Categorized | Nova Newsletter

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


6 items below tonight.


Item 1 is by Abir Kopty, who argues that “Israel’s civil service bill distorts 64 years of Palestinian history.  I would agree.


Item 2 reports on young Palestinian activists who represent a potential new political and social force.


Item 3 relates that finally, after a more than 3 months hunger strike, Israel has released Gaza soccer star, “hunger-striking Gaza footballer. “  Let’s hope that he has been released for good.


Item 4 is the BNC statement on 7 years of accomplishments.  Don’t pass this one by.  Very impressive.  It’s great to hear that things are moving in the right direction.


Item 5 is about oil drilling by Israelis in the West Bank.


In item 6, “The Israeli Defense Forces: First for Women” retired brigadier general, Yehudit Grusero, makes some interesting claims, as, for instance that there is no sexual harassment in the IDF.  Below are 2 articles that disprove that statement.


In fact, notwithstanding the positive light in which Grusero casts the IDF and its handling of women, a number of her statements give a false impression.

For one thing, gender equality does not exist in the Israeli military.  Just how many high-ranking female officers are there?  Moreover, her comment denying sexual harassment in the Israeli military is not borne out by the facts (see 2 articles below that show how naïve and wrong she is).  And the author of this piece also gives a false impression.  Even though he realizes that Israel drafts 18 year old females as well as 18 year old males, he compares the fact that 1/3 of the IOF and 50% of its officers are females to the situation in Britain, which does not draft females.  Finally, let me say loud and clear: gender equality is not gained by women doing what males do!  Remaking women in the image of soldiers does not bring females equality.


That’s it for tonight.




1 Forwarded by Ruth


Israel’s civil service bill distorts 64 years of Palestinian history


Abir Kopty

A new bill is being debated in the Israeli Knesset: compulsory civil service for all citizens, including Palestinians and ultra-Orthodox Jews, the two groups that have been exempt. If passed, the bill would force every 18-year-old citizen who is exempted from military service to serve in another public institution for between one and two years.


Recently, the committee appointed by the government to discuss the issue suggested civil service for all. Whether that becomes compulsory will probably be determined this week.


In 2008, about 250,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel signed a petition rejecting compulsory civil service, the largest such petition in history, and a wide coalition of youth groups and civil society organizations have campaigned against the service under the motto: “We won’t serve our oppressor.”


As Palestinians and as citizens, we have every reason to revolt against the state. Our tools in the international arena remain limited. Since the Oslo Accords, the PLO stopped advocating for the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the international community remains incapable of challenging Israel’s “internal affairs”.


For decades, we have conducted our struggle, by ourselves, for the rights of our people: equality, freedom and return. We demonstrate, lobby, campaign, sign petitions, appeal to Israeli courts and produce reports. In the past, we have challenged particular policies within a system that we never believed would treat us equally. This civil service bill might be an opportunity to challenge the whole system.


Israel promotes meaningless soundbites on the issue: “taking equal part in the state’s burden”, or “citizens should volunteer”. But our opposition involves our relationship with the state since its creation, our Nakba in 1948.


Despite 64 years of Israeli attempts to wipe us off the map, to destroy and distort our identity, to erase the history of the land, we managed to remain, maintain our identity, and revive our narrative, culture and unity. Unsurprisingly, this effort has always been seen by the Israeli government as a threat.


Mandatory civil service for Palestinians is a continuation of our longstanding struggle. It is another attempt to remove young people from their identity and bring them closer to the system, and, in the long term, to the military doctrine. Gabi Ashknazi, the former Israeli military chief explained in 2010: he wanted to see “all citizens age 18 coming to one hall” with the military given first choice about who would fit into the army and who would not. Those that didn’t make the cut will be obligated to do other kinds of civil service.


Israel intends to use this project to shift the discussion away from its responsibility to guarantee equality for all citizens. It aims to justify its racist system by putting the onus of 64 years of discrimination on Palestinians for not fulfilling their obligations to the state.


However, there are at least two lingering questions that challenge this claim: how would the government explain that the Druze community in Israel does compulsory military service but does not enjoy full equality with their Jewish military “comrades”? And why have ultra-Orthodox Jews been exempted from military and civil service but receive government funds?


In the liberal democratic concept of citizenship, the rights of citizens are absolute. Obligations according to the same concept are defined mainly as paying taxes and respecting the law. Palestinians fulfil those obligations. However, Israel is now trying to attach rights to only one duty: civil service.


During this discussion on civil service, the Palestinian community was not consulted or involved in decision making on an issue that affects our basic rights, as is required by international law.


At the same time, the civil service campaign has attempted to portray Palestinians as passive citizens who do not want to volunteer and serve our communities.


However, large numbers of Palestinian youth volunteer in numerous civil society organisations where they are welcomed with no loyalty tests, but on the basis of a set of universal values. The challenges we face in promoting volunteerism among young people are similar to those in most societies, especially in an era of wild consumerism and the “NGO-isation” of civil society.


Israel’s patronising attitude that it knows what is best and its claim to care for the Palestinian minority’s interest are ridiculous in light of the continued discrimination in all aspects of life. Israel should be investing the huge civil-service administration budget in our education system, building the missing 8,000 classrooms in Arab schools, as well as investing in industrial zones in Arab cities and developing the 45 unrecognised villages in the Negev. The list goes on and on.


To most Palestinians, compulsory civil service lacks any positive aspect. Based on our long and painful experience with the state, we have all the reasons to refuse this patronising attitude. If the bill passes, it will be a historic opportunity for collective civil disobedience challenging the whole system. Civil service would not be the cause; it would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.


Abir Kopty is a former city council member of the Nazareth municipality, and the former spokesperson for Mossawa, an advocacy centre for Palestinian citizens in Israel




Young Palestinian activists represent a potential new political and social force

By Joel Greenberg, Published: November 4, 2011

RAMALLAH, West Bank — When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned home to a hero’s welcome after applying for United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, Hurriyah Ziada was not moved to join the celebration.

A 22-year-old university student who is active in protesting the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Ziada is skeptical that the statehood bid will bring any tangible change. Disillusioned with her leaders after years of fruitless talks with Israel and uninspired by the prospect of symbolic U.N. recognition, Ziada is part of a loose network of young activists who represent a potential new force in Palestinian society and politics.

A still-undefined, embryonic group of a few hundred across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the activists made their mark by organizing protests that peaked in March. Demanding unity between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, the demonstrations reflected disenchantment with both parties. The result was a reconciliation accord between the factions a few weeks later, although steps to carry out the pact have stalled.

To Ziada and her cohorts, the Palestinian Authority’s bid for recognition of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem, is a shriveled vision of what Palestinians at home and in the diaspora deserve. Although the main struggle, for Ziada, is against Israeli occupation, she also opposes what she views as the limited political horizons of the Palestinian leadership.

“We have to start a revolution,” she said, “so people can take their freedom in their hands. If the Palestinian Authority will not stand in the way, we don’t have a problem with them. But we can’t settle for the current situation.”

An alternative to statehood

Abbas’s government in the West Bank was eclipsed recently by Hamas, after it struck a deal with Israel for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Sgt. 1st Class Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was held captive in Gaza for more than five years. The deal brought concessions from Israel that peace talks pursued by Abbas had failed to secure, bolstering Hamas’s claim that only armed action yields results.

More broadly, Abbas’s vision of negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state in areas occupied by Israel in 1967 is seen by Ziada and other youth activists as inadequate. They talk about human and civil rights, not territory, as the basis for their struggle.

“I don’t care so much about land as about gaining my own basic rights,” said Ziada, whose first name means freedom.

She and other activists envision a campaign similar to the American civil rights movement and the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Their vision extends to Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries and Israeli Arabs.

In the activists’ study sessions and discussions, the concept of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip competes with an alternative goal: one state that would also include the area of Israel, with equal rights for Jews and Arabs, and Palestinian refugees allowed to return.

With such dissenting views and independent activities, the young organizers pose a challenge to the Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah party in the West Bank, who view political action outside traditional party frameworks with unease.

Fadi Quran, an organizer who has joined Ziada in protest actions against the Israeli military, said the group’s activities have “chipped away at the legitimacy” of established parties. “When you have [independent] groups that are more ready to resist occupation, it means you don’t need the political parties, and that scares them.”

But others take a dimmer view of the young activists. “They have little influence on the Palestinian street, and their vision is unclear, while Fatah is a popular movement that reaches all sectors of society,” said Younis Abu Rish, a Fatah leader in the Amari refugee camp outside Ramallah.

Nonetheless, when young activists staged solidarity demonstrations to support the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, some of the gatherings were broken up by Palestinian police, signaling a nervousness that the protests could turn against the Palestinian Authority.

At a large demonstration in March demanding Fatah-Hamas reconciliation in Ramallah, scores of young men from Fatah youth organizations turned out, effectively commandeering the demonstration. Hamas did the same in the Gaza Strip, and club-wielding police later broke up a breakaway protest.

‘The right to move freely’

In a conversation at a Ramallah cafe, Ziada asserted that the Palestinian leadership’s vision could leave Palestinians with a truncated mini-state with limited sovereignty and no resolution of the refugees’ status. Quran said the restrictions under Israeli occupation could be “replaced by Palestinian oppression” in a state with an authoritarian government.

“When I have kids, I don’t want them stuck in the West Bank,” Ziada said. “I want the right to move freely. I want to go to Jerusalem, the city where I was born and to the village my family was kicked out from in 1948,” she said, referring to the displacement of Palestinians in the war that accompanied the creation of Israel.

Her family originated in the destroyed village of al-Falouja, in what is now southern Israel. Her father, a union organizer and member of a militant leftist faction during the first Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s, was arrested repeatedly and jailed for months without trial. In the second uprising, which erupted in 2000, her older brother, then a member of Fatah’s armed wing, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a shooting attack on an Israeli settlement.

Today, Ziada says, she runs up against a wall of apathy when trying to persuade people to demonstrate against Israeli soldiers and settlers. People of her parents’ generation, she says, “are exhausted.” Many young Palestinians are alienated from established political movements and have lost faith in their own ability to bring change, according to activists.

“People are sick of politics,” Quran said.

Unlike other countries swept up in the Arab Spring, where popular demonstrations were a novelty after years of harsh repression, Palestinians have staged two uprisings and years of protests, Ziada pointed out.

“They’ve been through all this before, they lost members of their families, and they want to keep what they still have,” she said. “They tell me, ‘Why are you doing this? You’re going to ruin your life, and nothing is going to change.’ . . . I tell them that the cost of getting rid of the occupation is far less than the cost of living under it for a long time to come.”

Building civic participation

The protests Ziada and other activists promote take a page from the popular tactics of the 1980s uprising, or intifada, when crowds of unarmed protesters took to the streets to confront Israeli troops, shopkeepers held protracted strikes, and one town staged a tax revolt.

The aim, organizers say, is creative nonviolent action to disrupt the Israeli occupation. Activists regularly join what they call “popular resistance,” such as weekly marches in villages against the seizure of land by Jewish settlers or against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank, which has cut off many farming communities from their lands.

Ziada and other Palestinian youth organizers have attended meetings in Cairo and Jordan’s capital, Amman, in recent months with young activists from countries swept by the Arab Spring. They came away with practical advice on how to rebut criticism and rumors intended to discredit protesters, how to avoid direct confrontations with security forces, and how to rally support among citizens who have tired of politics or withdrawn from it altogether, she said.

One of the most useful lessons learned, Ziada noted, was that participation can be enlisted by focusing on pressing social and economic problems that affect people’s daily lives.

In the West Bank, Ziada and others have led street-cleaning projects, helped build mud houses for people whose homes were razed by the Israelis and run activities for children in areas plagued by violence. The community work, Ziada said, was meant to encourage a sense of civic involvement and break patterns of passivity and resignation.

“When you clean a street, you feel related to the street because you cleaned it yourself,” she said. “If you build something in the country, you feel that this country is yours. We have to build a strong society from the inside, and that will help us move to the next step.”

The Washington Post Company


3  Al Jazeera

July 10, 2012


Israel frees hunger-striking Gaza footballer


Mahmoud Sarsak, who ended hunger strike as term of release, is freed after three years in jail without charges or trial.


Mahmoud Sarsak was greeted upon his arrival in Gaza after he spent three years behind bars without trial [Reuters]


Israel has released a member of the Palestinian national football team who lobbied for his freedom with a hunger strike of more than three months.


Mahmoud Sarsak greeted well-wishers in his native Gaza on Tuesday after three years in Israeli custody without charges or trial.


Israel has accused Sarsak of being active in the resistance group Islamic Jihad, a claim he has denied.


During his hunger strike, the 25-year-old athlete shed nearly half his weight. He ended the fast last month as part of a deal for his release.


At a Gaza hospital, he emerged from an ambulance and kissed his parents and siblings. Israel had said earlier that he was to be released Tuesday.


More than 300 Palestinians are currently being held under administrative detention orders, which allow Israel to hold a suspect without charge for renewable six-month periods.


Each detention order is renewable indefinitely, and based on secret evidence which the individual and his lawyer are often unable to see.


Sarsak was being held under Israel’s so-called unlawful combatants law, a very similar procedure which applies to suspects who are not from the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem.


International sports organisations had sought his release and the Palestine Football Association asked UEFA to bar Israel from hosting the 2013 European Under-21 Championship.


FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the global network of players’ unions supported Sarsak’s case.


4  BDS at 7! – Celebrating, reflecting and further mainstreaming

Occupied Palestine, 9 July 2012 – Seven years after the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was launched, the global BDS campaign has become stronger, more widespread, more effective and certainly more diverse than ever—a true cause for celebration by all those groups and conscientious citizens of the world who contributed to this success. However, Israel’s intensifying violations of international law and basic Palestinian rights, the direct threat Israel poses to the freedom of peoples across the region, and the impunity that Israel still enjoys are cause for reflection and the continuous fine-tuning of our strategies to further spread BDS and further isolate Israel as a world pariah, just as South Africa was under apartheid.

Thanks to the BDS movement, the struggle for the basic rights of the entire Palestinian people has taken a major leap during these last seven years, reaching wide audiences and achieving concrete achievements in major European countries, South Africa, Latin America, India, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and even North America. Following on from a similar round up published to mark five years of BDS, the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broad Palestinian civil society coalition, has put together the following selection of highlights gives a taste of the spectacular growth of BDS over the last two years.

The global reach of the BDS movement is maybe best highlighted by this year’s edition of the BDS Global Day of Action which took place in 23 countries and the fact that the 8th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was organized this year on campuses in 202 cities across the world, causing near panic in the Israeli public diplomacy ministry, which scrambled 100 envoys to counter IAW around the world.

Popular consumer boycotts of Israeli products and campaigns against companies that export and sell Israeli products, particularly those implicated in Israel’s illegal colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory, have not only raised awareness among ordinary citizens in countless cities across the world but led to significant damage to complicit Israeli companies:

– Agrexco, Israel’s former largest exporter of agricultural produce, entered liquidation towards the end of 2011, following a campaign of blockades, demonstrations, lobbying of supermarkets and governments, popular boycotts and legal action in more than 13 countries across Europe. The campaign against the company was a major factor behind the lack of investors’ interest to salvage it.

– The largest Co-operative in Europe, the Co-Operative Group in the UK, introduced a policy to end trade with companies that source products from Israel’s illegal settlements, following a determined campaign by Co-Op members. Campaigners are working to pressure other supermarkets to adopt a similarly comprehensive position.  Many supermarkets across Europe already claim not to sell produce from illegal settlements.

– A sustained campaign against Ahava, the Israeli cosmetics company situated in an illegal Israeli colony, forced the company to close its flagship London store and retailers in the UKNorway,Japan and Canada to announce boycotts of the company.

Inspired by the integral role that Israeli academic institutions play in developing the knowledge and technology behind Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid, and planning and justifying Israel’s worst crimes, academic boycott campaigns have spread to campuses across the world:

– Setting a worldwide precedent for the academic boycott of Israel, the University of Johannesburg severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in 2011, following a campaign backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and over 400 South African academics.

– Campaigns against EU-funded collaboration with private Israeli companies and Israeli universities have sprung up at campuses across Europe in response to a call from Palestinian academics and civil society.

– Academic unions in the UK and Canada have voted to support various academic boycott campaign initiatives. There are also active academic boycott campaigns in India, the US, South Africa, Ireland, Chile, Brazil, Pakistan, and in many European countries.

Rapidly losing support around the world and recently again voted one of the most negatively viewed countries in the world, Israel’s attempts to whitewash its system of colonization, occupation and apartheid using culture is increasingly thwarted by a highly visible cultural boycott:

– Scores of artists — especially musicians and filmmakers — and writers have refused to perform in Israel or cancelled scheduled performances following pressure from the BDS movement including Bono, Snoop Dogg, Jean Luc Godard, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart, Faithless, the Pixies, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, Zakir Hussain.

– Many artists and other cultural figures now speak publicly of their support for BDS: Roger WatersAlice Walker, Naomi Klein, John Berger, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis, Sarah Schulman, among others.

– Israeli artists who accept funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are required to sign a contract committing them to be part of Israel’s cultural public relations offensive. Protests and campaigns against state-backed performances — such as those by the Batsheva dance company, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Habima theater, and the Jerusalem Quartet — are now common place in Europe and North America, forcing some cultural venues to defend or retract their decision to host representatives of Israel and persuading others not to invite state-backed Israeli artists at all.

In the related field of sports boycott:

– The inspiring 93 day hunger strike by imprisoned Palestinian national football team player Mahmoud Sarsak, who was detained and subsequently held without trial by Israel in 2009 while attempting to leave Gaza to play an international match was met with calls for his release by footballing superstars and FIFA, the international football federation. Sports clubs in Gaza and footballing legend Eric Cantona have criticized the European football association for awarding Israel the right to host the 2013 under-21 football tournament.

– The Egypt Football Association announced that its national teams would no longer wear Adidas kit over the company’s sponsorship of an Israeli marathon that violates international law and whitewashes Israel’s illegal occupation of Jerusalem. Calls for boycotting Adidas were issued by the Council of Arab Sports Ministers and by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).

– US basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar cancelled a scheduled public visit to Israel.

Corporations, both Israeli and international, play a key role in facilitating Israeli apartheid.Divestment campaigns are raising the price of corporate complicity with Israeli violations of international law and changing corporate attitudes towards doing business with Israel:

– French multinational Veolia has been targeted since November 2008 due its provision of infrastructure services to illegal settlements, including the Jerusalem Light Rail. Local municipalities across Europe and Australia have decided not to award Veolia contracts worth at least $14 billion following BDS campaigns. An increasing number of municipal authorities have implemented policies excluding Veolia from bidding on local contracts. Several European banks have divested from the company as well. Veolia has been forced to admit the damage the BDS campaign has caused it and subsequently announced plans to withdraw from some illegal Israeli projects.

– Several European banks have also divested from Alstom, one of Veolia’s partners in the Jerusalem Light Rail. Alstom lost a $10 billion contract to build the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project following a concerted campaign of pressure.

– Following a concerted campaign in the US, Caterpillar was removed from MSCI-ESG, an influential ethical investment index over the use of its bulldozers and equipment to destroy Palestinian homes. This led to TIAA-CREF, the US pension fund giant targeted by a wide US civil society coalition, removing the company from its Social Choice Funds.

– The European Parliament elected not to renew a contract with G4S following action by Palestine solidarity groups. G4S is a private security company that Palestinian civil society has called for action against over its contract with the Israeli Prison Service and its resulting complicity with the detention of Palestinian political prisoners.

– The Norwegian government pension fund and 12 other European finance institutions haveexcluded Elbit Systems from their portfolios. Elbit is an Israeli military company involved in constructing Israel’s illegal wall.

Responding to ever-increasing public anger with Israel’s occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, a number of governments have started to introduce sanctions against Israel:

– Turkey and Norway have both announced decisions to suspend military relations with Israel and Turkey is pursuing legal action against Israel over its killing of 9 Turkish citizens on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010. Bolivia, Venezuela, Qatar, Mauritania and several other countries also took action in response to the attack.

– A call from Palestinian civil society for a comprehensive military embargo on Israel last July was supported by Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and civil society groups around the world representing millions of people.

The campaign to Stop the JNF has gone from strength to strength, forcing the leaders of all of the major UK political parties, including Prime Minister David Cameron, to end their patronage of the organization, successfully persuading the authorities in the Swiss town of Geneva to disassociate the city from the JNF and winning support of numerous mainstream organizations.

In the trade union movement, labor-led sanctions and BDS initiatives have become the leading form of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle:

– BDS principles and tactics have been formally endorsed by national trade union federations in South Africa, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Basque Country, Brazil and other countries across Latin America, in addition to scores of national and local unions. Africa’s largest trade union federation, ITUC-Africa – representing 15 million workers from 56 African trade union federations has endorsed BDS and the European Trade Union Congress is currently taking action against produce from illegal Israeli settlements.

– Trade unions are initiating concrete campaigns and actions, such as the heroic blockades of Israeli ships by dockworkers in South Africa, Sweden, and California, and the campaigns by the London region of the UK Rail, Maritime and Transport union against Alstom, due to its complicity with an illegal occupation infrastructure project, and by the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet) against Ahava and other companies complicit with Israeli violations of international law.

– Some major trade unions, particularly in Europe, are taking steps to sever links with the Histadrut, the colonial Israeli trade union entity that has always played a key role in Israel’s system of oppression over the Palestinian people. Most recently, Unison, the UK’s second largest trade union with 1.3 million members, voted to reaffirm its position of suspended relations with the Histadrut.

Following a call for concrete solidarity from Palestinian Christians entitled Kairos Palestine,churches around the world have adopted BDS-related actions:

– In the US, the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) divested $900,000 in shares of Caterpillar, targeted over its sale of bulldozers to Israel that are used to violate Palestinian rights. The worldwide United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church in the US have both called on their members to boycott produce from illegal Israeli settlements.

– In the UK, the Methodist Church and the Quakers in Britain recently called on the UK government to ban trade in products from illegal Israeli settlements.

At university campuses across the world, the student movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle continues to rapidly emerge:

– In North America, students are developing sophisticated and widely supported campus divestment initiatives, with student unions in Regina and Carleton in Canada and National Movímíento Estudíantíl Chícan@ de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A), the largest association of Latin@ youth in the US, and the student government at University of Massachusetts-Boston voting to support divestment and other BDS initiatives. The first student-led BDS U.S. national conference was held at the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year following a successful national student  conference at Columbia University last year.

– BDS student groups are growing across Europe. In the UK the National Union of Students hasendorsed student campaigns that have succeeded in ending relationships between universities and Ahava and Eden Springs. Edinburgh University Student Association voted to end its contract with G4S.

With the eruption of peoples’ upheavals across the Arab world, or what came to be known as the Arab Spring, massive solidarity with Palestinian rights in Arab countries is increasingly being channeled in effective BDS campaigns, especially in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and Kuwait.

The Israeli establishment is growing increasingly concerned with the growth of the BDS movement. Israeli President Shimon Peres recently cited fear of the impacts of BDS as a reason to “make peace”. Meanwhile, top Israeli business leaders have launched their own “peace initative” out of fear of the impact of BDS. Some Zionist leaders are also starting to call for change in Israeli policies out of fear of BDS. The leading Israeli think tank the Reut Institute has spoken of BDS as a “strategic threat”, prompting the Israeli government to pass a draconian law forbidding any citizen from supporting BDS or any partial boycott. There is a real and growing fear within Israel that it is becoming a pariah state in the way that South Africa once was.

Against the backdrop of continued success and the reactions from Israel, we look forward to working with trade unions, NGOs, faith groups, solidarity organizations, people’s movements and people of conscience all over the world to continue to spread BDS as an effective and morally compelling tool in support of the Palestinian struggle for comprehensive rights. Israel realizes it and so do we: BDS is spreading and having a significant impact on Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid; it is time to push even further into the mainstream to entrench Israel’s pariah status. Only thus can Palestinians regain their rights and exercise self-determination, and without that there can never be a just and sustainable peace in the entire region.

BNC Secretariat


5  Does Israel walk a thin line with West Bank oil drill?


By Alex Rowell


Rantis, West Bank  It is not known how much commercially viable oil lies under Israel and the West Bank, but the Palestinian Authority has shown little interest in laying claim to it


While the search for oil beneath Israel has been going on for years, the most recently drilled well in the Meged oil field, on the edge of the West Bank, is raising concern that it might draw from untapped Palestinian reserves.


After a 10-minute uphill hike through the rocky fields of the West Bank village of Rantis, we reach a summit where we rest, panting in the 40-degree heat.


A hundred metres (330ft) in front of us lie the wired fence and gravel track of the Green Line – the perimeter of the West Bank and Israel.


To our left lies Ben Gurion airport; beyond that, Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean. But it is for a different view that we have come here.


“It hasn’t been on for the last few days,” says Bilal, a Rantis local and student at Bir Zeit University.


“And you can’t see too much in the daytime anyway. But at night – boof!” He gestures as though throwing a fistful of confetti into the air.


Continue reading the main story “Start QuoteLooking at the site of the flare, and the shape of the overall field, it’s clear that this extends into the West Bank”

End Quote Samer Naboulsi Petroleum engineer

He is referring to the large black pipe inserted vertically into the earth, not more than 500 metres away, out of which a steady, blazing flame has been periodically sighted for about a year now.


It is in fact a gas flare, part of the Meged-5 oil well, owned and operated by Givot Olam Oil Ltd, currently the sole player in Israel’s tiny onshore oil and gas production sector.


“I happened to be driving past when all of a sudden I saw this huge flare on the Green Line,” recalls Hafez Barghouti, editor of the Palestinian al-Hayat al-Jadeedah, who first broke the story in Ramallah.


“I was sure it must be gas. So I called the mayor of Rantis and he said, ‘Yes, the Israelis are drilling oil and gas.'”


‘No man’s land’


While this may seem uncontroversial on the face of it- the flare is, after all, within Israel proper – its proximity to the Green Line raises ethical questions.


“Geology doesn’t follow geography,” explains Dr Samer Naboulsi, a veteran petroleum engineer at a leading oil firm in Dubai.



“Looking at the site of the flare, and the shape of the overall field, it’s clear that this extends into the West Bank. And even when extracting from the Israeli side, it’ll be draining Palestinian reserves.


“This is why the international convention is to establish a ‘no man’s land’ – typically many kilometres wide – along national borders in which neither party may extract without the other’s consent.”


Dr Walid Khadduri, a former director at the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) and editor-in-chief of the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), also criticises Israel’s unilateral approach.


“Ordinarily in such a situation, both parties would reach a mutual agreement to divide the field and the associated revenues and costs in an equitable manner.


“This was the case between the UK and Norway, for example. Without such an agreement, things can get messy – look at Iraq and Kuwait,” he says, referring to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of its southern neighbour following a dispute over the transnational Rumaila field.


Moreover, the drilling would seem to contravene the Oslo Accords, which call for “co-operation in the field of energy, including an energy development programme, which will provide for the exploitation of oil and gas [and] will encourage further joint exploration of other energy resources”.


The oil field’s proximity to the Green Line dividing Israel (right of the path) and the West Bank has raised concerns

Givot Olam refused to comment, but an Israeli government official dismissed the claims as “yet another attempt to politicise everything”.


“We are engaging in exploratory digging within Israel. While we are hopeful, there is at present no conclusive indication as to whether commercially viable quantities will be found, or precisely where,” the unnamed official told the BBC.


“The commercial implications, including over the Green Line, are unknown. It is surprising that a Petroleum Engineer in Dubai already knows more than the people on the ground at this early stage.”


‘Highly profitable’


The Palestinian Authority (PA) meanwhile has shown little interest in pursuing what is potentially a substantial strategic and economic opportunity for the West Bank.


Continue reading the main story “Start QuoteHistorically, there has never been a Palestinian oil industry. This is all very new”

End Quote Walid Khadduri Ex-OAPEC director

A technical report issued by the UK-based consultant Greensand Associates in 2010 concluded that “the Meged Core Area has robust economics… and could be a highly profitable venture if the predicted well production volumes prove to be achievable and sustainable.”


The reserves of the Meged-5 well alone have been estimated by Givot Olam at over 1.5bn barrels – not a huge find but certainly enough to make a difference for the chronically energy-poor West Bankers (the UK, by comparison, has around 3bn barrels of proven reserves). The company says it extracted 800 barrels a day during a test period last year.


Yet there appears to be neither the will nor the ability on the Palestinian side to take action.


“I met [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas shortly after discovering the flare and told him about it,” says Mr Barghouti. “He shrugged. He wasn’t interested at all.”


A report in the Chinese state media, however, quoted PA official Abdullah Abdullah as condemning the drilling, saying the organisation “will not stay cross-handed. We will take urgent procedures that may include suing Israel in international courts.”


Even so, Mr Khadduri points out the considerable practical obstacles to an effective Palestinian initiative. “An obvious problem is that they simply don’t have the expertise.


“Historically, there has never been a Palestinian oil industry. This is all very new.”


And there is also the more fundamental question of whether Israel would recognise the Palestinians’ right to any part of the field in the first place.


“They regard that entire section of the West Bank as Israeli territory,” says Mr Barghouti. “Including Rantis. They refer to it as the ‘Kfar Sava area’.”


Mr Khadduri also says Israel has repeatedly derailed Palestinian efforts to extract gas from the sizeable fields off the coast of Gaza.


All of which suggests that a rare opportunity for mutually beneficial Israeli-Palestinian cooperation is likely to be missed.


6  The Israeli Defense forces: First for Women

When it comes to gender equality, no armed forces outrank the IDF, says retired brigadier general, Yehudit Grusero



Why The IDF Must Fight Sexual Harassment

In Sexual Harrassment

June 16, 2010


The Two-Front War—-Sexual Harassment in the IDF

OK. We Israelis are used to being harrassed by pretty much every nation in the world.  We’re even used to our Army, one of the most upstanding and moral in the world, being trashed— even, or perhaps, especially, by leaders of nations with atrocious human rights records.


But IDF brothers-in-arms sexually harassing their sisters-in-arms? No, we must never, NEVER make peace with that.  Read the article below. Sexual harrassment complaints in the IDF are at an all-time high, but fewer than half of female soldiers who report being harrassed are willing to file formal complaints.


The fact that the number of complaints is way, way up,  is not all bad. This certainly indicates increased awareness,  but let’s not jump to the conclusion that increased incidence has nothing to do with it. With numbers like these, it almost certainly does.


Moreover, read between the lines and you will see that the way these incidents are being dealt with still leaves a lot to be desired. Female soldiers who report incidents  clearly feel they are putting themselves in harm’s way. On paper, the system encourages reporting and treats sexual harrassment as a criminal offense. But behind the scenes, the system and the female soldiers who serve it share a common agenda. Like the parents in the Bill Cosby comedy routine, they are not so much interested in justice as they are in quiet.


There is a way to get both “quiet” and “justice”. It is called PREVENTION.  And I’m not talking about scolding and lecturing male soldiers, as if scolding 18 year-old boys gets them to change their behavior. I have one at home; I know all about it. And I’m not talking about handing Tear Gas spray out to female soldiers as if it were hairspray. (Tell me, Generals, what other weapons do you have in your arsenal that you hand out to soldiers with no training and no hand-to-hand backup plan? )


Bottom Line: Why aren’t these women receiving empowerment-based self-defense training?


What makes the IDF so special is that it is us. It is a reflection of our society. Can you imagine what kind of society we could foster if we invested in the thousands of young men and women going through compulsary military service so, when they re-enter civilian life, they already know that women will not tolerate sexual harassment? That they will stand up for themselves and call the perpetrators to account for it?


Look at the statistics about working women in Israel. 50% report being sexually harassed in the workplace. 50%!!!! And do you know where most of those women were just before they entered the workforce? That’s right. They were in the military.


How many stories like those below might have turned out differently if these women learned Awareness, Avoidance, Assertiveness, Physical Defense and Recovery skills as part of their Military Service? Two-years of service and they can’t squeeze in 10-hour for a Basic Empowerment-based Self-Defense Course? Come on…


I wrote to Chairman of the Knesset Committee for the Promotion of Women’s Status  Tzipi Hotovely MK (Likud) some time ago asking for a chance to speak with her about this issue. Good thing I didn’t hold my breath waiting to hear back from her.


For her part in the proceedings, MK Hotovely said: “Unfortunately, harassment has not left the world and some men feel entitled. Maybe we should think about an alternative softer track, that will enable us to work around the psychological constraints involved in serving a complaint.”


MK Hotovely, you may be right. Perhaps a “decriminalized” procedure would help. On the other hand, how about removing some of those ‘psychological constaints’ by empowering these women BEFORE incidents occur so they can STOP them? Give them the tools they need to stand up for themselves and for each other! I would expect that you, of all of our nation’s legislators, would be on the frontlines fighting for just that.


#                                                        #                                                          #

Major Increase in Complaints of Sexual Harassment in the IDF


A day of consciousness-raising came to the Knesset: Data presented by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, indicated that over the last two years the number of complaints rose by tens of percentage points . The Immigrant Absorption Committee heard sad stories of immigrant women: “The manager harassed me – and I was dependent on him”


Yael Bernovsky


June 8, 2010


Translated by Yours Truly


Today, the Knesset held a special day to increase awareness of sexual harassment, and all the committees held hearings on the subject. This came after yesterday’s report on Ynet revealing alarming data, according to which nearly half of working women experience sexual harassment in their workplaces. Additional data published today, indicated that the scope of the phenomenon in the IDF has risen sharply.


According to the data presented by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Israel Defense Forces in 2009 reported 445 complaints of sexual harassment, compared to 363 in 2008 and 318 in 2007. Most of the reported incidents occurred in the bases, and most involved physical harassment. About 28 percent involved verbal harassment and 13 percent voyeurism. Three-percent of the percentage involved rape or attempted rape. Another one percent of the complaints involved consensual sexual relations.


IDF officials explained that there are two options for dealing with complaints – either an officer checks out the allegations or the Military Police are called in for a criminal investigation. Only 47 percent of female soldiers who complained in 2009 chose to contact the Military Police. Another 12 percent of female soldiers sought help within their units.


According to Brigadier General Gila Kalifi, Women’s Affairs advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, in 2009 only one false complaint of sexual harassment was discovered. However, she said that “we do not only see the need to commit ourselves to dealing with those who claim sexualharassment. We are also committed that, until proven guilty, the person against whom a complaint is made must be considered innocent.”


“We have already learned that it is important to ask the IDF, not only about military intelligence but, there are more questions to ask, about sexual assault, about suicide… Social issues,” concluded Committee Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi. “are part of the experience of life of this organization that must undergo parliamentary supervision. Everyone goes away with the feeling that, on the one hand, there is much to praise in the system, but there is a problem. I hope it is being kept in mind by the IDF, our country’s largest organization, that there must be a greater sense of confidence and understanding that the system will protect those submitting complaints. “


Former Defense Minister Knesset Member Amir Peretz (Labor) added that “our expectation from the IDF is they will become one of the most important models for other workplaces to emulate . Israeli society makes judgments about women who file these kind of complaints. When the this same soldier must return to the same community where she lives, there are serious concerns about this. They must proceed with caution, but they also must develop more tools that allow these matters to be dealt with without placing the woman on the frontlines of the war. Even if the soldier has chosen treatment futher down in the hierarchy, the matter must go higher up in the hierarchy in order to maximize the punishment. The Army must provide security for female soldiers, that no one in the hierarchy, no matter what his rank, has too much authority. “


“Didn’t they teach you in Ethiopia not say “no” to a man?”


The Absorption Committee headed by MK Lia Shemtov held a discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace that included presentations by women victimized by the phenomenon.


One of them, an economist that came from Ukraine a few years ago and still learning the language, said that she managed to get work in a clothing warehouse as a folder. “I had to leave work even though it suited me. The reason: my manager’s behavior. For a period of two months, he harassed me, took advantage of his authority, because I was financially dependent on the work. He also attempted to rape me and commit indecent acts. I went to the Rape Crisis Center. I did not want people to know – and this is one of the reasons that I did not go to the police. I’m really depressed because of what happened. “


Another woman, a 24 year-old Amharic-speaker, went to  the Rape Crisis Center to accompany a friend. She talked about things she was accustomed to living with: “I was out of work and my neighbors were looking for a babysitter. It started with words: “I’m used to white Israelis.”, ” Didn’t you learn in Ethiopia not say ‘no’ to a man?’,’Your chest is the color of mocha’.


The neighbor started to harass me, push himself against me while talking to me. After a month, I left my job. “


Michal Rosen, the CEO of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, mentioned that the bill for providing compensation for victims of sexual assault drafted by a interdepartmental committee last year and presented to the Welfare Department (details published in Ynet) “still lies in the hands of the Minister. Nothing has been done about it. “


MK Marina Solodkin concluded: “the former President (Translator’s note: Former President Moshe Katsav whose trial for rape and sexual harassment is being held in extreme secrecy) was a master of sexual harassment. This procedure is very important and it will set a precedent if the judge convicts

One Response to “Dorothy Online Newsletter”

  1. Julienne says:

    I blog quite often and I really appreciate
    your content. This article has really peaked my
    interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new
    details about once per week. I subscribed to your
    Feed too.


Shoah’s pages


July 2012
« Jun   Aug »