Archive | October 13th, 2010




Works in progress: the partitions of Iraq and Palestine

By Rela Mazali

Works in Progress:

– The partition of Palestine (most recently into Gaza Strip; East Jerusalem;

West Bank)
– The partition of Iraq

In Iraq, the occupation is attempting “ethnic” partition.

See: Statement issued this week (October 10, 2010) by the BRussels Tribunal,

stating among other things, that,

From the first day of the US-UK occupation of Iraq, the occupatioN

began to undertake a series of measures, directly or through its local

allies, to destroy Iraq as a state and a nation and to partition it along

ethnic and sectarian lines.

Today, the puppet government of the occupation and its Kurdish

partners are trying to hold a population census in Kirkuk province

whose aim is to give a permanent legal character to the criminal

social engineering, ethnic cleansing and demographic changes that

have been implemented under occupation.[1] This could unleash a

full blown civil war across Iraq, and potentially lead to its partition

and a consequent regional war.” 

In Palestine/Israel, Israel’s security forces are now drilling the concentration,

in camps, and mass deportation to the Palestinian Authority of Palestinian

citizens of Israel: On Sunday, October 10, military affairs reporter, Carmela

Menashe, reported (in Hebrew;) that a large scale drill simulated “extreme

scenarios of violent protests in the Arab sector following accords with the

Palestinian Authority on population exchange.

A detention camp for Israeli Arabs will be set up at Golani junction to

receive detainees. The large-scale drill was administered and led by

the Prison Services and included the military Home Command, the

Israel Police Force, the Military Police, fire fighting forces and others.”

 [Translation mine] Drills are scheduled for Tuesday in Jerusalem. 


Secret police force drill for overtaking the Temple Mount, held last July

See: 1) Gush Shalom statement below (October 10, 2010); 2) Important

analysis and discussion by journalist and blogger Dimi Reider, who writes,

“First, a drill involving so many forces is by definition following a

plan hatched Israeli public servants and/or leaders. Second, bringing

all those crowds costs enormous amounts of money in equipment,

fuel, ammunition, and most importantly, important peoples’ time.

Third, it’s worth noting that the other scenario practiced in the drill

is that of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank – Israel’s number one

conflict scenario in that region, one which the army and the politicians

have been speaking about and preparing for to no end, ever since Hamas

pulled off the Gaza coup. … if the top brass are taking the possibility of

preparing for transfer as seriously as they take the risk of a Hamas takeover

in the West Bank, it means that what Israelis call רוח המפקד must be blowing

in that direction very hard indeed …”

Ofer Neiman commented:

“It could be added that the report serves to justify the wider scope of the

BDS campaign. After all, an official Israeli scenario indicates that the

oppression of Israel’s Palestinian citizens may even worsen as a result

 of political developments involving the dismantling of settlements.”

Israeli security forces practice suppression and mass detention of Israel’s

Arab citizens, in implementation of Lieberman’s “population exchange”


Gush Shalom: It seems Lieberman is Israel’s true Prime Minister

This week Israel’s security forces practiced the putting down of mass

demonstrations and protests among Israel’s Arab citizens and their

imprisonment in a large detention camp to be established at Golani Junction

 in Galilee. The exercise was based on a scenario of the riots being provoked by implementation of Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for “an exchange of populations”

, i.e. massively depriving Arabs of their Israeli citizenship.

A week ago Lieberman voiced this heinous idea on the podium of the

UN Assembly General and Prime Minister Netanyahu murmured some

weak reservations. Now it turns out that the security forces are already

preparing to implement it in practice, under the responsibility of none

other than Labor Party leader Ehud Barak – the Minister of Defence.

It goes without saying that in a country having any pretense to be a

democracy it would be unacceptable and unthinkable for the security

forces to practice waging war against the country’s own citizens.

Together with the racist “Loyalty Oath Bill” which gained the support of

the government, and with the demonstrative resumption of settlement

construction in the Occupied Territories, it increasingly seems that

Lieberman is the true Prime Minister, and that the government follows

on his path, leading the State of Israel in big and rapid strides into the abyss.

More Recent Articles

Works in progress: the partitions of Iraq and Palestine

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on PARTITIONS OF IRAQ & PALESTINE



October 13, 2010

Most of us, we can barely imagine what it must be like to be a miner.

To carve lumps of rock, extract the minerals were possible and work hundreds of metres underground in cramped conditions, surrounded by rock, sweating, breathing in the dust and all to benefit other people.

That’s what miners do.

We shouldn’t forget what price is often paid by miners themselves and their communities.

Pneumoconiosis is just one illness that miners face.

Even today miners in Russia and China often face numerous and unnecessary dangers.

The CNN reports:

“Coal helps fuel China’s surging economy. The country tripled its annual output of coal from 1 billion tons in 1999 to 3 billion tons in 2009, according to the state-run China Daily.

Accidents killed 2,631 Chinese coal miners in 2009, according to China Daily. The most dangerous year on record was 2002, with 6,995 deaths.

In China, poor safety conditions, a lack of training and the flouting of laws contribute to the high number of deaths.

By comparison, the United States had 34 mining deaths in 2009, a record low for the country. In 2008, the United States had 53 mining deaths, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

A typical Chinese miner works 21 shifts a month, for 12 hours a shift, according to the state-run newspaper.

“It felt like hell,” one miner said of his first time down in a maze of mine tunnels.

Wang Gang, a 24-year-old miner, gave his account to China Daily.
“Given a choice, I would never work in a mine,” said Wang, whose father and grandfather were miners.

He turned to mining in March 2009 only after starting a family. He became a miner at the Wangping Mine Co. in northern Shanxi province, a state mine where his father once worked.

Wang’s wife stays up till he returns from work safely, among many such concerned family members in the coal-rich province.

Posted in WorldComments Off on MINERS & CHILE



5:39 PM Israeli Time

הכפר עראקיב נהרס הבוקר בפעם השישית.

מאות שוטרים הגיעו לכפר הבדווי כדי להרוס שוב את המבנים הארעיים שנבנו מאז ההריסה הקודמת. הגב’ חיה נוח יושבת ראש הפורום לדו קיום בנגב ששהתה במקום יחד עם פעילים נוספים הוכתה על ידי שוטרים לאחר שביקשה מקצין המשטרה להציג בפני התושבים צו הריסה.

The unrecognized Bedouin village Al Arakib was demolished this morning by hundreds of police officers for the six time. Mrs. Haya Noah leader of the Forum for co-existence in the Negev , who stayed in the village together with other activists was severely hit by police officers following her request to see a court warrant.


At 7:15 PM Haya Noah was still being held, refusing to sign a statement that she would not return to the area.  The police are evidently trying to force her to.  You can help by phoning and demanding her unconditional release.  Phone calls from abroad can be even more effective than from here.  Phone 08 9913886—from abroad +972 8 991 3886.




The sole notice of the demolition that I have found in the Israeli press is the brief Ynet one from 9:36 this morning: 

09:36 , 10.13.10  Breaking News,2506,L-3968676,00.html

    Bedouin village razed for 6th time

Israel Land Administration personnel are razing the unrecognized Bedouin village al-Arakib village, located near Rahat, for the sixth time in the past few weeks. (Ilana Curiel)

For information about unrecognized villages see:

Websites for information on Unrecognized Villages

The Association of Forty

“Unrecognized” Villages of the Naqab [‘Negev’ in Hebrew] 

Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages [RCUV] 

International Committee for Dar El Hanoun

[While most of the ‘unrecognized’ villages are in the Negev, there are exceptions.  Dar El Hanoun is one such. 

Please take time to read about the work camp in 2001.  I participated in it, and it was indeed an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. Unfortunately, we did not achieve the goal we’d hoped for: i.e., the end of Israeli harassment of and demolitions in Dar El Hanoun. 

Of course Israel wants the location minus its population.  The village sits on top of a hill, overlooking the sea (in the distance) to the west.  Lovely view.  Undoubtedly could be sold to developers for a nice sum. Dorothy]




Dear All,

Five items below—but a smattering of the many that would also have interested you. But I promised not to overdo, and am trying not to. 

In case you did not know it, Israel is an extremely racist state.  This is not surprising.  A country that grounds itself on a single ethnicity, or religion, or race is bound to be racist sooner or later.  Israel wants to be seen as a Western country.  But apart from the Vatican (which is hardly typical), what other Western country grounds itself on ethnicity, race, or religion?  To the contrary, Western countries today are a mixture of races, religions, ethnicities.  And while not always do they meld, they eventually will, and also contribute to the whole the customs, foods, etc that they brought from their origins.  So much richer therefore a society that is mixed than is the one grounded on a single race, ethnicity, religion.

Today’s newspapers—Israeli main online newspapers and foreign online newspapers tore into the bill that will undoubtedly become law.  I found not one positive opinion of the ‘loyalty oath’ bill in the dozen or so newspapers that I checked, all of which had commentary on it.   Below are two views that are typical, one an editorial from the Guardian whose title “Discriminatory by Design” from the start states the viewpoint, the other by Knesset member Ahmad Tibi.  These are items 3 and 4.

Prior to that, item 1 is also a sample of straightforward Israeli racism—a ‘city guard’ protects Carmiel from Arabs.  I, being a Jew who grew up in the United States when Jews were not wanted in most country clubs, many neighborhoods, and when there were quotas in institutions of higher learning restricting the number of Jews who could be accepted to this or that department, I am particularly sensitive to racism.  Jews should be generally speaking.  The fact that many Israeli Jews are racist is to me one of the more disgusting outcomes of a Jewish country.  After all, there is no difference from a ‘pure Jewish state’ and a ‘pure Arian’ state (as I have said before).  It is therefore not surprising that the proposed Israeli ‘loyalty oath’ law is only a baby step away from the Nuremberg race laws.  Incredible!

Item 2 tells us that Israeli soldiers have shot 10 Palestinian youngsters in Gaza the past 3 months.  Their crime?  Collecting rubble to sell.

Item 5 has been included mainly because of the highlighted portion.  I have often said that release from the military does not mean that one leaves the habits acquired there behind when one switches from uniforms to civvies.  Item 5 is a case in point. 

All the best,



1.Gush Shalom Press Release

October 12, 2010

Gush Shalom: An extreme right racist militia is active in Carmiel, supported by the municipality and with the approval of the police

In a letter to the Attorney General, the Gush Shalom movement asks to disband immediately the so-called “City Guard” at Carmiel in the Galilee, which is actually a racist extreme right militia, and to launch an investigation against Deputy Mayor Oren Milstein who founded this body, as well as against police officials who helped in its establishment and operation.

The “City Guard” includes about 150 “volunteers” who turn up daily from 20.00 to 24.00 at the entrances to Carmiel and “check” incomers. The official site of the Carmiel Municipality defines the City Guard’s objectives as “increasing awareness, prevention of crime, apprehending drunk drivers, searching for drugs” and other legitimate and praiseworthy aims. However, Carmiel Deputy Mayor Oren Milstein, who was elected to the municipal council on the basis of a fiery anti-Arab campaign, candidly revealed the City Guard’s true aims.

Milstein has recently published an interview in the extreme right-wing publication “Be’Sheva”, where he said: “Carmiel is a Jewish city, plain and simple. It was founded for the purpose of Judaizing the Galilee. In my opinion it is not proper for Arab families to live here. In recent years, there are attempts by our [Arab] neighbors in the Western Galilee villages to migrate into Carmiel, and we must not ignore this phenomenon. “

According to Milstein, since being appointed deputy mayor two years ago, he had been striving “to do something real in order to change the situation”. To this end he founded the City Guard, in cooperation with the Carmiel police. Milstein proudly told the extreme right paper that members of the ” City Guard” are “monitoring every evening the entrances to the city and demand the I.D. of anyone seeking to enter the city. Thus, they reduce the number of neighbors seeking to just enter the city for no special reason.”

Link to full Hebrew interview:

In their letter to Attorney General Weinstein, Uri Avnery and Adam Keller wrote on behalf of Gush Shalom that “the aims and activities of the Carmiel City Guard, as described candidly by its founder, are manifestly racist and illegal. There is no doubt that all citizens of Israel – regardless of religion, race or nationality – have the inalienable right to move freely all over the country, enter any city and village, any public place, as they see fit and, and “for no special reason”. They need not ask permission nor give an account of themselves to anyone – certainly not to a militia of despicable racists in Carmiel.

Gush Shalom said that the fact of this abominable body being established by an Israeli deputy mayor, with the full support of Israel’s police, is yet another serious warning sign in the growing list of blatant racist manifestations in the Israeli public life. The racists’ aim – in the government, in the municipality of Carmiel and throughout the country – is to drive out the Arabs, because they are Arabs. In practice, the immediate and direct result of their activities is to drive the state of Israel out of the community of democratic peoples and turn it into a pariah and outcast country. ” 

Contact: Uri Avnery 0505-306440, Adam Keller 03-5565804 or 054-2340749


2. The Guardian

October 11, 2010

Mohammed Sobboh and his brother Adham Photograph: Guardian At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the “buffer zone” created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory.

Israeli soldiers are routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300 metre-wide no-go area, rights groups say.

According to Bassam Masri, head of orthopaedics at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza, about 50 people have been treated for gunshot wounds suffered in or near the buffer zone while collecting rubble in the past three months; about five have been killed.

He estimates that 30% of the injured are boys under 18.

Defence for Children International (DCI) has documented 10 cases of children aged 13 to 17 being shot in a three-month period between 50 and 800 metres from the border. Nine were shot in a leg or arm; one was shot in the stomach.

The creation of the no-go area has forced farmers to abandon land and residents to leave homes for fear of coming under fire. Last month a 91-year-old man and two teenage boys were killed while harvesting olives outside the official zone when Israeli troops fired shells. Forty-three goats also died in the attack.

In another case a mother of five was killed by a shell outside her home near the zone in July.

Israel declared the buffer zone inside Gaza after the three-week war in 2008-9, saying it was intended to prevent militants firing rockets. It has dropped leaflets from planes several times warning local people not to venture within 300 metres of the fence that marks the border or risk being shot.

However, the UN, aid agencies and rights groups say that Israel has unofficially and without warning extended the zone to up to 1km from the fence, leaving residents and farmers uncertain whether it is safe to access their land or property.

“The army knows the kids are there to collect. They watch them every day and they know they have no weapons,” said Mohammed Abu Rukbi, a fieldworker with DCI. “They usually fire warning shots but the kids don’t take much notice.”

Mohammed Sobboh, 17, was shot just above the knee on August 25 when he was 800 metres from the border, he said. The 12 people in his family have no other income and are not entitled to aid from the UN as they are not refugees.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a horse and a donkey used by Mohammed and his brothers to carry the rubble, he said.

His brother, Adham, 22, said children as young as eight collect debris from former settlements and demolished buildings for 30-40 shekels (£5.20-£7) a day. “The price has gone down because a lot of people are collecting,” said Adham.

According to Dr Masri, the number of shootings has increased as more impoverished Gazans turn to collecting rubble to sell as construction material, which is still under Israeli embargo. “Every day we have one or two cases. Some kids are facing permanent disability. Most of the injuries are to the legs and feet, suggesting the soldiers did not aim to kill. That means they know that the people aren’t militants.”

Ziad Tamboura, 27, lying in a hospital bed with a heavily bandaged foot, was shot last week while collecting 500 metres from the border. X-rays showed the bones in the foot to be smashed by the bullet. He collected rubble in order to feed his wife and child. “If I am able to walk again, I will go back. There is no other work.”

The Gaza City-based Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights is to mount a legal challenge jointly with the Israeli groups Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights to breaches of the official buffer zone. “The area [the Israelis] announced is not the same as what exists on the ground,” said the centre’s Samir Zaqout.

He criticised the Israelis for shooting and shelling unarmed civilians. “They know everything. They have the technological capacity to monitor the area. They have drones in the sky all the time. They are observing and screening everything.”

According to the UN, about 30% of Gaza’s arable land is contained within 300 metres of the 50km border. The difficulty farmers face in reaching their land had had an impact on the availability of crops in Gaza, Zaqout said. “Tomatoes are now 10 shekels a kilo, whereas the price used to be one or two shekels.”

The Abu Said family, whose land lies outside the buffer zone, felt confident that their faces were well known to Israeli troops monitoring the area. “Every day six or seven members of my family are there [on the land],” said Mohammed Abu Said.

But on 12 September, 91-year-old Ibrahim Abu Said, his 17-year-old grandson, Hussam, and a family friend, Ismail Abu Owda, 16, were killed by a shell fired from a tank on the Israeli side of the border. “This was a very old man taking care of his goats,” said Mohammed, Ibrahim’s son. “Our land used to be like a heaven. Now it’s like a desert.”

He blamed Palestinian militants for firing rockets as well as the Israeli military.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the 300-metre buffer zone was created in response to “many incidents of hostile terrorist activity” close to the security fence, often made “under a civilian disguise”.

It added: “The IDF acts in order to prevent harm to civilian populations in its operations and any complaint expressed regarding its soldiers’ conduct will be … examined according to the existing policy.”

In the firing line:

Children shot in “buffer zone” while collecting rubble

Mohammad, 17, shot in left leg, 800m from border, 25 August

Khaled, 16, left thigh, 600m from border, 31 July

Hameed, 13, left arm, 50m from border, 14 July

Nu’man, 14, right leg, 300m from border, 10 July

Arafat, 16, left ankle, 50m from border, 10 July

Mohammad, 16, stomach, 500m from border, 23 June

Abdullah, 16, just above right ankle, 60m from border, 22 June

Ibrahim, 16, right leg, 400m from border, 16 June

Awad, 17, just above his right knee, 350m from border, 7 June

Hasan, 17, just below right knee, 300m from border, 22 May 

Source: Defence for Children International


3. The Guardian Editorial

11 October 2010 

Israel’s loyalty oath: Discriminatory by design

New pledge requires future citizens declare their loyalty to an ideology, one intended to exclude Palestinians

There are two narratives at work in Israel that have a bearing on the capacity of its leaders to negotiate the creation of an independent Palestinian state next to it. The first is official and intended for external consumption. It is the one that claims Israel is ready to sit down with the Palestinians in direct talks without preconditions and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, should not have wasted so much of the 10 month partial freeze on settlement building before he did so. On Saturday, America was given another month by the Arab League to persuade Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to halt settlement building, the bare minimum required for talks to continue.

There is however a second narrative, which could be called business as usual, and it has nothing to do with occupation, Iran’s nuclear programme, Hizbullah’s rocket arsenal, or any threat which could be called existential. This was evident in all its inglory yesterday when the Israeli cabinet approved a measure requiring candidates for Israeli citizenship to pledge loyalty to “the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”. The naturalisation oath would not apply to Jews, who are granted automatic citizenship under the law of return, so it is, by definition, discriminatory. The existing text binds individuals to declare their loyalty to the state of Israel. The new version requires future citizens to declare their loyalty not just to a state but an ideology, one specifically designed to exclude one fifth of its citizens who see themselves as Palestinian.

Palestinian Israeli leaders have described this proposal as racist. Palestinian Israeli citizens do not have to take this oath, but their partners seeking naturalisation do. Neither could agree with Israel’s characterisation of itself as a Jewish state. It could be a state of Jews and all its citizens, but never a Jewish state. Nor is this the only bill around. There are 20 others in the slipstream that have a similar effect: there is a loyalty law for Knesset members and for film crews; there are bills that make it a criminal offence to deny the existence of Israel; that penalise the mourning of Nakba Day; that force any group financed by a foreign nation to report each contribution; and a bill to deny ethnic minorities’ access to Jewish settlements. The authors of these proposals not only intend to create a state ideology but to police it.

The question that lies behind this is why, and why now? Are these the actions of a nation prepared to make a historical compromise, end occupation and live in peace with its neighbourhood? If they are and we are all wildly misinterpreting this, why alienate and incite the very people who could have helped by their example bring a historic settlement about, people who have accepted the existence of Israel, who have never in their history taken up arms against it? This applies to Christian as well as Muslim. The opposite is happening. The Palestinian Israeli experience of inequality and discrimination only promotes the view that being a minority in a state with a Jewish majority is rapidly becoming untenable. 

The Labour minorities minister Avishay Braverman described the loyalty oath yesterday as a terrible mistake. But it is surely more that. Mistake implies miscalculation, and there is calculation in this. It seeks to pre-empt negotiation on the third core issue after borders and the division of Jerusalem – the right of return of Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israeli territory. Abbas happens to be one of those refugees. If Netanyahu refuses to extend the settlement freeze, Abbas, the most pliant Palestinian negotiator Israel is likely to encounter, has threatened to resign, dissolve the Palestinian authority or seek US and UN recognition for a future Palestinian state. Netanyahu is only hastening the day when this happens and in one sense, he is doing the world a service. Future citizens will be swearing loyalty to a state that can not make peace.


4.  Ynet,

October 12, 2010

    The ethnic cleansing plan

Op-ed: Ahmad Tibi says loyalty oath initiators sending clear message to Arab Israelis,7340,L-3968038,00.html

Ahmad Tibi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “Israel is a Jewish state, yet it maintains equality and grants rights to all its citizens.” He is so wrong. 

I head the parliamentary committee on hiring Arabs in the public service. The Arabs constitute 20% of the population, yet make up roughly 6.5% of all public service employees. This figure says it all. It is very from equality and expresses social exclusion, marginalization, neglect, and mostly discrimination.

There is almost no area of life here where equality between Arabs and Jews prevails – not in education, not in infrastructure, not in agriculture, not in industry, not in sports, not in employment, and most certainly not in earmarking land or in planning and construction. 

Since 1984, Israel has been defined as a Jewish and democratic state through a Basic Law. Jewish comes before democratic, and this is no coincidence. I argue that both values cannot coexist within the same definition. A state that defines itself as “democratic” is obligated to offer full equality to all citizens. Yet if to begin with it defines itself using ethnic, religious or national characteristics – Jewish in this case – this creates preference for Jewish citizens over anyone else. 

The prime minister, who knows that an incisive and fundamental domestic dispute about this definition is taking place in the State of Israel and at the Knesset, decided to export this debate to the international community and demand that the PLO recognize Israel as the Jewish people’s nation-state as a condition for signing an agreement. 

There are three reasons for the Palestinian refusal to do so. First, the definition would reinforce the inferior status of Arab Palestinians within Israel, while granting a political, civil, and mostly constitutional advantage to Jews over Arabs – a fact that gravely undermines the value of “democracy.” Second is the issue of refugees and right of return. Such recognition would prevent any Palestinian from bringing up the refugee issue in the negotiations even before they started.

Let’s call the third reason “the narrative.” Such recognition would amount to admitting that the Palestinian narrative was a false sham, and that the Zionist narrative is true. That is, this demand asks the victim of Zionism – that is, us the Arabs – to admit that the Nakba did not happen in fact and that our Nakba narrative is baseless. No Palestinian leader would do that. 

Those who decided to get the world involved in this debate as a condition for a deal should be confronted with a counter demand by Arab states and the international community: In addition to the refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, the Arabs should demand that in any political agreement, the Arabs in the State of Israel would be granted full political and civil equality and be recognized as a national minority within the State of Israel. 

Lieberman’s shamelessness

Yet Yisrael Beiteinu’s plans do not stop at the amendment to the citizenship Act, where naturalized citizens are required to recognize a Jewish, democratic Israel. This clause is part of a whole program highlighted by Foreign Minister Lieberman’s words at the UN in support of population tradeoffs. 

Lieberman compares settlers who live on occupied land robbed from its Palestinian owners to Arab citizens who are a native population group and were here even before the State’s establishment. He wishes to keep the settlers where they are now and maintaining their citizenship, while annulling the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Arabs and removing them from Israel’s sovereign territory. 

There is no doubt that this is a gradual ethnical cleansing scheme; removing as many Arabs as possible while creating a Jewish, homogenous Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu is playing into the hands of Yisrael Beiteinu and is being led by the nose by Lieberman (yet prides itself on initiating the Citizenship Act amendment.) 

The State of Israel, via ministers Lieberman, Ne’eman and Yishai, and with the Ehud Barak’s active cooperation, is bluntly provoking the Arabs in the country in direct continuation to the arrogant attitude ignoring the authentic feelings of this minority. 

These people wish to convey the message that they are the masters of the house while we are subtenants in this country, which is in fact our national home and native land; we never immigrated here, as opposed to the chutzpah of the man making the proposal, who arrived here less than 40 years ago. These people are creating a growing sense of suffocation while minimizing the democratic living space.

The State of Israel manages to market itself to the whole world as the region’s only democracy, yet this description is far from being accurate. Israel manages three systems of government. The first one is a clear democracy for 80% of the population – a democracy for Jews, that is, an ethnocracy (or Judeocracy if you will.) The second regime is one of nationality-based social seclusion and discrimination of 20% of the population, the Arab minority. The third regime is the occupation in the territories.  

Until Israel starts to treat the Palestinians, whoever they are, as equals, including the ones living within it as citizens, and until it recognizes their rights for this land, we shall all continue to be stuck in place and say with great degree of accuracy that Israel is indeed Jewish and democratic – democratic to the Jews, and Jewish to the Arabs. 

Knesset Member Dr. Ahmad Tibi is the deputy Knesset Chairman and chairman of the United Arab List – Taal 


5.  Haaretz

October 12, 2010

Israeli who killed British tourist to be freed early from 20-year sentence

Daniel Okev was convicted of murdering British tourist Jeffrey Hunter and of seriously injuring his friend Charlotte Gibb 13 years ago.

By Liel Kyzer

Daniel Okev, who was convicted of murdering British tourist Jeffrey Hunter and of seriously injuring his friend Charlotte Gibb 13 years ago, is soon slated to be released after completing two-thirds of his 20-year sentence, an Israel Prison Service parole board decided on Monday.

The decision may be reversed if the Attorney General’s Office decides to challenge it. Otherwise, Okev is expected to be released in a week.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement that “the parole board’s decision was received by the prosecution today, but it has not yet been reviewed and therefore, we are unable to comment.”

According to the terms approved by the parole board, Okev will have to appear at a police station once a week after being freed from Ma’asiyahu Prison. He will not be allowed to leave the country without permission from the parole board and will be under house arrest in the evening hours.

According to the parole board, which was chaired by retired judge Zvi Hertel, “throughout his years in prison, the prisoner committed no disciplinary violations and his behavior, both in prison and outside, including in his conduct and work, was exemplary. The prisoner’s progress in rehabilitation has contributed to preparing him to live outside of prison.”

The board also wrote that prison officials and social workers were “impressed by his honest remorse for the murder and aggravated assault he committed against innocents. The psychiatric treatment and diagnoses that the prisoner underwent during his incarceration have led him, he says, to understand the link between his military experience in a unit where he assassinated terrorists and the murder and aggravated assault … which occurred without any reasonable cause.”

The board therefore accepted his request for parole and ordered his sentence cut by a third.

Okev was convicted of killing Hunter and injuring Gibb in August 1997, after picking them up while they were hitchhiking from Eilat to Mitzpeh Ramon. During a rest stop, he shot them with his pistol with no warning. Hunter died from the shots and Gibb was wounded.

He was arrested nine days after the murder but claimed he had no recollection of either his decision to shoot his passengers or the actual shooting. He said he learned he had shot two people only after he recovered from the psychotic episode and saw the two lying bleeding on the ground – while he still held the pistol.

The Be’er Sheva District Court accepted the assessment of the district psychiatrist, who concluded that Okev’s ability to understand his actions was limited due to a psychological problem stemming from a brain defect. The court therefore sentenced him to only 20 years instead of the life term normally given to murderers.

“The decision is correct and balanced,” said Avi Amiram, Okev’s defense attorney, of the parole board’s ruling. “The board asked for a report by the Prison Service’s chief psychiatrist, who concluded unequivocally that he constitutes no danger to himself or those around him.”

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER



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         *   And Tom Friedman says the Arab world is rife with conspiracy theory…

And Tom Friedman says the Arab world is rife with conspiracy theory…

Oct 13, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Israel National News:

President Obama’s incoming National Security Adviser is well known for his close ties to the Jewish and pro-Israel community….

One of Donilon’s clients during his time as a lawyer was Penny Pritzker, daughter of Hyatt hotel chain founder Donald Pritzker and member of the notable Jewish American Pritzker business family. Penny Pritzker is one of President Obama’s strongest Jewish backers. She was the national finance chair of Obama’s presidential campaign…

Donilon’s appointment has also been backed and approved by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “Tom Donilon understands it’s a dangerous world,” said Committee spokesman Josh Block in a statement. “In every position he has held throughout his career in government, he has been a strong friend of the US-Israel relationship.”

Partners in occupation

Oct 12, 2010

Jesse Rosenfeld 

Lacking popular legitimacy amongst Palestinians, de-facto control in Gaza and dependent on American and European aid to stay afloat, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is without a base to find strength in as he officially remains in a negotiations process that most of his constituents view skeptically.

As a result, the continued series of PA concessions illustrates the context of the August 31 settler assassinations, intended to derail talks before they began. Although these attacks were carried out by Hamas’ military wings, they received support from a wide coalition spanning the Palestinian political spectrum, including leftist PLO factions like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

However, this approach to derailment is different in reason and context to Hamas’ suicide bombing campaign of the Oslo period, which sought to send the message that the PLO lacked a monopoly on resistance. This target – against Hebron settler communities, especially known for violence and cruelty to Palestinians – was one of broad appeal, stating that resistance can still be mustered despite the continuous Israeli and PA security force crackdowns in the West Bank.

Although tit-for-tat internal reprisal and repression between PA forces in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza colors PA West Bank repression, it does not explain the depth of the crackdown which again climaxed during the lead up and commencement to negotiations. Even before the assassinations, a public meeting in Ramallah of civil society and political organizations opposing the talks, primarily from the Palestinian left, was infiltrated by PA general intelligence and violently dispersed before it could get underway.

Following the settler assassinations, PA forces swept through the West Bank arresting hundreds suspected of involvement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a move condemned by the Palestinian human rights organization, Al Haq. On the night of the assassinations, PA forces reportedly entered the Deheisha refugee camp – regularly invaded by Israeli forces and one of the few remaining PFLP stronghold camps – shooting. Clashes with residents throwing stones then ensued and 13 people connected to the Popular Front were later arrested by the PA. The website Electronic Intifada has reported that the PFLP in the camp has since decided to move political activities underground and PA forces now patrol the camp, painting over gratified PFLP, Hamas and anti-negotiations slogans.

“The PA problem is their program matches Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” former Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader turned cultural activist with Jenin’s Freedom Theatre, Zakaria Zubeidi says, referring to the largest US military aid recipients in the Middle East after Israel. “They are all beholden,” he continues, contending that Iran sets Hamas’ program. Formerly topping Israel’s assassination list, Zubeidi says he gave up armed resistance after the internal split which he believes set back the Palestinian struggle 50 years. “The Palestinian yard is now empty of resistance,” he adds, overlooking the Jenin refugee camp from his porch – which was an Israeli army lookout point during the last Intifada.

In the West Bank it has been more than a two-year process of blanket Israeli repression followed by PA security force clean up and behind-the-scenes debilitating of resistance. A prime example is the town of Ni’lin – located near the 1967 green line and waging popular demonstrations since 2008 against Israeli land annexation stemming from the Wall. Once a forceful and broad struggle that was an example for national unity, it now faces consistently shrinking participation.

“When [the Israelis] kill five people, shoot 45 with live ammunition and arrest 150, people start to ask who will look after my family if I go to jail or am killed,” says Ni’lin resident Saeed Ibrahim Amira, a young man who spent four and half months in an Israeli jail for activism against the Wall. According to Amira, the PA has also fallen short in supporting those injured by Israeli soldiers and done nothing to deal with spiraling unemployment stemming from denials of work permits to Israel for town residents because of the anti-Wall campaign. As the wall construction was completed, unity began to break down and in June PA general intelligence began summoning residents suspected of Hamas affiliation and then arresting 15, including people involved in the popular struggle.

Like Ni’lin and Deheisha, Jenin has also experienced the impact of duel Israeli and PA force presence, starting in 2008 with an unpopular mass policing operation in the city and refugee camp. Yet, when the Israeli army enters, the PA security forces disappear from sight (as they do across the West Bank). “The PA come in and [have a] ‘peaceful’ occupation of the camp. Since this started, Zakariah [Zubeidi] and the resistance has been losing power,” says Mustafa Staiti, a local resident who grew up in the refugee camp and now lives in the city. “People are not close with the PA and most people are skeptical about the negotiations,” he adds contending that Fatah’s internal resistance was broken at its last conference in Bethlehem.

With Israelis clearly looking to use these negotiations as cover for expanding occupation – as all governments since Rabin have done – the PA presence can only be that of an unpopular authority openly embracing its only remaining source of marginal power: Israel and the US. Where an ability to convince Palestinians that this style of talks will lead to freedom has failed, a systematic campaign to break resistance so the status quo can continue has emerged.

The post originally appeared on The Daily Nuisance.

The settlements are illegal regardless of whether Israel is recognized as a ‘Jewish state’

Oct 12, 2010

Maggie Sager 

In the newest development concerning peace negotiations between Israel and the PA, Netanyahu has offered to partially extend the fake settlement freeze in exchange for recognition of Israel’s Jewish character. In a startling spectacle of rationality, the PA has rejected the offer in kind. BBC reports: 

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said Mr. Netanyahu was “playing games” with his offer, and that there was no connection between settlements and the national character of Israel.

“I don’t see a relevance between his obligations under international law and him trying to define the nature of Israel,” he added. “I hope he will stop playing these games and will start the peace process by stopping settlements.”

He’s right. Settlement activity in the West Bank is illegal under international law regardless of Israel’s “Jewishness”. Perhaps Bibi Netanyahu forgot the following:

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [… and] have been established in breach of international law. -International Court of Justice Ruling, July 9, 2004

Or operative paragraph one of UNSC Resolution 242, in which the Security Council unanimously:

…Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of…the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict…

Or UNSC Resolution 446, which affirmed in explicit terms the conclusions of UNSC Resolution 242 (three abstentions) as did UNSC Resolution 452 (one abstention) UNSC Resolution 465 (unanimous), and UNSC Resolution 471 (one abstention)?

Or the portion of UNSC Resolution 252, passed with two abstentions, in which the Security Council:

…Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status; [and] Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem…

Or UNSC Resolution 267, unanimously adopted, which affirmed the conclusions of UNSC Resolution 252, as did UNSC Resolution 298 (one abstention), UNSC Resoluition 476 (one abstention) and UNSC Resolution 478 (one abstention)? 

Maybe Bibi forgot that, unlike the General Assembly, resolutions passed by the Security Council are indeed binding?

Maybe he forgot that in 1993 the UNSC approved a report by the Secretary General which concluded beyond doubt that the law applicable in armed conflict as embodied in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Hague Convention (IV) of 18 October 1907 had become part of international customary law, and thus applied even if the other party was not a High Contracting Party (as is the case in Palestine)?

Did he simply imagine that at the end of each of these resolutions is the caveat “if and only if Israel is recognized as a Jewish state,” thus exempting Israel from its legal obligations?

Or perhaps Erekat is right, and Bibi really is just playing games. Setting aside the composition of Israel’s demand of recognition as a Jewish state (which is ridiculous in and of itself), the mere act of setting preconditions for compliance with international law attests to Netanyahu’s seemingly limitless arrogance. He honestly thinks he can shift the blame for the disintegration of peace talks by throwing bones to the PA, which already affirmed Israel’s right to exist (sans the racist classification) in 1993.

He clearly believes that through slight of hand he can simultaneously eviscerate the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, and strengthen the codification of Arab subjugation in Israel all in exchange for what exactly? “An additional suspension of building for a limited period of time,” says Bibi. Will this be the same kind of “suspension” that still allowed for unhindered construction in East Jerusalem, for the razing of Palestinian villages and confiscation of private Palestinian property, and for continued work on current projects which would most likely include the 3,000 that began as soon as the last “suspension” ended?

Let’s just hope this doesn’t constitute the kind of gesture Obama promised to prostitute US taxpayers in order to coax out of the Israeli government.

Maggie Sager is currently a student at Mills College in Oakland, California. You can find her work at

Israeli Jews don’t have to recognize Israel as Jewish state

Oct 12, 2010


A Palestinian professor whom I cited yesterday in this post regarding Israel’s new declaration of loyalty legislation has asked me to post these intriguing clarifications.

“The Jewish State” is defined by and was established by means of Israel’s Declaration of Establishment in 1948, which acts as a sort of preamble to Israel’s basic laws. The Declaration however does not compel Israel’s Jewish or non-Jewish citizens (or anyone else) to recognize this or its other historical narratives. That would go against the spirit of the Declaration, which essentially affords Israel’s citizens the ability and right to remain silent on the issue (and even contradict and oppose the historical narrative in the Declaration).

In the contemporary struggle between Netanyahu and Lieberman for leadership of the right in Israel, both seek to make this notion not something declared by the Jewish leadership upon the establishment of Israel but something declared by Palestinians as well as Arab citizens of Israel; but at the same time maintaining the status quo that allows Jews to remain silent on or contradict the Declaration. So they want to restrict the rights afforded by the Declaration to Jews only.

In that regard it is well understood that both Natenyahu and Lieberman are using such demands to indefinitely delay the formation of a Palestinian state and withdrawal back to Israel’s 1967 international borders as well as entertain fantasies about the expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens.

But why do they seek to maintain the status quo that allows Jews to remain silent on or contradict the Declaration? Because, they cannot conceivably reconcile the right of all Jews to live as citizens in Israel with a requirement that all these Jews recognize Israel as the Jewish state defined in the Declaration of Establishment. For example, Jewish religious authorities do not explicitly recognize this, nor does their congregation. They have different ideas regarding Israel and these are not consistent with the Declaration of Establishment: Further, the traditional secular (shrinking) majority in Israel rejects the rabbinical notion of the nature of Israel. Not to mention that there are Jews happily living as citizens in Israel who reject the Declaration for leftist liberal reasons.

Thus, Jews are not and will never be required to declare loyalty or even acceptance of Israel’s Jewishness in accordance to the Declaration or in accordance to any other conception. Even, Ehud Barak’s recent insistence that non-Jews declare loyalty to the Jewish State as conceived in the Declaration was rejected.

There is, however, almost unanimity among Jews in israel that though they themselves will not be encumbered with recognizing Israel’s nature in any way; non-Jews, in particular Palestinians, should recognize and even define Israel as a Jewish state. It is as though internal tensions regarding Israel’s nature are being diverted to outsiders.

We the Palestinians will have nothing to do with this and understand fully well that the Declaration of Establishment at the very least allows us to remain mute regarding Israel’s nature. As it allows Jewish israelis to remain mute on this issue and does not compel anyone to recognize Israel beyond being a state like any other sovereign state.

‘Hey BU you’ve been had, Dershowitz is WICKED bad!’: Boston University students protest CAMERA

Oct 12, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Alan Dershowitz takes a photo of the protest outside CAMERA’s conference at Boston University.

The following statement was sent by protest organizers:

On Sunday, October 10th, students from Boston University’s Students for Justice in Palestine group and their allies (American Jews for a Just Peace, ItisApartheid, and students from several other Boston Palestine groups) assembled to demonstrate against the university’s hosting of “War by Other Means: the Global Campaign to Delegitimize Israel,” a conference put on by the anti-Palestinian group CAMERA (the Committee For Accuracy in Middle East Reporting). As a result of the growing success of the international Palestine solidarity movement, Israel’s supporters increasingly feel that they are en route to a South African like pariah status.

According to CAMERA, “Israel faces a convergence of global forces that may undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of the world community.” Its conference contained many prominent Israel supporters including keynote speaker and Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, and Gerald Steinberg of NGO monitor.

As conference attendees arrived, they were met with a mock “apartheid wall” assembled by protesters symbolizing the nearly 440 mile long wall Israel has used to seize and carve up Palestinian territory beyond the 1967 Green line. The Brass Liberation Orchestra, a marching band which incorporates socio-political messages into its often theatrical performances, accompanied several dozen protesters as they held banners, sang, and handed out hundreds of fliers. Protestors used chants such as “BU, US, it’s time for BDS!” and “Hey BU you’ve been had, Dershowitz is WICKED bad!” (as Alan Dershowitz photographed a banner with his name on it).

BDS or boycott, divestment, and sanctions, is a global non-violent movement that aims to put economic pressure on the Israeli state to end the occupation of the territories seized in 1967, recognize international law, and grant full and equal rights to Arab-Palestinians living within Israel.

Israel-centric Ethan Bronner cites Israeli law on East J’lem and Golan, ignoring crystal clear int’l standards

Oct 12, 2010

Alex Kane 

Nestled in this all over-the-place article written by Ethan Bronner in today’s New York Times is this factually-challenged nugget:

Both East Jerusalem and the Golan were officially annexed by Israel through parliamentary votes, so by Israeli law they count as Israeli territory. That is not true of the West Bank, which the Palestinians want as their future state and where Israel has settled more than 300,000 Jewish citizens.

That paragraph is in the middle of an article that, in part, is about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for a bill that would require a national referendum in Israel on giving up the occupied territories.

Bronner’s reporting gives readers no substantive understanding of why East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a huge part of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Those territories, captured by Israel during the 1967 War, were indeed unilaterally annexed by the Israeli government. So it’s true, as Bronner writes, that they “count as Israeli territory” under Israeli law.

But not under international law, which is really the relevant body of law to look at when discussing Israel/Palestine. This is how the United Nations’ Goldstone report describes East Jerusalem:

After 1967, the two areas [referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip] were administered directly by military commanders until 1981 and since then through a “Civil Administration” established by the Israeli armed forces. “Military orders” were used to rule the civil affairs of the Palestinian population superimposing and often revoking pre-existing Jordanian laws in the West Bank and Egyptian laws in the Gaza Strip. East Jerusalem was annexed to the Israeli municipality of the city and in 1980 the Knesset passed a law which declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel”. With Security Council resolution 478 (1980), the United Nations declared this law “null and void”, condemning any attempt to “alter the character and status of Jerusalem”. No member of the United Nations, apart from Israel, recognizes the annexation of East Jerusalem.

This is how UN Security Council Resolution 497, passed in the aftermath of Israel’s declaration of the Golan Heights in Syria as falling under the laws, jurisdiction and administration of the State of Israel, characterized the Syrian territory:

The Security Council,

Having considered the letter of 14 December 1981 from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic contained in document S/14791,

Reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions,

1. Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;
2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;
3. Determines that all the provisions of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since June 1967;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution within two weeks and decides that in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Security Council would meet urgently, and not later than 5 January 1982, to consider taking appropriate measures in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The whole focus on whether Israelis will voluntarily give up illegally occupied territory is irrelevant. International law is crystal clear, and it doesn’t bend to the popular will of Israeli citizens.

This post originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog.

Question: How has activism changed your vision of the conflict?
Oct 12, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Question for Joseph Dana:

I’m going to put up a post today for your event in New York City next week. A question, one I’d ask at the event, but maybe you want to respond to now:

You have spent a couple years now working with activists across ethnic, religious, national lines against the occupation. How has this experience changed your political vision of the future of the country and the OPT?

Dana responds:

The last three years of activism have driven home a very important point which is that co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians which could form the basis of a one state solution is entirely possible and could be realized in the near future. I do not feel pessimistic about the future of the conflict, in fact, I feel the optimist about our ability to defeat the occupation via grassroots and unarmed joint struggle. 

Several children, including 8 year old, arrested in Silwan

Oct 12, 2010


And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Civil Administration razes farmland in Beit Fajjar

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s Civil Administration razed farmland and a barn owned by a resident of the Beit Fajjar village in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem on Monday.  Raed Taqatqa, the land owner, said Israeli forces sought to control the area near the village’s main road and that of Al-Ma’sara, the site of demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall.

Settlers: No Jewish state without West Bank construction
Leaders of Jewish communities in West Bank slam PM’s offer for new construction freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as Jewish state, say he will be put in ‘political slaughterhouse’ if plan implemented. ‘It is our Zionist right and duty to build here,’ they declare.,7340,L-3967977,00.html

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

Bil’in’s Abdallah Abu Rahmah sentenced to a year in prison, Joseph Dana
Bil’in protest organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment today, for his involvement in his village’s unarmed struggle against the wall.

Free Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Joseph Dana
Bil’in Popular Committee Chairman Abdallah Abu Rahmah was sentenced to one year in jail this afternoon for non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation. The time for international support of Abdallah Abu Rahmah and the popular unarmed struggle is now!  Please visit the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee for more information on how you can help Abdallah’s case and share the below poster.

Vanunu`s freedom denied again
Eileen Fleming – Salem News – Having recently spent three months in detention for the “crime” of talking to foreigners, whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu returned to the Supreme Court, seeking to rescind the restrictions imposed on him the government. As on previous occasions, his appeal was denied. On 12 December this year, Vanunu is due to be granted the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Medal for 2010. Evidently, he will be able to arrive at the Berlin ceremony.

Photo essay of a West Bank demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh, Joseph Dana
Every Friday the village of Nabi Saleh holds an unarmed demonstration against the occupation and continued Israeli settlement expansion. The following is a photo essay of last Friday’s demonstration in which the IDF used live ammunition against unarmed protesters and six Palestinians were injured.

Al-Ma’sara commemorates 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Che Guevara
Oct 9, 2010– Tens of people were suffocated by tear gas at the Al-Masara weekly protest on 8 October marking the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Che Guevara and in solidarity with Ahmed Sadat, the general secretary of the PFLP who has been in solitary confinement for more than 500 days.

Activists disrupt JNF conference, including ‘Not in my name’ Jews who are labeled ‘traitors’, Philip Weiss
The Jewish National Fund, which pays for the purchase of land for Jews in Israel, and of trees to cover up Palestinian villages, is holding a national conference in Atlanta. Activists picketed the conference, and several walked in on the conference yesterday, some identifying themselves as Jews. Among them is Lisa Adler, above, being pulled out of the room by a JNF’r.

PLO calls for boycott of OECD Jerusalem summit
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The PLO has called on member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development to boycott a summit on sustainable tourism which will be held in West Jerusalem in mid-October, a statement issued Tuesday read.  The PLO said convening the summit in West Jerusalem “under current conditions is a reward to Israel and grants legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of the city [East Jerusalem] and all its racist and oppressive measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem.”

Groups plan 2nd aid flotilla to Gaza from February (AP)
AP – Pro-Palestinian groups plan to sail a flotilla of boats through Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza as early as February in the second such attempt in less than a year, activists said Monday.*

Swiss ship to join Gaza-bound flotilla
A ship with Swiss nationals aboard is scheduled to take part in an aid flotilla bound for Gaza next spring, a solidarity group announced on Monday.  Nathan Finkelstein, a spokesman with the Geneva-based Collectif Urgence Palestine, said about 45 people could be aboard the ship as part of a flotilla with vessels from 17 countries. It could set sail as early as February.

Slain US activist’s parents seek justice in Israel (AP)
AP – The parents of a young American activist crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer seven years ago as she tried to save a Palestinian home from demolition never saw the soldier who killed her or his commanders put on trial or punished.*

‘We wouldn’t eat their sandwiches!’ –an interview with Lillian Rosengarten, Philip Weiss
Lillian Rosengarten, the only American on the Jewish boat to Gaza, lives near me in the Hudson Valley, and the other day I visited her to interview her about her experience on the British-flagged catamaran that the Israelis had intercepted on the high seas on September 28.  I hoped the activist/therapist/poet could answer a big question. How did she reconcile two important events in her life: her family had fled Nazi Germany when she was a toddler, but now, 73 years later, the state created to rescue the Jews had deported her and said she could never come back?

8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010
Sep 1, 2010– Eight years into the construction of the Apartheid Wall, over 60% has already been built to ghettoize communities, threatening over 260,000 people with displacement and stealing land and water resources.

Calendar of collective olive harvest initiatives
Oct 12, 2010– The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its popular committees are coordinating collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest. Click here to see the dates and locations of the olive harvest initiatives.

More ‘best shots of Israel’
Lara Elborno sent the following email and photos to the Israel Project as part of its “Best Shots of Israel” contest. Elborno is a Palestinian-American and currently a 2nd year law student in Chicago.

Breaking the Silence nominated for EU peace prize
Breaking the Silence documents testimony of soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza; right-wing group calls on parliament members not to let it win award.

Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Gaza power problem ‘partially solved’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza Electricity Company said several improvements in supply have led to a partial solution to the electricity crisis in the coastal enclave, which has been plagued with power cuts since January.  A statement issued by the GEC on Monday said the crisis was also partly solved through a government-enforced salary deduction, which was implemented to pay outstanding electricity bills. As a result, the GEC wrote, the company was able to cover the fuel costs for running the sole power plant’s generators.

Anger at Israel’s controversial oath
Israel’s Arab community has been angered by the government’s proposal requiring any non-Jew taking Israeli citizenship to swear allegiance to the country as a Jewish and democratic state. The controversial phrase added to citizenship law in move is seen by critics as attempt to get support for new settlement freeze. Palestinians say the law would legitimise discrimination and the dispossession of the indigenous people. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Jerusalem.

Bahar: Loyalty oath another nakba
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel’s new loyalty oath requiring non-Jews to to swear allegiance to “a Jewish and democratic state” was described as a new catastrophe or nakba for Palestinians living in Israel by the Palestinian Legislative Council’s deputy speaker on Monday.  Speaking to reporters in Gaza City, Ahmad Bahar said the recent amendment to Israel’s citizenship law would lead to a catastrophe leading to the forced immigration of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

Assad says ‘racist’ oath proves Israel doesn’t want peace (AFP)
AFP – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday slammed an Israeli citizenship law that he said was proof the Jewish state does not want to make peace with the Palestinians.*

EU says Israel must guarantee equality for all (AFP)
AFP – The European Union on Tuesday urged Israel to guarantee the equality of all its citizens after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Palestinians to recognise Israel’s Jewish identity.*


Israeli soldiers ‘shot at children collecting gravel by Gaza border’
The Israeli military has been urged to investigate the shootings of at least 12 impoverished young Palestinians collecting gravel in an effort to eke out an income within 800 metres of Gaza’s heavily guarded northern border.

Israeli troops accused of shooting children in Gaza
• Victims were scavenging for rubble, say rights groups
• Attacks allegedly took place outside 300-metre buffer zone

Child injured in Silwan clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian child sustained a rubber bullet wound to the leg and another injury to his face after he was hit by a stun grenade during clashes in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday afternoon, locals said.  Locals identified the child as Suleiman Siyam, 12, who was injured when clashes broke out in Silwan after undercover Israeli forces raided the Beir Yacoub neighborhood.

Three men sustain bruises, fractures during IOF attack in Al-Khalil
Three Palestinians were injured and one of them arrested after a brutal assault by Israeli soldiers in the Al Tawana region south of Yatta, Al-Khalil.


Center: 8 year old child detained in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Wad Hilweh Information Center said an eight-year-old Palestinian resident of Silwan was detained at dawn on Tuesday by Israeli police.  Center director Jawad Siyam said police raided Omran Mansour’s home in the Beir Ayoub neighborhood of the flashpoint area. The center had said they believed the child was the one seen being struck down by an Israeli car days earlier but later said he was not.

Israeli Army Invades Silwan and Arrests Children
Tuesday night Israeli troops launched large-scale raids of homes in several neighbourhoods and battled with children in the town of Silwan near the Al Aqsa Mosque.

2 youth arrested and their father beaten by the Occupying Forces
Oct 9, 2010– The Israeli Occupying Forces arrested two teenagers this afternoon, Jihad Jamal Currency (17 years), and Iyad Jamil Currency (18 years), while they were harvesting olives in the town of Beit Ula west of Hebron. The arrest took place at the start of the annual olive harvesting season. Their father, Iyad Jamal, was also severely beaten by the Occupying Forces.

Israeli Soldiers Arrest A Student From Hebon University
On Monday the Israeli military arrested Sajeda Al-‘Awawda, 20, a student at the Hebron University, and moved her to an unknown destination.

Israeli Military Arrests Five Citizens From Hebron
On Monday, the Israeli army arrested five citizens from the Hebron area and invaded several other areas in the same region.

Political Developments

Vice Premier: No chance of peace with Palestinians in near future
Ya’alon tells Army Radio that Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state shows they are not serious about two-state solution.

Netanyahu asking Palestinians to cede right of return
Netanyahu understands that a Palestinian leadership prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is tantamount to an up-front concession on the Palestinian right of return.

Palestinian official: PA will never recognize Israel as Jewish state
PA negotiator: Partial construction freeze not enough; PLO official accuses Netanyahu of using freeze-for-recognition proposal to weaken Obama’s influence in Mideast and distract from core issues in peace negotiations.

Abbas told Arab summit Israel has ‘cancelled Oslo’: aide
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas told Arab leaders over the weekend that Israel has in effect scrapped the landmark 1993 Oslo autonomy accords, an aide said on Monday.  “Abbas affirmed to the Arabs that Israel has effectively cancelled the Oslo agreement and the other agreements it has signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO),” chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

President’s office rebuffs rumors of Abbas resignation
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas will continue on as leader of the Palestinian Authority, the secretary-general of the president’s office said Monday.  Abdul Rahim said reports of Abbas’ resignation and the dismantling of the PA were “all rumors to lower the spirits of the Palestinians,” as he received the Tunisian representative to the PA Shakib Ath-Thawadi at the presentational compound in Ramallah, central West Bank.

Hamas calls on Fatah to return to role as national liberation movement
Ramallah, 11 October – Tensions between the Fatah leadership heading the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah and the Hamas resistance movement rose to an all-time high after PA spokesman Adnan al-Dhameri commented the assassination of two Hamas exponents in Hebron on Friday saying that neither the Israeli occupation forces nor his own security forces held any responsibility for the deaths. Rather, he suggested, the Hamas movement itself was responsible because it apparently had permitted his ranks to be infiltrated by the Israeli internal security services, the Shin Bet, who, he said, liquidated the two Hamas men. The statement prompted protest from the Palestinian parliamentarian Hosam Khader, himself a member of Fatah. Khader said he proved dismay witnessing exponents of Fatah joining security forces, who embark on arrest and liquidation campaigns against resistance fighters in the West Bank.
Palestinians say they have other options if U.S. fails to convince Israel to halt settlement
RAMALLAH, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) — Palestinian officials said on Monday they hoped that the United States would convince Israel to halt settlement construction within the one-month time the Arab League committee had given before the direct peace talks can be resumed. But they threat to take other options if it fails.

Fatah: Netanyahu demand ‘new obstacle’ to talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Fatah described Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as Jewish state for the extension of a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction as a “new obstacle in reviving negotiations,” on Monday.  Party spokesman Ahmad Assaf said the condition “proves false claims by the Israeli government on the natural expansion of settlements, which it has used to resume settlement activity.”

Palestinians: US not taking Bibi seriously
Senior Palestinian Authority official tells Ynet direct peace talks unlikely to resume prior to US midterm elections; says Washington views Netanyahu’s demands as ‘ridiculous’.,7340,L-3968179,00.html

Europe FMs dismiss Lieberman comments
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Spain’s foreign minister dismissed comments Monday by his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman that the EU should resolve internal conflicts before attempting to find solutions for the Middle East, Israeli media reported.  Miguel Moratinos said Lieberman’s remarks were prompted by Europe’s vital role in the Middle East peace process, Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Syria accuses Israel of hindering peace process
Assad says that while the Arab side is interested in peace, ‘the Israeli side is working in the opposite direction’.

Other News

New U.S. military chief takes office in the West Bank
U.S. military chief in the West Bank Keith Dayton has handed over the task of training Palestinian Authority security forces to his successor Gen. Michael Moeller, several sources confirmed on Monday.

Report: PA submits request for new airport
TEL AVIV (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority has submitted a request to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office for the construction of a new Palestinian airport in the central West Bank district of Jericho, Hebrew-language media reported Tuesday  The four square kilometer airport 10km southeast of Jerusalem includes plans for a single terminal, six gates for boarding, a large parking lot and international airport facilities and was submitted by the PA transport minister, Israeli daily Maariv reported.

Fayyad signs €30 million deal with Spanish FM
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Spain pledged to offer €30 million to support the Palestinian Authority after signing an agreement between the country’s foreign minister Miguel Moratinos and premier Salam Fayyad.  Fayyad met with Moratinos and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner to discuss political developments and dangers to the peace process, where he said direct talks required Israel to commit to international law, a settlement halt, opening all crossings into Gaza and an end to Israeli military incursions into Area A under the PA’s jurisdiction.

Israeli who killed British tourist to be freed early from 20-year sentence
Daniel Okev was convicted of murdering British tourist Jeffrey Hunter and of seriously injuring his friend Charlotte Gibb 13 years ago.

Israel Police officers suspected of organizing pay-for-sex scheme at station
Shfela District commander Shimon Ben Harosh ordered the probe after tipped off to the allegations of misconduct.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi Declares An Alternative To Failing Negotiations
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), MP and runner-up in the 2005 presidential election declared in a press conference in Ramallah yesterday that failed negotiations are threatening the last opportunity of peace based on a two-state solution. He argued that negotiations are meaningless and damaging while Israeli settlement building continues, and proposed an initiative to surpass the intractable impasse in the so called peace process.

Israel’s Human Shields and Live Bait, Sharmine Narwani
“Sharmoota!” hisses the Jewish settler as she presses up against the bars of a Hebron home where she has forced a Palestinian woman to take cover. “Whore” in Arabic, the shameful word hangs in the air like verbal dynamite – and shocks again and again as rapid-fire “Sharmootas” are spat out at their victim.

Can the OECD stand up to Israel? | Sam Bahour and Charles Shamas
The upcoming OECD tourism summit in Jerusalem will test its member countries’ commitment to international law.  What can be said for the state of international law when international organisations such as the OECD find themselves unable to prevent a member country from bringing its unlawful practice into the life of the organisation itself? In such situations, how can law-abiding member countries avoid being drawn into acquiescence? Later this month, these questions may find answers when Israel hosts an OECD gathering in Jerusalem to discuss global tourism.

Lieberman Wins, Democracy Loses, Palestine Monitor
Amending the Citizenship Act to include a loyalty oath has moved the Israeli government a step away from democracy toward a system of apartheid.Written by Dorien Vanden Boer and Liza Noteris.

A precondition for Palestinian statehood / Menachem KleinA question: Which government functions better, that of Salam Fayyad in the West Bank or that of Hamas in the Gaza Strip? Answer: The Hamas government. Another question: Which of the two governments would stop functioning without foreign aid? Answer: The West Bank one.

Donna Edwards flap fosters debate over one-state vs two-state, Philip Weiss
Last week we picked up the news that Congresswoman Donna Edwards is holding a fundraiser with a non-Zionist organization, New, this weekend, Saturday afternoon, at the Sheraton Washington North in Beltsville, MD.

Israel’s ethnic cleansing drill a result of nationalists adopting the two-state solution, Dimi Reider
Noam Sheizaf reports on his blog the police and army recently concluded an extensive drill, practicing response to riots that would follow the signing of a peace agreement covering “population exchange”. Here is a verbatim translation of the very careful phrasing used by Carmela Menashe, the IBA’s veteran military correspondent, from whose report Noam fished the info.

America should fund Israeli settlers to leave, Diana Butto
The latest round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is already on shaky ground. At issue, once again, is Israel’s insistence that it can build and expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Budrus: West Bank Story, M.J. Rosenberg
It is hard to imagine that anyone feels anything but hopelessness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict these days. Are there a dozen people in the world who honestly believe that President Obama’s main guy, Dennis Ross, is capable of achieving an equitable agreement, even if he sincerely wanted to. And even if Congress was not there to prevent peace from somehow erupting.

Turn right at the end: The future of a country that gave up on democracy, Sivan Hurvitz
Sivan Hurvitz is a a graphic designer and illustrator, living and working in Tel Aviv. Learn more about her work by visiting her portfolio and her website. Click on each image to enlarge.

Manitoba Government Ignores Palestinian Oppression, Paul Graham
A few days ago, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger announced his government’s intention to deepen economic and cultural relations with Israel.  “Manitoba and Israel have common interests in clean energy, water quality and conservation. These interests provide the opportunities to share knowledge and strengthen our education and economic relationships and partnership,” Selinger said in a news release.

One Wall, Two People, No States: the Peace Pretense,  William A. Cook
‘Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,’ (President Obama) such is the illusion that resurfaces to restart the peace negotiations that will stabilize the mid-east. For 63 years that “goal” has been the carrot held before the people of the United States and Britain as the ultimate resolution for the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. In reality there is nothing in the statement that is true.

Israel, Palestine: A History of Economic Oppression, Jamil Salman
Many of last month’s headlines would have you believe that a vibrant, independent Palestinian state had become an inevitable reality. On the back of ‘peace talks’ which offered renewed hope and financial institutions which declared that the “Palestinian economy is growing”, one could be forgiven for presuming that Palestinians had finally turned the corner towards prosperity. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have published impressive first half GDP growth rates that should, theoretically, place both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank amongst the top 10 countries in the world for this category. It is estimated that combined, both Territories will even out at an overall 8% GDP growth rate by the year’s end. This may come as a pleasant surprise to most people who would not have expected such rapid growth in light of the debilitating effects of a combination of factors involving, the Second Intifada, Israeli barriers and the Gaza blockade and occupation. However, these figures should not be taken as a prediction of any future trends in the Palestinian economy, but rather, as an indicator of how much Israel has stifled Palestinian growth.

Palestinians Must Fight Fire with Fire, James Gundun
For a moment the Palestinians appeared to be playing with fire by continuing Israel’s momentum. September 26th felt like a distant memory when the Arab League finally convened a special summit to debate the future of direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who resists any thought of a free extension on settlement restrictions. The intervening weeks have further eroded the Palestinians’ weak negotiating position as Washington rolls over to prevent another collapse of US-sponsored talks and shield its own floundering image in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad and the Limits of American and Israeli Power, Juan Cole
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Middle East’s populist answer to the American tea party, has stirred controversy with his trip to Lebanon, which will begin Wednesday. He is planning to visit villages in southern Lebanon on the border with Israel that have been rebuilt with Iranian aid after Israeli incursions and wars, the last in 2006. Ahmadinejad’s theatrical politics often make him a laughingstock, but his trip is intended to make the serious point that Tehran can stand up to Western sanctions and thwart attempts to box the Islamic Republic in.


Army arrests nine suspected spies for Israel
BEIRUT: The army announced on Monday it has arrested nine individuals in recent months on suspicion of spying for Israel, as part of the military’s ongoing crackdown on foreign agents.

Saqr: Hariri ‘will not accuse Hizbullah’ in father’s killing
BEIRUT: Lebanon First bloc MP Oqab Saqr said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri “did not and will not” accuse Hizbullah in killing his father late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. “We say that we did not and will not accuse Hizbullah of this crime, Prime Minister Hariri has announced so,” Saqr said, addressing a news conference he called for at the March 14 General Secretariat headquarters in Beirut on Monday.


Monday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 31 Wounded
At least 14 Iraqis were killed and 31 more were wounded in new violence, mostly across central Iraq. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Iraqiya said the party was willing to give up the premiership so long as they received equal power in the new government. Iraqiya narrowly defeated second-place State of Law party in March elections, but neither party has been able to find enough support to form a new government. Such a concession could allow the seven-month long political deadlock to end.

Al-Qaida threatens to nab Iraq ministers’ families (AP)
AP – Al-Qaida’s umbrella group in Iraq has threatened to kidnap family members of Iraqi politicians and ministers unless the wife and children of its slain leader are released from prison.*

In Iraq, 30,000 prisoners are without trial and under torture
41961.jpegThe non-governmental organization Amnesty International is denouncing to the world the existence of 30,000 persons in Iraqi prisons without having been judged, whose confessions were extracted under torture, and suggests the U.S. military as the persons in charge being responsible for this situation.  According to Amnesty International, rape, threats of rape, beatings, electric shocks, fingernails torn out and maiming are some forms of torture used in Iraqi prisons.  “The Iraqi security forces are responsible for systematic violations of prisoners’ rights (…) and for all impunity,” said Malcolm Smart, in a statement. He is the Middle East director for the organization of human rights, based in London.

Cancer outbreak in Iraq school due to pollution
With cancer outbreak in Adan school and surroundings in Al Shaab region, northern Baghdad, Iraq’s Environment Ministry revealed after investigations that the mounting number of cancer diseases in the school is due to Dijla water pollution caused by wastes.

Anguish for families of Iraq’s disappeared
Many of the thousands of Iraqi families who saw a loved one arbitrarily detained or kidnapped by armed militia in the worst days of sectarian warfare are still unable to find any information on their missing relatives. – Ibrahim Saleh (Oct 12, ’10)

U.S. and other world news

Obama’s enthusiasm for drone strikes takes heavy toll on Pakistan’s tribesmen
So far Barack Obama has signed off on over 125 strikes – twice the number authorised by George Bush during the last five years of his presidency. Manufacturers are scrambling to keep up with demand from the CIA.

Probe launched into 500 missing Nato vehicles
A senior customs official told Dawn on Sunday that 500 oil tankers and containers which had left Port Qasim in Karachi for Kandahar did not reach the Pak-Afghan border near Chaman. in the Asian country.

Pak’s secret nuclear weapons programme infuriating US
The US is also believed to be worried about China’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan.

The Family:  Secretive Christian Group of Conservative Lawmakers Building a ‘God-Led’ Government
The Family, also known as the Fellowship, is a cohort of powerful lawmakers seeking to create a “God-led government” at home and abroad.

A New Study Shows that Americans are Idiots
Remember how Democrats always refuse to fight back against smears because “The American people are too smart to fall for that”? No, they aren’t.

Rights group protest jailing of eight Syrian Islamists
DAMASCUS: A Syrian security court has sentenced eight Islamists to jail terms ranging from three to six years for membership of a “secret” organization, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late on Sunday.

Inside Story – Egypt’s independent media
Reporters without Borders has recently ranked Egypt 143 out of 175 countries when it comes to media and press freedom. Is there a plan to silence the most critical voices in Egypt ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections? Is the government scared of the independent media?

Why I protested the Jewish National Fund

Oct 12, 2010

Jesse Benjamin 

This Columbus Day weekend, the Jewish National Fund USA held its annual meeting in Atlanta. Like many Jews from the US, I grew up in communities that raised money for seemingly benign JNF campaigns to plant trees in Israel through our purchase of Hanukkah candles. But this year, as the JNF gathered in Atlanta, I stood with many Atlanta Jews and others to protest JNF practices which stand as obstacles in the path to a just peace based on freedom, safety, and equality for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

As a charity with 501c3 status, the JNF, created in 1901 to acquire land exclusively for Jewish settlement, enjoys a wide reputation as a leading environmental organization. To many of us, however, this reputation has become incompatible with the reality that the trees we funded for all those years were purposefully used to plant over and to hide villages from which Palestinians were forcibly removed (greenwashing). Far from a charity organization, the activities of the JNF are based on its discriminatory founding mission: the removal of indigenous Palestinians from their land and property to hold in exclusive reserve for Jews living in Israel and elsewhere. This is only one part of a worrying trend when it comes to American tax dollars and Israel.

A recent New York Times report identified “at least 40 American groups”, such as the controversial Hebron Fund, that over the last decade “have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts “for illegal and often extremist Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.” Illegal Israeli settlement policies are today widely seen as a central obstacle to U.S.-backed peace efforts in the region. We are confident that challenging the JNF’s similarly counterproductive mission is both relevant and timely for those of us who wish for peace.

With ostensible control over vast tracks of Israel’s land holdings, the JNF’s forestation efforts have generally coincided with the erasure of historic Palestinian villages by over-planting pine and other fast-growing species in forests often named for donor countries, such as the controversial “South Africa Park” that covers the depopulated and destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya.

To support this mission the JNF has for decades employed its own paramilitary force, which in Orwellian fashion is named the Green Patrol, in order to uproot Palestinian trees, destroy Palestinian houses and crops, and confiscate livestock for resale to Jews. In one recent action in the Negev/Naqab Desert, the JNF teamed with military and police units, as well as Jewish high-schoolers to destroy the historic Bedouin village of Al-Arakib to make way for planned Jewish settlements and suburbs.

For decades, the JNF and the Israeli state have insisted that only modern urban Jews can protect the fragile desert ecology, when in fact it is often Israeli military exercises, suburban sprawl, industrial agriculture, and overuse of water resources that pose the greatest threats to these same ecosystems. Palestinians, on the other hand, have been recognized by UN and other agencies as the stewards of the land. As is common amongst indigenous peoples, they use age-old, environmentally sustainable methods of grazing, farming, dry riverbed cultivation, water harvesting, cistern catchment, and arid forestry. Not only does the JNF refuse to acknowledge this expertise, it actively portrays local peoples as harmful to the environment in order to acquire more land.

Such policies explain the growing number of Jews who stand with Palestinians and others in exposing the truth behind the JNF and in support of the wider Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. The BDS movement, which was initiated by Palestinian civil society as a peaceful means to create meaningful change, embraces non-violent tactics not unlike those used by Black South Africans in the 1980s and Dr. King before that. The campaign against the JNF–including a call to revoke its charitable status–is part of this urgent initiative. Atlanta, with its rich civil rights tradition, was active in the anti-apartheid struggle decades ago, and now Atlanta communities are joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a growing chorus in calling for an equally strong BDS campaign against the hard-line Israeli state and its policies of discrimination, segregation, and occupation.

Linking the JNF with systematic discrimination is not to be taken lightly, and it is no small task to challenge the state of Israel and its practices, even for an Israeli citizen like myself. However, doing so is not only imperative, but is in line with a major trajectory within Jewish history and culture committed to social justice

Jesse Benjamin, an associate professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University, is a US and an Israeli citizen.

NYC film screening with Zizek, Badiou and Aloni to support the Jenin Freedom Theatre

Oct 12, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

nyc jenin

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Uganda: For Women with Disabilities, Barriers and Abuse

 “You are useless,” a woman in northern Uganda who couldn’t use her legs was told. “You are a waste of food. You should just die so that others can eat the food.” 

In northern Uganda, a region emerging from two decades of brutal fighting between the government and the Lords Resistance Army, many women with disabilities have been largely ignored in the post-reconstruction effort and are unable to get basic provisions like food, clothing, and shelter in camps, Human Rights Watch reveals in a report. Many have also been unable to access health care.

The abuse and discrimination comes from strangers, neighbors, and even family members. More than a third of the women interviewed for the report had been physically or sexually abused.

It is estimated that about 20 percent of people in Uganda have disabilities. However, this number is likely higher in the north because of limited access to healthcare and war-related injuries, like landmine or gunshot wounds.

Even humanitarian aid organizations lack specific programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

As Ugandans struggle to reclaim their lives, the government and humanitarian agencies need to make sure that women with disabilities are not left out.

Posted in WorldComments Off on UGANDA: WOMEN ABUSE



Israel: New Peak in Razing of Palestinian Homes

Discriminatory Israeli Policies Result in Demolished Village

Israeli authorities razed 141 Palestinian homes and other buildings in July,

the largest number in any month since at least 2005. Yet Israel continues

to support and subsidize nearby Jewish settlements.

By supporting settlements on occupied territory and by erasing longstanding

 Palestinian communities next door, Israel has flouted international law.

In one example, Israeli military authorities demolished the West Ban

 farming community of Al Farisiye, displacing more than 100 people,

nearly half of them children. After officials forcibly removed Palestinian

 residents from their homes, the bulldozers destroyed 26 residential

 structures, 24 animal pens, 8 traditional underground ovens, and

12 outhouses and water tanks.

The authorities that ordered the evacuation stressed the fact that

 Al Farisiye was in a “closed military zone”–it was classified as such

in the 60s. But an Israeli settlement situated less than 1 kilometer

away was never placed in the military zone.

In fact, settlers receive substantial subsidies for a range of activities,

 including buying land, developing agriculture and tourism, and

 educating their children. 

In most cases of demolitions, Israeli authorities stated that Palestinian

 buildings were destroyed due to the lack of an Israeli building permit,

 which is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain.

Ultimately, the home demolitions are a result of policies that discriminate

 between the way Israeli authorities treat Palestinians and Jewish settlers

 in the same area.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on ZIO=NAZI RAZING OF PALESTINIAN HOMES



CLICK HER:       

 Protecting Civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo

September 3, 2010


Where many see a hopeless situation, Human Rights Watch sees the need to bring justice to victims and greater security to all. From our expert researchers documenting abuses on the ground to our executive director meeting with Congo’s president, we have been waging an ambitious, multi-pronged campaign to bring about real change.

Posted in WorldComments Off on CONGO: PROTECTING CIVILIANS



Israel: Grant Status Long Denied to Arab Village in Central Israel

Discriminatory Planning Procedures Prevent Access to Basic Services; Court to Rule on Demolition Orders

October 8, 2010


A child from Dahmash prepares to cross train tracks to enter the road leading to the neighboring city of Ramle.

© 2010 Yuri Haasz/Human Rights Watch


Lack of drainage and sewage systems leads to persistent flooding of Dahmash’s unpaved roads in winter.

© 2010 Arafat Ismayil, Dahmash


This playground, funded by a nongovernmental organization, was erected in 2006 in Dahmash. Once it was erected the Israeli Land Administration issued demolition orders on the grounds that the playground was constructed without a permit.

© 2010 Arafat Ismayil, Dahmash

Related Materials: 

Off the MapSecond Class

More Coverage: 

More Human Rights Watch reporting on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesUPI: Israeli treatment of village questioned

The 600 people of Dahmash are treated as if they don’t exist, while Jewish towns are developed nearby in a way that threatens Dahmash residents’ access to their homes and lands. Planning authorities should end this discriminatory treatment, immediately recognize Dahmash’s residential status, and provide the basic services denied for decades.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli government should grant legal status to a 60-year-old village with a population of about 600 Palestinian-Israeli citizens, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities have refused to recognize the village as residential, even as they approved an immediately adjacent residential development for Jewish Israelis. The authorities have given no justification for the difference in treatment.

Dahmash, approximately 20 kilometers from Tel Aviv between the cities of Ramle and Lod in central Israel, has been inhabited since at least 1951, and its residents are Israeli citizens. The authorities refuse to rezone the land as residential – although they have done so in neighboring areas – and refuse to provide basic services such as paved roads, sewage, health facilities, kindergartens, and schools, despite numerous petitions by residents. Instead, the authorities consider almost every one of the 70 houses “illegal,” and 13 are under threat of demolition. A court is to decide the issue on October 11, 2010.

“The 600 people of Dahmash are treated as if they don’t exist, while Jewish towns are developed nearby in a way that threatens Dahmash residents’ access to their homes and lands,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Planning authorities should end this discriminatory treatment, immediately recognize Dahmash’s residential status, and provide the basic services denied for decades.”

The prohibition of discrimination, which includes any unjustified differential treatment that has the effect of impairing the equal recognition of human rights on the grounds of race, ethnicity, or religion, is one of the most fundamental prohibitions under international human rights law.

Plans for a highway interchange in the area and construction plans that local officials say are intended for residential developments for Jewish Israelis in the area would block almost all existing entrances to Dahmash.

The lack of basic services such as drainage and sewage systems leads to persistent flooding of Dahmash’s unpaved roads in winter. The main entrance to Dahmash is a gravel road from Ramle, where Dahmash residents receive some services and where the 200 Dahmash children attend schools. Residents told Human Rights Watch that when it rains the children have to walk through knee-high water on their way to the school bus. The village has no waste disposal services, despite residents’ petitions to the Lod Valley Regional Council, the local government with jurisdiction over Dahmash.

The village has no green space or outdoor playgrounds. In 2006, a nongovernmental organization donated playground equipment, but once it was erected the Israeli Land Administration issued demolition orders on the grounds that the playground was constructed without a permit. On February 10, 2007, the Ramle District Court rejected a petition by Dahmash residents to cancel the demolition order, although the authorities have not yet removed the equipment.

The 70 homes in Dahmash are built on 160 dunams (40 acres), most of which the Israeli government granted to Palestinians in the early 1950s as compensation for lands from which they had been displaced during the 1948 armed conflict, and to which the Israeli government prohibited them from returning. But the lands are officially designated for agricultural use only, and the planning authorities have refused to zone Dahmash for residential construction.

Many towns and neighborhoods in central Israel, including the new residential development bordering Dahmash, were also originally zoned for agricultural use, but authorities rezoned those lands to allow them to expand and created plans that permitted residential construction. Neither regional nor national authorities have provided such a plan for Dahmash. In the last few years both Ramle and Lod have constructed residential complexes restricted to military career personnel and religious Jews.

Dahmash residents paid for a plan and submitted it to the relevant planning committees in 2006, but the authorities shelved the plan until a 2008 court ruling obligated them to discuss it. On July 5, 2010, the Central Regional Committee for Planning and Construction rejected the plan, saying that it “sees no justification for the creation of a new village in central Israel.” The planning body said that only the Interior Ministry could create a new village, and that it did not want to “legitimize illegal construction.”

Since 1948, more than 900 Jewish villages and cities have been established in Israel, while the only new Arab towns allowed in 60 years have been seven towns that the government planned and constructed for Bedouin residents of the Negev. Many Palestinian-Israelis face restrictions in planning. Shatil’s Mixed Cities Project, a nongovernmental organization, estimates that more than 70 percent of Arab homes in Ramle and Lod have no legal status. Official figures are not readily available.

Discrimination is prohibited by international human rights law, notably the Convention on the Elimination on All forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by Israel in 1979. The Convention defines discrimination as any “distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights.” The committee of experts that monitors and interprets this convention has stated that differential treatment will be considered discrimination if it is not justified, taking into account the purposes of the Convention.

“Israel should finally make good on its grant of land ownership to Dahmash residents by ceasing its discriminatory refusal to recognize their right to live on it,” Stork said.

Access to the Village Blocked

A plan to build 888 housing units at the entrance to Ramle would block the main access road to Dahmash. The 145-dunam (35 acre) Maccabi District, which the Ramle mayor, Yoel Lavi, has promoted as Ramle’s “flagship new neighborhood,” would border Dahmash. It was also originally zoned for agricultural use but was re-designated in July 2006 for residential use.

Lavi, who sits on the planning committee that rejected Dahmash’s plan, told Israeli television in 2004 that the Maccabi District was not meant for Arabs because allowing Palestinian-Israeli citizens to live there would “harm the ability to market the project since people won’t want to live there.” He said in the same interview that “93 percent of the Jewish population clearly prefers not to live in a mixed building.” The project has not begun to advertise the homes, as it is not yet complete.

Dahmash residents petitioned the planning body to halt the construction, but the committee rejected the petition in 2006, and the courts upheld the planning body’s decision in 2007 and again in 2010.

The Maccabi District would cut Dahmash off from the city of Ramle, where Dahmash residents receive services. It would leave open only one roadway into Dahmash, through Lod, which would lengthen the drive into the village and require crossing traffic and eight railroad tracks.

A professional opinion submitted by a transportation expert to the court during the 2007 challenge to the Maccabi District maintained that the Lod road, which is unpaved and passes through fields, is unfit for emergency vehicles. The legal adviser to the Lod Valley regional council told a Knesset Internal Affairs committee meeting in January 2007 that the national master plan for Lod had designated the Dahmash area to become a highway interchange.

Addresses Denied

 Israeli citizens receive services such as education, welfare, health, and postal services in the municipality where they are registered. But Dahmash residents are not permitted to list their actual address on their Israeli identification cards, since their village does not exist in the population registry.

Dahmash is in the area covered by the Lod Valley Regional Council, which oversees nine Jewish towns but has no registered Arab residents. It has no Arab-Israeli schools, which follow a separate curriculum from Jewish schools.

Thus, Dahmash residents have registered in nearby Ramle, a separate municipality in which 22.5 percent of the residents are Arab Israelis, according to official figures. Most Dahmash residents have been obliged to list their official addresses on Ha’Heshmonaim Street, Ramle, which borders Dahmash, even though they do not live on that street.

“What are we asking for?” Arafat Ismayil, the village spokesman, told Human Rights Watch. “An identity, an address, a life of dignity. You can see the discrimination with your eyes. They are allowed, we are not.”

Barring Children From Schools

Ramle has tried to stop providing Dahmash residents some services, especially education. In 2005, Ramle refused to continue providing transportation from Dahmash to its schools; in 2006, the city tried to bar Dahmash children entering first grade from registering at its schools; and in 2009, Ramle ended a disabled two-year-old Dahmash resident’s placement in a school and halted the child’s transportation. Each time, Dahmash residents petitioned the courts, which ruled in favor of the children. Human Rights Watch documented in 2001 the discrimination in the Israeli education system between Palestinian-Israeli citizens and Jewish-Israeli citizens.

After Ramle discontinued transportation to its schools in September 2005, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled in November in favor of Dahmash residents and obligated the Lod Valley Regional Council to finance the transportation, a decision later backed by the Supreme Court. The court also ruled in 2009 that the regional council had to re-assume educational responsibility for a

two-year-old, who had been provided for by the city of Ramle up to that point, and to provide transportation for a 14-year-old disabled child to a special education facility in the city of Rishon Le’Zion and register him as a Lod Valley Regional Council resident. He remains the only Dahmash resident whose Israeli identification card officially lists him as a Lod Valley Regional Council resident, although Dahmash is not mentioned.

After Ramle tried to keep Dahmash children from registering for first grade in 2006, even though their siblings had been attending the schools for at least 10 years, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled in May that the municipality must allow the children’s continued registration.

Zoning and Demolition Orders

In 2004, Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of 17 houses in Dahmash on the grounds that they were built on “agricultural” lands and thus illegal. Most of the other 53 homes in the village had been built in the 1950s, when the area was still zoned under a regional plan, “R/6”, from the time of the British mandate. Three were built before 1948 and thus maintain a “legal” status. Subsequently the Israeli government replaced R/6 with a master plan that designated the area as agricultural land on which residential construction was prohibited. According to the National Unit for Construction Oversight, the village now has 120 illegal structures, including the 70 homes.

In March 2006, Israeli police demolished four “illegal” homes in Dahmash. The owners of the other 13 homes are still contesting the demolition orders in court.

In 2005, Menashe Moshe, head of the Lod Valley Regional Council, told Israel’s business paper, Globes, that while “the land does belong to the residents,” Dahmash “does not exist” as a residential community because the land was zoned for agricultural use. Moshe said he rejected the residents’ request to become an agricultural town, similar to the nine other towns in his council, because “the residents are not farmers and their land is not suited for agriculture.” However, Moshe accepts Dahmash residents’ agricultural taxes, which are submitted for “fields near Nir-Zvi,” the nearest Jewish town. He refuses to accept payment of residential taxes, residents told Human Rights Watch.

After the demolitions in 2006, residents paid for the “detailed plan” required for residential construction that planning authorities had provided to neighboring Jewish communities but not to Dahmash. It included a request to change Dahmash’s zoning designation to permit residential building. Residents submitted it for approval to the district planning authorities in Ramle on July 17, 2006, but the authorities ignored the submission for more than 18 months. A planner from the regional planning committee told a Knesset committee hearing on Dahmash in January 2007 that plans usually receive a response within two to three weeks.

On January 30, 2008, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa District Court for Procedural Affairs found that the committee had “abstained from discussing the plan” and ordered the committee to discuss it. The judgment reminded the regional planning authorities that the definition of the village’s land as agricultural land “is not a decree from heaven” and that “the Israel planning and construction law allows for rezoning land and changing its designation.”

The planning committee finally discussed the plan on July 5, 2010, but rejected it on the grounds that authorization would imply the creation of a new town, which only the Interior Ministry can do. On August 9, 2010, the Interior Ministry approved the residents’ request to appeal the rejection to the national planning committee.

The regional committee also rejected an alternative option that would have allowed Dahmash residents to own their homes “legally” by including Dahmash as a neighborhood of Ramle or Lod. Lavi, Ramle’s mayor, told a journalist in 2006 that his solution to the illegal building in Dahmash was to “take two D10 bulldozers, the kind the IDF uses in the Golan Heights, two border police units to secure the area, and go from one side to the other […] when you give the first shock with the crane everyone runs from their houses, don’t worry.”

In January 2007, while planning authorities were supposed to be considering the residents’ submission of the plan, the Lod police tried to demolish some of the 13 other homes. Residents prevented the demolitions by locking themselves inside their homes. On April 11, 2010, board inspectors from the central region and the Lod Valley Regional Council, accompanied by police, informed Dahmash residents that the demolition orders against the 13 homes would be executed within days. The Central District Court later ordered a suspension of the demolitions, saying that it would decide the fate of the buildings on October 11.

“We live in constant fear that tomorrow we will no longer have a home,” Ismayil said.

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