Archive | June 8th, 2020

Palestinian children detained by Nazi Gastapo increases amid COVID-19 pandemic

Palestinian children detained by Israel increases amid COVID-19 pandemic

Israeli forces deployed in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on January 31, 2020. (Photo: AFP / Musa Al Shaer)

Israeli forces deployed in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on January 31, 2020. (Photo: AFP / Musa Al Shaer)

The number of Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons and detention centers increased since January despite the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and widespread calls to decrease the number of people in custodial detention globally.

At the end of March, 194 Palestinian children were detained in Israeli prisons and detention centers, an increase of six percent from January, according to data released by the Israel Prison Service (IPS). The IPS data from a headcount on March 31 shows that only 28 percent of Palestinian children in IPS custody were serving sentences. Over 60 percent (117 out of 194) of Palestinian child detainees were held in pre-trial custodial detention, according to IPS data. 

“Israeli authorities must release all Palestinian child prisoners immediately,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “The fact that Israeli forces continue to detain Palestinian children and hold the overwhelming majority in pretrial detention is unconscionable given the increased risk presented by COVID-19 to people deprived of their liberty.”

Source: Israel Prison Service (IPS)

All 194 Palestinian child detainees were boys, including 164 children aged 16 or 17 years old and 30 children aged 14 and 15 years old. There were two children held in administrative detention, according to the IPS data. 

In March, DCIP called for the immediate release of all Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons due to the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Globally, the World Health Organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UN human rights experts have all issued guidelines and statements highlighting the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in detention settings. 

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore issued a statement on April 13 highlighting that children in detention are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 and should be released. UNICEF also called for an immediate moratorium on new admissions of children to detention facilities.

Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with limited access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP. COVID-19’s impact is exacerbated by these living conditions making Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centers increasingly vulnerable.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically detains and prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Nearly three out of four Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces experiences some form of physical violence, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, obligating itself to implement the full range of rights and protections included in the treaty, including that the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions affecting children. The CRC demands that children must only be detained as a measure of last resort, and obliges states to ensure and protect the right to life, survival, and development, as well as the right to health.

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Nazi Gastapo transfer of Palestinian child detainees amounts to war crime

Israeli forces’ transfer of Palestinian child detainees amounts to war crime

Israeli forces detain Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron on November 24, 2019. (Photo: AFP / Hazem Bader)

Israeli forces detain Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron on November 24, 2019. (Photo: AFP / Hazem Bader)

Israeli authorities transferred dozens of Palestinian child detainees outside the occupied West Bank to a prison inside Israel last week, amounting to a war crime.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred 33 Palestinian children on January 13 from Ofer prison, located southwest of Ramallah inside the occupied West Bank, to Damon prison, located inside Israel near Haifa, DCIP confirmed. International humanitarian law and international criminal law prohibit the transfer of persons part of an occupied civilian population outside of an occupied territory, including prisoners. 

“The transfer of Palestinian child prisoners outside the occupied West Bank is a war crime,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCIP. “Israeli authorities must only detain children as a measure of last resort for the shortest necessary period of time without transferring them outside the occupied West Bank.” 

Five of the children transferred to Damon prison are currently represented by DCIP lawyers. Four of them have not yet been sentenced and appeared in Ofer military court today where they met with their lawyer for the first time since being transferred from Ofer prison last week. 

The children told their lawyer they were transferred without their clothes and bed sheets, and remained in the same clothes for three days until their belongings arrived. The children described being detained at Damon prison in basement rooms with terrible conditions, including mice. During the first three days at Damon prison the children refused meals to protest the transfer and prison conditions. 

The immediate practical consequence is that the trip to Ofer military court is now a three-day journey, as children are transferred to Al-Ramleh prison before and after they appear in the military court. The children are more severely separated from their families as parents face undue obstacles when attempting to visit children detained at prisons inside Israel.

At the end of December 2019, at least 186 Palestinian children aged between 14 and 17 years old were detained in the Israeli military detention system, according to the most recent data released by the IPS. The overwhelming majority of Palestinian children detained by Israeli authorities are held in Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank or unlawfully transfered to Megiddo prison located inside Israel, according to IPS figures. 

While a child is in detention, families may apply for visitation permits through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which coordinates the permit process. Israeli authorities unilaterally approve or deny the family visit applications. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, only immediate family members who have not been previously incarcerated are eligible to apply.

In addition to permit delays, the unlawful transfer of Palestinian children to prisons inside Israel, such as Megiddo and Damon, presents an undue obstacle to family visits. Families must travel long distances and pass through checkpoints in order to visit their children, according to evidence collected by DCIP.

Some families also cite harassment and security checks as a barrier to visitation, since each person must undergo a thorough screening—which may include a strip search—before entering Megiddo. Once they have completed their security checks, family members may visit with child prisoners in Megiddo through a glass barrier for a maximum of 40 minutes.

The Israeli military detention system consists of a network of military bases, interrogation and detention centers, and police stations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and inside Israel. Palestinians, predominantly from the West Bank, are initially taken to one of these facilities for questioning and temporary detention. Some of these facilities are inside Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians, including children, are held at these facilities for interrogation purposes, pre-trial detention, or prior to appearing in the military courts. Following an initial appearance in one of the military courts, Palestinian child detainees are transferred to prisons, some located inside Israel, where they sit in pre-trial detention, wait to be sentenced, or serve their prison sentence.

Transfer of Palestinian detainees, including children, to prisons and interrogation and detention facilities inside Israel, even for brief periods, constitutes an unlawful transfer in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime in violation of Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Israel’s practice of unlawfully transferring Palestinian prisoners out of occupied territory has been challenged twice before the Israeli Supreme Court. In both instances, the court held that when in conflict, primary Israeli legislation overrides the provisions of international law.

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Remembering Palestine on Nakba Day: Use the Hashtag COVID1948

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG  

Remembering Palestine on Nakba Day: Use the Hashtag COVID1948

The hashtag #COVID1948, which seeks to equate the current devastation resulting from the coronavirus with the catastrophe that occurred to the Palestinian people in 1948 at the hands of the Israelis. It is reportedly trending on social media and is in one sense an eloquent reminder of the wrongs committed against an entire people, to include a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing that bore fruit in 1948-9.

By Philip M. Giraldi, reposted from American Herald Tribune

Palestinians worldwide have an annual day of remembrance called Nakba Day. Nakba comes from the Arabic al-Nakbah and means “disaster” or “catastrophe.” It takes place on May 15th, the day after the Gregorian calendar date for Israeli independence in 1948.

It is an opportunity for a people who live largely in exile to recall what was stolen from them by the nascent Israeli state in 1947 through 1949. An estimated 700,000 Palestinians, half of the country’s Arab Christian and Muslim population, were driven from their homes through a deliberate policy of terrorism officially initiated in January 1948 to drive the Palestinian population out, a clear case of government initiated ethnic cleansing.

The expulsion orders, formulated as Plan Dalet in March, were carried out by the Jewish state’s military and militia forces, to include terrorist groups like Irgun and Lehi. The massacre of Arab civilians at Deir Yassin in April 1948, in which hundreds of civilians died, was, for example, implemented to terrorize the local population, forcing it to flee. In the portion of Palestine that was to become Israel fully 80% of the resident Arabs, many of them Christian, were killed, fled in terror or were compelled to leave at gunpoint.

In the expulsion process, which continued into early 1949, between four hundred and six hundred Arab villages were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, while Palestinians in the larger urban centers were driven from their homes. Those homes were then given to Jews coming from Europe or America and one of the first acts carried out by the new nation Israel’s parliament was to pass laws blocking the return of any Palestinian to his or her home in what was to become the Jewish state. This meant in practice that a European Jew could arrive in Israel on one day and by the next be settled in a former Palestinian home. The legal owner of that home, however, had no right to return or even visit his former property. United Nations demands that the Palestinians should one day be able to return home have been since that time ignored by Israel and unsupported by the United States.

In fact, Israel never intended to allow Palestinians to return to their homes, in spite of the fact that when it joined the United Nations in May 1949 it agreed to “unreservedly accept the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertake to honor them from the day when it becomes a member of the United Nations.” This included an explicit understanding in principle to allow the return of all Palestinian refugees.

Palestinians are to a certain extent wards of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was founded in 1949 to support those displaced by the Israelis. In 1949 there were less than one million refugees, but today, due to large families and other population growth, the number who technically qualify for UNRWA’s assistance is over 5 million. Services include education, health care, food security and other essentials, to some 800,000 Palestinians registered as refugees in the West Bank and 1.3 million people in the Gaza Strip, as well as 534,000 in refugee camps in Syria, 464,000 more in Lebanon and also 2 million in Jordan.  Approximately 1 million refugees have no documents other than an UNRWA identification card.

Israel has long been highly critical of UNRWA and the Donald Trump Administration predictably followed its lead to eliminate funding to the organization in August 2018.

The so-called peace plan being promoted by the Trump Administration has been rightly described as a non-starter as it is a wish list for Israel that will permit annexation of much of the West Bank with a rump Palestinian state that has no control over its airspace, water, borders or defense in place for those Arabs who can be induced to remain. It would mark the clearly perceived end of any Palestinian aspirations for either statehood or even for an acceptable relationship marked by mutual respect with its de facto Jewish overlords.

American antipathy towards the Palestinians, particularly as expressed by Evangelicals, is somewhat surprising as there has long been a vibrant Christian community in Palestine that has been sharply diminished through the actions of the state of Israel. Residents and church leaders describe the nervousness of the tiny Christian communities in Israel, caught between larger Muslim and Jewish populations. Like other Palestinians, Christians face land seizures, arbitrary arrests, home demolitions and collective punishment that come with the Israeli occupation. Recently radical Jewish settlers have become more active, defacing Christian churches and cemeteries while also threatening and spitting on clergy in the streets.

In and around Bethlehem, Christians constituted 80 percent of the population in 1950 and are only around 12 percent today. Jewish settlements have annexed land owned by Christians in many areas. In Israel itself, Christians were 21 percent of the Arab population in 1948 but number only 8 percent today, just 2 percent of the total population. The process has been described as “a quiet ethnic cleansing… not large-scale massacres or large-scale deportations, but it is bit by bit over many years with a variety of policies which Christians are not necessarily attacked as Christians but they are marked by being Palestinians.”

This year Palestinians are expressing themselves on Nakba Day to demonstrate their rejection of the Trump peace plan as well as of the new Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu led government’s intention to annex large portions of the West Bank, to include the entire Jordan River Valley, after July 1st. They have adopted the hashtag #COVID1948, which seeks to equate the current devastation resulting from the coronavirus with the catastrophe that occurred to the Palestinian people in 1948 at the hands of the Israelis. It is reportedly trending on social media and is in one sense an eloquent reminder of the wrongs committed against an entire people, to include a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing that bore fruit in 1948-9. It is also a reminder that the Palestinians are a stubborn and self-aware people who will not just go away because the Israelis and the United States would like to see that happen.

Related Reading:

Unearthing Truths: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund
Gaza families suffer under 13+ years of Israeli imposed ‘quarantine’
Trump-Kushner “Peace” Plan ignores elephants in the room: Israel created this mess

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on $38 billion package to the Nazi entity

Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on $38 billion package to Israel

By: ALISON WEIR  

Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on $38 billion package to Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez in January 2014. (Jerusalem Post)

By Alison Weir

While millions of Americans are out of work due to the coronavirus, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is poised to vote for a 10-year package to give Israel $38 billion.

The vote was scheduled for Wednesday May 14th, but the committee meeting was postponed. Phone calls and emails to the committee asking when the vote will be taken have not been returned. (There don’t appear to have been any public announcements or media reports that the vote had been scheduled.)

The legislation is a top priority for AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee),

The bipartisan bill – S.3176 – was introduced by an Israel lobby favorite, Marco Rubio (R-FL). It is cosponsored by 19 Republicans and 18 Democrats, despite the fact that Israel has a long record of human rights  violations.

A related bipartisan bill was passed by the House of Representatives on July 23, 2019, H.R.1837. The House suspended the rules and passed the bill with a voice vote. The House bill was introduced by another Israel lobby favorite, Rep Ted. Deutch (D-FL-22), and has 150 Republican cosponsors and 142 Democratic cosponsors.

U.S. media have largely failed to tell Americans about this legislation.

Voters wishing to give their opinion on the legislation can reach the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by phoning the Capitol switchboard (202-225-3121) and asking for each Senator by name. An operator will connect callers to the Senator’s office, where they can leave a message.

The AIPAC website features a video of an AIPAC official describing their work to procure aid for Israel even during a time of financial devastation to the US:

RELATED:

Despite coronavirus-caused cutbacks, Israel expects to get full $3.8 billion

Israel may ask for double its usual $3.8 billion from the U.S this year

Israel would get far more than $38 billion under the new deal

Human rights reports on Israel-Palestine

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Nazi regime threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus’

Israel threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus’

By: ALISON WEIR  

Israel threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus’

Promotional image for the new Shelanu TV channel (overlay by If Americans Knew).

Israel has a long history of actions against its Christian minority. Israeli forces have desecrated churches, rabbis have endorsed killing non-Jewish civilians (including children), New Testaments have been burned. While there are many Israelis who have opposed these actions and respect Christians, the fact is that discrimination against Christians is endemic in the Israeli system. Like Muslims, Christians have been persecuted by Israel ever since it was established in 1948…

Photo by shoah.org.uk

By Alison Weir

On Wednesday morning one of the headlines on the Fox News homepage was: “Israel threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus.” This was the latest in a long line of anti-Christian actions by Israel.

After awhile the article was bumped from the Fox headlines for more recent news, and the story largely vanished from view. It didn’t appear in the World news list of articles, although older news stories were featured there. While the report is still on the Fox site, it is unlikely that many people will see it.

No other mainstream U.S. news organization even mentioned this Israeli action, despite the fact that all report on Israel frequently – and despite the fact that Israel receives a great deal of money from many Christians.

While some other countries also ban Christian evangelizing, Israel is the only one that receives tens of millions of dollars from evangelical Christians, many of them not financially well off (although, as we’ll see below, this support is starting to change).

As a result of such media omission, few Americans know about the current situation. And even fewer know that such an action by Israel is far from unusual.

Since the U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day – and this amount may double this year despite massive U.S. unemployment and the coronavirus devastation to the U.S. economy – it seems important for Americans to learn about the country that our tax money is funding.

In its article Fox reported:

Israel is reportedly threatening to remove GOD TV channel just one week after its launch, claiming it is proselytizing.

The Christian network that broadcasts in at least 200 countries, responded in a statement saying, “if we were doing something sneaky, we would not have announced it to the world.”

GOD TV began airing the 24/7 Hebrew-language “Shelanu TV” channel last week on Israel’s HOT cable network as part of a seven-year license from the Israeli Communications Ministry, The Times of Israel reports.

“Today we made history! For the first time ever, a Messianic television channel is broadcasting the Gospel across Israel in the Hebrew language,” GOD-TV said in a statement April 29. “Shelanu translates to ‘Ours’ in Hebrew. We want every person in Israel to know, not a foreign Messiah, but a Jewish one! His name is Yeshua and He has not forgotten His people,” it continued.

But on Tuesday, Israeli Communications Minister David Ansalem said in a statement he was not aware that a license was granted to GOD TV, adding he “will not allow any missionary channel to operate in Israel, at no time and under no circumstances.”

The decision to allow the channel’s contract was an “oversight,” said Ansalem, who requested a “thorough investigation of the issue” by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council. “If indeed this channel does missionary work, it be removed immediately,” the statement said.

Israel’s history of targeting Christian minority

While this is rarely reported, there have been a multitude of actions by the Israeli government, rabbis and others targeting its Christian inhabitants, and discrimination against Christians is endemic in the Israeli system. These actions parallel those against other minorities whose land has been confiscated by Israel, and lives and institutions damaged or destroyed.

While there is some reporting in the West about Israeli attacks on Muslims and mosques, similar attacks against Christians are largely unknown, particularly in parts of the world where a nonfactual narrative often dominates that attempts to pit Christians against Muslims. For that reason, this article focuses on the history of actions targeting Christians. (For our numerous reports relating to other groups, see our multitude of articles on our blog and main website.)

The fact is that Israeli forces have desecrated churches, Israeli officials have condoned burning New Testaments, Israeli rabbis have endorsed the killing of non-Jewish civilians, including children, and the Israeli government has steadily confiscated land from Christians for Jewish-only habitation.

Such actions were present from the very beginning of Israel ‘s establishment in 1948 and continue through today.

Modern day Israel was the result of an ideological movement called political Zionism that sought to establish a Jewish-only state on a land called Palestine. This was inhabited by a population that was approximately 80 percent Muslim, 15 percent Christian, and a little under 5 percent Jewish. Before the onset of Zionism, Muslims, Christians, and Jews had been inhabiting Palestine without conflict for centuries.

In 1948, the Zionist movement succeeded in establishing Israel through a war of ethnic cleansing in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians were expelled from their land. Their homes, business, and farmlands were then confiscated by the new state. (By the way, many Jewish theologians and thinkers had opposed Zionism as a heretical, destructive movement, and even today many fundamentalist Jews don’t recognize Israel.)

Attacking and desecrating churches

Former Time magazine Senior Editor and Jerusalem Bureau Chief Donald Neff wrote five books about Israel. He describes events that US media have largely ignored for decades.

Neff reports that in the years leading up to Israel’s founding there had been “desecration of Christian property and churches—arson, window breaking, burning of the New Testament.”

Neff writes: “A small but fanatical group of Jews wanted no Christians, whom they considered fallen Jews, in Israel. This virulent strain of prejudice had been present since before the Jewish state was founded.

“For instance, after the capture by Jewish forces of Jaffa on May 13, 1948, two days before Israel’s birth, there was desecration of Christian churches. Father Deleque, a Catholic priest, reported: Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.”

The Christian father said that Jewish leaders had reassured Christians that religious buildings would be respected, “but their deeds do not correspond to their words.’”

Neff reports:

“On May 31, 1948, a group of Christian leaders comprising the Christian Union of Palestine publicly complained that Jewish forces had used 10 Christian churches and humanitarian institutions in Jerusalem as military bases and otherwise desecrated them. They added that a total of 14 churches had suffered shell damage, which killed three priests and made casualties of more than 100 women and children.

“The group’s statement said Arab forces had abided by their promise to respect Christian institutions, but that the Jews had forcefully occupied Christian structures and been indiscriminate in shelling churches. It said, among other charges, that ‘many children were killed or wounded’ by Jewish shells on the Convent of Orthodox Copts on May 19, 23 and 24; that eight refugees were killed and about 120 wounded at the Orthodox Armenian Convent at some unstated date; and that Father Pierre Somi, secretary to the Bishop, had been killed and two wounded at the Orthodox Syrian Church of St. Mark on May 16.”

Neff described many such incidents.

Churches were again desecrated during the 1967 war when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, completing the occupation of all of Palestine. On July 21, 1967, the Reverend James L. Kelso, a former moderator of the United Presbyterian Church and long-time resident in Palestine, complained of extensive damage to churches adding: “So significant was this third Jewish war against the Arabs that one of the finest missionaries of the Near East called it ‘perhaps the most serious setback that Christendom has had since the fall of Constantinople in 1453.’”

Kelso continued: “How did Israel respect church property in the fighting…? They shot up the Episcopal Cathedral [in Jerusalem], just as they had done in 1948. They smashed down the Episcopal school for boys…The Israelis wrecked and looted the YMCA…They wrecked the big Lutheran hospital…The Lutheran center for cripples also suffered…”

Over the years, individuals and groups desecrated churches numerous times, not only in times of war:

 As recently as 1995, an Israeli soldier, Daniel Koren, 22, entered St. Anthony Catholic Church in Jaffa and went on a shooting rampage, firing more than 100 bullets in the altar and the cross above it but causing no injuries. Koren said his Judaic convictions forced him to destroy all physical images of God, and admitted that he had staged a prior attack in Jerusalem’s Gethsemane Church.

Perhaps the worst outbreak of organized desecration of Christian institutions came on Sept. 10, 1963, when hundreds of ultra-orthodox Jews simultaneously attacked Christian missions in Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem. (One has to say “perhaps because reporting on this sensitive subject in the U.S. media has been so poor over the decades.) At any rate, the attacks were a concerted effort to intimidate Christians in Israel by a religious vigilante group called Hever Peelei Hamahane Hatorati, the Society of Activists of the Torah Camp. In an attack on the Church of Scotland school in Jaffa, Christian children were beaten and considerable damage was caused to the school by at least 200 rampaging Jews.

Other attacks occurred at two nearby church schools, the Greek Catholic missionary school of St. Joseph and a Christian Brothers school. In Jerusalem, attacks occurred at the St. Joseph convent and the Finnish Lutheran mission school. In Haifa, the American-European Beth El Messianic Mission Children’s Hostel and School was attacked.

All denominations were targeted, including Baptists:

On Oct. 8, 1982, the Baptist Church in Jerusalem was burned down. Kerosene had been sprinkled on the church’s wooden chapel, constructed in 1933. Although no one was ever charged in the arson, the Baptist Center’s bookstore had been vandalized a dozen times in previous years, and Jews were suspected. When the Baptists sought to rebuild the church, Jews demonstrated against the project and the Jewish district planning commission refused to grant a building permit. In 1985, the Israeli Supreme Court advised the Baptists to leave the all-Jewish area.

(Neff describes many more such incidents – see his full article.)

Destroying New Testaments

In 1977, Neff reports, Israel passed a law making it illegal for missionaries to proselytize Jews. The law made missionaries liable to five years’ imprisonment for attempting to persuade people to change their religion, and three years’ imprisonment for any Jew who converted.

Simply giving someone a Bible was illegal under the law.

“The next year,” Neff states, “Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, considered a political moderate, issued a religious ruling that copies of the New Testament should be torn out of any edition of a Bible owned by a Jew.”

Such actions have continued.

In 2008, for example, the Associated Press carried a news report about Israelis burning New Testaments.  It reported:

Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue, he said.

Inexplicably, the article was only distributed abroad. AP did not disseminate the report to U.S. news media. Israeli media reportedly published photos of the New Testament burning, and the deputy mayor explained that they were “purging the evil among us.”

In 2012 a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a New Testament and threw it in the trash, calling it an “abominable book.”

Among secular Israelis, it is not rare for Israeli TV programs to make fun of Jesus and Americans. Such stories go on and on.

‘It is permitted to kill non-Jews, rape women, burn down churches’

Recently in Israel radical Israeli rabbis called for the enslavement of non-Jews, and a major rabbi justified the rape of non-Jewish women. While many Israelis condemn such statements, there are also many who agree, some in positions of power.

Israel’s top police chaplain defended a book by two Israeli rabbis that claimed Jewish law permits Jews to kill non-Jewish babies. Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported on the book’s content:

The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,” write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”

According to Ha’aretz, despite numerous objections to the book, it was enjoying brisk sales in Israeli book stores.

The leader of a Jewish supremacist group in Israel endorsed the burning down of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He said that the 12th century Jewish sage Maimonides called Christianity “idolatry,” and that this justified burning down Christian churches.

(While this extremist’s interpretation has been heavily criticized by many, it appears that his history may not be incorrect. Israeli author Israel Shahak reports: “The Editio Princeps of the complete Code of Talmudic Law, Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah [was] replete not only with the most offensive precepts against all Gentiles but also with explicit attacks on Christianity and on Jesus.” Similarly, a scholarly book published by Princeton University Press, Jesus in the Talmud, also reports that the Jewish Talmud portrays Jesus as a charlatan, idolater, and worse.)

In their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Professors Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky write: “The fact is that certain Jews, some of whom wield political influence, consider Jews to be superior to non-Jews and view the world as having been created only or primarily for Jews.”

They explain: “For religious Jews, the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value.” Such religious Israelis believe that “a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres.” Similarly, “The entire creation [of a non- Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”

Shahak and Mezvinsky report that this “extreme chauvinism” is directed towards all non-Jews:

 The 1973 Yom Kippur War, for instance, was… not directed against Egyptians, Syrians and/or all Arabs but against all non-Jews. The war was thus directed against the great majority of citizens of the United States, even though the United  States aided Israel in that war. This hatred of non-Jews is not new  but, as already discussed, is derived from a continuous Jewish cabbalistic tradition.

‘We have the New York Times in our hands’

Extremely little of this information is reported to Americans, whose politicians from both parties regularly vote to give Israel $3.8 billion of Americans’ tax money (over $7,000 per minute). This legislation is also almost never reported by U.S. media.

From its earliest years, Israel has confiscated Christian land, and this practice has continued year after year after year after year after year after year after year. Again, U.S. media do not consider this newsworthy.

On top of this, Christians in Israel, like Muslims, live under a system in which they are second-class citizens. There are at least fifty laws that discriminate against them, their schools are significantly under funded, and their access to land is severely limited.

A top U.S. journalist, Grace Halsell, spent a year in Israel in 1977 and wrote a powerful book about what she learned, including about Israeli torture of Palestinians.

Like Donald Neff and others, Halsell had reached the top levels of of American journalism, but was quickly pushed aside when she started exposing unpleasant facts about Israel.

In 1998 she wrote a detailed, explosive article entitled “What Christians Don’t Know About Israel.” In the article she discussed the pervasive censorship on Israel-Palestine “by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post—and most of our nation’s print media.”

Her article includes this passage:

As an Israeli journalist, Arieh Shavit, explains…, “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.”

Formerly indoctrinated Christians are waking up

Halsell wrote: “Israelis today, explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, ‘are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become ‘the Bible.’ And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.’

“In the teachings of Christ, there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. He sought to heal the wounded, to comfort the downtrodden…”

Halsell reported:

“While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, they worry about grassroots America—the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Thus far, most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn’t know about Israel.”

She continued: ”

They were indoctrinated by U.S. supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. That being the case, it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This is gradually changing, however. And this change disturbs the Israelis.”

The change Halsell describes has begun to escalate in recent years. Today more and more Christians are learning the facts about Israel-Palestine and are increasingly supporting Palestinian human rights.

Both mainline and evangelical Christians are visiting the region in person, meeting Palestinians, studying the Bible intensely, producing diverse documentaries and magazine articles.

Some are discussing what they say are deep errors in the interpretation of the Bible they grew up with, and a growing number are exposing flaws with the Scofield Bible, an influential annotated Bible that has played a major role in the growth of “Christian Zionism.”

This could have a major impact. While evangelical support for Israel has not driven U.S. policies of unconditional support for Israel, it has helped to enable them.

It looks like this may change.

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Announcement about the program before the Israeli government canceled permission to broadcast it:

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Using Trump’s “Vision” to Break Free of Past Frameworks

by; Yara Hawari

Many mainstream political ideas about the future of Palestine are primarily concerned with the containment of indigenous Palestinians and security for the Israeli settler state. The most recent manifestation of this was the Trump administration’s  “Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People.” This “vision” proposed nothing less than Palestinian capitulation in which Palestinians in the West Bank would be encased in a series of Bantustans and the Gaza Strip would remain a besieged enclave while the rights of Palestinians in exile, including those of refugees, would be forsaken. 1

Trump’s vision – effectively dictated by the Israeli right – does not radically break from what has previously been presented to Palestinians as possible futures. Rather, it follows a tradition of peace proposals over the past decades in which Palestinian futures are not premised on fundamental rights and Palestinian aspirations of sovereignty are disregarded. Some argue that the Trump vision is more candid than prior peace efforts in that it blatantly depicts what the US and Israel consider an acceptable form of Palestinian statehood: The map proposed by the vision document provides an accurate reflection of the current geopolitical reality on the ground. 

The Palestinian leadership has responded weakly, continuing to adhere to a political line that has led the Palestinian people to their most vulnerable point in history since 1948. Moreover, Palestinian leaders have been misdirecting their hopes onto actors who have demonstrated over decades that they do not have the political will to deliver on Palestinian rights such as the European Union and its member states. They have also been pursuing unpopular and unstrategic political dialogues, such as the PLO-sanctioned “communication committee” that met with Israeli politicians from the Israeli Labor Party (Meretz) in Tel Aviv in February 2020. The latest declaration by Abbas to cancel all agreements with Israel and America follows previous similar declarations and threats which amounted to very little. The extent to which this is carried out this time remains to be seen.

Despite these obstacles, Palestinians can use the Trump “vision” to break free of the political frameworks that have limited their rights and freedoms for so long. There are many ways in which the impending disaster of further Israeli annexation and dispossession can be countered and transformed into opportunities. Here are just three. 

  • For many Palestinians the illusion that negotiations would fulfil Palestinian rights was shattered in the years following the Oslo Accords, when it became clear that the agreement would lead to Palestinian capitulation. However, for much of the rest of world the illusion is only beginning to shatter. Understanding this reality is key if third parties genuinely want to secure Palestinian rights. Equally important is moving forward with a rights first-based approach, that is, one that acknowledges the inherent power imbalance between Palestinians and Israelis and seeks to achieve Palestinian fundamental rights before political negotiations. Pushing third parties in this direction will require concentrated and strategic efforts by Palestinian civil society and the Palestine solidarity movement to educate and hold third parties accountable, particularly in Europe, given their past willingness to let the US lead the so called ‘peace-process’. 

Moving forward with a rights first-based approach … to achieve Palestinian fundamental rights before political negotiationsCLICK TO TWEET

  • The tepid global response to Trump’s vision despite its total undermining of international law demonstrates the limits of the international legal regime in protecting Palestinians from aggressive Israeli colonialism. Enthusiasts of international law should take note: It is imperative that Palestinians consider international law as only one tool in a wider strategy of resistance and redistribute energy to other tools, such as boycotts, rebuilding community networks, and strengthening solidarity with other struggles. 
  • The reality outlined above means that Palestinians must reset their political agenda and strategy. To do this they need an accountable, legitimate, and representative leadership that can put forward a future vision built on a broad consensus amongst Palestinians. In the absence of sovereignty and self-rule it is necessary to consider alternative ways in which this representation and consensus can be achieved outside of the current structural confines. Indeed, Palestinian history provides us with a wealth of examples where revolutionary legitimacy and democracy can be practised outside of the current confines, including those imposed by foreign donors. The 1936-9 Palestine-wide uprising against British rule, the PLO’s success in bringing the Palestinian narrative on a hostile West between 1968 and 1988, and the committees and revolutionary groups of the First Intifada (uprising) are just three examples that provide many such lessons. 

Notes:

  1. To read this piece in French, please click here. Al-Shabaka is grateful for the efforts by human rights advocates to translate its pieces, but is not responsible for any change in meaning. 

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USA Plan: Militarized Control of Population. The “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan”

By Manlio Dinucci

The Rockefeller Foundation has presented the “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan”, indicating the “pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities”. However, it is not simply a matter of health measures as it appears from the title.

The Plan – that some of the most prestigious universities have contributed to (Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and others) – prefigures a real hierarchical and militarized social model.

At the top, the “Pandemic Testing Board (PTB), akin to the War Production Board that the United States created in World War II“. The Pandemic Testing Board would “consist of leaders from business, government and academia” (government representatives would not in the first row, but finance and economic representatives being listed in order of importance).

This Supreme Council would have the power to decide productions and services with an authority similar to that conferred to the President of the United States in wartime by the Defense Production Act.

The plan calls for 3 million US citizens to be Covid-19 tested weekly, and the number should be raised to 30 million per week within six months. The goal is to achieve the ability to Covid-19 test 30 million people a day, which is to be realized within a year.No One Trusts the US Government, Not Even the American People

For each test, “a fair market reimbursement (e.g. $100) for all Covid-19 assays” is expected. Thus, billions of dollars a month of public money will be needed.

The Rockefeller Foundation and its financial partners will help create a network for the provision of credit guarantees and the signing of contracts with suppliers, that is large companies that manufacture drugs and medical equipment.

According to the Plan, the “Pandemic Control Council” is also authorized to create a “Pandemic Response Corps”: a special force (not surprisingly called “Corps” like the Marine Corps) with a staff of 100 to 300 thousand components.

They would be recruited among Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers (officially created by the US government to “help developing countries”) and among National Guard military personnel. The members of the “Pandemic Response Corps” would receive an average gross wage of $40,000 per year, a State expenditure of  $4-12 billion a year is expected for it.

The “pandemic response body” would above all have the task of controlling the population with military-like techniques, through digital tracking and identification systems, in work and study places, in residential areas, in public places and when travelling. Systems of this type – the Rockefeller Foundation recalls – are made by Apple, Google and Facebook.

According to the Plan, information on individuals relating to their state of health and their activities would remain confidential “whenever possible”. However, they would all be centralized in a digital platform co-managed by the Federal State and private companies. According to data provided by the “Pandemic Control Council”, it would be decided from time to time which area should be subject to lockdown and for how long.

This, in summary, is the plan the Rockefeller Foundation wants to implement in the United States and beyond. If it were even partially implemented, there would be further concentration of economic and political power in the hands of an even narrower elite sector to the detriment of a growing majority that would be deprived of fundamental democratic rights.

The operation is carried out in the name of “Covid-19 control”, whose mortality rate has so far been less than 0.03% of the US population according to official data. In the Rockefeller Foundation Plan the virus is used as a real weapon, more dangerous than Covid-19 itself.

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Remember Alex Odeh? Alex Who???

30 years later, still no justice for Alex Odeh - ADC

By: Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Alex Odeh was a professor of Middle East History and Arabic Language in Santa Ana, California. He was a U.S. citizen and a Palestinian Roman Catholic who immigrated to the U.S. in 1972, and served as the West Coast Regional Director of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, [ADC].

I had the privilege of meeting Alex once at an ADC convention in our nation’s capitol in the Summer of 1985. I served in a similar capacity as Alex, and was a volunteer media coordinator for the ADC chapter in my home state. Alex, a typically gracious Arab, refused to accept money from me when I picked up a copy of his new book, “Whispers in Exile.” As he said to me–”It is a gift!”

I departed the next day to North Carolina to serve my first two weeks annual tour as a reservist at Pope Air Force Base. Upon my return home, I learned about the tragic death of Alex Odeh in the news.

It took place at 9:00 A.M. on October 11, 1985 as he tried to unlock his office which triggered a powerful pipe bomb. Alex Ode’s face and chest were torn apart.

The day this peace advocate was brutally murdered, he was scheduled to speak at Friday prayer service at a Synagogue in Fountain Valley, California.

The prime suspect of Alex’s murder was a member of the Jewish Defense League [JDL], who fled to Israel. Israel (surprise, surprise) refused to extradite him or allow the FBI to question him. JDL was at that time the #1 domestic terrorist organization on the FBI list.

One day before Alex’s brutal murder, a Jewish American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer sailing aboard the cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea was also tragically murdered and his body thrown overboard. The mastermind of the hijacking was arrested 20 years later by our U.S. special forces following the fall of Baghdad. According to the official account, he died of a heart attack while in U.S. custody.

Unlike Klinghoffer’s murder that received front page coverage in America’s newspapers, Alex’s death was reported in the back pages. There were no pictures of him, his grieving wife, Norma, or their three daughters Helena, Samia, and Susan, who were all under the age of 10 when their father was robbed from them by Jewish assassins.

Klinghoffer was nominated by Congress for a Medal of Honor. Alex’s family received a bomb threat during his funeral. Mrs. Klinghoffer received a condolence call from President Reagan. Mrs. Odeh received a letter from Reagan addressed to Alex, thanking him for his financial contribution and asking for more.

It is worth nothing here that in April of 1994 the city of Santa Ana erected a statue of Alex Odeh in front of its Central Library. Since the time of it being erected, it has been vandalized twice, the most recent one when someone poured two gallons of red paint on the statue. For some people shame has no boundaries.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush vowed to hunt down the terrorists and bring them to justice. This warning is dandy, but why ignore other acts of terrorism committed on American soil, and why discriminate among the victims of terror?

Zero tolerance against terrorism means going after terrorists regardless of their religion. It also means targeting countries that provide them with safe haven. The Jewish Defense League has publicly praised the senseless murder of Alex Odeh. JDL publicly stated in reaction to Alex’s murder, “He got exactly what he deserved.”

It is time that news organizations in our country quit repeatedly playing the old record, “why do they hate us” and instead ask the question “what did we do wrong or fail to do?”

Since we know who Alex’s killers are and where they are hiding, why not shut down their offices, freeze their bank accounts, and go after them to help bring them to justice, just as we would (and have) with other “terrorist“ entities?

Then, and only then will there be peace, when at last there is the foundation upon which peace rests, meaning JUSTICE.

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DECADES AFTER A PALESTINIAN AMERICAN ACTIVIST WAS ASSASSINATED IN CALIFORNIA

DECADES AFTER A PALESTINIAN AMERICAN ACTIVIST WAS ASSASSINATED IN CALIFORNIA, TWO SUSPECTS IN HIS KILLING ARE LIVING OPENLY IN ISRAEL

David Sheen

ALEX ODEH WAS born in 1944 in British Mandate Palestine to a Christian family in the West Bank village of Jifna, near Ramallah, just four years before the founding of Israel. He immigrated in 1972 to the United States, where he became a spokesperson for the Arab American community, challenging negative portrayals of Middle Easterners and Muslims, which were back then at least as commonplace as they are today.

Odeh, the Southern California regional director at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC, was known for his efforts to build bridges between Jews and Arabs, but his outreach was rejected by nationalist elements of the Jewish community, which saw him as an emerging threat.

ADC had become a target of the Jewish right after it began challenging the pro-Israel consensus in the U.S., organizing demonstrations against Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. In 1984, ADC members were regularly receiving threatening phone calls from an individual or individuals identifying as the leader of the Jewish Defense League, an anti-Arab movement led by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Physical attacks began the following year, after the ADC began taking out advertisements in the Washington Post attempting to convince American voters and public officials that Israel should no longer receive annual allotments of millions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid.

On October 11, 1985, Odeh was scheduled to speak at Congregation B’nai Tzedek, a Reform synagogue. As he entered the Santa Ana, California, office of the ADC that morning, however, a bomb exploded. He died on the operating table two hours later. It was the second bomb attack in just as many months against the ADC.Join Our NewsletterOriginal reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you.I’m in

Hours after Odeh was killed, his slaying was justified by the Jewish Defense League. “I have no tears for Mr. Odeh,” said Irv Rubin, then the national chair of the JDL. “He got exactly what he deserved.”

No arrests were made. In April 1994, when Odeh would have celebrated his 50th birthday, the city of Santa Ana erected a statue of him to commemorate his life and his work. Two years later, the statue was defaced, and a few months later, it was again desecrated by vandals who doused it in buckets of blood-red paint.

That same year, the FBI announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Odeh’s killers. It has so far gone unclaimed.

Members of the bomb squad prepare to examine the wrecked offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee offices in Santa Ana, Calif. The West Coast director of the ADC, Alex Odeh, was killed in the blast. On 12/5 the FBI announced it had begun an investigation of the recent attacks on ADC offices.

Members of the bomb squad prepare to examine the wrecked offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee offices in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1985.

Evading Justice

Baruch Ben-Yosef, who is 60 years old, lives in a Jewish-only settlement south of Bethlehem. He has practiced law as a member of the Israeli bar for a quarter-century, ringing up double-digit appearances in front of Israel’s Supreme Court over four decades — as client, lawyer, plaintiff, and defendant. In that time, he has also filed suit against multiple Israeli prime ministers, including the sitting premier, Benjamin Netanyahu.

After immigrating to Israel right out of high school in the Bronx, Ben-Yosef was among the first Jews to settle in the Palestinian territories that Israel occupied in June 1967. Months after his arrival, Ben-Yosef enlisted in Israel’s armed forces, serving in the now-defunct commando unit Sayeret Shaked, and he continued to perform regular reserve duty into his 30s. After Israel signed the Oslo Accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, however, Ben-Yosef refused to show up for army reserve duty.

Ben-Yosef is also one of the founding fathers of Israel’s dominionist modern-day Temple movement, which seeks to replace Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock — a historic shrine revered by Muslims and among the most beautiful buildings in the country — with a Hebraic temple.

In the United States, where Ben-Yosef grew up and returned to live in the early ’80s, he was involved with the Jewish Defense League, the violent, racist group founded by Kahane. Ben-Yosef was also active with Kahane’s movement in Israel, as a result of which he was one of the only Jewish citizens subjected to administrative detention by the Israeli state, a draconian measure that is almost only used against Palestinians. He was detained for six months in 1980 with Kahane himself for plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock. Ben-Yosef was detained for another six-month stretch in 1994, together with the rest of the leadership of the ultranationalist Kach movement, a political party founded by Kahane, after the Israeli government made membership in Kahanist groups illegal.

Another member of the Jewish Defense League was Keith Israel Fuchs, who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to Santa Monica, California. After high school, Fuchs moved to the West Bank settlement Kiryat Arba, where Rabbi Meir Kahane and his followers had created a community within a community.

On the Jewish holiday of Purim in February 1983, Fuchs fired bullets from a Kalashnikov rifle at a passing Palestinian car on the road outside Kiryat Arba. The New York Times reported that Fuchs was arrested for “firing into an Arab’s automobile that had splashed him going through a puddle.”

A report by Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Yehudit Karp published the previous year noted that Jewish settlers had long meted out violence to local Palestinians without repercussions, but attacks by Fuchs and other settlers the same week disturbed top Israeli officials because they involved the use of firearms.

As a result, Israel’s new Defense Minister Moshe Arens ordered the demolition of the new Kahanist neighborhood, and Fuchs was sentenced to 39 months in jail, which one media report noted was, up to that point in time, “the longest sentence ever for a Jewish vigilante.” His sentence was ultimately reduced to 22 months, on the condition that he spend the remaining months of his original sentence outside of Israel.

In December 1984, Fuchs returned to the United States as a condition of his parole. He remained there until September 1986 — about one year after Odeh was assassinated.

Nearly 35 years later, neither he nor Ben-Yosef has faced charges for a crime that at least three law enforcement officials suspect they committed in the United States: the murder of Alex Odeh.

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Andy Green, photographed in New York City in June of 1985.Photos: James Hamilton

Dual Identity

Ben-Yosef was born in the United States as Andy Green, and has long been wanted by the FBI for questioning in relation to Odeh’s murder.

Ben-Yosef and Fuchs (who is known in Israel by his Hebrew name, Israel) were identified as suspects in the immediate aftermath of Odeh’s assassination, according to three retired law enforcement officers who worked on the case and were interviewed by The Intercept, as well as several news reports from the time. The law enforcement officers — local police, two of whom served on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity, because the investigation remains open.

“It’s an open case. We had lots of open murder cases and stuff. But this one was frustrating because we had named suspects,” a retired police officer who worked the Odeh case for more than a decade told The Intercept, naming Ben-Yosef as a suspect, along with two fellow followers of Kahane: Keith Israel Fuchs and Robert Manning. “We know who did it. We know where they lived. We know why they did it, how they did it.”

In the decades since Odeh’s killing, ample evidence has emerged in the public domain that the American-born Andy Green is the same person as the Israeli citizen Baruch Ben-Yosef. Four Israeli newspapers reporting on his detention in 1980 referred to him as Baruch Green Ben-Yosef. He is identified by both names in 1994 records from the Knesset and the U.S. Senate. A Wall Street Journal article published May 18, 1994, and entered into Volume 140, Number 62 of the congressional record, includes reportage on the Temple movement activities of Keith Fuchs and “Baruch Ben-Yosef, born Andy Green.” The Wall Street Journal also reported that Fuchs had been “investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but never charged, in connection with several bombings in the U.S., including the deaths of an Arab-American activist and a suspected Nazi war criminal.” In American and Israeli news reports about the same events, such as his 1983 arrest in Israel and the Odeh assassination, Fuchs has been identified as Keith Fuchs, Israel “Keith” Fuchs, Yisrael Fuchs, and Israel Fox.

A quarter-century ago, Ben-Yosef himself admitted at a meeting of settlement supporters that the FBI sought him in connection with Alex Odeh’s assassination, the Jerusalem Post reported in January 1993. According to the Post, Ben-Yosef said that the FBI had unfairly gone after Manning for Odeh’s murder and the killing of an alleged Nazi war criminal in 1985, and Ben-Yosef maintained Manning’s innocence. The article went on: “Ben-Yosef said he too was wanted by the FBI” in connection with those killings, and that he had been “roughed up” by an FBI officer in the U.S. The Post also noted that Ben Yosef was “known in the US as Andy Green.”

According to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report published that same year, Ben-Yosef publicly acknowledged that he had been sought by U.S. law enforcement, though his comments did not explicitly reference the Odeh killing.

“Ben-Yosef, the executive director of the Temple Mount Yeshiva and a central figure in the Kach organization, admitted that he is wanted by the FBI in the United States for his involvement in the militant Jewish Defense League during the 1970s and 1980s,” the JTA reported in 1993, after Ben-Yosef and Fuchs were arrested in Israel on suspicion of planning attacks on Palestinians.

Ben-Yosef/Green, Fuchs, and Manning were identified as suspects in Odeh’s murder by journalist Robert Friedman, writing in the Village Voice in 1988 and in the Los Angeles Times in 1990. A 1994 in-depth portrait of Ben-Yosef published in the Jerusalem Post restated the allegations against him.

According to Friedman’s article in the Los Angeles Times, the FBI identified Fuchs, Ben-Yosef/Green, and Manning as the top suspects in Odeh’s slaying, before the twisted wreckage of the ADC offices had even been cleared. “The names of Fuchs, Green and Manning were mentioned as the bombers while we were still in front of the bombed-out building,” a California police official told the LA Times in 1990.

Manning was extradited to the United States in 1994 for another murder, not directly related to far-right activities or to Jewish power politics and is currently serving a life sentence for that crime in an Arizona federal penitentiary. Fuchs, meanwhile, has maintained a low profile for the last quarter-century, but The Intercept confirmed he lives in a small settlement south of Bethlehem, continuing to participate in private political meetings of the Israeli far-right. The street that he lives on is the only one in the country named after the village of Jifna, where Alex Odeh was born and raised.

baruch-ben-yosef-1580942866

YouTube video from Arutz Sheva TV, listed in September of 2011, shows an interview with Ben-Yosef.

Screenshot: The Intercept

“The Responsible Parties Are Believed to Have Fled to Israel”

In 1986, Ben-Yosef and Fuchs left the United States for Israel, and the following year, the Justice Department asked the Israeli government for help investigating Odeh’s murder. Twenty years after Odeh’s death, the Justice Department continued to chase leads. In 2006, then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales traveled to Tel Aviv and asked his Israeli counterpart, then-Justice Minister Haim Ramon, for his help with the case.

“The responsible parties are believed to have fled to Israel. A Mutual Legal Assistance request” — a procedure that allows for the exchange of information in the course of a criminal investigation — “has been submitted to the GOI [Government of Israel], and the lack of response remains an issue of concern for the FBI,” noted a diplomatic cable filed two days after the June 28 meeting.

The cable, published by WikiLeaks in 2011, notes that Ramon committed “to look into the case of Alex Odeh.” Ramon resigned from his post about two months after his meeting with Gonzales, and it is unclear what happened with the investigation in Israel afterward. In a recent interview, Ramon told The Intercept he does not remember anything about the Odeh case. “It is one of the issues that I was not really was involved too much,” he said, “and I cannot respond, and I don’t know what happened with this case.” Gonzalez declined to comment.

Ben-Yosef’s own statements in videos uploaded to YouTube in recent years by a Kahanist activist also indicate he is Andy Green. Ben-Yosef’s recounting of his arrest record parallel the journalist Robert Friedman’s narration of the same incidents, attributed to Andy Green in Friedman’s biography of Kahane, “The False Prophet.”

A spokesperson for the Santa Ana Police Department told The Intercept that the department’s files for the still-open case had been transferred to the FBI, which is the agency handling it. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment about the status of the investigation into Odeh’s killing. Asked to comment on the findings of The Intercept’s investigation, Ben-Yosef said, “I categorically deny any connection to the matters mentioned in your letter,” and he did not respond to further questions. Reached for comment by phone, Fuchs told The Intercept that he does not give interviews. He later confirmed receipt of a detailed query sent via WhatsApp, but did not respond to questions.

Despite the substantial documentation that has appeared in the Israeli press, one of the world’s leading intelligence apparatuses has allowed Ben-Yosef and Fuchs to run free, evading U.S. authorities.

“Our Policy Is to Cooperate Fully With the Murderers”

In the years that immediately followed the Odeh murder, the U.S. government’s persistent appeals to Israeli law enforcement for help in cracking the case came up short. In 1987, the FBI’s then-Assistant Director Floyd Clarke sent an internal memo to the bureau’s then-Executive Assistant Director Oliver Revell, complaining that his repeated efforts to learn what Israel knew about the bombing suspects were running into brick walls, according to a Washington Post report published that year.

“Numerous leads have been forwarded through FBIHQ to the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) in Washington, DC,” Clark wrote in his memo to Revell, excerpts of which were first published in the Village Voice. “The Terrorism Section has had numerous meetings with [Israeli] representatives in Washington, DC, during which our concerns relative to their handling of our requests were raised. Although these discussions have sometimes resulted in a temporary ‘flurry’ of activity on their part, no sustained improvement in the flow of information has been realized.”

During an official state visit to Washington, D.C., a decade later, Netanyahu was questioned directly about the Odeh case. At a January 21, 1998, event at the National Press Club, Netanyahu — then serving his first term as Israeli prime minister — claimed that Israel had received no official request from U.S. authorities to investigate the matter.

“I am not familiar with extradition requests concerning the murder of Alex Odeh. But I am sure that if those would be brought before me, I would look into them,” said Netanyahu. By framing his answer in terms of an extradition request, Netanyahu inaccurately equated participating in an investigation by sharing information to handing suspects over to the United States for prosecution, something law enforcement officials likely did not yet have enough evidence to do.

“Keith Fuchs and Andy Green are, apparently, still in Kiryat Arba,” retorted the ADC’s Sam Husseini, referring to the Hebron-area West Bank settlement and hotbed of Kahanist activity. “And what we’ve been told — since we’re the organization involved in this — is that the Justice Department has not received full cooperation at all from the Israeli government on this matter.”

In what could be something of a Freudian slip, Netanyahu bizarrely said to Husseini, “I assure you that our policy is to cooperate fully with the murderers.”

The Israeli prime minister quickly corrected himself by making a boilerplate assurance that Israeli law enforcement officials would handle the case without any anti-Palestinian prejudice.

In the weeks immediately preceding Netanyahu’s appearance at the National Press Club, Baruch Ben-Yosef had appeared multiple times in front of Israel’s Supreme Court. Once again in November 1998, 10 months after Netanyahu’s D.C. press conference, Ben-Yosef represented convicted U.S. spy Jonathan Pollard in a Supreme Court action against Netanyahu himself, then still Israeli prime minister.

Esther Pollard, wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, walks with her lawyer Baruch Ben-Yosef in the Supreme Court November 16. Jonathan Pollard petitioned the high court to block the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails until he is freed. The petition said that U.S. President Bill Clinton promised during lat month's Wye Middle East peace summit to free Pollard in exchange for Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners. JWH/ME - RP1DRIFSOHAB

Esther Pollard, wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, walks with her lawyer Baruch Ben-Yosef in the Supreme Court on Nov. 16, 1998.

Photo: Reuters

Being one of Israel’s most reactionary Jewish militants, Ben-Yosef’s activities on both sides of the Atlantic would likely have been well-known to the chiefs of the Shin Bet and the Mossad, Israel’s internal and external security services, both of whom report directly to Netanyahu.

Two of Netanyahu’s fellow Likud party lawmakers at that time, Limor Livnat and Uzi Landau — then-communications minister and chair of the foreign affairs and defense committee, respectively — also should have been aware of Ben-Yosef’s dual identity and his location. During a Knesset debate on April 26, 1994, about administrative detention being used against Ben-Yosef, as well as the rest of the Kahanist leadership, Israel’s then-Police Minister Moshe Shahal told Livnat and Landau that the measure had in fact already been applied against Ben-Yosef more than a decade ago. It was done by a government headed by their own Likud party, he said, “In 1980, against Rabbi Kahane, against Rabbi Baruch Ben Yosef Green.”

Netanyahu’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Pioneering Settler, Anti-Arab Militant, and Far-Right Attorney

In recent years, Fuchs, who works as a security guard in the settlements, has been involved in attempts to craft right-wing legislation. In 2013, along with several affiliates of Komemiut, a far-right group sympathetic to the teachings of Meir Kahane, he co-founded the influential NGO Meshilut, the Movement for Governance and Democracy. Meshilut has authored various bills that have been tabled by Israeli government lawmakers. In 2015, Fuchs attended a meeting of the Israeli parliament’s interior committee, along with Meshilut’s director and legal adviser.

Meshilut contends that it aims to reform the country’s bureaucracy and make it more responsive to the desires of Israeli citizens. However, critics question whether Meshilut, like Kahane himself and the Komemiut group that half of Meshilut’s founders have been affiliated with, is attempting to weaken Israel’s judiciary, so that its mainly secular regime can be transformed by a strictly religious one.

Ben-Yosef, meanwhile, still labors to replace the Muslim religious shrine at the center of the Old City of Jerusalem with a Jewish one, but he now does so as an activist-attorney.

Ever since he graduated from Bar Ilan University with a law degree in the early 1990s, Ben-Yosef has represented himself and other followers of Kahane in Israeli courts, defending them from various criminal charges and suing the state to demand Jewish rights on Haram al-Sharif, including the right to sacrifice animals there.

Known by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site was the location of Jewish temples in the distant past, the last one destroyed by Roman forces about 2,000 years ago. Six hundred years later, the golden-domed Qubbat al-Sakhrah, or Dome of the Rock, was built on the same spot, and the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site to Muslims, added a few years afterwards. The two buildings and the 36-acre Al-Aqsa compound that contains them are a potent symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Ben-Yosef has worked on the legal defense teams of other American-born followers of Meir Kahane who plotted armed attacks on Haram al-Sharif: Yoel Lerner and Alan Goodman. In 1975, 1978, and 1982, Yoel Lerner’s plans to explode the Dome of the Rock were stopped in time by Israeli police. But later in 1982, Alan Goodman managed to make his way into the holy shrine and rip through it with his Israeli army-issued machine gun. His rampage left two Palestinians dead and 11 wounded. (Ben-Yosef represented Goodman in his successful attempt to reduce his sentence in relation to those killings. He represented Lerner in an unrelated matter.)

Lerner was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail for his attempted 1982 attack, and Goodman was sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was commuted after 15 years behind bars.

In lectures uploaded in recent years to a Kahanist YouTube channel, before the channel was deleted in December, Ben-Yosef continued to advocate for a critical mass of Jews to take control of the Temple Mount, drive out the Muslims, and demolish their mosques.

Speaking to fellow followers of Meir Kahane in 2015, on the 25th anniversary of Kahane’s assassination, Ben-Yosef delivered a lecture at the Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea, the religious seminary Kahane founded in Jerusalem. “The whole thing boils down to one thing and one thing only, which is called the Temple Mount, HAR HABAYIT. The AM HA’HAMOR, the nation of donkeys that is sitting there, they understand that it’s coming to a boil,” said Ben-Yosef of the Palestinian people. “So all the things that the government, the police and everybody is trying to do to calm things down, that’s not what we want. We don’t want anything to calm down here! Just the opposite!”

In another lecture by Ben-Yosef posted on YouTube, he elaborates on the same theme: “How do we show our faith in Hashem [God]? How do we sanctify his name and show our faith? B’GERUSH HA’ARAVIM — expelling the Arabs — and TIHUR HAR HABAYIT [purifying the Temple Mount]! Removing the mosques from the Temple Mount! If you really believe in Hashem, that’s what you have to do!”

Today, Ben-Yosef continues to practice law, working out of an office in downtown Jerusalem, and make regular pilgrimages to the Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount, the focus of his political and religious aspirations.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on DECADES AFTER A PALESTINIAN AMERICAN ACTIVIST WAS ASSASSINATED IN CALIFORNIA

Libya at the precipice of division between Turkey and Russia as the endgame approaches

Turkish President Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Putin
By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

In an ominous sign that may herald darker days to come for Libya, the Libyan National Army (LNA) has announced on 4 June that it is withdrawing from the outskirts of the capital Tripoli in response to calls from a number of countries and organisations, and to facilitate the resumption of the so-called “5+5” talks, aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire in Libya. 

These talks, an outcome of the January 2020 Berlin conference, consist of five military officers appointed by the unelected Muslim Brotherhood / Al-Qaeda-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) and another five officers from the LNA. They have no deadline and carry the very real risk of transforming the Libyan conflict from an armed conflict into a frozen conflict — a situation of no war and no peace which can revert to an armed conflict at any moment, as is the case in Cyprus, Moldova (Dniester Republic), Ukraine (Donetsk), and Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhazia).

The announcement of the redeployment of the LNA away from Tripoli comes head on the heals of a similar announcement on 19 May in which the LNA said it would withdraw by two to three kilometers from all fronts in Tripoli to allow civilians to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In that announcement, it urged the GNA’s Islamist and organised crime militias, and their supporting Turkish forces and Syrian mercenaries, to reciprocate, which, as expected, they did not.

The latest announcement warned that the LNA would resume military operations and withdraw from the 5+5 talks in the event of the GNA militias not observing the ceasefire. The answer was not long in coming. Speaking at a joint news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara with Turkey’s Islamist and Ottoman revivalist President Recep Erdogan, broadcast by Turkish TRT television, the “prime minister” of the GNA, Fayiz al-Sarraj, pledged not to enter talks with the LNA and to continue fighting until the GNA’s militias are in full control of all Libya. Sarraj’s message was endorsed by Erdogan, who also reminded him of Turkey’s intent “to benefit from the natural resources of the eastern Mediterranean, including search and exploration [for oil and natural gas]”.

[Egyptian President Abd-al-Fattah] al-Sisi has proved to be a fearful and unreliable ally and is likely to become even more scaredy and dubious given that his patron, the United States, has been emitting signals of support for the Turkish military intervention and the Islamists.

The question now is how the LNA’s allies, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, will respond to the clear intention of Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood coalition, in the form of the GNA, to take over the whole of Libya. A Turkish-Muslim Brotherhood victory would present an existential threat to the regime of Egypt’s President Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi, who could soon be looking at Turkish troops across the border with Libya and seeing a surge of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt. But so far Sisi has proved to be a fearful and unreliable ally and is likely to become even more scaredy and dubious given that his patron, the United States, has been emitting signals of support for the Turkish military intervention and the Islamists. The UAE, on the other hand, has little to lose and could exit the stage with only a loss of face. 

This leaves Russia. Here its activities in Syria, where it has been collaborating with Turkey to apportion spheres of control in the north of the country, may give us a clue as to its probable course of action in Libya. Looking farther afield, in Russia’s own backyard, Moscow has been quite content with states of no war, no peace — frozen conflicts — in the Dniester region of Moldova, in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and now in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. So, it it conceivable that Russia may reach an accommodation with Turkey whereby it would accept a US-backed Turkish Islamist protectorate in western Libya and a Russian one in the east of the country. As we write, it has been confirmed that the Turkish-backed GNA militias have captured the town of Tarhuna, southeast of Tripoli, and are likely to continue their advance to the south and east of Libya. This makes the prospect of a divided Libya a very real one. 

Needless to say, the big losers in all this will be the Libyan people whose squabbles and tolerance of the Islamist and crime syndicate militias following the ouster of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi has led to this sorry state of affairs.

US to send troops to Tunisia in support of Turkish forces and Islamist terrorists in neighbouring Libya

US to send troops to Tunisia in support of Turkish forces and Islamist terrorists in neighbouring Libya

In “QuickPress”

Interview with US official suggests American support for Turkish military intervention and Islamist terrorists in Libya

Interview with US official suggests American support for Turkish military intervention and Islamist terrorists in Libya

In “QuickPress”

What next for Libya in the face of Turkish aggression and floundering Arab allies?

What next for Libya in the face of Turkish aggression and floundering Arab allies?

In “Home”

Posted in USA, Libya, Russia, TurkeyComments Off on Libya at the precipice of division between Turkey and Russia as the endgame approaches

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