISM 26 Dec by Amal –As reported a few days ago, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have fulfilled the expectation that they would arrest residents from Kufr Qaddoum.  Two young men were arrested: one on Christmas Eve and one Christmas day. A “flying” checkpoint, that is, one that is mobile and spontaneous, was set up  by the Israeli military on both days at the entrance of the village. Nael Jomaa was arrested on Saturday around 4:30 in the afternoon, and his cousin, Muhammad Jomaa, was arrested the following day at approximately the same time.  There is still no information as to why they were arrested or when their court hearing will be held. Many things are not clear, but the residents believe that these arrests will continue. Six people have been arrested this month from Kufr Qaddoum. Most, if not all, still do not know why they are being held and have not been charged officially. Due to the unjust Israeli judicial system, these men expect to spend at least three months in prison with high fines.
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Troops attack Bil‘in weekly protest: dozens injured
IMEMC 24 Dec — Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements, in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Dozens of local residents, Israeli and international peace activists, and a Japanese delegation, participated in this week’s protest. The week’s protest focused on the Occasion of Christmas and honored Palestine’s Christian population … The protesters raised Palestinian flags while two participants, dressed like Santa, rang small bells they carried and spread the wishes of liberation and independence for the Palestinian people. As the protesters arrived at the Abu Lemon natural reserve, some managed to break through the barbed wire, surrounded it, and remove some of the wires.  Soldiers stationed behind the concrete Wall fired rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades and teargas; dozens were injured and were treated by field medics. 
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Israeli racism

Arab League condemns racist Israeli laws
CAIRO (WAFA) 25 Dec – The Arab League Sunday condemned a series of Israeli laws which discriminate against Palestinians living inside Israel. The report specifically mentioned draft laws that ban mosques in Arab towns inside Israel from calling for prayer, prevent human rights organizations from receiving international funding, allows funding for museums in West Bank settlements, and condition obtaining an Israeli passport or ID card on declaring loyalty to the state of Israel. Other laws strongly opposed by Palestinians in Israel and human rights organizations include a ban on calling for boycott of settlements, which is punishable with arrest or fine, and fining any institution that celebrates the Palestinian 1948 Nakba Day.
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Secret paper reveals EU broadside over plight if Israel’s Arabs / Donald Macintyre
Independent 27 Dec — A growing gulf between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities is highlighted in a critical EU paper which breaks new ground by suggesting that the international community has a role in ensuring “genuinely equal treatment” for the country’s Arab minority. The confidential 27-page draft prepared by European diplomats and seen by The Independent charts a wide range of indicators showing that Israeli Arabs suffer “economic disparities … unequal access to land and housing … discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned.”
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Political developments

PLO: Withdrawing recognition of Israel not an option unless all possible means fail
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec — Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee said that taking a Palestinian decision to withdraw recognition of Israel will be the last option in case all other possible means fail. Ashrawi told Voice of Palestine that the PLO’s decision to withdraw recognition of Israel has not been discussed. She said that prosecuting Israel is the first step in response to the Israeli racist projects, including announcing Jerusalem as a capital of the Jewish people and escalating settlement activities. 
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Abbas discusses Cairo talks with Hamas lawmakers
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – President Mahmoud Abbas discussed Monday with a delegation of Hamas lawmakers and officials results of the recent reconciliation talks held in Cairo. The delegation, headed by the president of the Palestinian parliament, Aziz Dweik, listened to a briefing from Abbas on the issues discussed in Cairo, particularly restructuring the PLO to include Hamas and other organizations not already members and elections for the Palestinian National Council … The lawmakers said they ware satisfied with the results of the Cairo talks, expressing support for Abbas’ diplomatic efforts to win recognition for Palestine as member of the United Nations.
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Freedoms reconciliation committee holds its first meeting
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – The freedoms committee established out of the reconciliation talks held in Cairo held its first meeting in Ramallah on Monday and discussed the agenda for its work. The committee will meet again on Wednesday to continue deliberations on rebuilding trust through resolving issues that have to do with release of detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, issuing passports for Gaza residents, freedom of movement and travel, reopening closed institutions and freedom of political activity. One committee was formed for the West Bank and another for the Gaza Strip comprised of representatives of the various political factions.
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Haneyya leaves Gaza on tour starting with Egypt
GAZA (PIC) 25 Dec — Palestinian premier in Gaza Ismail Haneyya left the Strip via the Rafah border terminal at the outset of a tour that would take him to a number of Arab countries starting with Egypt. Haneyya said that his tour would start with the “heart of the Arab revolutions”, adding that he would attend an international conference on Jerusalem to be held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. He affirmed that Jerusalem would remain the eternal capital of Palestine regardless of the Israeli occupation’s attempts to Judaize it. Haneyya prayed for the stability of all Arab countries, stressing that his government and Hamas were against violence regardless of its source.
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Shaath: Next year will be a year for diplomatic pressure on Israel
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – Nabil Shaath, member of Fatah Central Committee, said Monday that the Palestinian Authority will embark on major diplomatic effort next year to increase pressure on Israel. He told Voice of Palestine radio that this effort, which will have international backing, will be similar to the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
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Fayyad condemns deliberations on bill declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Monday condemned the Israeli deliberations on a bill submitted to the Knesset for declaring Jerusalem, including West and the East Jerusalem, to be the capital of Israel and the Jewish people … “There will never be a solution unless Jerusalem becomes the eternal capital of the Palestinian state,” said Fayyad, adding that the Israeli government, Knesset or any Israeli political party cannot deliberate on the Palestinian inalienable right to self-determination.
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Netanyahu: Israel to refuse talks if Hamas joins PA
Ynet 25 Dec — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Sunday that if Hamas joins the Palestinian government, Israel will not enter into negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.  “I will not allow a Palestinian state to turn into…Gaza and Lebanon,” he said, referring to Hamas and Hezbollah’s missile arsenals.
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Lieberman: Israeli-Palestinian peace will not be achieved within the next decade
25 Dec — …Speaking at a conference before Israeli ambassadors on Sunday, Lieberman said the Palestinians are not working toward peace but rather trying to determine the facts on the ground and internationalize the conflict. Therefore, Lieberman suggested, Israel must work to manage the conflict and not solve it. 
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Other news

Hamas wishes Palestinian Christians happy holiday
DAMASCUS (PIC) 25 Dec …”On the occasion of rejoicing the birth of Prophet Jesus peace of God be upon him, the Islamic Movement of Hamas extends its sincere wishes to all our fellow Christians in their homeland Palestine, the cradle of prophecies and the land of divine messages, as well as to the Palestinian Christians in the Arab and Islamic countries and the whole world,” Hamas said in a press release on Saturday. Hamas wished this occasion to be an opportunity for uniting the Palestinian people and pooling the efforts of the world’s free people to support the Palestinian cause and protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites.
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Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Zio-Nazi Tree Campaign “Judaizes” Expropriated Land

Jewish National Fund’s practice of selling and leasing land exclusively to Jewish owners is met with growing opposition


LIA TARACHANSKY, TRNN: Al-Araqeeb is a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert

in southern Israel. Since 2010 it’s been demolished more than 30 times, as the

Jewish National Fund uprooted hundreds of the village’s trees and dozens of

homes to begin planting its own forest. Aziz Sayah Alturi is the son of the

sheikh of Al-Araqeeb.


oils. This is our job. We had here 4,500 [incompr.] olive trees. It’s a good


ALTURI (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Everything you see here, this whole hill here,

it was all trees. There was my house, here the house of Jum’a and others, beside

him the house of Ismael, and the house of Sayah, and of Salim. If we were Jews,

the government would have honored us for making the desert bloom. But we are

Arabs. What can we do?

TARACHANSKY: The Jewish National Fund, also known as the JNF, was founded

in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Its purpose was to

purchase land for Jewish settlement and forest plantation in historic Palestine.

However, by 1948, when the State of Israel was established, the JNF succeeded

in purchasing only 6 percent of the land. Over the decades that followed, the

territory under its control grew and its role evolved into actively expropriating

land for exclusive Jewish use.


ALTURI (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): What’s the difference between this year-and-

a-half-old tree and the 35-year-old carob tree they uprooted?


territory to go to work–let’s say it’s 7 a.m.–they come, declare this a closed

military zone, and forbid us from returning. So we can’t get out. We live here

because we don’t have a choice. But even if we die of hunger, we won’t leave

this land.

TARACHANSKY: An international campaign against the JNF’s discriminatory

practices led to a member of its Washington, D.C., board to quit last week.

Writing in The Forward, the board member, Seth Morrison, says: “Some of my

earliest Jewish memories involve dropping spare change in the Jewish National

Fund’s iconic little blue boxes. I was proud that my money would help plant trees

in Israel. The JNF, I knew, was making the desert bloom.” But in this project,

the Jewish National Fund played a central role in the eviction of thousands of

Palestinian families from their homes. Morrison continues to say that “This

fall, a subsidiary of the Israeli branch of [the] JNF launched eviction proceedings

against the Sumarin family, who live in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem.”

But East Jerusalem is only a small part of the JNF’s role in land expropriation

from Palestinians. In the Negev Desert, the fight against the JNF brought together

Jewish and Bedouin residents to defend Al-Araqeeb. Haya Noah is the executive

director of the Forum for Co-Existence in the Negev. Here she describes how the

JNF works to take over the village’s lands and dozens of other Bedouin communities.


HAYA NOAH, FORUM FOR CO-EXISTENCE IN THE NEGEV: We are in midst of litigation process. And still the JNF is working as the land belongs to the state, just changing all the ecology here, all the landscape, as you can see. The JNF is actually Judaizing the area by the trees, because–.

TARACHANSKY: What do you mean by “Judaizing”?

NOAH: Judaizing is controlling. And they are saying this with no shame–you know, we are going to control the land in order for Arabs not to control it. You know?


TARACHANSKY: Gadi Algazi is a historian. Here he speaks in Tel Aviv about the history of the JNF and land acquisition in Israel.

PROF. GADI ALGAZI, HISTORY DEPARTMENT, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: The story of land in Israel is fascinating, but there are two laws, again, almost none of Israeli citizens, certainly none in my daughter’s class (she’s now 17), has heard of. The first law is, of course, the law of 1949 regulating the possession of the Palestinian refugees.

TARACHANSKY: The Absentees Property Law confiscated all the property and land of Palestinians who fled or were expelled in 1948, including, in some cases, internally displaced refugees who later became citizens of Israel. During the War of 1948, when Israel was created, two-thirds of the Palestinian population became refugees, most of whom are today in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. They were never allowed to return. The Absentee Properties Law transferred their land to a custodian, which either sold or gave it to Jewish owners.

ALGAZI: Ben Gurion’s idea in June 1949 was to circumvent any future action by simply selling–absolutely illegally–selling the land entrusted to the custodian to some third party, so that the state of Israel, in case of an international debate, can safely say, sorry, you know, like any bicycle thief in the streets of Tel Aviv, sorry, it’s not in my hand anymore. So within a few days, 1 million dunam was sold to the JNF. It took about eight days to realize one of the biggest deals, business deals in the history of Israel, for a price well below their value. And the nice thing about it is that the JNF never even paid for most of this land.

TARACHANSKY: The government then reached another agreement with the JNF, where it would be subsidized to build infrastructure on the land in exchange for securing it for Jewish settlements and forestation.

ALGAZI: So, all in all, the JNF has acquired from the land of the refugees, not from its owners but from the custodian, 1,300,000 dunams. And they remain to this very day the property of the JNF. And it applies to this property, which is Palestinian property, the rule that the land cannot be leased or sold to Arabs.

TARACHANSKY: One such example is the village of Ma’alul in northern Israel. Its lands were transferred to the JNF and its Palestinian inhabitants were expelled. In a tour, the Israeli organization Zochrot that works to commemorate the history of 1948 brought together the refugees and their descendents.. Here, refugees from Ma’alul place a sign marking what was once the entrance to their village. Israeli expulsion campaigns against the Palestinians didn’t stop in 1948. They continued throughout the ’50s and ’60s. And during the 1967 War, 300,000 Palestinians were again made refugees. In the Latrun area on the outskirts of Jerusalem, three villages were forcibly expelled. Their residents fled to the West Bank and the village lands were transferred to the JNF. Raising funds from Canadian-Jewish philanthropists, the Jewish National Fund built Canada Park on the site, a history Zochrot is fighting to commemorate.

EITAN BRONSTEIN, ZOCHROT, ISRAELI NAQBA EDUCATION GROUP (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): There are signs in the park that explain the history of this place, but it didn’t mention, until Zochrot didn’t act… basically forced the JNF, through the Supreme Court, to mention these villages. The JNF history didn’t mention them at all. It only mention other histories, like the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish. When they started building this park, one of the refugees from Beit Nuba, which is one of the destroyed villages, found out about it and began writing letters to the newspapers and turning to leaders, and he succeeded in meeting with one or two, if I’m not mistaken. In the midst of this public scandal, one of the things the JNF did was to send him a plaque, a sort of honoring paper. I have it. It’s just a simple piece of paper that says that the JNF planted a tree in his name, Ismayil Zayid, in Canada Park.

TARACHANSKY: Today, Palestinians are fighting the JNF in Israel, East Jerusalem, and in the West Bank, where it operates under a subsidiary called Hamuta. It is this daughter company that works to evict Palestinians in East Jerusalem using another law passed shortly after the ‘48 War.

ALGAZI: Number two is another piece of legislation that shapes our lives here. And this is the law from 1952 and 1953. It simply said that whoever was not on his land or her land on the crucial date April 1953 was not cultivating it at this crucial date. The land can expropriate this land for reasons of, for purpose of development, security, or settlement, without even notifying the legal owners. Whereas the first flaw pertains to the refugees, the second law pertained to Palestinian land of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Now, if we just managed to dissociate them, even temporarily, from the land for the important and crucial phase, you could just take it and that’s it.

TARACHANSKY: In 2007, the Israeli human rights group Adulah filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court. It argued that JNF’s policy of leasing land it took from Palestinians for Jewish-only use is discriminatory. Specifically, it referred to a part of the JNF lease regulations that say, “… the land could not be leased to a non-Jew, nor could the lease be sub-leased, or sold, or mortgaged, or given, or bequeathed to any but a Jew… Non-Jews could not be employed on the land or even in any work connected with the cultivation of the land. Violation of this term of the lease rendered the lessee liable for damages to the lessor.” In its response to the Supreme Court petition, the Jewish National Fund stated: “The JNF was established and functions solely for the benefit of the Jewish people… the JNF is not obliged to act equally towards all of the citizens of the state in the allocation of lands.” A decision hasn’t yet been made whether to change the regulations. The fight Al-Araqeeb and residents of East Jerusalem are waging is now part of a global movement. Many, for example, are questioning the JNF’s charitable status in countries such as Canada and the United States. For The Real News, I’m Lia Tarachansky in Tel Aviv.

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Palestinians in a ‘Jewish state


Palestinians living in Israel face institutionalised discrimination and segregation in a supposedly democratic state.


Ben White is a freelance writer specialising in Palestine and Israel.

Palestinians who live in Israel, not in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, face daily discrimination [GALLO/GETTY]

Israel’s crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories – like the settlements, the killing of civilians and the demolition of homes – are openly condemned in the West by human rights groups and others like never before. But as the peace process remains stuck, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu forces the issue of Israel as a “Jewish state” into the spotlight, understanding the situation of Palestinian citizens of Israel has become crucial to grasping the core of the entire conflict.

So-called “Israeli Arabs” have got it better than most Palestinians, who are either under military rule or forcibly excluded from their homeland. But the institutional discrimination they have faced since 1948 goes to the heart of the contradiction that Israel is “Jewish and democratic”.

Many people will concede that the military occupation of non-citizens for over 40 years is undemocratic. Yet, inside the pre-1967 borders, Israel is far from the “liberal democracy” central to the propaganda, in areas like land, planning, housing, immigration and state budgets. Rhetoric and policies associated with the far-right in Europe – like an obsession with “demographics” and birth rates, or boosting one kind of population in a given area to counterbalance an “undesirable” minority – are mainstream in Israeli politics.

In my new book, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy, I unpack some of the core elements of how Israel’s Palestinian citizens have been treated since 1948. One aspect is the area of nationality and citizenship rights, as this short extract explains:

A poorly understood aspect of Israel as a Jewish state is the distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality”, an issue confused by the fact that, in English, the two terms can often be used interchangeably. In Israel, “‘nationality’ (Hebrew: le’um) and ‘citizenship’ (Hebrew: ezrahut) are two separate, distinct statuses, conveying different rights and responsibilities”. Palestinians in Israel, as non-Jews, can be citizens, but never nationals, and are thus denied “rights and privileges” enjoyed by those “who would qualify for Israeli citizenship under the 1950 Law of Return”.

Professor David Kretzmer, law scholar at Hebrew University and member of the International Commission of Jurists, has explained how this concept of “nation” helps maintain “the distinction between citizens of the state who belong to the Jewish people and those who do not… [and] strengthens the dichotomy between the state as the political framework for all its citizens and the state as the particularistic nation-state of the Jewish people”. International human rights expert Miloon Kothari, who served as UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for eight years, summed it up thus:

Nationality status in Israel is not linked to origin from, or residence in a territory, as is the norm in international law. Rather, the basic theocratic character of the Israeli legal system establishes ethnic criteria as the grounds for the enjoyment of full rights. The Israeli Citizenship Law (ezrahut), officially mistranslated as ‘Nationality Law’, establishes a civil status distinct from ‘Jewish nationality’.

The difference between “citizenship” and “nationality” has been affirmed by Israeli courts. One such example is related by Bernard Avishai, in his book The Hebrew Republic, when in the early 1970s, a Jewish Israeli called George Tamarin petitioned the High Court to change the official registration of his nationality from Jewish to Israeli. Avishai records the High Court’s ruling: that “there is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish nation”, an assessment complemented by the then-president of the High Court Shimon Agranat, who said that a uniform Israeli nationality “would negate the very foundation upon which the State of Israel was formed”. In 2008, a group of petitioners again unsuccessfully requested for their nationality to be marked “Israeli”, claiming, “that it made no sense for them to be Jews ‘for internal consumption’ and Israelis ‘for external consumption”‘.

A ‘Jewish’ state

While this use of “nationality” as a means of privileging Jewish citizens at the expense of Palestinians is long-standing in Israel, in recent times there has been a further assault on the minority’s citizenship rights. In 2003, the “temporary” Nationality and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset, and at the time of writing, has been renewed ever since. This law “prohibits the granting of any residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) who are married to Israeli citizens” (amended in 2007 to include citizens of “enemy states” Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon).

In a press release at the time, the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the State of Israel described the law as establishing “a discriminatory regime to the detriment of Palestinians in the highly sensitive area of family rights”. In 2008, Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, commented: “It should be emphasised that no other state in the world denies the right to conduct a family life on the basis of national or ethnic belonging.”

The public justification for this law was that it aimed to prevent Palestinians using “family unification” as a means of gaining entry to Israel and committing terrorist attacks. Yet the “security” rationale was flimsy: as the Legal Advisor to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) pointed out, Israel’s security services had “previously approved the entry of 20,000 Palestinian workers into Israel”, showing it was entirely possible to “assess the extent of the ‘danger’ posed by Palestinian residents”.

But the “security” excuse is further undermined by remarks made by Israeli officials themselves, such as Gideon Ezra, then minister without portfolio and ex-deputy head of the Shin Bet, who affirmed that “the state of Israel is not prepared to accept a creeping right of return; no one wants our state to cease to be a Jewish state”.

In April 2005, the Israeli press reported that the government was “planning legislative amendments that will make it more difficult for non-Jews to receive Israeli citizenship or permanent resident status in Israel”, a move “aimed against granting legal status to Palestinians and other foreigners who have married Israeli citizens”.

This legislation – “based on the demographic consideration of ensuring a solid Jewish majority” – was linked in the reports to the 2003 “temporary” measure, and quoted then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as unashamedly admitting: “There is no need to hide behind security arguments. There is a need for the existence of a Jewish state”.

Ha’aretz observed that there is “broad agreement in the government and academia” that any such policies “must be strict and make it difficult for non-Jews to obtain citizenship in Israel”. Finally, this was also part of the context for the successfully-passed “loyalty oath” initiative, which obliges non-Jewish candidates for citizenship to swear loyalty to a Jewish state. In July 2010, a government source said “the wording of the declaration was designed to make it more difficult for Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs to gain citizenship on the basis of family unification”.

Ben White is a freelance writer, specialising in Palestine and Israel.

To purchase Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy click here.

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


Al Jazeera

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestinians in a ‘Jewish state

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


‘New York Times’ implies anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic

Dec 26, 2011

Paul Woodward

Shlomo Sand Israeli scholar
Shlomo Sand, Israeli historian

When Jim Rutenberg and Serge Kovaleski refer to “books like The Invention of the Jewish People andMarch of the Titans: A History of the White Race,” should we assume that these are just ignorant journalists making a grossly inappropriate association, or are they purposefully trying to mislead their readers?

In their New York Times hatchet job on Ron Paul we are told that “white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed.”

White supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists? In the minds of these reporters, anyone who promotes the idea that Israel should become a state of all its citizens — Jews, Arabs and others — apparently looks like a political bedfellow of the likes of Stormfront or the Militia of Montana.

The article reports on the appeal that Ron Paul has among some white supremacists and survivalists and yet says nothing on the anti-Zionist element. Rutenberg and Kovaleski were apparently content to merely insinuate that there is a link between criticism of Israel and racism.

The closest they come to providing evidence of such an association is the article’s opening sentence where the two books are linked.

March of the Titans: A History of the White Race is by Arthur Kemp, an advocate of white separatism and foreign affairs spokesman for the ultra-right and racist British National Party. Kemp is a Holocaust denier and was “linked to the murderer of the South African Communist party and ANC leader Chris Hani in 1993,” The Guardian reported in 2009.

The Invention of the Jewish People, first published in Hebrew in Israel with the title, Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?, is by Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University. The book was a bestseller in Israel for several months before being translated into French and English.

Tony Judt wrote: “Shlomo Sand has written a remarkable book. In cool, scholarly prose he has, quite simply, normalized Jewish history. In place of the implausible myth of a unique nation with a special destiny – expelled, isolated, wandering and finally restored to its rightful home – he has reconstructed the history of the Jews and convincingly reintegrated that history into the general story of humankind. The self-serving and mostly imaginary Jewish past that has done so much to provoke conflict in the present is revealed, like the past of so many other nations, to be largely an invention. Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book.”

Of course Rutenberg and Kovaleski would be unlikely to attach much weight to Judt’s assessment of Sand’s book — Judt was after all one of those dubious anti-Zionists.

The irony about linking anti-Zionists with anti-Semities is that Zionism is a philosophy that has obvious appeal to anti-Semites. Encourage all the Jews to move to Israel — why would the anti-Semites object?

Indeed, the emerging political convergence on the extreme right has been between anti-Semites and Zionists and that’s an unholy alliance that probably finds Ron Paul the least appealing among the GOP presidential hopefuls.

Netanyahu gets to play Superman in case of 7-year-old harassed by orthodox Jews

Dec 26, 2011

Annie Robbins

While westerners were in the throes of holiday celebrations last weekend, Israel was immersed in a flurry of concern over a news broadcast that aired on Channel 2 Friday night about Naama Margolese, a 7 year old girl in the town of Beit Shemesh, who is afraid of walking to school for fear of being harassed by orthodox Jews in her community. The story was complete with dramatic soundtrack and a deeply concerned parental voice narrating. News travels fast:

LA Times:

[T]hese days many see it as a dark place where religious extremists defy authorities, intimidate children and attack the press. Trouble brewed for months before intensifying when a little girl caught everyone’s attention on prime-time television news.

No worries, Netanyahu to the rescue. The Forward

Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who clearly sensed where the political winds were blowing, went on a public relations push over the weekend to show he was taking action. Ynet reported that he “asked Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Saturday to instruct the police to act firmly against violent attacks targeting women in the public sphere.” In the aftermath of the Channel 2 story and the reaction, the ultra-Orthodox mayor of Beit Shemesh ordered workers to take down street signs that directed women to cross the street and “not linger” in front of a synagogue. As they did so, Haredim threw rocks and called the municipal workers ‘Nazis.’

Wait, did anyone mention that the Housing Ministry is building more and more exclusive communities for the religious segment of Israel’s society?  If Netanyahu is so concerned about civil liberties, what’s he doing about the draconian racist legislation passed by the Knesset this year that includes neighborhood purity committees designed to preserve segregated neighborhoods? Isn’t this his governing coalition? According to this excellent article in Haaretz today by Nurit Elstein, “there is widespread support for restricting civil rights“.

Such developments in the history of political thought provided inspiration for the totalitarian state………Politicians do not operate in a vacuum. They are well aware of the public’s mood. Any public-opinion survey will find that there is widespread support for restricting civil rights. Public discourse is fraught with extremist statements denouncing Arabs, leftists and others. Knesset legislation converts cultural trends into legal norms.

…A government that views a minority’s opinion as a nuisance that must be silenced, and criticism of the state as something akin to treason, is headed toward totalitarianism.

When Israel’s cultural Petri dish yields such bills, some of which will become law, it can only mean that there is a real potential for fascism in this country, enacted by its majority. Recognition of this possibility must guide the behavior of the minority.

Of course, none of this is new to us. Not the rise of extremism in Israel’s society. Not the growth of the Ultra Orthodox community, or of the racist settler community, nor the National Religious Party, and all with influence in the government. Lest we forget, Noam Sheizaf at 972, The myth of “Good Israel” vs. “Bad Israel”:

The Israeli middle class, the good ole’ boys, are the ones supporting the racist bills in the Knesset and the anti-democratic initiatives. In other words, we always had Rabbis like Shmuel Eliyahu and members of Knesset like Kahane’s student Michael Ben-Ari. The difference is that now, we have Kadima and Likud backing them.

Just like the settlements couldn’t have been built without the active support and participation of the Israeli center-left (including Labor party, which started the whole thing back in the 70′s), the current torrent of racist bills couldn’t have come without the help of Kadima, Labor and Likud members. And with all the ridiculous, xenophobic and undemocratic ideas they came up with, their public can’t get enough. When it comes to questions of human rights and democracy, there is no coalition and opposition in the Knesset: Almost everyone is on the same side.

So why now you might ask? Why the widespread MSM coverage today over previously documented social issues plaguing Israel’s society for a long time?  The Forward claimed  “the government took action only after the media paid attention to Beit Shemesh” but that’s not entirely true. The media covered another incident outside this same school in September, and so did we.

I think the Powers that be are concerned that the image of Israel’s ‘democracy’ is alarming western supporters, and this is their way of combating that image. So, we are being treated to a media blitz of the PM coming to the rescue of little Naama. As Noam would say, the ‘good vs the bad’ in Israel’s society. It’s another ‘look over there’ moment, when anti democratic legislation is supported by the majority of Israel’s society! You don’t believe me? Listen to Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B’Tselem: ‘The political climate in Israel is more hostile than ever’. While funding for NGOs championing human right’s in Israel and Palestine are threatened with being silenced.

I think Israeli society is concerned too, and I do not intend to diminish that concern, but where are the resources invested to combat these problems? The end of the video mentions the website of the person who translated the dialogue into English.

The comment section is revealing:

Tzirel says:
December 25, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Not only are politics involved, but the police themselves are greatly intimidated and fear to go too far into the areas that where the kitzonim live. These are the same people that rampage and set dumpsters on fire. I have a former neighbor whose arm was broken by members of this group when he tried to come to the aid of a policeman who was being brutally beaten by this group. The policeman ended up in the hospital with head injuries…

We really, really need Mashiach. Not that I want any enemies, but it’s so much easier when your enemies are not your brothers…

For when your “enemies are not your brothers” they are allowed to run wild tormenting Palestinians.

And while our MSM offers up a good Bibi today (defender of human rights), they continue to pile the table with the usual feast of scare tactics and propaganda:

One official was quoted as saying Abbas was paving the way for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to take control not only over the PLO, but the entire West Bank as well.

Divert, divert, divert.

For those of you who didn’t make it all the way thru the video, if you fast forward to to 8:20 you can hear a woman lament,  ‘A little Iran is developing here’.

(Hat tip Joseph Dana)

At midnight mass, UK’s Catholic archbishop describes ‘deep shadow’ over Bethlehem and West Bank

Dec 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Europeans continue to lead the international discussion of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, as one of the preeminent human rights issues of our time. At Huffpo UK, yesterday:

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales offered prayers today for people in Bethlehem at risk of losing their homes.

During his Midnight Mass sermon, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols spoke of 50 families in the West Bank who he said could lose their land to Israel.

Addressing the congregation at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols urged people to “see more clearly all those things which disfigure our world”, adding: “We too live ‘in a land of deep shadow’.”

He went on: “That shadow falls particularly heavily on the town of Bethlehem tonight.

“At this moment the people of the parish of Beit Jala prepare for their legal battle to protect their land and homes from further expropriation by Israel.

“Over 50 families face losing their land and their homes as action is taken to complete the separation/security wall across the territory of the district of Bethlehem.

“We pray for them tonight.”

Two revealing headlines

Dec 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

Yuli Edelstein
Yuli Edelstein

1. Yossi Gurvitz at +972: “Israel’s Propaganda Minister: ‘Arabs are a deplorable nation'”

Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, said the Arabs are a “deplorable nation.” His spokesman: He meant every one of them Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, told a crowd in a public diplomacy event in Or Yehuda that “as long as the Arab nation continues to be a deplorable nation, which continues investing in infrastructure for terrorism, education to hate, and welfare for the families of shaheeds (martyrs), there will be no peace.”

It can be seen in his Facebook page, here (Hebrew). The Hebrew epithet used by Edelstein to describe Arabs – נפסד – is rather difficult to translate: I put it as “deplorable” but it can also mean “morally bankrupt.”

I phoned the minister’s office for comment, and asked his spokesman: “Are you aware of the fact there are some 80 million Arabs in the world, from Sudan to Syria?” He replied: “Yes, there are – and the minister meant them all.”

2. Ari Shavit from 10 days ago, in Haaretz: “Israel has never been so ugly”

We have never been so ugly. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu seeks to silence the call to prayer over the loudspeakers of the country’s mosques, and to shut down Channel 10 television. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expresses support for the Russian “democtator” who has just rigged elections. Defense Minister Ehud Barak stands by while Jewish settlers victimize Palestinians and ultra-Orthodox religious nationalists victimize female soldiers.

Merry Christmas from the little ghetto of Bethlehem

Dec 26, 2011



20111218 palestine 0128 1638515940 W
Youth in Santa Claus suits light candles on a Christmas tree fashioned from barbed wire and decorated with cards bearing major milestones in the Israeli occupation of Palestine in an effort to educate Christmastime tourists visiting Bethlehem’s Manger Square.

“It is unconscionable that Bethlehem should be allowed to die slowly from strangulation”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

From The Institute for Middle East Understanding:
As Christmas approaches, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, are busy decorating the city and preparing the holiday festivities. Like Christians the world over, the city of Bethlehem, which suffers under Israeli military occupation, is in the hearts and minds of Palestinians everywhere at Christmas time.

Bethlehem and its holy sites are part of a larger heritage shared by all Palestinians, Muslims, Christians, and non-believers alike. In January, 2011 Palestinians submitted an application to have the Church of the Nativity (built 1,700 years ago on what is considered to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ) designated a World Heritage site. With Palestine’s recent admission as a member to UNESCO, such a move has a higher chance of success, helping to preserve this historic church for Palestinians and Christians around the world, indeed for all of humanity.

Economically, Bethlehem relies upon religious tourism for much of its income. However, Israel has largely monopolized the industry by arranging tours of religious sites and controlling the movement of tourists in and out of Bethlehem, denying many struggling Palestinian businesses much-needed access to foreign consumers.

The wall (deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice) that Israel has built runs extremely close to the city center, obstructing the movement of people, trade, and commerce. As a result, the city center has actually shrunken in size. Bethlehem’s sister city, Jerusalem, which lies just a few miles away, is now inaccessible except for the few who can obtain travel permits from Israel.

Israel’s nearly 45-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, makes a normal life virtually impossible for Palestinians living there, including those in Bethlehem. Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news. About 1 million Christian pilgrims still come to Bethlehem every year, making it one of the most visited religious sites in the region.

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Decorating Bethlehem

More beautiful photographs from Occupied Palestine during Christmas.

This post first appeared on Roqayah’s blog.

Introducing Freedom Funnies – ‘My Name is Samia Halaby’

Dec 26, 2011

Ethan Heitner

This is the first in a monthly series of comics Ethan Heitner will be producing for Mondoweiss. Heitner is freelance illustrator and cartoonist who also volunteers with Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel. More of his work can be seen on his website, and in the magazine World War 3 Illustrated. He can be contacted at and he’s available for hire!

(Click on the first image below to view it larger, and then click in the upper right hand corner to scroll to the next page.)

Samia Halaby 1

Samia Halaby 2

Samia Halaby 3

The gift of the Jews

Dec 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

The young Lessing

For the last few months I’ve been reading a classic of philosemitism: the “Martha Quest” novels of Doris Lessing. Set in Southern Rhodesia in 1936-1949 and published in England in the 1960s, the first four of these books trace the youth of a fiercely independent child of British colonials born, as Lessing was, in 1919.

Lessing is famous as a “kaffir-lover,” to use the racist slang hurled against her; her hatred of the color bar resulted in her leaving Rhodesia for England in 1949 and culminated in her winning the Nobel Prize four years ago. But there are no major black characters in these novels, and really Martha Quest is a Jew lover. Determined to overcome her parents’ anti-Semitism, she gravitates to the Jews in the provincial capital of Salisbury (now Harare, Zimbabwe).

A fatherly Jewish lawyer gives Martha a job so that she can leave her parents’ farm and move to the city. There Martha  loses her virginity to one Jew (Eastern European “scum,” he says), marries another (German Communist refugee), and has an intense affair with a third (Zionist Communist). A Jewish doctor prescribes contraception and tells her she’s too far along for an abortion. Martha’s Jewish friend Stella sets the bar on fashion and decoration, while Jasmine Cohen sets the bar on politics. Jasmine’s cousin Abraham dies fighting in Spain– and Jews are all over the small Communist party group Martha joins. (In her actual autobiography, Lessing has said that the Jewish mentors in these books were based on real people.)

But my business here is not to count the many Jews in these books. It is to express pride in my inheritance as it was perceived by a non-Jew. The sense pours through these books that were it not for the Jews of that generation and their “ancient culture,” Doris Lessing could never have become Doris Lessing. As brilliant a writer as she is, Lessing needed to break out of the thick racist porridge of the land-based cultures that surrounded her—the British colonials with their “Sports Club” snobbery and the Dutch Afrikaaner men with thighs like “pillars”—and to do so she threw herself on intellectually-sophisticated Jews.

At the beginning of the Martha Quest story, there are the Cohen boys, Joss and Solly, the “brilliant” sons of a shopowner in the small town of Banket, who recognize adolescent Martha’s intelligence and send packages of books to her every week or two. From the books of Communism and psychology, “Martha had gained a clear picture of herself, from the outside.” This becomes her greatest “weapon” in life, literary consciousness:

“She was not only miserable, she would focus a dispassionate eye on that misery. This detached observer, felt perhaps as a clear-lit space situated just behind the forehead, was the gift of the Cohen boys at the station….”

The Cohen boys in their Kosher household–Solly a Trotskyite Zionist, Joss a Marxist–are exact cousins of the Jewish intellectuals at City College in the 1930s.

At the other end of the Rhodesian books is Martha’s tormented lover Thomas Stern, a paranoid refugee from Poland who has lost his sisters in the Holocaust and veers self-destructively from Communism to business, from Jewish terrorism in Palestine to human rights work on behalf of blacks. By scoffing at Martha’s urging that he renounce violence, Stern gives the Martha Quest books their title: The Children of Violence series. But Stern is not only called to violence, he’s called to retail:

“So you see how hard it is to escape one’s fate, Martha? In Poland, middle-men, money-makers—the Stern Brothers. And here? My brother’s a rich man already, and we left Poland with what we had on our backs, eight years ago.”

A lot of my writing on this site is critical of the Jewish political presence in modern America. But I have a chauvinist streak of my own, and Lessing’s non-Jewish eye confirms it in me. The Jewish gift helped to form Doris Lessing as a young writer: the cerebral, text-bound life of persecuted Jews gave her awareness of the world and encouraged her to deliver the savage-sympathetic portrait of white colonial society that would make her name in England in the 1950s. That life is the Jewish culture that I was born into– outsiders, people of the book, harsh critics of the social structure.

[Joss Cohen] fired the following questions at her, in the offhand indifferent manner of the initiate to a breed utterly without the law:

‘You repudiate the colour bar?’

‘But of course.’

‘Of course,’ he said sardonically. And then: ‘You dislike racial prejudice in all its form, including anti-Semitism?’

‘Naturally’—this with a touch of impatience.

‘You are an atheist?’

‘You know quite well that I am.’

‘You believe in socialism?’

‘That goes without saying,’ she concluded fervently; and suddenly began to laugh, from that sense of the absurd which it seemed must be her downfall as a serious person. For Joss was frowning at the laugh, and apparently could see nothing ridiculous in a nineteen-year-old Jewish boy, sprung from an orthodox Jewish family, and an adolescent British girl, if possible even more conventionally bred, agreeing to these simple axioms in the back room of a veld store in a village filled with people to whom every word of this conversation would have the force of a dangerous heresy.

Doris Lessing was an early adopter. Her philosemitism parallels the philosemitism of non-Jewish intellectuals in the States in the 40s and 50s, Edmund Wilson for instance, and anticipates by a generation or two full-blown American philosemitism of the meritocracy– when the White House was loaded with Jewish advisers, when Clinton put two Jews on the Supreme Court, when Jews became university presidents and started google and facebook and craigslist, and neocons guided our foreign policy.

American philosemitism reflects the Jewish contribution to this society. Recently I was told that the world still envies the U.S. because of four industries we have that no one else has (universities/research, film/media, software, and finance), and all these industries are as full of Jews as Doris Lessing’s early novels were. As Scott McConnell, who had something of Doris Lessing’s own Jewish-engendered intellectual awakening when he joined the Commentary neoconservative crowd in the 1980s, has told me, America is thankful to Jews because they are driving the economy. I think this recognition pervades Establishment culture. When I fault Chris Matthews for never talking about the Israel lobby, I must be aware that the network that gives him his salary was built and is now owned by Jewish entrepreneurs in the new global economy. When we try and explain the dismissal of Ron Paul, it is because he above all candidates is representative of an Establishment structure that has no truck with Jews– as opposed to Romney with his neoconservative advisers, Gingrich with his Sheldon Adelson money and Barack Obama with his Axelrods and AIPACs and Crowns. When I marvel that Robert Kagan works for Romney and his wife works for Obama without anyone raising an eyebrow, or that Stuart Levey the former Under Secretary of Treasury worked for Bush and Obama without a hitch—again, this is a measure of the large Jewish presence in the Establishment. Jewish gifts have propelled the new economy, such as it is. And when people accuse Occupy Wall Street of anti-semitism, it is in part because Occupy are critics of the new economy, and much of that economy was built by Jews.

Back when we were outsiders, Hannah Arendt warned Jews about reverence for wealth: liberal Zionists, she wrote, “failed to… attack the role of Jewish finance in the political structure of Jewish life.”

That same warning is sounded in the Martha Quest books, from the restless Communist Zionist Thomas Stern:

“Unlike you, when I work, I think in terms of money. I’m learning that it’s terrifyingly easy to make money.”

She laughed…

“I don’t want you to laugh about money. I’ve got to outwit it. I’ve got to find a way of not becoming Thomas Stern, rich merchant of this city.”

The beauty and tragedy of the Children of Violence series is that Thomas Stern does outwit that fate, at the cost of his own life. But modern American Jews are still stuck with Stern’s contradictions. We’re Zionists, and we’ve been incredibly successful. With the success has come something that none of the provincial Jews in Lessing’s philosemitic saga ever dreamed of having: power, which has eroded our outsiderness and endangered our detachment—that dispassionate eye on misery, that clear-lit space situated just behind the forehead.

It is not that Jews are incapable of that detachment. Many are. But the Cohen boys shared that gift a long time ago, and it is no longer just ours.

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Former senior aide to Republican presidential hopeful says that while Paul is not an anti-Semite, he believes IsraHell is ‘more trouble than it’s worth’
Yitzhak Benhorin

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul negates IsraHell’s right to exist, Eric Dondero, who served senior aide to the 76-year-old congressman for over 12 years, said Monday.

In a blog posted in Rightwing News, Dondero said that while Paul was, in his opinion, neither a racist nor an Anti-Semite, he is very much anti-IsraHell.

“I worked for the man for 12 years (and) I never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth… I can categorically say that I never heard anything out of his mouth, in hundreds of speeches I listened too over the years, that could be called, Anti-Semite,” he writes.

הקואליציה הרפובליקנית יהודית: "לא מופתעים". רון פול (צילום: AFP)

Misguided and extreme? 

But according to Dondero, the elderly congressman “wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all.”

The congressman’s former aide insists in his blog that Paul expressed the controversial sentiment “numerous times in our private conversations.”

Paul’s view, he said, “is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.”


Following Dondero’s statement, Executive Director of Republican Jewish Coalition Matthew Brooks said that the former senior aide’s blog “simply confirmed what we already know – Paul is against the Jewish State of Israel.”

Brooks had previously called Paul’s views on IsraHell “misguided and extreme.” He was also excluded for Republican presidential candidates’ panel hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition in November.







HANAKKUH is  massacre of Greeks and tolerant Jews  Jews who assimilated with Greeks were mass murdered also celebration of a military victory against other races they did not want. The Jews did not want to mix with, the Greeks of Syria. The Greeks didn’t discriminate against the Jews, in fact they accepted them, but for that they what a difference between CHRISTMAS  and HANAKKUH. CHRISTMAS  represent Peace and love HANAKKUH represent War and hate. Here’s a quote from Zio-Nazi Jewish regard HANUKKAH:

” THE MESSAGE OF HANUKKAH IS : THE FIGHT AGAINST ASSIMILATION WITH GENTILES. THE FESTIVAL OF DEDICATED AGAINST ASSIMILATION.” Ginsberg in his book  The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State he said: ” Religious symbols and forms of expression that Jews find threatening have been almost completely eliminated from Schools and other public institution. Suits brought by the ACLU an organization whose leadership and membership are predominantly Jewish secured federal court decisions banning officially sanctioned prayer in bublic School and Creches ( Nativity Scenes) and other religious displays in parks or public buildings”  Dr Benjamin Ginsberg.

In USA Christian symbols banned Jewish symbols erected. They are sponsored mostly by Chabad Lubavitch that teaches that the only purpose of Gentiles on earth are to serve Jews. Hard to belive isn’t. But here are the very recent words of Zio-Nazi Rabbi Yosef, the recent chief rabbi of IsraHell : ” The sole purpose on non-Jews is to serve Jews. Goyim were born only to serve us. They have no please in the word-only to serve the people of Israel”. He goes on, ” Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will sow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi( Master) and eat. That is why gentiles were created.” 


Zio-Nazi’s at HANUKKAH



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