Archive | September 11th, 2020

EU Missions Urge the Nazi regime to Cease Demolition of Palestinian Homes

The European Union (EU) missions in the Nazi occupied Jerusalem and Ramallah, on Wednesday, urged the Nazi regime to cease its demolition policy aimed exclusively at Palestinian structures in the Nazi occupied West Bank, including those funded by EU member states, Middle East Monitor reported.

“In line with the EU’s long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU once again urges the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions of Palestinian structures,” the statement said.

Between August 25 and September 7, thirty-three Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized for the lack of Nazi-issued building permits, displacing 98 Palestinians, over half of whom were children, and otherwise affecting about 100 people, according to the latest Protection of Civilians report by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to Article 17 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states;

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

OCHA: Protection of Palestinian civilians Report

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA): Bi-weekly report (August 25 – September 7, 2020)

  • An Israeli civilian was killed and an Israeli police officer and a soldier were injured by Palestinians in two separate incidents. On 26 August, a Palestinian stabbed to death an Israeli man in the city of Petah Tikva, in Israel. The suspected assailant, a 46-year-old man from the Nablus area, reportedly holding a work permit, was subsequently arrested. In the West Bank, a Palestinian drove his car into Israeli forces at the Za’atra checkpoint, in the Nablus governorate, causing light injuries to a soldier and a police officer; the driver was shot and injured, reportedly after he exited the car and ran towards the forces while brandishing a knife, and subsequently arrested. On 6 September, a Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli soldier near the Ariel settlement (Salfit) and was arrested.
  • Seventy Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were injured in various clashes across the West Bank. Most Palestinian injuries were sustained in clashes that erupted during five search-and-arrest operations. Another eight Palestinians were shot with live ammunition and injured in various incidents while attempting to cross into Israel through breached sections of the Barrier in the northern West Bank. Three Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were injured during clashes in Hebron city. Of the Palestinians injured, ten were hit by live ammunition, two were hit by rubber bullets, and two were physically assaulted, while the others inhaled tear gas, requiring medical treatment.
  • Overall, Israeli forces conducted 152 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank, arresting 117 Palestinians. On the overnight of 7 September, a large-scale operation took place across the Hebron governorate, with at least 30 Palestinians being arrested. Another large operation was carried out on 26 August across multiple East Jerusalem neighbourhoods simultaneously, in which ten people were arrested, reportedly for working for the Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem, in contravention to Israeli law. Regular policing activities and related tensions in Al-‘Isawiya neighbourhood of East Jerusalem continued; in one incident, a journalist was arrested and his equipment was confiscated.
  • On 31 August, after over three weeks of intermittent hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel, relative calm was restored and the Israeli access restrictions imposed in that context were lifted. During the escalation 12 Palestinians and six Israelis had been injured, and extensive damage to property on both sides had been recorded. Following the de-escalation the entry of goods, including construction materials and fuel, resumed, reducing daily power cuts to 12-16 hours, while the permissible fishing areas were restored to pre-escalation level, up to 15 nautical miles off the southern shore.
  • On at least 17 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire near Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza, and off its coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions, resulting in no injuries. Also, on three occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-leveling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence.
  • On 31 August, two Palestinian children aged 8 and 12 were injured as explosive remnants of war (ERW) they handled detonated while they were collecting scrap metal near Khuza’a village (Khan Younis). Since the end of the last large-scale hostilities in Gaza, in 2014, 19 Palestinians have been killed and 172 injured by ERW.
  • Thirty-three Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 98 Palestinians, over half of whom were children, and otherwise affecting about 100 people. Most demolitions and displacements were recorded in Area C, with the largest number of displacements (45 people) recorded in two incidents in the Bedouin community of Wadi As Seeq (Ramallah). Also, 12 people were displaced following the demolition of five structures in the herding community of Jinba (Hebron), located in an area designated as a ‘firing zone’ for Israeli military training. In Ras at Tin, another herding community located in a ‘firing zone’ in the Ramallah area, parts of a donor-funded school, which was under construction, along with equipment and construction materials, were seized. Four demolitions in East Jerusalem resulted in the displacement of 39 people; in three of these incidents, the demolitions were carried out by the owners, who were forced to do so to avoid additional fees and fines.
  • Two Palestinians were injured and Palestinian-owned property was vandalized in settler-related incidents. Palestinians from Kafr Malik (Ramallah) clashed with Israeli settlers, when the latter attempted to set up a new outpost on the village’s land; Israeli forces who intervened in the incident shot with live ammunition and injured a Palestinian man. In another incident, a Palestinian woman was stoned and injured while travelling on Road 60, in the Nablus governorate; three more cars sustained damage by stones. A shepherd from At Tuwani village (South Hebron) reported that a settler had rammed into his sheep, killing ten and injuring five. In three separate incidents, settlers vandalized four vehicles in Asira al Qibliya and Huwwara (both in Nablus), where they sprayed graffiti on the walls of houses, and on Road 60 in the Hebron governorate. Additionally, a staircase leading to a kindergarten in the H2 area of Hebron was damaged by settlers.
  • Three Israelis were injured and 12 vehicles were damaged as a result of stone-throwing by assailants believed to be Palestiniansaccording to Israeli sources. The stones were thrown at Israeli-plated vehicles driving on West Bank roads.

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Nazi Human Rights Violations in the Nazi Occupied Palestinian Territory

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR): Weekly report for September 3 – 9, 2020


Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-faceted violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized by excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, IOF wounded 9 Palestinian civilians in excessive use of force during raids into Palestinian cities. IOF also continued its policy of demolishing and destroying Palestinian houses and facilities for its settlement expansion schemes. Additionally, this week witnessed a significant increase in arrest campaigns against Palestinians, especially in Hebron.

The curfew continues in the Gaza Strip for the second week in a row to limit the spread of coronavirus after cases were discovered outside quarantine centers. PCHR warns of the catastrophic implications of coronavirus spread in the Gaza Strip, especially with its already-exhausted health care system due to 14 years of illegal and inhumane closure and collective punishment policies imposed by IOF on the Gaza Strip.

This week, PCHR documented 164 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report is only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity: IOF wounded 9 civilians in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank: 4 were wounded in two separate incidents in Ramallah; 2 (brothers) sustained shrapnel wounds from a bomb used by IOF to open the door to their house in Jenin refugee camp; IOF arrested both brothers after causing them critical wounds; 3 others were wounded near the annexation wall in Qalqilia.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF opened fire 3 times at agricultural lands and once at fishing boats, eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 90 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 97 Palestinians were arrested, including 5 children and 4 women. In Gaza, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip; also, IOF arrested a mentally ill Palestinian woman after she snuck into Israel through the Gaza Strip’s northern coastal border.

Settlement expansion activities and settlers’ attacks: Israeli occupation authorities continued its settlement expansion operations in the West Bank, PCHR documented 8 violations, including:

Israeli settler-attacks: PCHR documented 3 attacks by settlers in the West Bank: assault on civilians and their vehicles in Ramallah; rocks thrown at civilian houses in Hebron; attack on vehicle in Nablus. It should be noted that several cars sustained damage (shattered glass).

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement: The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst blockade in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

For the third consecutive week, curfew is still imposed on the Gaza Strip to contain the outbreak of coronavirus, especially after coronavirus cases were confirmed outside the quarantine centers in the Gaza Strip. As a result, the suffering of Gaza Strip population has increased, PCHR fears a catastrophic deterioration in living conditions if the curfew is maintained for a lengthy period without a protection mechanism for the poor, unemployed and limited-income families, as well as daily workers who have lost their sources of income due to the state of emergency and curfew.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

I. Shooting and Other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity:

  • At approximately 13:15 on Friday, 04 September 2020, IOF stormed Deir Abu Mashal village, northwest of Ramallah, and stationed in the vicinity of the village’s main entrance. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones at IOF while the latter responded with live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a 20-year-old civilian was shot with a rubber bullet in his feet and a 19-year-old was shot with a tear gas canister in his neck. The wounded civilians were transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for medical treatment. IOF closed the village’s main entrance with sand barriers before they withdrew from it at 14:30. A number of young men managed to open the entrance.
  • At approximately 14:00 on the same Friday, a number of young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiya area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint established at al-Shuhada’a closed street. A number of soldiers at the above-mentioned checkpoint fired sound bombs at stone-throwers and then stationed behind cement cubes that were present in front of the checkpoint. The young men gathered again and threw stones at the soldiers while the latter responded with rubber bullets and tear-gas canisters. As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. Clashes between IOF and the young men continued until 18:00. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Saturday, 05 September 2020, IOF stormed Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They surrounded a house owned by Mohammed Fadel Jad’oun (27) in the center of the camp and blew up the door with an explosive bomb. As a result, the door was destroyed, and Mohammed and his brother Ahmed (23) sustained critical wounds resulting from the bomb’s shrapnel and the door’s shattered pieces as they were sleeping behind the door in the first floor of their 2-story house. IOF arrested both brothers and carried them out on stretchers.
  • At approximately 09:30 on the same Saturday, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis fired live bullets at agricultural lands, east of al-Fukhari village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 15:30 on the same Saturday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Shoka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds in the area adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 18:00 on the same Saturday, IOF reinforced with several military SUVs stormed al-Mazra’a al-Sharqiya village, northeast of Ramallah. A number of young men gathered at the village’s main entrance and threw stones at military vehicles that were present in the area. A number of young men stepped out of their vehicles and indiscriminately fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at stone-throwers and chased them in the village neighborhoods and streets. Confrontations continued until 21:00 on the same day. Many civilians suffocated due to tear gas canisters. No arrests were arrested.
  • At approximately 21:20 on the same Saturday, IOF stationed near the annexation wall’s gate, adjacent to Hablah village, south of Qalqilia, fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at a number of Palestinian workers, attempting to enter Israel for work. As a result, 3 civilians, from Qalqilia, were wounded; 2 of them sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and the third (19) was shot with a rubber bullet in his jaw and he was transferred to Nablus Specialty Hospital.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 06 September 2020, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, fired live bullets at agricultural lands, east of al-Fukhari village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 00:45 on Monday, 07 September 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip chased and sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (3 nautical miles). The shooting continued for 2 hours. Fishermen, as a result of that, panicked and had to sail back to the shore. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 23:30, on the same Monday, IOF stormed the cemetery area in the center of Al-Eizariya village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They combed the area. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at IOF while the latter heavily fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters in the area. As a result, large parts of Omran al-Jerjawi’s house was burned after a number of sound bombs fell in the house.
  • At approximately 00:10 on Tuesday, 08 September 2020, a group of Israeli settlers took part from “Shilo” settlement established on part of Eastern Ramallah villages, into “Ras Etin” area, east of Kafr Malek village, north of Al-Mughira, Deir Jarir, and Tormos-Ayya villages, north east of Ramallah. The area is inhabited by Abu Salama Bedouin family. When settlers stormed the area, its residents gathered and attempted to confront them by throwing stones at them. Israeli forces immediately arrived at the area and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at civilians and clashed with them. As a result, two civilians were shot with rubber-coated steel rounds, both in their feet. Both the injured were transferred to the medical center in Tormos-Ayya village, for treatment.

II. Incursions and Arrests

Thursday, 03 September 2020:

  • At approximately 00:50, IOF moved into Asira al-Shamaliya village, north of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched Mohammed Omar Yasin’s (25) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Beit Ammer, north of Hebron, and stationed in Beit Zeita neighborhood. They invaded and searched two houses belonging to Ayman Hamad Abu Maria (20), and Mohammed Waheed Abu Maria (21), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron governorate, and stationed in Roq’a neighborhood. They raided and searched Fadi Bader Mohammed al-‘Ammour’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Montaser Sibta (14) and Mahmoud Sa’di al-Rajabi (25) and detained them.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Deir Abu Mish’al village, northwest of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Omar Zahran (43) and Wael Mohammed Atta (49), who were former prisoners in the Israeli prisons.
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF moved into Tulkarem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Rami As’ad Shalbaya (38) and Mahmoud Shihada Yousef Khalil (28) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Burin, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Mohammed Mizhir Zibin’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Bal’a village, north of Tulkarem. They raided and searched Osaid Othman Suliman’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Ram village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Shadi Kenana’s (21) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 03:40, IOF moved into Kafr Ne’ma village, west of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Saif Mohammed Abdo (27), Ahmed Mahmoud Taha (45), and Maher Mohammed Abdu (34). IOF released Maher Abdu later.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Hizma village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Fawzi al-Khatib’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • In dawn hours, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint on the entrance of Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin. They arrested Ra’ed Fathallah Hantouli (35), from Silat al-Thuhr village, southwest of Jenin. It should be noted that Ra’ed is a former prisoner in the Israeli prisons.
  • At approximately 05:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched Emad Omar Abu al-Hija’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF stationed at one of the temporary military checkpoints established on the entrance of Hebron’s Old City, arrested Dalal Ahmed Erzeikat (29), from Tafouh village, west of Hebron. They claimed that she was in possession of a knife, and she was taken to “Kiryat Arba’” settlement for investigation, east of Hebron.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Nablus and Qarawat Bani Hassan, West of Salfit; Beit Kahel, al-Majd, Shoyoukh al-‘Aroub, and al-Fawwar refugee camp, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 04 September 2020:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Taqoua’ village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched the house of the former prisoner, Shorouq Mohammed al-Badan (25), and arrested her. It should be noted that IOF released al-Badan two months ago, after spending a year under the administrative arrest in the Israeli prisons. On 15, July 2019, IOF moved into her house in Taqoua’, and she was taken to “Hasharon” prison after referring her to Damon prison. She is a mother of a 3 years old daughter, and she suffered several health deteriorations due to the difficult conditions in the prison.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF stationed at “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, arrested (3) civilians from Hebron’s Old City, after referring to the Israeli Intelligence Services there. The detainees are: Ahed Ghazi Jabrin (20), Khaled Alaa al-Sharif (22), and Haroun Ahed al-Rajabi (19).
  • At approximately 20:55, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint in the entrance of Deir Sharaf village, on the western entrance of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They arrested Malek Adel Mahmoud (26), from Beit Imrin village, northwest of the city.

Saturday, 05 September 2020:

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF arrested four employees of the Islamic Endowments Department, Hiba Sarhan (a female guard at the mosque), Imran al-Ashhab, Imad Abdeen and Bilal Awadallah, while on duty in the mosque, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They were taken to al-Qishla police station for investigation, and they were released on condition that banning their entry to the mosque for a week. Eyewitnesses said that, Hiba Sarhan attempted to prevent an Israeli officer from entering the Dome of the Rock building from the women’s gate, so the police assaulted and detained three other employees after they intervened to defend Sarhan and prevent her arrest. Immediately, IOF arrived to the scene and arrested the four employees.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mo’tasem Hamza Obaid’s (17) house, severely assaulted and arrested him.
  • At approximately 20:08, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint near Jaba’ village, south of Jenin, arrested Tareq Mohammed al-A’raj (23), from Anabta village, east of Tulkarem. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Beit Ammer, Hebron, and al-Thaheriya villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 06 September 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mahmoud Nimir Ashwa’s (16) house and arrested him. He was released after several hours of investigation after imposing the house arrest for 5 days, and third-party guarantee.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Hizna village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ibrahim Fayez Sbaih’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. They raided and searched Baker Na’el al-Hindi’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF stationed on “Container” military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Nour Sa’di al-Hasanat (17), from al-Dheisheh refugee camp, south of the city, while driving his car and passing through the military checkpoint. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 06:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved 100-meters to the east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis. They leveled and combed lands and redeployed to the north of the border fence several hours later.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They mounted the roofs of the Shareya School for boys and the Shareya School for girls, adjacent to the northern and western walls of al-Asqa Mosque. They planted two speakers and electronic devices on the roof of both schools.
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF moved into the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Naseem Maher al-Atrash (29), and Jalal Dawoud Abu Snaina (22).
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in al-Hadab village, al-Hila, east of Yatta; Tarqoumiya, and Sa’eer villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 07 September 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Towr neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Sari Sami Abu al-Hawa’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hebron, and stationed in al-Bassa street. They raided and searched Hamza Omar Abdul Qader Abu Aysha’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Qalandia refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Atef Mutair’s (27) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiya village, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Yehya Hasan Ladadwa (29) and Mohammed Mustafa Shraiteh (35) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 04:50, IOF moved into Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. They raided and searched Nassar Abu Dahouk’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF arrested Riyad Asfour al-Salaima (26), while present in one of the stores in Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at (160) military checkpoint established in the east of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, arrested Mohammed Montaser al-‘Ajlouni (18), claiming that he was in possession of a knife. IOF took him to “Kiryat Arba’” investigation center, east of Hebron.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF stationed in the “Container” military checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested Eissa Nasri Salama Rizkallah (39), from Beit Jala, while passing through the checkpoint. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 17:40, IOF arrested Adam Darwish, an Algerian tourist, at al-Aqsa Mosque and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yazan Emran Obaid’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF stationed along the border fence, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, arrested Mofida Khader Mahmoud al-Ghoul (38), after swimming and sneaking to Zikim military base. IOF opened fire and light bombs in the sky and took her to one of the investigation centers. Her family said that Mofida suffers from mental disorders, she was walking with her family along the fence until she got lost at approximately 19:30. Her family were surprised when they saw the Israeli army’s release about arresting a female while swimming to Zikim military base. At approximately 23:00, she was released through Beit Hanoun “Erez” checkpoint.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Wadi Rahhal village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Jamal Aref Zeyada’s house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in Gush Etzion settlement, south of the city.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Dura, Deir Samet, al-Thaheriya, and Surif villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 08 September 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli soldiers moved into Marah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Ahmed Qasem al-Shaikh’s (50) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military checkpoint moved into Beit Ammer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched (4) houses and arrested (4) civilians; Ahmed Khader Abu Maria (55), Saqer Ahmed Sabarna (37), Mo’ayad Hussain al-Tit (28), and Tha’er Ribhi Awad (26).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into Bani Ni’ma village, east of Hebron. They raided and searched Munir Faraj Manasra’s (44) house and detained him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into al-Thaheriya village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched (5) houses and arrested (5) civilians; Siham Khalil al-Batat (58), Mohammed Isma’el al-Tol (55), Mahmoud al-Tol (49), Zeid Ali Abu Dayya (43), and Atef Ali Raba’ (42).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into Ethna village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Mo’ath Mohammed Abu Jhaisha’s (33) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into al-‘Asja village, southeast of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate. They invaded and searched two houses and arrested Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Sondos (41) and Tha’er Jihad Abu Sondos (36).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into Deir Samit, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched five houses and arrested (5) civilians; Abdul Baset Owda al-Haroub (50), Owda Mohammed al-Haroub (48), Dia’ Ismael Masalma (33), Sharhabil Badawi Masalma (28), and Mohammed Abdul Hameed Masamla (37).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into Surif, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Marwan Abduol Qader Abu Fara’s (38) house and detained him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Yousef Mohammed Abu Afifa (31) and Abdul Fattah Ayed Abu Sil (25).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, moved into several neighborhoods in Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (12) civilians; PCHR keeps the names.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF stormed Birzeit village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house owned by Ezz Khalaf Abdul Mohsen Shalan (19) and arrested him.
  • At the same time, IOF reinforced with several military SUVs stormed Abu Shukheidim village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mahmoud Mousa Ali Qendah’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF stormed Harmalah area, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house owned by Mohammed and Yasser Mahmoud Sabbah (37) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military SUVs raided and searched several residential areas in Yatta, Hebron. They raided and searched several houses from which they detained 5 civilians: Ibrahim Eid Suleiman Hathalin (44), Fadel Yusuf Jabarin (40), Hutheifah Isamil Manasrah (33), his brother Qutaiba (31) and Iyad Mohammed Jabrin al-Amour (39).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF stormed al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ahmed Essam Darwish (19) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:00, Israeli soldiers stationed at Abu al-Resh military checkpoint established south of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the center of Hebron’s Old City, arrested Amenah Abdul Ghani Abu Turki (24) claiming that she had a knife. She was taken to “Kiryat Arba” settlement, east of Hebron.
  • IOF carried out 3 incursions in Silwad and Burham villages in Ramallah; and Yasuf village, east of Salfit.

III. Settlement Expansion and Settler Violence in the West Bank

a. Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • On Saturday, 04 September 2020, Israeli authorities issued a seizure decision against 6 dunams and 75 (sqm) from Dir Sam’an area in Kafr ad-Dik village, in addition to 17 other dunams and 915 (sqm) from Kherbet al-Qal’ah in Deir Ballut village, in favor of ” Leshem ” and “ Beduel ” settlements. Israeli authorities gave the lands’ owners 60 days to challenge against the seizure decision.
  • On Monday, 07 September 2020, Israeli authorities notified to demolish 2 livestock barracks and another facility in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem. Ahmed Ghazal, Deputy of Kisan Village Council, said that IOF notified Mahmoud Ibrahim ‘Abiyat to demolish his 2 livestock barracks and another facility near Ma’aleh Amos settlement, and gave him 20 days to evacuate or IOF will demolish and seize them. Ghazal added that Kisan village is exposed to a fierce settlement attack, as Israeli authorities carry out a largest settlement project in Bethlehem, which aims to seize at least 3500 dunams. It should be noted that 3 weeks ago, IOF demolished Hussain ‘Abdullah ‘Abiyat and Talab Ghazal’s barracks in Kisan village.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF leveled 42 dunams planted with olive trees in Khelet al-Jadidah area in Kifl Hares village, north of Salfit, in favor of expanding ” Kiryat Netafim” settlement, which is established on Kifl Hares and Salfit’s village lands. The leveled dunams belong to the heirs of Nimr Abdul Karim Obaid and Saeed Jaber Shamlawi. Thus, the main road that connects Haris and Biddya villages will be transformed into an internal road linking Netafim and Barkan settlements. It should be noted that the lands’ owners did not receive any notices from Israeli authorities before their lands were leveled.
  • At approximately 19:00 on Monday, 07 September 2020, 5 siblings from Serry family implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and self-demolished their shops in al-Sal’ah neighborhood in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. ‘Abdullah Serry, one of the shops’ owners, said that he and his 4 siblings built 5 shops (250 sqm) in 2016, which cost NIS 500,000. He clarified that they attempted to license the shops before building them, but in vain. Serry added that few months after building the shops, the Israeli Municipality prosecuted them and imposed a construction fine of NIS 60,000 on them, which they are still paying to this day. After that, the Israeli Municipality issued a demolition notice against the shops, so Serry family hired an engineer and several lawyers in a new attempt to license the shops. Serry indicated that they paid more than NIS 200,000 for lawyers and engineers in fees; therefore, they decided to self-demolish the property to avoid paying more fines and the demolition costs for the municipality which exceed NIS 70,000.
  • On the same day, Israeli Magistrate Court issued an eviction decision against al-Rajbi family building in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in favor of “Ateret Cohenim” settlement Association, under the pretext of being a Jewish ownership since 1881. Zuhair Rajbi, Head of Baten al-Hawa neighborhood Committee, said that the Israeli Magistrate Court issued an eviction decision, after the sons of the late Abd al-Fattah al-Rajbi had struggled to protect their property since 2016. Al-Rajbi explained that the court had given the property’s residents until 01 April to implement the eviction. He added that the property is a residential building consisting of 3 apartments and housing 4 families, namely: Hoda al-Rajbi and her daughter Tahani, and her sons Kayed al-Rajbi (10 members), Wael (9 members), and Jaber (9 members). Al-Rajbi pointed out that, several years ago, Ateret Cohenim Association notified the residents to evacuate, demanding the land on which the property is located under the pretext that it belongs to the Jews. Therefore, the family of Abdel Fattah al-Rajbi went to the court to prove their ownership to the property, which they have been living in since the occupation of Jerusalem. Al-Rajbi confirmed that the family would submit their appeal to the District Court in a new attempt to stay on their property. Al-Rajbi stated that the eviction decisions in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood have recently increased. The decision to evacuate the al-Rajabi family was preceded by 4 court decisions issued against Dweik, Shweiki and al-Rajbi families, who fight and struggle to protect their homes. Al-Rajbi added that that these families fall within the “Ateret Cohenim” scheme, aims at seizing 5 dunams and 200 square meters from al-Hara al-Wosta neighborhood lands, under the pretext that these lands belong to Jews from Yemen since 1881. Ateret Cohenim Association claims that the Israeli Supreme Court recognized the ownership of Jews from Yemen over the land. He pointed out that there are 35 residential buildings inhabited by about 80 families established on the land, and all residents have lived in the neighborhood for decades, after they bought lands and properties from their former owners with official documents.
  • On Tuesday, 08 September 2020, Hamed Hammad implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and self-demolished his house on al-Ghawanmah road in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Hammad said that in 1998, he built 2 floors (80 sqm) over his house, overlooking al-Aqsa Mosque. He clarified that after his house was built, Israeli authorities prosecuted him and imposed fines of NIS 87,000 and NIS 20,000 on him. Hammad added that throughout the past years, he attempted to license the 2 houses, but in vain. After that, Israeli court issued a final demolition decision against the 4th floor, where his son Mohammed lives. The Israeli authorities gave Hammad a year and a half to license the 3rd floor, or they will demolish it. Hammad pointed out that he was forced to self-demolish his house to avoid paying fines to the municipality, especially in light of the difficult economic situation due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 09 September 2020, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into ‘Arab Ramadin village in southern Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers handed Sameer Hasan al-Malihat (36) and Shokri Ibrahim al-Malihat (44) 2 cease-construction notice to their under-construction houses (70 sqm), under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah. The military construction vehicles leveled No’man ‘Abed al-Fattah Nofal’s 22 olive trees. Moreover, workers from Israeli private companies surrounded Nofals’ 44 dunams with barbed wires and denied his access to them, citing the construction of a settlement dirt road to connect “Talmon” settlement complex, which is built on part of Ras Karkar village, and being in Area C as reason for their decision.

b. Israeli Settler Violence

  • At approximately 21:30 on Thursday, 03 September 2020, Israeli settlers, from “ Shilo ” and ” Elia ” settlements in eastern Ramallah, attacked a road connecting between al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya and Tormos-Ayya villages, east of the city. The settlers threw stones at Palestinians’ vehicles passing on the road. As a result, the windshield of Mousa Salah Hamayil’s vehicle was broken. Additionally, the settlers attacked Hamayil and his family, causing bruises to all of them. They were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive treatment. Moreover, the settlers threw stones at Hatem Hamed Shaheen’s vehicle carrying 7 passengers, causing material damage to the vehicle and breaking its windshield. No injuries among the passengers were reported.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 05 September 2020, Israeli settlers, from a settlement outpost in Hebron, threw stones at Palestinians’ houses on al-Shuhada street in Hebron’s Old City, causing fear among the residents. It should be noted that al-Shuhada street and Tal al-Ramida neighborhood witness an intense settler presence, especially on Saturdays every week.
  • On Sunday, 06 September 2020, Israeli settlers, from ” Price Tag” group, attacked the southern side of Huwara village, southeast of Nablus, where they broke the windows of Malek Ahmed Sa’adah’s vehicle parked in front of his house. The settlers then fled to the mentioned settlement.

IV. Collective Punishment Policy

  • At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 09 September 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Bani Na’im village in eastern Hebron. IOF raided a house belonging to Naser Mahmoud Khalil al-Tarayra, whose son Mohammed (26) was killed by IOF on 30 June 2016, under the pretext of carrying out a stabbing attack resulted in the killing of a female soldier. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the house surroundings, in addition to photographing the house and taking measurements of its outside walls. Also, IOF threatened al-Tarayra family to demolish their house again. It should be noted that on 15 August 2016, Israeli authorities blew up Naser Mahmoud Khalil al-Tarayra’s house, under the pretext that his son Mohammed carried out a stabbing attack in “Givat Kharsina” settlement, which is established on Palestinians’ lands, east of the city. At approximately 00:20, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Explosive Engineering Unit raided and surrounded al-Tarayra’s house. The explosive engineering teams transplanted explosive devices in the house, while Israeli soldiers evacuated civilians from nearby houses taking them to a house located 400 meters away. After the house was blown up, all interior windows were broken.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, Human Rights0 Comments

Nazi army Forced Palestinian to Demolish Fourth Floor of his Home

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Nazi army, forced a citizen of Jerusalem to demolish the fourth floor of his home, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Nazi occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

The owner for the home, Hamed Hammad, said he was ordered to remove the fourth floor of his house himself or pay excessive demolition costs to the Nazi municipality.

In related news, Nazi court issued a verdict in favour of the Nazi Jewish settler group, Ateret Cohanim, expelling a Palestinian family from their apartment building in Silwan neighborhood, located on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic), the building consists of three apartments, which are home to 30 members of the Rajabi family.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

Kairos Palestine Condemns US Zionist Bishop’s Support for ‘Israel’-UAE Normalization

A major Christian Palestinian group yesterday criticized a United States bishop for condoning the recent Israeli-UAE normalization agreement.

Kairos Palestine addressed an open letter to Bishop of Rockford and Illinois, David Malloy, who also serves as Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, criticizing him on showing satisfaction with the agreement and providing him with their observations on the issue.

“People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land,” they said.

“Establishing peace relations between Israel and Arab states starts by ending the Israeli occupation and granting the Palestinians their rights, including the right to self-determination. Any other path is a false way to peace. Isolating, then cornering the “poor” to kneel before the powerful is surrender, not peace,” they stressed.

“Moreover, if the Arab regimes will recognize Israel, their peoples will refuse to normalize with the Israelis, as long as the Palestinians remain under oppression. True peace doesn’t start with forging peace agreements with Arab countries but rather with the Palestinians. True peace should start in the hearts of the Palestinians, and this is in the hands of Israel to recognize a Palestinian state on the 22% left from historic Palestinian land. It is a question of the equality between peoples, all of whom have been created equal by God.”

“You condone the agreement because it delayed the annexation of more than 30% of what is left of Palestinian land. But this delay is in words only. In fact, on the ground de facto annexation is an ongoing process, day after day, through daily cruel and destructive actions of the army and the settlers against Palestinian farmers, including the constant stealing of Palestinian land and building of settlements. Netanyahu himself declared that the annexation was not cancelled but postponed.”

“Some people call this accord the Abraham agreement. Here we say, enough exploiting of God and God’s prophets to side with the powerful. If we call on God and the prophets in this matter, we must then observe God’s commandments and the equality God has given to all peoples—including Israelis and Palestinians. Justice to all.”

“Now on the ground, as the “powerful” take what is theirs and what is others, they are even supported by many churches. The weak are deprived of their rights while the powerful and the churches respond with words, but no action.”

“You speak about direct negotiations. They took place for 30 years and Israel kept saying “no” to the minimum requirements of the Palestinians. Going back to negotiations with the same disposition of the powerful is insane. But if the powerful show more equity towards the other party (regarding Jerusalem and acknowledging the equality of all), negotiations will make sense.”

“Finally, Palestinians rejected Trump’s deal of the century because it did not answer to the minimal requirements of the Palestinians described in UN resolutions and international laws. Trump’s plan has declared Jerusalem only as Israel’s capital. His plan has taken away what belongs to the Palestinians and given it to Israel. It is a perpetuation of the long injustice imposed by the Israelis upon the Palestinian people.”

“Real peace is to support the “poor” and to say “no” to the injustice inflicted by the “powerful” on the weak. In this way, churches should lobby their governments to put an end to this prolonged tragedy of the peoples of the Holy Land.”

The letter was signed by Latin Patriarch Emeritus, Michel Sabbah, Coordinator of Kairos Palestine, Rifat Kassis, Coordinator of NCCOP & Director of Arab Educational Institute, Fuad Giacaman, President of DIYAR, Mitri Raheb, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center officer, Omar Harami, The East Jerusalem Rehab Program & Beit Sahour YMCA, Nader Abu Amsha, Director of Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of Christ at the Checkpoint conference, Munther Isaac, and Nidal Abu Zuluf of the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI).

Kairos Palestine is primarily know for issuing the Kairos Palestine document, full title of which is “A Moment of Truth: A word of faith and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering”, urging churches around the world “to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth” and explicitly endorsing BDS “as tools of justice, peace and security.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UAE0 Comments

Nazi plan to secretly fund pro-‘Israel’ groups in the U.S.

Israel’s plan to secretly fund pro-Israel groups in the U.S.


Israel’s plan to secretly fund pro-Israel groups in the U.S.

Sagi Balasha (left), co-founder of secretive Israeli group Kela Shlomo (now named ‘Concert’) with Israeli American Council Chairman Shawn Evenhaim, billionaire campaign donor Sheldon Adelson and wife Miriam.

‘The repeated efforts to push Israeli government money into American Jewish institutions comes at a time of heightened sensitivities over foreign governments’ quiet attempts to use money to influence American discourse. And they come from a ministry whose actions, even within Israel, are veiled in secrecy.’

The extent to which groups are ‘seeking to go around FARA regulations and disguise the role of foreign governments in these activities, that does raise some problematic questions.’

By Josh Nathan-Kazis, reposted from The Forward, May 29, 2018: “Jewish Groups Reject Israel Funding For Fear Of Being Branded Foreign Agents”

Last fall, officials with a shadowy Israeli government agency started knocking on the doors of America’s leading Jewish institutions.

They came offering money with few strings attached. They wanted American Jewish institutions to help them fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement by running “missions” to Israel for influencers, something some of them were doing anyway.

Editor’s note: The the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), is an international movement against Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights. It upholds “the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.” 

Jewish institutions aren’t usually in the business of turning down grants. But then, one by one, at least four did.

The Jewish Federations of North America, perhaps the central institution of the organized Jewish community, said no. So did the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, another key establishment group.

The Jewish organizations rejected the offers, according to multiple Jewish communal officials who spoke with the Forward, because accepting the proposed deal would have required them to register as foreign agents with the Department of Justice. At least four organizations turned down offers from the same Israeli agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

[Editor’s note: It is unknown whether any of the organizations reported the effort to U.S. authorities.]

Officials with the ministry were growing “anxious and frustrated” amid the rejections, according to one Jewish professional whose organization the MSA offered to fund. They were “anxious to figure out a way to spend the money,” the professional said.

Now, even after the initial rejections, the ministry is back with a new offer. In recent months, with the help of a former head of a major Jewish organization, ministry officials have met with American Jewish leaders to describe a new effort to fund anti-BDS work here. This time, the money would be funneled through a mysterious Israeli nonprofit that has a war chest of $35 million in Israeli government funds.

“The Israelis are… not quite understanding how things are done here, and certainly not understanding well that you can get American Jewry into trouble with their neighbors if you are not sensitive to the way things are legally done in the United States,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

The ministry’s repeated efforts to push Israeli government money into American Jewish institutions comes at a time of heightened sensitivities over foreign governments’ quiet attempts to use money to influence American discourse. And they come from a ministry whose actions, even within Israel, are veiled in secrecy.

The Ministry

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs is a strange hybrid. Calling itself a “start-up” ministry, it exists in a vague space between the portfolio of the Foreign Ministry, with which it has clashed, and Israel’s intelligence community. Tasked with opposing the global BDS movement, it is led by Gilad Erdan, a onetime Likud up-and-comer thought to have higher ambitions. The ministry’s secretary-general, Sima Vaknin-Gil, is Israel’s former chief censor.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has poured money into the ministry to fund its efforts against BDS. But inside of Israel, human rights observers have accused it of operating as a political police force. When Israeli authorities stripped an employee of the American NGO Human Rights Watch of his visa in early May, his attorneys received as supporting evidence a Ministry of Strategic Affairs dossier detailing his political activities.

“I have concerns that this is in fact a kind of political FBI,” the Israeli human rights attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Human Rights Watch staffer, said of the ministry. “It’s not about violations of the law. It’s not about security matters. It’s not about terrorism. It’s about what people lawfully are doing, and that’s something inconceivable in a liberal democracy.”

The ministry’s efforts to directly fund American Jewish groups appears to have begun in the fall of 2017. At the time, ministry officials approached the mainstream Jewish organizations, offering funding to begin or greatly expand their offerings of trips to Israel for so-called influencers. The trips, versions of which are already run by a number of American Jewish groups, were meant to build sympathy for Israel among potential allies in the effort to oppose BDS.

The ministry made offers to the JCPA, JFNA, and Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, according to a professional staff member of one of the three organizations. JCPA did not respond to a request for comment. JFNA said that it had accepted no money from the ministry. AEPi did not respond to an inquiry from the Forward. The ministry also made an offer to at least one other Jewish organization that the Forward cannot publicly identify.

According to the professional staff member, none of the groups accepted the ministry’s funds. Multiple Jewish communal officials said that the reason was a concern that accepting the money would require that the organizations register as foreign agents. “The way that the contract was set up, groups might have to register as a foreign agent to get the money,” one Jewish communal official told the Forward.

Federal law requires that individuals or organizations that engage in certain activities on behalf of a foreign government submit to an onerous registration process with the Department of Justice. Currently, the only Jewish organizations in the U.S. registered as foreign agents are the American sections of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization. Other groups that work in support of Israel, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, do not register.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act is antiquated in its language and difficult to parse, but the registration requirements it imposes fall to a broad range of recipients of foreign funding.

“The law covers more than just lobbying, but includes public relations work and can be triggered when those activities are financed or subsidized by a foreign principal,” said Caleb P. Burns, a partner at the law firm Wiley Rein who specializes in FARA.

Running trips paid for by the Israeli government and meant to convince influencers to back Israel’s cause could arguably be considered public relations work that would require registration under FARA.

In making the proposal last fall, the ministry appears to have misread the mood in the U.S. around foreign governments sending funds here. “Given the sensitivities over Russian ‘meddling,’ there’s going to be heightened sensitivity to taking money from a foreign government to promote their interests,” Sarna said.

FARA itself was a relatively obscure law until the fall of 2017, when federal prosecutors indicted President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort for failing to register as a foreign agent.

“There’s been a full-on awakening in this country that this law exists,” said Burns.

Even before the current anxieties around foreign influence, American Jewish groups have long been wary about taking direct government funds from Israel, driven by a fear of being seen as loyal to Israel rather than America — the “dual loyalty” canard.

In recent years, however, American Jews have grown more comfortable with the notion of taking Israeli government funds. Birthright trips, for example, are subsidized by Israel, and Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs recently provided funds to Hillel to support its work on U.S. campuses. (The Hillel funding is routed through an Israeli non-governmental organization that also raises money from private donors.)

“The fact that they’re taking interest in American Jews, on a certain level, is positive,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former head of the Union for Reform Judaism. “That’s a good thing. I’m one of those people who always talks about the fact that this is a reciprocal relationship.”

Still, there has long been caution among American Jewish groups, which notionally represent American Jews’ interests, about appearing too close to successive Israeli governments.

“American Jewish philanthropic organizations and communal institutions don’t want to be owned by any government that’s in power in the state of Israel,” said Lila Corwin Berman, a professor of American Jewish history at Temple University. “If Jewish life sees itself as being controlled by entities of the Israeli government, then it cedes this space of being able to say there is vital, important, independent Jewish life in the Diaspora.”

Solomon’s Sling

The ministry seems to have gone home last fall with its pockets still full. It didn’t take them long to try again.

In December, shortly after its funds were rejected by the American Jewish establishment, the ministry announced a new plan to send $35 million over three years to a non-governmental entity that would use it to fight BDS. Jewish donors were said to be matching the government’s contributions to the entity.

Haaretz reported in January that the ministry was working with a public benefit corporation called Kela Shlomo, or “Solomon’s Sling,” and that its directors include the former CEO of the Israeli American Council, an American Jewish nonprofit supported by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. 

[Editor’s note: Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to the Republican party, has largely driven Trump’s Israel policies. Adelson has said he regrets having served in the US Army instead of his preferred one,  the Israeli military.]

Kela Shlomo’s work is, like much of the ministry’s efforts, shrouded in secrecy. Its supporters have described it as mounting an anti-BDS campaign that, despite being funded in part by the Israeli government, operates independently. “Imagine that right after [the pop singer] Lorde announced she was canceling her Israeli show, she was hit that same day with a viral campaign in websites all over the world and full-page ads in all major world newspapers,” an unnamed source “with knowledge of the initiative” told the Israeli news outlet Ynet in December 2017. “That’s something the official State of Israel could not have achieved.”

Inside of Israel, critics have argued that Kela Shlomo is an effort to hide Israel’s hand in its anti-BDS campaign. “They say they don’t want people to know if it’s done by the Israeli government,” Shachar Ben Meir, an Israeli attorney who has brought a lawsuit challenging the ministry’s operations, told the Forward.

Now, the ministry is speaking with American Jewish organizations about taking government funds indirectly through Kela Shlomo.

Misha Galperin, a former top executive at the Jewish Agency, has aided the ministry in its outreach. Galperin has served as a fixer and go-between for ministry officials. He did not respond to a list of comments from the Forward about his role with Kela Shlomo.

[Editor’s note: Since Galperin has U.S. citizenship it appears that he may be violating FARA.]

A spokesman for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee confirmed to the Forward that Galperin arranged a meeting between its top executive and ministry officials. The spokesman said that the JDC had not heard from the ministry since the meeting.

In presentations and conversations with American Jewish leaders and funders, ministry officials have described Kela Shlomo’s proposed work in the U.S. as consisting of five key aspects: research and information gathering, running influence campaigns, running missions to Israel for influencers, supporting the activities of the pro-Israel network, and new programs. They have also discussed creating rapid-response rooms in the U.S. staffed with professionals available to oppose anti-Israel organizing.

The influence campaigns could include support of the work of, an app previously promoted by the ministry that operates as a sort of pro-Israel human “botnet,” allowing its operators to try to influence the online discourse about Israel. is co-sponsored by the IAC, whose former CEO, Sagi Balasha, is a director of Kela Shlomo.

[Editor’s note: Balasha also has US citizenship.]’s director, Yarden ben Yosef, did not respond to an inquiry about his organization’s relationship with the ministry and Kela Shlomo.

What the ministry means by research and information gathering is less clear. A ministry spokesman did not respond to a list of questions. In a statement, he said: “The Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy carries out all of its activities in a legal and professional manner. Regarding the [public benefit corporation], once it is up and running we will be able to answer inquiries regarding its operations.”

Other Jewish organizations, including the Israeli American Council, did not respond to questions about whether they had received funding from the ministry.

Experts said that the propriety of any funding relationship between an entity like Kela Shlomo and an American Jewish organization would be dependent on the transparency of the relationship. “Certainly there’s nothing wrong with a foreign country seeking to pursue their objectives with the U.S.,” said Andrew Miller, deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy. “But the extent to which they’re seeking to go around FARA regulations and disguise the role of foreign governments in these activities, that does raise some problematic questions.”

Double Standard?

The efforts to fund American Jewish charities come as Israel continues its campaign against charities operating within Israel that take funding from foreign governments. Netanyahu has called for a blanket ban on foreign-funded NGO’s, and the Knesset has passed restrictions on their operations.

“It’s very challenging for them to continue to argue that that kind of external engagement with Israeli civil society represents some sort of threat to Israeli sovereignty if they are attempting to do the same things themselves,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.

The ministry did not respond to an inquiry about the apparent contradiction.

“This shows not just a double standard, but how cynical they are,” said Sfard, the Israeli human rights attorney.


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Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, Media0 Comments

Zionist mask maker Sonovia was exposed

‘Israeli’ mask maker Sonovia awaits China coronavirus lab result

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – An Israeli company expects to receive results in the coming week from a Beijing lab that will test whether a fabric it has developed will be able to neutralise 99% of COVID-19, even after being washed multiple times.

Sonovia says its reusable anti-viral masks are coated in zinc oxide nano-particles that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses, which it says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The fabric can be used in textiles for hospitals, protective equipment and clothing. But the masks are not certified for use by medical professionals in operating and emergency rooms, which use only disposable masks, according to Liat Goldhammer, Sonovia’s chief technology officer.

Tests in the Microspectrum (Weipu Jishu) lab in Shanghai demonstrated that the washable fabric used in its masks neutralised 90.67% of the coronavirus to which it was exposed, according to a report published by the lab in June and seen by Reuters.

Further testing is underway at an affiliated lab in Beijing.

“We will have results in the coming days,” Goldhammer told Reuters this week. “We expect the test to show 99% efficiency.”

Sonovia says it has clients in Germany and the United States, and is conducting a pilot for an Italian company. It also sells its masks online to retail consumers.

The tests in China follow one in May on the material at Austria’s HygCen medical lab using the Vaccinia virus, which has similar properties to the SARS-COVID family. The firm hired by Sonovia said the test showed “a good virucidal effect”, according to the lab report.

Reuters has not independently confirmed Sonovia’s results.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Health, Politics0 Comments

Gaza: Media Show Little Interest in Nazi Bombing

Media Show Little Interest in Israeli Bombing of Gaza


Israeli bombing of Gaza (photo: Said Khatib/AFP)
 Israel responds to fire balloons from Gaza Strip with fighter jet strikes

Describes attacks on Gaza as “the latest retaliation against fire bombs suspended from balloons that have been released from the Palestinian territory.”

Israel is bombing Palestine again, although you likely wouldn’t guess that from watching TV news. For the eleventh straight night, Israeli Defense Force warplanes have been bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. Israel’s bombs have caused considerable damage, forcing the shutdown of the area’s only power plant.

But US corporate media, focused on the coronavirus and election coverage, have shown little interest in the renewed violence in the Middle East. Searching for “Gaza” on the websites of NBC NewsCNNMSNBC and PBS elicits no relevant results. Nor has Fox News addressed the bombings, although it did find time (8/18/20) to cover the archaeological discovery of an old soap factory in Israel’s Negev Desert.

Other major news networks were not much better. In a wide ranging interview with Trump advisor Jared Kushner, CBS’s Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan (8/16/20) did mention that “there were hostilities overnight in Gaza. There were Israeli airstrikes. Palestinian militants fired off rockets,” in a question about the US’s role in the Middle East, but did not return to it.

CBS (8/13/20) also reprinted an AFP newswire story headlined “Israel Responds to Fire Balloons From Gaza Strip With Fighter Jet Strikes,” which began by stating (emphasis added):

Israel attacked targets of Islamist group Hamas in Gaza and halted fuel supplies to the enclave Thursday in the latest retaliation against fire bombs suspended from balloons that have been released from the Palestinian territory.

The story clearly presents the bombing as a reactive Israeli counter-effort—not an attack on Palestine, but a response against Hamas, which it describes not as a political party but as an “Islamist group.” Hamas, it insists, was the target, despite later noting that a UN-run school was also hit. AFP did not comment on the lack of symmetry between homemade explosives tied to balloons and F-35 jets.

ABC News, meanwhile, relied on another news agency for all of its (limited) coverage (two pieces), reprinting (8/16/20) an Associated Press article that similarly presented the cutting off of Gaza’s electricity supply as a “response” to aggression from the “Palestinian militants” of Hamas.

WaPo: Israel strikes Gaza targets after arson balloons launched

AP (Washington Post8/16/20) reported that “Israeli aircraft bombed several sites belonging to the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip”—though in the Post the article was accompanied by a photo of a boy with his destroyed home.

A second AP story, headlined “Israel Strikes Gaza Targets After Arson Balloons Launched,” was picked up not just by ABC (8/16/20) but by influential outlets like the New York Times (8/15/20), Washington Post (8/16/20) and Guardian (8/16/20). The piece is at pains to present Israeli actions as directed purely against Hamas, and as a response, not an aggressive action, allowing Israeli military spokespersons to drive the narrative. Indeed, much of the report reads like an IDF press release.

A leaked 2009 publication from the Israel Project, an Israeli/American group that advises Israel advocates on what language to use when discussing the Palestine conflict, stresses that they should “clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas.” “If it sounds like you are attacking the Palestinian people (even though they elected Hamas) rather than their leadership, you will lose public support,” they counsel. Media, it seems, are doing their job for them, in much the same way they reflexively present US actions against Iran as a “response” or a “counter” to the threat from Tehran (FAIR.org6/6/19).

In their seminal books on media coverage of the conflict, Bad News From Israel and More Bad News From Israel, Greg Philo and Mike Berry wrote that TV news followed a “consistent pattern,” which misleadingly presented the events as “Palestinian action and Israeli response and retaliation,” their focus group sessions showing that the presentation had a “significant effect” on how the public remembered events and apportioned blame, effectively legitimizing Israeli actions. Sixteen years after their first study was published, corporate media appear to be following exactly the same playbook.

The US press sampled here have produced barely any original coverage of the 11-day (and counting) bombing campaign of the area commonly described as the world’s largest open-air prison. This is in contrast to foreign channels such as Al-Jazeera and RT, or alternative media like Democracy Now!, all of whom have followed the events in more depth, and often with fewer resources. When corporate media have covered it, they have followed tried and tested conventions that reproduce an Israeli-friendly narrative.

Media coverage of Israel/Palestine is a topic FAIR has criticized for decades (e.g., Extra!1/91Extra! Update2/05FAIR.org8/6/143/29/19). The reporting on the latest round of attacks on Gaza follows the patterns we have often remarked on: downplaying Palestinian suffering and viewing the conflict from an Israeli state perspective.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human Rights0 Comments

Housing and architecture in the Soviet Union

A variety of housing was built for working people designed to reflect the varied character, climate and context of the vast territories of the USSR.

Katt Cremer

View of Lenin Avenue in Sverdlovsk, 1936, showing the scale of the new town and the incorporation of public spaces lined with trees.

This article is the second of two presentations to the Stalin Society.

This contribution follows from my previous presentation, which looked at the sheer scale of the housing problem that the Bolsheviks faced after taking power in the October Revolution of 1917.

We looked at how the Soviet Union embarked on tackling the problem, taking the task seriously from the first days of the revolution – nationalising large homes, redistributing living space to those in need and embarking on a massive building programme.

We also looked at how conditions in the Soviet Union compared to those in Britain, and how the trajectory in the USSR was one of improving conditions and reducing costs for the workers, while providing healthy cities and towns with access to amenities and culture, while in Britain the housing problem got worse and worse, and has continued to do so.

Having addressed all of that previously, we will in this session be looking in more detail at where, how and what the housing was like across the USSR. We’ll also look at how the character and quality of the housing provision changed just a year after the death of Josef Stalin, creating a legacy for the Soviet Union that is typically used by opponents of socialism as an example of how socialism is ‘bad’, since it only produces ‘monotonous concrete blocks’ for people to live in.

Hopefully, by the end of this contribution, it will be clear that this is not the case, and that it was revisionism that promoted such a bland and standardised approache to architecture.

But more of that later. First let’s look at where housing was being built after the revolution.

Rapid urbanisation

In 1917, Russia was predominantly agricultural. Over the next few decades it rapidly developed its industrial capacity as its urban population rose. Between 1927 and 1939 – ie, in the first 12 years, the urban population of the Soviet Union more than doubled, reaching a total of 56 million.

Leningrad doubled its population, as did Moscow and Kharkov. That of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) and Novosibirsk more than trebled, while Chelyabinsk and Omsk more than quadrupled their populations. These cities were not isolated cases but were entirely typical of the rapid urbanisation that was taking place across the entire Soviet Union.

With this swell of numbers in these existing cities came the requirement for significant house building to accommodate the influx of people. Indeed, they needed not just house building but all the amenities and infrastructure that goes with it, which required a significant level of town planning and organisation.

In order to facilitate this, a comprehensive study of the history of town planning throughout the world was undertaken at the request of the Soviet state. This was started before the war, which delayed its completion. Despite the delay, the research and the final study proved a valuable textbook for all involved in planning Soviet cities.

Within the study, a series of chapters were devoted to town planning in Britain, and the development of London was treated at considerable length. Although reference is made to London as a “nightmare of a modern city”, the authors also reserved their special admiration for its numerous and varied parks. These will not only have influenced but have been surpassed by the parks of culture and rest that the Soviets incorporated into the majority of their cities, along with the numerous other parks and open spaces spread through the cities, towns and villages.

For example, when walking through Moscow or Leningrad (now St Petersburg) today, it is noticeable that it is not possible to walk more than a couple of blocks without seeing an area of green space, quite often containing some play equipment for children along with benches for communal gatherings.

Expansion and re-planning of existing cities and towns

A typical example of the reconstruction of an established industrial city is Sverdlovsk, formerly Yekaterinburg (renamed from 1924-91 after the great Bolshevik leader Yakov Sverdlov).

Yekaterinburg arose at the beginning of the 18th century as the centre of the mining industry of the Urals under the tsar. Typical of a Ural town, the old layout consisted of a mass of wooden huts where the workers lived. Then in the town centre there would be a few imposing buildings where the local industrial enterprises had their offices. And in the suburbs, usually standing on higher ground, were the villas of the administrative staffs, with trim gardens and shady trees.

By 1932, at the end of the first five-year plan, construction of new large industrial enterprises and, first of all, a huge heavy engineering plant (Uralmash) began in Sverdlovsk. With this, re-planning of the town was essential, and a masterplan was drawn up. This took into account the impact of these new powerful city-forming factors, allocating areas for the expansion of the city on the basis of preliminary considerations and analysis.

In 1936, S Dombrovsky headed work on the master plan, which, while maintaining the existing structure, focused on the development of city that would connect the old part with new industrial areas. The city’s regular plan was defined by two highways: Lenin Avenue, stretching for 4km from west to east, and Lunacharsky Prospect which passed from south to north towards one of the new industrial zones. These two lines, like central axes of orientation, clearly fixed the structure of the city.

In reconstructing Sverdlovsk, new streets and squares were designed, providing areas for housing along with amenities, cultural buildings and other public buildings. At the same time, all the roadways and sidewalks were paved, an up-to-date water and sewer system was installed, and bus and trolley-bus services came into operation.

As Pavel Zlobin, the chief architect of the Urals region in 1946, put it: “In re-planning our towns we look upon each as a single architectural whole, consisting of residential sections, squares, river embankments, green belt, and so on. The natural beauty of the Urals landscape is brought into the town by planning the building so that broad views open out.

“The architect’s purpose is to create the maximum amenities for the population. Nor is he handicapped in his work by dependence on individual landowners, because all the land and most of the buildings in the town are state property.”

Sverdlovsk’s population rose from fewer than 50,000 before the revolution to 140,000 (the size of Newport or Blackpool) by 1926, more than doubling again by 1939 to 423,000 (the size of Cardiff or Leicester). Today it has a population of 1.3 million (the size of Birmingham).

The need for new towns

As existing towns were increasing in population and requiring re-planning, there was also an appreciation by the state that, hand in hand with the drive to develop heavy industry, was the need to establish new towns. The building of new towns in remote districts was of tremendous importance for the rapid economic and cultural development of the country, bringing industry nearer to the sources of raw materials and to areas of consumption.

A host of new cities came into existence. In fact, between 1926 and 1963 over 800 new towns were built across the USSR. They were partly built on the sites of existing small settlements, but approximately one third of them were entirely new towns founded on vacant sites. The building of new towns was particularly intensive in the eastern regions in the union republics of Kazakh, Turkmen, Uzbek, Kirghiz, Tajik, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – where over two-thirds of the towns were new.

This challenge was one that was taken on with the typical high level of research development and enthusiasm. As a Russian correspondent to the Soviet Times wrote:

“Our housing authorities and architects are used to thinking big. They are used to kaleidoscopic population shifts, to the character of Soviet man, who storms desert and jungle and arctic waste, and from a wilderness of sand or swamp or eternal frost announces: ‘Here I will work. Build me a city.’”

The master plans of these new towns were based on progressive town-planning principles, on clear functional zoning of town territories, on the organisation of convenient connections between residence and work, on the uniform distribution of welfare facilities, and on the principles of creating favourable conditions of work, life and rest for all the inhabitants of the town. Such factors as landscape features, sizes of towns and their national economic importance were taken into account as well.

Typical of these new towns were Magnitogorsk and Karaganda. In 1926, Magnitogorsk was a small settlement surrounded by grasslands where nomads pastured their flocks at the foot of the Magnitanaja mountain in the southern Urals, while Karanganda, not even on the map as a settlement, was a sweltering wasteland in Kazakhstan.

By 1946, Magnitogorsk had a population of 146,000 people. It has now risen to 417,775 (2015); and Karaganda, from nothing in 1926, the population rose to 166,000 by 1946 and now stands at 459,778 (2010).

In planning these new towns, not only were housing, cultural facilities, hospitals and educational facilities incorporated, but the Soviets also took providing green infrastructure and spaces seriously. As LB Lunts, a Russian correspondent, pointed out:

“No site is too grim or arid for our gardeners to tackle. Saline soils are washed clean, the earth is transformed by skilled fertilisation, rocky outcrops are blasted away, and Michurin’s [a notable Russian horticulturalist and geneticist] school of gardeners will undertake to make a flowering orchard in the most improbable place.”

Indeed, the rocky Magnitogorstk, the Urals’ iron and steel colossus, was clothed in verdure; and Karaganda, the centre of the great Kazakh coalfield, managed to turn itself into a creditable version of a ‘garden city’, in spite of its excessively salty soil and great shortage of water.

Another new town was that of Zaporizhia, in Ukraine, which was founded in 1928, at the same time as the building of the hydroelectric power plant on the Dnieper. The first stage of the development was the construction of large blocks of multistorey flats, completely equipped with all kinds of facilities; the outlying districts were built up with cottage-type houses. These were built first by the state building organisation and subsequently by the industrial enterprises.

As Zaporozhje lies in a steppe deprived of any natural plantations, much attention was paid to planting. The plan incorporated many parks and gardens, and its streets and residential quarters, as well as sites of schools and children’s institutions, were lavishly planted. Khortitza island was turned into a forest-park with rest homes, as well as pioneer camps for children of the workers and employees in the town enterprises.

Some examples of the 800 new towns that were built across the Soviet Union are Komsomolsk on the Amur in the far east, supporting large shipyards, and Novokuznetsk in the Kuznetsk coal basin in western Siberia.

In Estonia, Kohtla-Yarve developed around the oil shale production. Rustavi, a large industrial centre of major significance, was built in the Georgian Soviet republic on the basis of the Trans-Caucasian metallurgical works. In Azerbaijan, on the basis of metallurgical and chemical production, the town of Sumgait appeared.

New houses for working people

There is a tendency to think that all Soviet housing was in massive highrise blocks. Indeed, opponents of the Soviet Union, and of socialism, would have you think that not only was the standard for massive blocks of highrise flats but that they were all the same type of monolithic block.

In fact, that was not the case. Up to the mid-1950s the main type of housing construction was low or mid-rise. One reason for this was available materials: you do not need steel or concrete to build low-rise. Another is that the scale of these buildings is appropriate where land is available. Since land had been nationalised, its supply was no longer subject to the limitations that had previously been suffered when ownership and, importantly, financial returns, governed development.

In the majority of towns, most houses were no more than two storeys. In larger cities, buildings within the central area would extend up to three, four or five storeys. For example in the Urals, it was Sverdlovsk, Nizhni-Tagil and Kemensk-Uralsk where buildings of up to five storeys were erected in the main streets, while the surrounding towns were all low-rise. In the larger cities of Leningrad and Moscow these scales would rise to over 10 storeys.

In terms of who built the houses, approximately two-thirds of the dwellings in the USSR were built by state building organisations, while the remainder were built by the collective farms, housing cooperatives and individuals. Many of the state industrial enterprises, such as iron and steel works, built big housing projects of low-rise, bungalow and two-storey houses and cottages. Once built, these would be transferred to individual workers for their occupation.

Mr Vozyakov, manager of the Central Communal Bank of the USSR, commented in 1946: “Some of the nicest cottages I have seen have been built at Nizhny Tagil, in the Urals, by the Visokogorsk Iron Ore Trust for its workers. Each one has a personality of its own, some slightly different treatment of the facade which sets it apart from the rest. The owners are particularly proud of their gardens.” (Quoted in We encourage private house building, Soviet Times, 1946)

While the state building organisations built most of the new housing that was much needed, there was also some encouragement to individuals to build their own houses with the assistance of state loans and in accordance with their local village or town plan. The Academy of Architecture set up the Institute of Mass Construction with the object of producing designs for houses suitable for erection by people building their own homes.

During 1943-4 a set of general principles of design for rural housing was prepared, taking into account the conditions that were expected to prevail after the war. It was agreed that the construction of separate bungalows and two-storey houses would best meet the demands of the time, and plans were drawn up accordingly.

These plans took into account the probable shortage of building materials and of skilled labour. In view of these two factors, allowances had to be made for maximum use of all sorts of local building materials, and architects were asked to bear in mind, when preparing their designs, that most of the houses put up in the country areas would probably not be built by skilled building workers, but by untrained local labour without mechanical aid.

Not only did it research, create and publish designs to assist in local rural house building, the institute also gave exhaustive directions for construction so that amateur builders would have full instructions to work from.

The size of rooms was planned in consultation with the institute responsible for designing household utility furniture. Every cottage had storage and outbuildings. It was suggested and expected that gardens would be used for both fruit and vegetables, with the plans also providing some useful advice on garden layouts.

In style these cottages had a modest neatness, but the architects refrained from laying down any rules for decoration. Their main aim was to provide guidance for the most economical and convenient use of space. It was recognised that with so much varied local material and with so great a variety of climatic conditions to be taken into account, there could be no real standardisation. Local authorities and builders were expected to use their judgement and draw on the great human capacity for improvisation.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s the extensive developments of housing and community facilities were still typically low-rise, and showed serious attempts to reinterpret local building traditions in form as well as decoration, in many cases most successfully. Unfortunately, much of this work has been swept away in later redevelopments and is little known, though it might now have offered some useful models.

For example, the low-rise apartments in and around Moscow took the form of courtyards similar to old urban estates, a layout which was characteristic of the old city. By contrast, in Kiev, the layout was characterised by a more street-oriented architecture, with terraced housing and the use of florid Ukrainian sculpted decoration. In Central Asia, meanwhile, the equivalent housing was constructed with thick solid walls of high thermal mass with small apertures and deeply recessed shaded balconies, often reflecting local arch forms in their profile.

An example of a residential development in Liublino, Moscow, shows a layout based around central courtyards, with ornate planted gardens as well as garden space in front of the surrounding buildings. The rendered houses form a block around the garden. The block is predominantly two-storey, with elements of three-storey that add focal points to the building. The use of gables, corbel detailing, arched accesses through the block and generous proportions to the windows, creates a development that is extremely pleasing.

Images of new houses built in Stalinabad (the capital city of Tajikistan, now named Dushanbe) show a linear plan with terraced two-storey buildings. The facades in white render are detailed with first floor balconies creating a rhythm along the street. The stone balustrades on the balconies and the corbelled parapet roofs give the buildings a classical style, while the sculpted heads to the windows follow the traditional forms of the region. It is worth noting that the front gardens provided on some of the streets are generous and show an abundance of plants and trees.

The scale rose in the early 1950s to five storeys and above. By then, particularly in Moscow, very high standards of spatial provision, construction and finish were creating a suitably high-quality environment for the main public thoroughfares. It is in the bigger cities like Moscow and Leningrad that the majority of the high-rise development took place.

Not only were the external facades considered but the internal detailing and provision was deemed important and given suitable attention. Examples of some of the indoor communal spaces include: staircases with generous proportions and spaces to allow for gatherings of residents; crafted balustrades and grand wooden carved doors specific to each block; iron gates embellished with arches and details giving character to entrances; and glazed partition doors to allow light through the building. Inside the apartments there were examples of built-in wooden wardrobes with compartments and drawers.

While there was a level of standardisation and application of common layouts to housing across the Soviet Union, there was encouragement and attention paid to local vernacular architecture and its incorporation with classical forms. Arkady Mordvinov, a Soviet architect who became the president of the Academy of Architecture in 1950, pointed out:

“National forms offer colourful variety. The humanism expressed in classical forms serves to unify the architecture of all the national republics, while yet allowing them to preserve traits peculiarly their own.” (Quoted in Reconstruction of towns and art problems confronting Soviet architecture, VOKS bulletin, 1944)

Architectural style

From the mid-1920s and through the 1930s there had been an ideological battle over design. The avant-garde movement, which was developing across the western world, had also taken root in Russia. Many liberal critics see the first decade of the revolution as an ‘exciting moment’ for the expression of the ‘new’ stylised movement in the arts, with architecture being no exception.

Constructivism was the expression of this ‘new’ thinking in architecture, seeing simplicity in design as fundamental. Its proponents opposed the idea of celebrating traditional forms of architecture and design, instead placing emphasis on new technologies and the machine, considering form to follow function with a focus on clean lines, minimal detailing and geometric form.

After the revolution, the constructivists built many individual commissions across the Soviet Union, which gained support amongst the academics for their formalist approach to architecture and design. However, there was increasing opposition amongst the masses to the geometric ‘boxes’ that were being built in parallel lines across the steppe or in Moscow suburbs. Popular discontent with bad modern buildings bred the desire for something that spoke the language of mass aspiration, and with it the need to address the role of architecture.

In 1926, Anatoly Lunarcharsky delivered a speech to the State Academy of Artistic Sciences (GAKhN) that reinforced a clear approach to design in opposition to that of the constructivists: namely, the application of socialist realism in architecture – socialist realism being a method of artistic reflection (otrazheniya) and creative work, and not a specift style; a method of artistic expression that uses examples of the world as it is and seeks within that to raise the understanding of the masses and point to what is possible; to help in the creation of the new man.

In his speech, Comrade Lunarcharsky pointed out: “It is being said that this is a new stage in human history; that the proletariat is entering into the stage of urbanisation; that the machine is poetic; that the factory is the most powerful thing that can be seen on earth; that any form of literary tale is a mere mirage compared to the poetic situation in which science brings about a new factory.

“I do not in any way deny that the proletariat may find original and attractive colouration for its life in poems of productivity … But it has to be said that … only futurism and the artists of the LEF (a literary group), that seedbed of constructivism, who are the avant-garde of a leftist Euro-American urban culture, can become wholly immersed in this element …

“We [Bolsheviks] have not entered the world in order to finally make the machine the mistress of our lives, as advocates of time-and-motion study like Gastev are advocating through their sociopolitical literature. We came in order to liberate the individual from under the power of the machine … Let the rhythm of the machine certainly become an important element in our culture … but the machine cannot be the centre of our art.

“There exists with us in Russia a vast Euro-American conception of the culture of individual creative work, of that high art which was created by the geniuses, the great talents of Euro-American culture. Certainly there is a very great deal that can be absorbed from the products of this individual art. But as a whole it is alien to us …

“Much more nourishing an environment for proletarian art is that mass of vernacular, peasant art, that art which developed in the primal period of our ancestors …

“It is precisely from here that we should draw models, from this art evolved over the course of centuries, which devised a ‘style’ that is almost irreproachable in the inner rigour and order of its crystallisation of form.

“Despite the fact that it developed while civilisation itself was still beginning to emerge, it is precisely this vast body of creativity which can now provide that nutritious environment for proletarian artistic labour – because of its multi-valued character, and because of the collective nature of the basic principles underlying its products.”

This speech demolished the constructivists’ claim that their machine-led approach to design was somehow related to socialist development, making the distinction between the role of the machine in building society and its domination over man.

Lunarcharsky further outlined how proletarian art, including architecture, should not be alien to the masses but come from the art that has developed for centuries. As Vladimir Lenin rather bluntly pointed out in relation to the constructivist approach to design when speaking to Clara Zetkin:

“I have the courage to show myself a barbarian. I cannot value the works of expressionism, futurism, cubism or other such ‘isms’ as the highest manifestations of artistic genius. I do not understand them …

“Art belongs to the people. It must grow deep roots in the very midst of the broad mass of workers. It must be understood and loved by them. It must unite the feelings, thoughts, and will of the masses and inspire them.” (Clara Zetkin, Reminiscences of Lenin, 1924)

Lenin further made the point, when speaking at the third congress of the Komsomol (Young Communist League), that culture is not ‘invented’ by people who deem themselves specialists. The constructivists saw themselves as the new thinkers applying their art to the socialist requirements of the day, very much falling into the category of just such self-annointed ‘specialism’ in proletarian culture.

Lenin, on the other hand, stressed just where it is that proletarian culture comes from: “Proletarian culture is not something dreamed up out of nowhere; nor is it the invention of people who call themselves specialists in proletarian culture. That is all complete nonsense. Proletarian culture must emerge from the steady development of those reserves of experience which humanity has built up under the yoke of capitalism.” (Speech to the third all-Russian congress of the Komsomol, 1920)

Having gone through this ideological battle against the avant-garde constructivists, the state developed flourishing building organisations and institutes that ably tackled the housing problem while maintaining the long-term implications of building structures that not only housed people but also created the environment in which the peoples of the Soviet Union were living their daily lives.

Then in 1954, just a year after the death of Stalin, the new revisionist leader of the Soviet state and the communist party Nikita Khrushchev made a speech to the all-union conference on building problems denouncing “Stalinist architecture” and “all ornamentation on buildings”.

Khrushchev had been a senior party member in Moscow during the construction of the city’s metro and the realisation of the 1935 plan for Moscow. He had involvement in the building institutes and was aware of all the discussions and debates that had taken place previously. And yet it was not until after Stalin died that he spoke on the matter of design and announced that “architecture is not art”, asserting that “it is technology and should be treated as such”.

At the conference, he made an uncompromising attack on the Academy of Architecture, the president of the academy, Arkady Mordvinov, and the profession as a whole, using the need for more housing as his justification. He accused them of “skating around the problem of building economies”, claiming they were not “interested in costs per square metre of living space”, but were “indulging themselves with unnecessary ornamentation of facades, and permitting all manner of excesses”.

He went on: “Architects are more concerned with beautiful silhouettes than with living quarters … Modern apartment houses must not be transformed into a replica of a church or museum … Some leading architects refuse to adapt their work to the new materials by referring to the need of combating constructivism … Such architects should probably be called constructivists in reverse, since they themselves are lapsing into aesthetic admiration of form divorced from content.”

He outlined that the direction of the future must be “standard designs for housing, schools, hospitals, kindergartens and so on”, with “effective use of new materials … and of pre-fabricated reinforced concrete components, large-panel and large-block construction systems”.

All this stood in sharp contrast to the previous Soviet tradition in architecture.

“The greatest traditions of the past will live on not as historical reminiscences but in an organic new creation on a national soil – national in its fullest reference to the people …

“The creative task of the modern architect is to give architectural expression to the peoples, the localities, the cities in individuality, and not hide this individuality behind a simplified screen of reinforced concrete, glass and metal.”

These hopeful words of leading architect D Arkin, in 1947, were not to be fulfilled by the state building organisations from the mid-1950s onwards.

In November 1955, the second congress of Soviet architects was convened, following a decree on 10 November ‘On removing decorative excesses in architectural design and in building’. From there on across the Soviet Union mid-rise and high-rise blocks were built to standard plans, with standard elevations based on a set of standard prefabricated concrete elements. The Khrushchyovka, a standardised five-storey housing block, was born and spread like wildfire.

This prefabrication and standardisation was not limited to housing: all cultural and service buildings were also required to be built based on standardised elements.

No longer were the steppes of the Urals and the suburbs of Moscow to be distinct and evoke traditions and characters that celebrated the peoples of the Soviet Union. The landscape of the edges of towns was the same whether you went to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Sverdlovsk, Tashkent, Nizhny Tagil, Cherepovets or any other city, where entire neighbourhoods still today consist of these large-panel prefabricated buildings.

The Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s famous line “The streets are our brushes, the squares our palates” was no longer applicable to the housing development that took place under Khrushchev. The art in architecture was removed, and with it the character and aspirations of the people.

Posted in Literature, Russia0 Comments

Marxism in the 21st century: is it still relevant?

‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.’ — Karl Marx

Ranjeet Brar

In this short video, leading communist Dr Ranjeet Brar speaks to a meeting held in 2018 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth.

It’s generally agreed, he says, that Karl Marx had a profound effect on the thinking of humanity. Even a BBC poll at the turn of the century pronounced Marx to be the greatest thinker of the millennium.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, workers were drowned in a deluge of capitalist triumphalism. In Germany, we watched Chancellor Cole hold up a copy of VI Lenin‘s Imperialism and Marx’s Capital before dramatically throwing them away to symbolise their alleged ‘failure’.

An obscure US-sponsored ideologue, Francis Fukuyama, was everywhere promoted, along with his convenient declaration that this was the “end of history” – that the demise of the USSR proved that there’s no higher form of society or state than capitalism, that system which embodies the exploitation of man by man and of nation by nation.

But when the economic crisis hit in 2008; when banks were collapsing and stock markets were plunging; when the housing market was slumping and working people were being laid off, too impoverished to buy the glut of unsaleable goods rotting in the factories, the ruling class’s ideologues changed their tune, and it became fashionable once again to briefly and glibly ‘revisit’ Marxism.

Marx, it was admitted, had been onto something, had understood something important about the way the market and the capitalist system operate to create such crises.

The BBC very cleverly took a lead in that discussion, putting on a series of programmes in which it claimed to evaluate Marx’s work before asserting that he had never presented any alternative to the present system.

But one only has to open the pages of the Communist Manifesto to see what an absolute lie this is.

Marx not only described the history of class struggle and the specific problems of capitalism, he also demonstrated very clearly that the capitalist system contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. The workingmen (the propertyless ‘proletarians’) are the gravediggers of capitalism and will be the builders of a new society that will end exploitation and take hold of the means of production (factories, land, etc) so that production can be reorganised to meet the needs of the people and provide a decent life for all, he said, and showed exactly how he had arrived at this conclusion.

Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin found it necessary to revisit Marx’s teachings on the state at the time of the first world war, because across Europe social democrats (in Britain, the Labour party) had deserted the working class and sided with their imperialist rulers over the question of the war, voting for war credits and supporting the sending of millions of workers into battle to slaughter one another to determine which gang of exploiters should control how much of the world’s wealth.

Lenin noted how often revolutionary thinkers are derided, abused, reviled and discredited during their lifetimes, when they’re actively involved in revolutionary struggle and their ideas are a threat to the established order, but are reinvented in an officially-approved form after their deaths – with the revolutionary essence of their teaching cut out – so that the remaining shadow can be presented to workers as a consolation prize to ease their suffering under the status quo.

Even in Lenin’s day, it was perfectly acceptable for all types of people to declare themselves ‘Marxist’ so long as they ignored the revolutionary teaching of Marx on the state; on the need for building a new type of state capable of representing the interests of the working class.

But the need for a workers’ state was the fundamental essence of the revolutionary teachings of Karl Marx, and it is this essence that the capitalists have worked hard to obscure and to keep from the workers.

Posted in Literature, Politics0 Comments

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