Archive | April 30th, 2011

Fatah and Hamas; Reconciliation or Escape Forward



With both organizations having lost their sponsors and afraid its leadership may face the same fate as Hosni Mubarak and Bashar Assad, they pre-empted it with a quick announcement of “reconciliation.” Saving their skin is no doubt one key factor that is behind this quick agreement.

by Sami Jaddallah

The news coming out of Cairo in the last 48 hours is very surprising to every one.  Most of all to Bibi Netanyahu who gave Mahmoud Abbas a choice; either peace with Israel or reconciliation with Hamas and who ordered his security forces to put more squeeze on Gaza.

Bibi forgetting that Mahmoud Abbas has been knocking on the doors of Israel on his hands and knees begging for peace with or without Hamas for over 20 years and there was one answer, Jewish Occupation and expansion of Jewish Settlements colonies, more important than peace with the Palestinians.

I do not want to throw cold water on what was agreed to in Cairo between Azzam Al-Ahmed and Musa Abu-Marzouk, though by watching in depth interviews with both gentlemen one can only come out with headlines.

A new government of professional technocrats approved by both parties, calls for national elections and a new Palestine National Council within one year and a selected election commission of 12 members approved by both parties.

Hamas and Fatah – Together Again ?

Of course Fatah and the PLO lost a sponsor and an advocate in Hosni Mubarak who is now in prison and may face hanging.

Hamas is in deep trouble with its sponsor and advocate Bashar Assad who is in deep trouble and may lose power and may face the same fate as that of Hosni Mubarak. Hamas cannot count on Iran, as Iran will also face an uprising that will sweep the government of the Mullahs.

With both organizations having lost their sponsors and afraid its leadership may face the same fate as Hosni Mubarak and Bashar Assad, they pre-empted it with a quick announcement of “reconciliation.”  Saving their skin is no doubt one key factor that is behind this quick agreement.

Missing from all of this is the response from the US which funds and contributes $470 millions a year to thePalestinian Authority in partial defraying the costs of the Jewish Occupation.  America does not contribute this kind of money for the black eyes of the Palestinians but for the interests of Israel first and foremost.

The questions both Hamas and Fatah have to face is this, will the new government continue to manage the Jewish Occupation as agreed to under Oslo? And will it continue to act as a security contractor for the Israeli Occupation not different from Blackwater for the American Occupation in Iraq.

The US and the EC and to a certain extent some Arab donors know that funding the Palestinian Authority and keeping it in business is also funding the Jewish Occupation and the money contributed is a saving for Israel to use in its settlement activities, costs it will have to dish out if the Palestinian Authority was not there to do the job for Israel.

With the Divide and Conquer Game End ?

Next the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Fatah and Hamas will have to face, the suspension of funds to the Palestinian Authority and the expected US “veto” and will the Arab countries make up whatever short falls will be?

For sure the American Knesset will not approve any more funds or contributions to the Palestinian Authority and Barack Obama facing a re-election cannot afford to lose his big time American Jewish/Zionist donors.

He also is not in a position to take on the American Knesset in defiance of Israel and its King, Bibi Netanyahu, who will for sure use this event to squeeze more blood out of the American tax payers. When he speaks before the American Knesset and AIPAC.

Mahmoud Abbas only few days ago, announced he will do all he can to make sure there is no Third Intifada.  I have no idea how Mahmoud Abbas and Khalid Mishal will  reconcile their agreement with the Palestinian Authority continuing its relations with both Israel and America when both are not ready and not willing to move forward with peace with Hamas.

So far and after 20 years of negotiations with Israel, and the US, Mahmoud Abbas has been losing lots of grounds (real land) to the Jewish Occupation and has not made any gains for the people whatsoever, except keeping Fatah and the PLO in business managing the Jewish Occupation.

I have no idea how the Palestinian leadership plans to end the Jewish Occupation?  Since Israel and the US are not willing to move forward with negotiations that ends the Jewish Occupation, end the Settlement activities, let alone force the vacating of some 500,000 armed settlers ready to go to war if Israel or any one else forces them to move out.

Obama is a lost cause and no one should count on him for any thing. The man who orders a “veto” of the UNSC resolution on Jewish settlements could not be counted on for any thing.  He is not his own man.

Former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah

Perhaps the only thing ahead for the Palestinian people is a Third Intifada, not like the one aborted by Arafat and Abu-Jihad as a prelude to Oslo.

And certainly not a Second Intifada which was so poorly managed and administered by Arafat that it not only allowed Israel to re-occupy areas it redeployed from with Oslo, but destroyed billions worth of infrastructures. It created a bunch of  thugs and gangs in the name of liberation and created a state of chaos in the Palestinian Territories.

The Third Intifada has to be civil, unarmed, persistent and consistent civil uprising, general strike, destruction and burning of all Israeli issued IDs.  It should call for all Palestinian big shots to give up their VIP passes and of course the Palestinian Authority to disband since it should not do any service for and on behalf of Israel.

It must chose either to be with the people in their uprising, or betray them by partnering  in the Jewish Occupation.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Fatah and Hamas; Reconciliation or Escape Forward

Egypt warns io-Nai Regime : Don’t interfere with opening of Gaza border crossing



Rafah’s opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the U.S., IsraHell Egypt, and the EU; Israel official tells the Wall Street Journal developments in Egypt could affect Israel’s national security.

Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt’s plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel’s concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday.

Egypt announced this week that it intended to permanently open the border crossing with Gaza within the next few days.

Gaza border April 27, 2011 Reuters Palestinians take part in a protest at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, April 27, 2011.
Photo by: Reuters

The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt’s uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.

An Israeli official on Friday told The Wall Street Journal that Israel was troubled by the recent developments in Egypt saying they could affect Israel’s national security at a strategic level.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007.

Rafah’s opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn’t get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.

Before Egypt’s uprising and ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, the border between Egypt and Gaza had been sealed. It has occasionally opened the passage for limited periods.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Egypt warns io-Nai Regime : Don’t interfere with opening of Gaza border crossing

Putin eclipses Medvedev in run-up to 2012 election




Putin and Medvedev


Putin, a former two-time president, appears to have gained the upper hand in a fierce power struggle with his protege, and analysts say the presidency his for the taking.

The 2012 Russian presidential elections may be over already.

Vladimir Putin‘s words and deeds of late have made it eminently clear that he’s had enough of being prime minister and wants the No. 1 job back from President Dmitry Medvedev. And many experts believe it’s his for the taking.

Amid what political analysts have identified as a fierce power struggle between the two Russian leaders, the expulsion of a key Medvedev aide from the Kremlin is being interpreted as a sign that Putin has gained the upper hand.

And Medvedev’s own recent comments referring to life after politics have done little to alter that impression.

Two weeks ago, Medvedev’s political advisor, Gleb Pavlovsky, discovered he was no longer welcome as a political strategist in Moscow’s halls of power. “I think I lost my position in the Kremlin due to an impulse from Putin’s team,” Pavlovsky said in an interview after news of his firing in mid-April leaked out this week.

“If Putin returns to the Kremlin, this will weaken the institution of the Russian presidency,” said Pavlovsky, president of the Efficient Politics Foundation. He said such a move would “look scandalous even for his own supporters.”

But Medvedev already has given indications that he sees a future outside the Kremlin. During a recent tour of an online television network, he said he would like to teach because “it is simply a must for any politician who has led a state to by all means talk about some of his experiences, negative or positive.”

Medvedev said he would like to lecture not only at the Skolkovo business school — one of the keys to his ambitious modernization program — “but at other places too.”

“It was more than simply a slip of the tongue, it was a white flag on his part,” said Andrei Piontkovsky of the Systems Analysis Institute. “Medvedev must have finally given up hope that Putin will allow him to stay in the Kremlin for another six years. … The Russian top political alpha male can’t afford to wait that long.”

Putin, from using his post as prime minister to bring the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup to Russia, to tagging a polar bear with a transponder, to singing “Blueberry Hill” in English at a benefit concert, has not shirked from taking center stage.

“Medvedev himself understands that he is no match for Putin,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, a senior analyst with the Institute of Geography. “Even if both men run, Putin, apart from his popularity, controls the central election commission, whose head is his personal friend and loyal supporter.… In Russia, it doesn’t count how people vote, it’s how the votes are counted.”

Only a short while ago, the winners and losers in Moscow’s greatest political game appeared to be reversed.

In March, Medvedev publicly rebuked Putin over his criticism of the NATO-led military operation in Libya.

Putin had compared the alliance’s mission to “a medieval crusade” and insisted that the events in Libya “once again prove that we are right in strengthening the defense capability of Russia.”

The same night, Medvedev, making a televised address wearing the uniform of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, admonished Putin by saying it was “inadmissible to use expressions that in fact lead to a clash of civilizations, like ‘the crusades’ and so on.”

“It is unacceptable,” he said of Putin’s statement. “Otherwise, it may end far worse than what is going on now, and everybody must remember it.”

Medvedev continued his political offensive by issuing a decree in late March ordering Cabinet members to relinquish seats on boards of major state-owned companies to promote a spirit of free competition. Putin’s right-hand man and “gray cardinal,” Vice Premier Igor Sechin, had to quit as chairman of Rosneft, a leading Russian oil company.

Others in the ruling United Russia Party were quickly demoted after openly supporting Putin’s position on Libya.

But Putin decisively turned the tables in April, delivering a four-hour report to the parliament’s lower house in which he outlined future strategy and argued that the nation “must become one of the five leading world economies … with the average income of $35,000 per person.”

“It was not a premier’s but a president’s speech, casting a strategic vision of the nation’s development for decades ahead,” analyst Oreshkin said. “In contrast to the energetic and omnipresent Putin, Medvedev has looked recently like a deflated balloon who knows that his time in office runs to a close, with no chances to be reelected.”

During a news conference this week while on a visit to Stockholm, Putin was at his self-confident best as he suggested that the 2012 race was quickly narrowing down to one choice: “The time will come and we will take a corresponding decision. You will like it. It will make you pleased.”

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Putin eclipses Medvedev in run-up to 2012 election




Please distribute widely!




Background follows the request


Recognition Forum

Consisting of The Association of Forty, Gush Shalom, The Society for the Support and Defense  of Bedouin Rights in Israel, Social TV, Alternative Information Center, Yesh Gvul, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, The Negev Co-Existence Forum for Civil Equality, New Profile, Coalition of Women for Peace, Rabbis for Human Rights, Taayush – Arab-Jewish Partnership.


Coalition of Organizations for the Recognition of the Unrecognized Bedouin Arab Villages in the Negev




You stand at a village that has been demolished yet again after who knows how many times, and see the people setting up shelter out of anything they can lay their hands on, and there is nothing you can do. You think about the State which, beyond demolishing their miserable dwellings again and again, does absolutely nothing for them. You come to another village and see more demolitions by the State. You go to yet another village where all the homes have been issued demolition orders by the State. In their anguish people grasp at anyone willing to help, desperately few and far between.




By political legislation, the State of Israel has made the lives of the Negev Bedouins a veritable hell. The clash between law and morality-justice has become unbearable! The State treats the Bedouin citizens of Israel like human livestock that can be transported here today, there tomorrow. And who are they to resist?! All of this is due to the misfortune of being born Bedouin in the State of the Jews. The most dangerous brand of racism in Israel is that of its government. We call upon you to help us make the relevant government ministers understand that we will not accept government racism towards the Bedouins, nor keep silent in view of the terror acts perpetrated by the government against the Bedouin villages. We call upon you to help us with this letter-writing campaign, and take part in this struggle against Israel’s policy of violence, coercion and destruction. Please write and distribute letters to the ministers whose email addresses we have listed below.


For years an unwritten government policy has been implemented towards erasing whole villages of Negev Bedouins. The repeated demolitions of Twawil Abu Jarawal (fifty times) and the current wave of twenty-two demolitions of Al Arakib, in addition to the resolution taken to increase the number of demolitions of Bedouin homes in the unrecognized villages from 250 to 700 a year – these are an apt illustration of this policy. Furthermore, other unrecognized Bedouin villages such as Alsira, Tel Arad and Um Al Kheiran are threatened with demolition and expulsion. Now the JNF is sent out on forestation projects on lands stolen from Bedouins. At Tawawil Abu Jarawal a forest has already been planted, and at Al Arakib preparations for planting are nearly completed. We now hear of a new government plan to accelerate the process of grabbing what is left of the Bedouins’ lands so that they will end up with a mere 150,000 dunams (15,000 Hectares), and finally be all forced into the government-built towns. We now know of the intention to demand of Al Arakib inhabitants to pay the State’s expenses of demolishing their village time and again!! Current legislation initiative at the Knesset will force anyone to pay the State’s expenses for demolishing their home.


Thanking you, sincerely,


Recognition Forum


The Recognition Forum consists of the following organizations:

The Association of Forty, Gush Shalom, The Society for the Support and Defense  of Bedouin Rights in Israel, Social TV, Alternative Information Center, Yesh Gvul, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, The Negev Co-Existence Forum for Civil Equality, New Profile, Coalition of Women for Peace, Rabbis for Human Rights, Taayush – Arab-Jewish Partnership.

Address: P.O.Box 1335 , Kefar Saba 44113 , Israel Telephone: 09-7670801, 050-5733276

The Negev Co-Existence Forum for Civil Equality:

Cell: 050-7701118, P.O.Box 130 , Omer 84965 , Israel



Proposed letter form



Prime Minister of the State of Israel ,

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu

3 Kaplan St . – Governmental offices complex

Jerusalem , 91950

By mail:

Fax: ++972-2-5664838

Dear Sir,


Re: My objection to the policy of your government, demolishing Bedouin villages in the Negev


I have learned of your government’s plan to deprive Bedouin citizens of Israel of the remainder of their lands and concentrate all of the Bedouins inside towns, leaving them with about 150,000 dunams.


If some other state were to decide to concentrate its Jewish citizens in towns especially constructed for them and begin to demolish their own homes and confiscate their property, would Israel not engage in a struggle against such criminal intentions? I assure you I would take an active part in such a struggle!


I cannot possibly understand why you do this to your Bedouin citizens. Why have you demolished Tawail Abu Jarawal fifty times?! Or Al Arakib twenty-two times? Why do you demolish hundreds of Bedouin dwellings a year in the Negev ? Why have you created the authority for enforcing the resolutions of planning and construction, a special police force for the protection of those out to demolish homes?! Why do you uproot thousands of fruit trees belonging to Bedouins in Al Arakib and planting a forest in their stead?! Why do you destroy Bedouins’ farm produce over thousands of dunams every year? Why do you not allow the Bedouins to live on their lands and farm them with pride?


I have a growing suspicion that you do this to them only on account of their being Bedouins in the Jewish State.


I appeal to your honor to please put an end to your war against your Bedouin citizens and enable them to live on their lands and farm them with dignity.


Please write also to:

Interior minister Mr. Eliahu Ishai

Ministry of Interior

Kiriat Hamemshala

Jerusalem , Israel

E-mail: Fax: ++972-2-5666376

Construction and Housing Minister, Mr. Ariel Atias

Ministry of Construction and Housing

Kiriat Hamemshala

Jerusalem ,  Israel

E-mail: Fax: 02-5824111


Interior Security Minister, Mr. Itshak Aharonovich

Ministery of Interior Security

Kiriat Hamemshala

Jerusalem ,  Israel

E-mail: Fax: 02-5428039


Negev and Galilee Development Minister, Mr. Sylvan Shalom

Ministery for Negev and Galilee Development

Sderot Shaul Hamelech 8

Tel Aviv ,  Israel

E-mail: Fax: 03-6954156





In 1948, as the State of Israel was about to be founded, about 110,000 Bedouins were living in the Negev. After the war, their expulsions from the southern part of the country persisted. The 1960 census shows that 11,000 Bedouins remained in the Negev. In the early 1950s, the State of Israel concentrated the Bedouins in the Sayag region (see map appended). Entire tribes were removed from their own lands in the western and southern Negev desert into the Sayag area. They were told the army needed their lands for maneuvers, and for their own safety they must leave for about half a year. They were promised that half a year late4r they would be allowed to return. These promises were not fulfilled and instead, a law was passed (the land purchase law of 1953) to transfer ownership of the property to the State – pure land grab through legislation.  The State declared a large part of the Sayag area where the Bedouins were relocated as a region devoid of any municipal authority. The planning and construction law passed in 1965 declared all of the Sayag as agricultural lands, and thus no building was permitted on them. Every home already existing there was considered ‘illegal’ as a result.  Thus, with a mere political resolution, the Israeli government turned the entire Bedouin population into lawbreakers when they simply came to realize their basic human right to shelter. The Bedouin villages within the Sayag that existed since before the founding of the State were not recognized either.


In the late 1960s a new phase began in the concentration of Bedouins in even more reduced areas. The State began to construct a small number of towns intended for Bedouin habitation. In order to encourage the Bedouins to move into those towns, the government implemented a policy of home demolitions, destruction of farm produce, confiscation of sheep and goat flocks and denial of basic services – water, electricity, access roads, schools, clinics, sanitation etc. Only after extended legal and public struggles, was the State finally forced to build twenty regional schoolhouses for the unrecognized villages, as well as eight clinics, and connect a few villages to the water supply grid. Not only were the Bedouins’ lands nationalized and taken from them and only a bare minimum remained in their ownership, this policy of dispossession and robbery was accompanied by an extensive publicity campaign to demonize the Bedouins.


In 1973 the government enabled the Bedouins to claim their lands. Their claims then totaled 1,000,000 dunams.


The towns are a failure from every point of view. They suffer from the highest rates of unemployment in the country, severe crime problems, violence, a lack of employment possibilities, no public transportation, banks or big business, etc. The number of planned and existing Arab localities in the southern part of the country (fifteen) is very small and constitute 6.25% of the total number of localities in the region (240) and 11% of the total number of localities in the Beer Sheva district . The municipal jurisdiction of Arab localities in the Negev covers the total area of about 119.3 square kilometers and constitute 0.92% of the total area of the Negev (12,954 square kilometers), while according to the statistics yearly, at the end of 2009 the Bedouin Arab population of the Negev consisted of 192,000 persons and constituted over 30% of the general population in Beer Sheva district, amounting to 613,090 persons.



The Bedouin tribes, spread throughout the Negev desert and intensively using about 2,000,000 dunams of land, now live on about 350,000 dunams and are struggling to retain their ownership of another 450,000 dunams. The Bedouin population lives in dozens of unrecognized villages (about 80,000 persons) and in eight State-built towns (about 110,000 inhabitants) and seven localities currently undergoing recognition processes. If the State manages to concentrate the Bedouins, their habitat will be dramatically reduced.


From all of the above we learn that the State of Israel persecutes its Bedouin citizens and desires the remainder of their lands. The miserable situation inside the towns proves that no concern for the Bedouins’ welfare brought about their construction, but rather the will to expel them from their own lands.




obama ends oil subsidies


Very clever of Obama. Get on the television and issue a couple comforting bromides about the difficulties the good ‘ole American people are going through because of pump prices averaging $3.90 a gallon. Pass the burden of blame onto Congress. Blather about the state “subsidies” to the oil companies to the tune of 4 billion dollars a year. Claim that those companies should definitely have the right to profit — as chief reverend in the Church of American Capitalism Obama always has to include a paean to profit in his sermons. And then note that the government need not subsidize their excess profits, in the process managing quite smartly to ideologically oppose “wasteful” government spending thereby trying to co-opt the anti-state agenda, and in practice oppose some tiny little bit of wasteful government spending, enfolding good-governance neo-liberals, while muffling the real problem: oil prices are at 113 dollars a barrel and $3.90 at the pump because our corporations are robbing us blind with the excuse of “instability” in the Middle East, instability they systemically foster through American violence in the region.

Perhaps the Nation magazine will have a little squib about how Obama is finally mustering up the courage to confront his corporate funders, making good on the hopes for messianic redemption which the southern Manhattan lower-upper middle class had invested in him. It’s like a thief placating you by giving you a few pennies back for every dollar he steals from you.

Meanwhile the oil majors’ net profits were at 38 billion for Q1:

O Right, the rest of the fireside chat. Obama makes sure to clarify to Conoco and Exxon that he is not “opposed to producing oil.” Of course not, not when the oil companies shovel campaign donations into his war chest. Producing oil should simply occur in the context of investing in “clean energy”; another job requirement of the Blatherer-in-Chief is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time. In this case, that means holding oil consumption and so carbon emissions steady by off-shoring filthy manufacturing to China while at the same time simultaneously transforming young American men into corpses and oil into gold, through the alchemy of stratospheric oil price increases. The result is the further destruction of the social fabric of the country, in whose worn threadbare patches Sara Palin and Xymphora can find a secure spot to ponder the provenance of Obama’s birth certificate and wonder whether Dennis Ross is an Israeli agent, an Israeli spy, or (perish the thought) simply a typical bottom-feeder agent of capital and empire.

Does this seem wise? Of course not. It’s based on the fantasy that we can maintain a civilization built on artificially cheap carbon emissions by slowly plopping green energy projects in place of the carbon-spewers we now use to create energy and building hybrid vehicles to make up the difference while Capitalism gives equal space in newspaper articles about global warming to fake science crapped out by petroleum industry-funded think tanks and mainstream scientists calmly informing us that the world is burning.

Of course, before getting to the question of what an ecologically sound political program would look like for a non-existent left, we have the problem of actually building that left. To that end, we have the ordinarily on-target Robin Yassin-Kassab, taking a bunch of pot-shots at an amorphous and currently non-existent phantasm known as “the Western left,” and advising this left by way of the actually existing British left that “Libya is not Iraq. The left fears it might be because the left has an oil obsession,” as opposed to the US government, which pays no attention to the proceeds from black gold. Righto. Concerning reality, which has to be the starting point for both analysis and actually building a left, in response to the turmoil in Libya it seems that Saudi Arabia has actually slowed down or stopped its production increases, helping to push oil prices higher and higher. It’s just coincidence that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is our major ally in the region, right, and that it just happens to systematically pursue policies that fatten the pockets of XOM and the financial firms that manage Saudi investments, correct?

However, increases in oil prices rack other sectors of the economy, part of why growth decreased, and perhaps part of why within the next couple of elections there’s a good shot of a “rogue” candidate using independent sources of wealth to pull American forces back and re-entrench American expansion. We will likely see such a rogue candidate, but I am not sure he’ll win, given the inability of the American ruling class to conceive of its interests in the long-run manner that the post-WWII planners envisioned post-war hegemonic planning, not unrelated to the environment crisis within which carbon civilization is mired. Does that matter to Palestine, finally? For sure. working towards a free Palestine means also working towards a world in which a free Palestine isn’t unlivable due to ecological degradation and climate change.

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Posted in USAComments Off on obama ends oil subsidies

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC


Dear Friends,

Today turned up many more items than I have included in the 6 below in addition to 2 that I earlier sent independently.   The items below are not connected to one another, except that they contain details about events in or commentary on this small part of the world.

The initial item is about Holocaust survivors and the help they receive from non-profit organizations.  It’s wonderful that there are non profit organizations that try to help these elderly individuals, many who live in dire poverty.  But why non profits?  Why not the government?  The Israeli government that especially at this time of year makes such a big hullabaloo and bla bla about the Holocaust refuses to care of its living victims, while at the same time pours money into colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem!

Item two is about refugees but not human ones.  It is about the olive-tree business, big business, with uprooting and moving from the OPT or places in Israel to private individuals for much money or to nurseries which sell the trees for no small sum.  That this has been taking place was widely publicized in 2003 by Yediot.  There are a number of sites on the net that reproduce the report.  I have furnished a link to one such at the end of the report.

Item 3 is brief: Egypt warns Israel to not mess around with Egypt’s opening of Rafa.  Signs of future relations with Israel? We shall see.

In item 4 the PCHR advises us that Israel’s High Court (supposedly of justice) dismissed a petition to lengthen the time given in the present Statute of Limitations so to allow Gazans suing Israel for damages that occurred as a result of the Cast Iron military campaign to allow them to see the claim through.  For reasons given in the report, at present that is not possible.  Justice?  Not for Palestinians.

Item 5 is both a personal story and one typical of the Nakba, as well as typical of how Israel has treated and continues to treat the Palestinian villages whose residents escaped with their lives hoping to return but not being allowed to.  The name of this village is Lifta.

Item 6  Is about Palestinian non-violent protest while the  Western powers stand by with no comment.  But then why should we expect anything positive from these powers who after Cast Lead justified it with the comment “Israel has a right to defend itself”?

All the best,



1.  Jerusalem Post,


April 29, 2011

Photo by: Courtesy

Surviving the Shoah – and beating Israeli bureaucracy


Many Holocaust survivors live in severe poverty, unaware of the benefits owed them, and must fight the system to realize their rights.

David Silberman, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Aviv Lenitzolei Hashoah (Spring for Holocaust Survivors), does not mince words when he proclaims that roughly NIS 250 million in funds meant to assist Holocaust survivors living in Israel remains unclaimed each year.

“It’s a very complicated process, and that’s exactly why we started Aviv,” states Silberman, who created the organization four years ago together with his wife Aviva, a legal expert in Holocaust survivors’ rights.

Speaking ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be marked nationwide on Monday, he adds, “She has been working in this field for more than 17 years and already knew all about the complexities of this topic.

What she did not know, however, was exactly how many survivors are entitled to additional benefits but are not claiming them because the information is unclear and they are simply not aware.”

According to Silberman, “we thought this would only be a shortterm thing and that we would just pass on some information that would help all those involved in allocating resources to reach the actual survivors.”

In the four years since helping to start the NGO, he has become an expert on the ins and outs of the various compensation funds and additional benefit schemes meant to ease the daily living of more than 210,000 aging victims of Nazi persecution.

However, Silberman, who volunteers his time at the charity, points out that while there are some 15 government and non-governmental organizations all working to aid Holocaust survivors here, there is no single authority that can fit all the pieces together. With none of the groups able to see beyond its own paradigm, survivors are forced to go through an intense bureaucratic process even before they can understand what exactly they should be asking for.

Only this past Wednesday – after some 60-plus years of continued disconnect between all the organizations – did the Welfare and Social Services Ministry finally bring representatives of all these bodies, including Aviv, together for a round-table discussion on how to work together to help thousands of survivors live out their final years in comfort and dignity.

Silberman says it’s frustrating: “The survivors have been crying for years, saying they cannot make ends meet or cannot pay for their medicines, [and] social workers and others tell them that they cannot help, but it’s only because they have no idea about the pension schemes for them.”

He adds that “in most situations when you deal with poor people, it is difficult to help them, but when you are talking about Holocaust survivors, there is money out there but no one knows how to get at it.”

AS PART of its outreach work for this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Aviv will release a series of 17 short video clips – available for download from its website ( and also to be screened throughout the day on Channel 2 – outlining what rights, benefits and compensation schemes are currently available for each specific group of survivors and how to apply for them, says Hagit Grubshtein, the organization’s deputy director.

“There is so much to understand that we felt the best way to explain would be to explain it visually,” says the 31-year-old trained lawyer who has been working with Aviv for three years. “The problem is that there is no one body that can tell the survivor what his or her benefits should include; every organization does wonderful work but refuses to look at what the others are doing. At the moment, survivors come to us in order to understand the whole picture, and we try to help them.”

Among the videos to be released are ones outlining the eligibility guidelines and application procedures for the four Holocaust survivor compensation funds (two from Germany, administered by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and two operated by the Israeli government’s Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority). There is also a rallying call to “thirdgeneration” Holocaust survivors, the grandchildren, to come forward and help the elderly survivors access their rights.

Silberman also highlights that one of the videos produced is in Russian, aimed at thousands of survivors who arrived in Israel during the 1990s from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe who do not fit the criteria outlined by the four official funds.

“Some of them are not aware that they are in fact entitled to a one-time payment and numerous social benefits that could help ease their lives,” noted Silberman.

According to numerous NGOs working in the field, many of these survivors arrived in the country with nothing and today live in severe poverty, relying on various charities for their day-to-day survival.

“Our goal is to break the stigma that only a lawyer is able to help survivors understand and obtain their rights,” says Grubshtein, who herself is the presenter of most of these low-budget but informative videos.

“There is not much time left to help these survivors, and we need to reach as many people as we can in order to address the injustice of the last 60 years.”

AMONG THE estimated 10,000 people that Aviv has helped since its formation is Ela Yael Kasner, 75, from Rehovot. Two months ago, the Romanian-born grandmother and great-grandmother received a significant payout from the German government, some 3,800 euros, for the three years she spent in a Nazi-run ghetto, thanks to Aviv volunteers who helped her apply for the money.

“We had nothing to eat and no warm clothes to wear when we lived in the ghetto,” recalls Kasner, who was only a child when she moved with her mother and two brothers to the Mogilev ghetto in Transnistria. “I did not see an egg or cheese or bread during those years, I lived on water and corn flour… I did not learn to read or write and only received an education when I arrived in Israel at age 12.”

She clearly remembers how her mother would force her to hide beneath the floorboards whenever she heard the boots of SS soldiers.

“I had to stay down there for hours with the rats,” says Kasner, whose father was taken away from the family during the war and united with the family at its end. He died from typhus only a few months after their arrival in Israel.

Despite the obvious hardships of rebuilding her life here following the war, Kasner says life was bearable until a few years ago, when her husband, also a Holocaust survivor, passed away.

“I faced a dilemma, and I went to apply for additional benefits as his widow but was told I was not eligible,” says Kasner, who then turned to Aviv for help.

The organization helped her to obtain some additional funds from the government and also to apply for a state pension from Germany, where last year a federal court ruled that payments should be made to all those who had worked in a ghetto during the war years.

“My situation is not so bad now, there are many others who are worse off than I am,” says Kasner, who in addition to the back payment will also receive 41 euros a month from Germany.

What is most upsetting, she says, is “knowing there is money but for some reason it does not reach us, they do not hand it out. You have to fight or put on a lot of pressure to get that money.”

“Even after three years, it still kills me to hear these stories,” observes Grubshtein. “I know we have had many successes in helping people, but they are still so few compared to all the bad things and the injustice that has taken place over the last 60 years.”

She adds, “I know that we can’t fix all the evil that has happened, but it is time that all the organizations dealing with this issue put their egos aside and try to work together to tackle the problem before it’s too late.”


2.Refugees in their own land


Trade in ancient olive trees is a big business, often across the Green Line. Arab farmers are tempted by the big cash that wealthy Israelis will pay for such a status symbol, and there’s little the law can do about it.

By Maya Zinshtein

Anyone who visits the home of Moshe and Tova Gindi in Savyon will encounter an avenue of ancient olive trees leading up to the family manse. Another four trees, more splendid, more ancient, stand in the center of the yard. These trees did not grow up there. Indeed for decades and even centuries, they sent their roots into soil far from the land of this upscale Tel Aviv suburb. One day they were uprooted, transported to a big nursery, loaded onto a flatbed trailer, and driven to central Israel to decorate the entrance to the home of an upper-crust family.

An investigation by Haaretz has found that the phenomenon of uprooting olive trees and turning them into pet plants for the rich has been going on for several years now without causing much of a ripple, and feeds a market worth tens of millions of shekels.

Trees decades and centuries old are being uprooted, some by thieves, others by their owners, to be sold. Some are transported from the Galilee to select sales points throughout the country; many more are smuggled in from the Palestinian Authority, delivered to nurseries in Israel and from there to private gardens in walled compounds. Olive trees have thus become a status symbol: One can be yours, starting at NIS 30,000, with prices reaching close to NIS 100,000.

The combination of new fads and an ongoing water shortage has sent local landscape architects back to the indigenous habitat. The tropical flora in the gardens of Savyon or Shavei Zion made way for plants and trees that are native to the Land of Israel. Parallel to this, the difficulty of making a living, and the growing demands of construction – and the concomitant rise of prices into the stratosphere – are driving olive-grove owners to break with a longstanding tradition in return for monetary reward, in which a single transaction can frequently yield income equivalent to that of several years’ work. In the West Bank, an additional consideration comes into play: The owners of the groves claim that Jewish settlers uproot their trees, which are left behind, and they then try to obtain some sort of compensation, which will be partial at best.

Olive-tree dealers describe a perfectly legal world in which every tree has a documented pedigree and all of the requisite permits. In practice, the trees’ migration often involves an illicit aspect. The Forest Law introduced in Mandatory Palestine, which constitutes the legal basis for protecting trees in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, prohibits felling, transporting or transplanting an olive tree unless the requisite permits have been granted. Such permits may be provided, including to private landowners, only by Ministry of Agriculture forestry officials and officials at the Jewish National Fund. The Agriculture Ministry and JNF say there is a big gap between the permits they issue and the number of trees on sale in the market; a number of people involved in this business talk about a 50-percent gap.

When the olive trees’ final destination is documented – something that happens quite often – it is often in design articles in glossy magazines, something that tends to blur the murky side of the trees’ appropriation by wealthy individuals.

‘Like a Chagall’

“There are two kinds of people who want to buy ancient olive trees,” says Dedi Golan, whose veteran landscape-gardening firm caters to the very rich. “There are the ones who are looking for status symbols, and an ancient olive tree is such a symbol, like a Bulthaup kitchen or a Chagall original. And since everyone knows that an ancient olive tree costs NIS 50,000 at a minimum, if you place several in your yard, that means that you’re serious and important. The other type of buyer is the person who loves the olive tree and invests in it the way a real art-lover invests in a work of art – with no regard for the cost. After all, if the tree is 500 years old, then it’s priceless.”

A. is a landscape designer with clients of both sorts. He accompanied one for almost two weeks until the client found what he wanted. “We went to two or three nurseries each time and I showed him 20 ancient olive trees before he confirmed that a tree I recommended was in fact suitable for him. It was a lengthy process but the sort you enjoy, which ends in seeing a dream come true,” A. says.

“Everything is done in an orderly fashion, with permits,” he insists. “These are trees that grew for generations upon generations, mainly belonging to Galilee Arabs. In principle, Arabs do not remove trees from the ground, but sometimes they have to enlarge their house, sometimes a road is paved through their land, and then they are forced to uproot the trees and are given permission by the JNF. Trees from the territories? No way. It is forbidden to bring trees from there because the State of Israel does not have permission to uproot there.”

At Al Bustan, the nursery owned by Philippe Nicolas near Baka al-Gharbiyeh, they know A. He passed by there on his quest, strolled up and down the long avenues of ancient olive trees, and also purchased a few.

“We have 21 dunams [1 dunam = 1/4 acre] of olive and other trees and another 100 dunams in Afula,” says one nursery worker. “There are 100-year-old trees and even 1,000-year-old trees. Of the especially ancient kind we have two left, after one was sold. The first one cost NIS 75,000, the second one goes for NIS 60,000.”

When asked who the clientele for these trees is, the employee has a ready answer: “There are a lot of crazy people in this country. In Caesarea, in Savyon,” he replies. But when asked what the source of the trees is – who the seller is – his initial response is silence, and a small smile.

“Do you see these? I got them yesterday. We brought them at 11 P.M., with a 50-ton crane and 20 workmen. This is a 2,500-year-old tree. It’s not from here, it’s from abroad. From Palestine. It’s all from the territories,” he explains. “I go to the owner of a grove in the territories, pick out trees and say: ‘I’ll pay you for a tree like this, say, $10,000,’ and then he goes into shock. If he keeps the tree, the olives won’t bring in that kind of money even over 10 years. For them this is serious money.

“If the potential seller agrees – and not everyone agrees; there are some who won’t hear of it – I arrange for a person who goes in and buys. And then he goes through the checkpoints with a permit. We get clearance from [the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and register the tree and receive a license. Just like an Arabian horse gets a permit that it’s a thoroughbred Arabian, it’s the same for the tree.”

No permits, no smuggling

The Civil Administration, which is the only body authorized to permit olive trees to be brought into Israel, has a different version. Samir Mouadi, the Agriculture Ministry’s officer at Civil Administration headquarters, maintains that no permits whatsoever were granted last year for the transfer of olive trees from the West Bank. Administration officials add that they are not aware of any trees being smuggled into Israel – an intriguing claim considering that the phenomenon has been going on for years and that one of its aspects received considerable publicity in the past: In January 2003 the daily Yedioth Ahronoth ran an extensive article on a massive uprooting of olive trees in the territories, in particular along the route of the separation barrier being built at the time. According to that article, construction of the barrier necessitated the uprooting of thousands of trees, some of which were never returned to their owners as required but were allegedly sold by several of the contractors working on the barrier – with the Civil Administration’s knowledge.  [For the 2003 Yediot Ahronot report on uprooting olive trees for sale and replanting use this link. D.]

Mohamed Muqbel, of the West Bank village of Qaryut, for example, keeps safe in a bag the Jordanian land registry certificate of ownership for the property his father bought even before he was born. The map demarcates his grove of olive trees more than a century old, which Israel allows him to visit only twice a year. Along with the registry document, the bag contains a pile of complaints that Muqbel filed over the past 10 years with the Israel Police and the Binyamin District Coordination Liaison Office in response to settlers attacking, trespassing on private property and uprooting trees.

“I am 70 years old and I don’t have the strength any longer to deal with this,” he sighs, and then discusses a neighbor who has an almost identical story to his own.

Many of the trees on the market are sold with their owner’s consent, sometimes prompted by moderate commercial pressure. South of Baka al-Gharbiyeh, for example, within Israel proper but adjacent to the separation barrier, the Al Bustan nursery has seen some serious competition crop up. These nurseries – which number in the dozens and have become a mecca for private buyers, gardeners and owners of nurseries in Israel – also offer row upon row of splendid trees.

“We worked on him, a real job, until we managed to get it out of him,” one nursery owner said of a tree’s owner. “He didn’t want to sell, but the tree wasn’t producing olives, so we persuaded him to begin planting new olive trees in its place. In the end we tossed a package of money on the table, until he was persuaded. But I myself would never sell a tree like that in my life. No way. “

One of the places such nurseries are flourishing is the village of Hableh in the Qalqilyah region. The fence route cut right through the village, leaving residents east of the barrier and their lands to the west, within Israel.

The solution the Defense Ministry offered the villagers was to open so-called “fabric of life” gates, which are intended to enable landowners to pass through the barrier in order to continue working their land or operate other enterprises there. The nurseries established there in recent years constitute the primary form of business. The trees reach them, that is, enter Israeli territory, through those same “fabric of life gates,” passing through checkpoints, and continuing from there to their new homes in Israel.

Tree dealers complain that the PA has been making life difficult for them lately.

“I’m allowed to bring goods onto my property, but with olives it’s harder,” complains one nursery owner. “The PA asks that olive trees not be uprooted because from an economic standpoint they are one of the most important resources in the West Bank, and we’re just barely keeping the inventory restocked.” In the next breath, he offers to sell six ancient olive trees that came into his possession just a month ago.

Trees can also be ordered in advance according to specification. “I don’t have such a large tree right now, but within a week I can get you a 500-year-old tree,” he adds.

Asked where it will come from, the nursery owner laughs: “It’ll come, don’t you worry,” he says. “It’ll come here and you’ll pick it up here. I’ll call when it arrives.”

Dispute in the ministry

The Agriculture Ministry has a special unit with increased enforcement powers: permission to conduct investigations, make arrests and carry arms. It has been dubbed “the agriculture police.” The flora and fauna supervision unit is supposed to monitor the entry of animal and plant products from the PA to Israel, to prevent smuggling and the introduction of diseases and blights.

According to a ministry employee, this unit has been almost paralyzed for the past two years because of a dispute with another ministry department – the flora protection and inspection services. The latter is supposed to issue permits for destruction of farm produce seized by the flora and fauna supervision unit. In the past two years, the employee claims, protection and inspection has not been forwarding the permits, and in their absence the agents of flora and fauna supervision have stopped seizing produce to prevent its becoming a hazard altogether.

The Border Police and the ombudsman of the Agriculture Ministry investigated a ministry employee, a veteran intelligence coordinator named Asher Yitzhari, who was allegedly involved in tree trafficking, and particularly the trafficking of ancient olive trees. The suspicions concerning Yitzhari had previously been brought to the attention of the ministry’s director general, Yossi Shai, and it was he who instructed the ombudsman to investigate. The ombudsman’s report contained, among other things, the finding that Yitzhari had two police records when he joined the unit. One of these two cases ended in his conviction and sentencing to six months of community service.

Following the ombudsman’s recommendation, the JNF filed a police complaint in 2005, and after the Border Police conducted an undercover investigation, Yitzhari was arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes, breach of faith and trafficking in olive trees worth hundreds of thousands of shekels. Today, after his case was closed for lack of evidence, he remains in the same ministry department.

In the meantime, Yitzhari’s case was transferred to the Civil Service Commission to determine whether he should be brought up on disciplinary charges. The commission, in turn, recommended in December 2009 that the Agriculture Ministry hold a hearing and initiate reprimand proceedings – not for receiving bribes, but rather for conflict of interest. It turns out that Yitzhari has a nursery of his own. The former intelligence coordinator only recently submitted a declaration of conflict of interests.

If the Civil Administration hasn’t heard anything about tree smuggling, and the flora and fauna supervision unit doesn’t have any teeth, then the deterrent power that all the parties involved rely on is the JNF’s supervision unit, consisting of fewer than 10 people who are supposed to cover all of Israel and the PA combined.

Violating the landscape

“We are working to catch every olive tree that was transplanted without authorization and without a license, to put the person responsible for it on criminal trial, and have the tree itself confiscated by the state,” says Amikam Riklin, who heads the JNF’s supervision unit. “Whoever violates the olive tree violates the landscape of the country, and we cannot let trees be taken without authorization to the home or the neighborhood of whoever it is.”

In practice, the law permits inspectors to act only in one case: when they catch offenders in the act of either uprooting or transporting trees. Once the trees have been planted in soil – even the soil of a nursery that nobody would mistake for the site of a 200-year-old olive grove – their hands are tied. So the inspectors wander Israel’s roads and try to catch criminals, a not-very-efficient undertaking when you consider the number of inspectors, the number of roads and the number of hours in a day.

The inspectors are convinced that most of the trees in the “vanity market” do come from the West Bank, where there are an estimated 10 million available. But the JNF says that the Galilee is also fertile ground for trafficking in ancient olive trees.

“Many landowners in the Galilee seek to have agricultural land rezoned for construction,” notes the Agriculture Ministry’s national forest commissioner, Hagai Snir. “When there are permits for changing the land-use designation, we help them out and provide felling permits. When they don’t have these permits, they will probably look for other ways to get rid of the trees.”

Says Ido Rasis, the JNF official in charge of enforcing the law in the central region: “We know categorically that there is an enormous gap between the number of felling and transplanting permits that the JNF issues and the number of trees in the possession of tree dealers. But we’re only a handful of inspectors dealing with an entire industry. In the past the Israel Police and Border Police would assist me in road seizures. Less so today.”

Just this year the JNF began systematically documenting the permits it issues for felling, transport and transplanting of trees. According to its data 18,900 such permits were issued for olive trees – a seemingly astronomical number. But the vast majority of the trees on the list don’t match the specs of those that are sought after on the vanity market. Rather, they come from young groves that kibbutzim were forced to clear because of rising water rates.

For now, then, the state is indicting mostly those who had the misfortune of showing up on its radar screen, whether through the efforts of the JNF supervision unit or following complaints by alert citizens. About four months ago this radar missed a series of trucks that traveled across the country carrying stolen olive trees from a military base, and it was only an inquiry by Haaretz that led to their capture (see box ).

The heavyweight traffickers and their envoys are often instructed to pull over to the side of the road for inspection; this too is a practice that sometimes ends in an indictment. For example, one major tree dealer who had been caught is Avi Yehezkel of Moshav Haniel, not far from Netanya. In October 2010 he was convicted in the Netanya Magistrate’s Court of transporting olive trees without a license. The sentence noted that “the offenses are serious [and] the accused has a previous conviction that speaks for itself.”

Reached for his comment, Yehezkel said: “I was accused of transporting trees without a permit, but that is not true. I had a transplanting permit from the JNF’s forest commissioner, but I didn’t have a transporting license, because he told me it wasn’t necessary.”

Another big-time tree trafficker, Aharon Sadeh, was convicted in the Kfar Sava Magistrate’s Court after he and another man were caught transporting three ancient olive trees from the village of Hableh without a license in 2005.

“That was a procedural mistake on our part. We even considered appealing,” he contends today. “It happened as part of a barter we did with an Arab dealer. Our driver simply made a mistake. All in all it was minor. We received a fine of NIS 2,500 and the trees were confiscated.”

Even when an indictment is filed and ends in a conviction, it does not provide an element of deterrence. The few indictments over the past five years show that the punishments that were imposed on most of those convicted were unusually low fines, ranging from NIS 750 through NIS 1,500 and up to NIS 5,000 – extremely modest sums considering that a single tree goes for tens of thousands of shekels on the market. As noted, trees can only be confiscated if they are discovered while in transit . Nevertheless there have been some developments on this front. One of these is new cooperation between the JNF and the Israel Tax Authority’s national unit for investigations and field intelligence.

“This industry has a turnover of tens of millions a year and we’re seeing an increase over the years,” says Yosef Shbiro, deputy director of the central region investigations unit at the Income Tax Authority. “Any self-respecting builder of a villa feels compelled to plant a tree, and because of the rising tide in construction of villas, the olive tree market has also grown.”

The tax authorities have a clear idea where the olive trees are coming from. “A substantial share comes from the PA and a smaller share from Israel, because here it’s gradually dwindling,” Shbiro explains, spelling out what has remained apparently invisible to those in charge of this matter at the Agriculture Ministry and the Civil Administration. “I imagine there are many olive trees that are uprooted without a permit. The authorities issue a few dozen transplanting licenses per year, not more, whereas the market has a turnover in the millions [of shekels]; it has hundreds of ancient olive trees all about and demand outstrips supply. After all, there is a shared economic interest and a meeting of wills, so both sides profit.”

According to Shbiro, the olive tree passes through additional stations on its way to the nursery: the uprooter and the middleman. “There is a person who uproots, and there are nursery owners who sell a lot to other nurseries themselves. By the time the tree reaches the final nursery, its price has climbed, with everyone involved making a bundle. The profit sometimes exceeds 100 percent.”

Ongoing problem

Tree dealer Philippe Nicolas was arrested last October on suspicion of concealing income of NIS 2 million from the tax authorities, income earned from, among other things, trafficking in ancient olive trees. In his remand request the police national investigations unit stated that intelligence activity had raised the suspicion that Nicolas was selling the olive trees to clients without reporting his activities in full to the taxman. What the request did not mention is that Nicolas is one of the two traffickers responsible for the trees on the Gindi estate.

“Two of the three biggest tree traffickers have already been punished,” says the JNF’s Ido Rasis, “but the JNF’s problem remains unchanged. We can stop a truck and seize the trees, but nothing more. Once they are at the nurseries, in the ground, we can’t do a thing – and all this is in accordance with section 18 of the Forest Law.”

The landscape architect Dedi Golan offers scant comfort: “When everyone takes out a loan so that he can put an olive tree in his yard, and there are loads of nouveaux riches living in ostentation, the trend will eventually lose its power,” he says. But until that happens – if ever – the olive tree will be without any real protection.

The Civil Administration had this to say in response: “In 2010 no permits were issued to Palestinians to transfer olive trees from Judea and Samaria into Israel. At the gate located in the village of Hableh permission is mainly granted for transferring work tools and goods that serve the landowners, in view of the fact that there are no permanent residents in this part of the village.”

Moshe Gindi offered this comment: “I did not buy any tree from the territories. Everything was handled in a professional manner by subcontractors.”

Zafrir Rinat contributed reporting to this story.

Where did the trees go?

In mid-December, last year, a truck drove along the coastal road carrying a load of ancient olive trees. The driver had a license from the JNF to transfer trees from the Hahotrim military base in the north to other public destinations, for preservation purposes.

The driver, equipped with instructions from his dispatchers, left the base and headed south. At the end of the journey he unloaded the trees at a private nursery, where they were priced for sale for thousands and tens of thousands of shekels. This truck was only one of many that traversed Israel that month carrying 95 ancient olive trees, protected under the law, that were then smuggled onto the market.

The Defense Ministry had applied to the JNF for a permit to transplant 62 ancient olive trees from an army base in the north. The JNF consented, and Michael Weinberger, the organization’s director for the Western Galilee and Carmel region, granted the Israel Defense Forces a license. The terms of the license stated that the trees would be transplanted according to a systematic plan that would specify their destinations: monuments, other IDF bases and sites owned by the JNF itself. To execute the plan,

Weinberger enlisted Ofer Cohen, an ex-military man known in JNF circles as a project manager.

Only 62 trees were granted transplant permits, but the number of transport permits grew to 95. Aharon Sadeh’s nursery, Hadar Noi, in Moshav Beit Oved near Rishon Lezion, was one of the places the trees wound up. Sadeh claims that he received 25 trees, and that all of them had transport permits citing his nursery as their destination.

Haaretz found that Sadeh actually received 41 olive trees, each of them between 150 and 200 years old, worth an estimated NIS 45,000 each on the market. None of these trees was supposed to reach the Hadar Noi nursery: One of them was meant for the monument on Kibbutz Degania; others were listed on the permit as destined for “Tel Hashomer” – that is, Sheba Medical Center.

According to Sadeh, the trees represent partial repayment of a debt the IDF owes him. “Over three years, I supplied the IDF with 80-90 trees. To Training Camp 1, for example, we sent 40 trees in 2009. That was done through Ofer Cohen, and he told me that he would repay me in time,” Sadeh explains, though he did not present any documents to back up his claim.

Another place the IDF olive trees wound up was Geva’ot Olam, the organic farm that the former army lieutenant colonel Avri Ran built in the West Bank, without permits, in the late 1990s. Ran, who became religiously observant and a leader among the so-called hilltop youth, received five trees; Haaretz did not receive a comment from him by press time. The major tree trafficker Avi Yehezkel denies that he received trees from the IDF base. Ofer Cohen declined to comment on the grounds that the matter is under investigation.

The JNF offered the following comment regarding the trucks affair: “The JNF views the matter very gravely and therefore a prompt preliminary inquiry was conducted immediately, and in its wake a complaint was filed with the police. So long as a police investigation is ongoing, the JNF cannot, with the best of intentions, provide further details that might disrupt it. When the investigation is over the JNF will draw and learn the [necessary] lessons.” (M. Z.)

[For the 2003 Yediot Ahronot report on uprooting olive trees for sale and replanting use this link. Dorothy]


3.  Haaretz,


April 30, 2011

Egypt warns Israel: Don’t interfere with opening of Gaza border crossing

Rafah’s opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the U.S., Israel, Egypt, and the EU; Israel official tells the Wall Street Journal developments in Egypt could affect Israel’s national security.

By Haaretz Service

Tags: Israel news Gaza Egypt Middle East peace

Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt’s plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel’s concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday.

Egypt announced this week that it intended to permanently open the border crossing with Gaza within the next few days.

The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt’s uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.

An Israeli official on Friday told The Wall Street Journal that Israel was troubled by the recent developments in Egypt saying they could affect Israel’s national security at a strategic level.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007.

Rafah’s opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn’t get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.

Before Egypt’s uprising and ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, the border between Egypt and Gaza had been sealed. It has occasionally opened the passage for limited periods.


4.  PCHR

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release

Ref: 38/2011

Date: 30 April 2011

Time: 11:00 GMT

Israel’s High Court of Justice Dismisses Petition Filed on Behalf of More Than 1,000 Victims of Operation Cast Lead

On Thursday, 28 April 2011, the Israeli High Court of Justice dismissed a petition brought by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), and litigated by Attorneys Michael Sfard and Carmel Pomerantz.

The petition was filed on 21 December 2010, by PCHR in relation to more than 1,000 victims of Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip (Operation ‘Cast Lead’), in order to challenge the 2-year statute of limitations imposed on filing tort (compensation) cases. The petition requested that the High Court of Justice order the State Attorney to refrain from raising a claim under the statute of limitations in future civil suits brought before Israeli courts. According to PCHR, the right of access to the courts demands that the statute of limitations on bringing such civil cases begin to accrue only once Israel’s illegal closure of the Gaza Strip has ceased.

PCHR have consistently argued that the statute of limitations, imposed monetary barriers, and the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, combine to fundamentally deny victims’ legitimate right to an effective judicial remedy. In effect, they contribute to the establishment of an ‘accountability free-zone’ in the Gaza Strip, wherein Israeli forces are free to violate international law without consequence. At issue in this petition is the fundamental – and universally recognized – right to compensation in the event of a violation of international law.

Yesterday’s High Court of Justice ruling represents a serious setback for the victims, and their legitimate quest for accountability and redress.

Significantly, the Court’s decision to dismiss the petition was procedurally flawed. PCHR had a right to reply to the State’s submission before the Court decided on the matter. The date fixed by the Court for PCHR’s reply is 3 May 2011.

PCHR believe that the procedurally flawed dismissal of this case represents an example of the Israeli judiciary’s complicity in the perpetuation of a climate of pervasive impunity, whereby those Israeli officials and soldiers suspected of committing international crimes are shielded from justice, and victims’ legitimate rights to the equal protection of the law are systematically denied. In this context it is noted that the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict concluded that the series of acts that limit Palestinians in the Gaza Strip’s “access to courts of law and effective remedies could amount to persecution, a crime against humanity.”

It is imperative that victims’ fundamental human rights be respected and upheld, and that recourse to mechanisms of international justice be supported and encouraged by the international community.

Background Information

Customary international law recognises all victims’ right to reparation (including compensation) in the event of a violation of international law. However, Palestinian victims from the Gaza Strip are currently faced with a number of significant hurdles which effectively prevent them from accessing justice, in violation of their fundamental rights. Claimants face three principal obstacles:

1. Statute of Limitations. Under Israeli law, a complaint for civil damages must be brought within two years of the date of the incident, or the right to compensation is irrevocably lost. As a result of the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, and the significant number of victims of Operation Cast Lead, this two-year limit means that the victims are often unable to submit their cases within the required time-frame. Prior to 1 August 2002, the statute of limitations was seven years.

2. Monetary Barrier. Israeli courts often require claimants to pay a court insurance fee before the case can begin. While this is a discretionary fee applied by the court, in practice, this fee is always applied to Palestinian claimants. The exact value of the fee is not fixed, and it is determined on a case-by-case basis by the court. With respect to claims for damage to property, the fee usually constitutes a percentage of the value of the property being claimed, however, for death or injury there is no informal guideline. In PCHR’s experience this amount is typically set at a minimum of NIS 10,000 (about US $2800); however, it can reach significantly higher amounts. In a recent case brought by PCHR, the claimants were required to pay an insurance fee of NIS 20,000 (US $5,600) for each of the five wrongful deaths claimed. Thus, grave violations equal extremely high monetary barriers to justice. This insurance fee constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to justice. Simply put, claimants from Gaza – crippled by the economic devastation wrought by the occupation and the illegal closure – cannot afford this fee and their cases are being dismissed and closed.

3. Physical Barriers. Under Israeli law, in order testimony to be valid, the victim or witness must be present in court to undergo cross-examination. However, since June 2007, despite a letter from the court requesting their presence, the Israeli military authorities have not allowed a single individual to leave Gaza to appear in court. As a result, their cases are dismissed and closed. Further, PCHR’s lawyers – although qualified – cannot enter Israel to represent their clients before the courts. As a result, PCHR is forced to work with and hire lawyers in Israel (at extra cost). However, clients are not allowed to enter Israel to meet with their lawyer, and all requests made by lawyers to enter Gaza – to meet with clients, visit the crime scene, and so on – have been denied. Necessarily, this affects the lawyers’ ability to represent their clients, thereby undermining victims’ right to an effective remedy.

The Petition

The petition, brought by PCHR and litigated by Attorneys Michael Sfard and Carmel Pomerantz, challenged the two-year statute of limitations. An injunction was sought from the court suspending the two-year statute of limitations period. The petition highlighted a number of barriers to justice created as a result of Israeli policy, including the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip.

This petition is brought by PCHR in relation to 1,046 victims of Operation Cast Lead, representing the overwhelming majority of cases prepared in the aftermath of the offensive. These cases cover virtually the entire spectrum of international humanitarian law violations, and among them are the most infamous cases of the offensive, including those of the Samouni, Abu Halima, and Al-Dia families.

The policies and practices challenged in this petition serve to comprehensively deny victims’ right to access justice. They perpetuate a climate of pervasive impunity, and effectively contribute to the establishment of an accountability free zone in the Gaza Strip.

Public Document


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:, Webpage


5.  The Independent,


30 April 2011

The ghost town between Palestine’s past and its future

Catrina Stewart visits an abandoned settlement, frozen in time 63 years ago, that may soon become a luxury housing development

Walking through the abandoned Palestinian village of Lifta, Yacoub Odeh is transported back to a time more than 63 years ago when as a child he would play in these streets before his carefree existence came to an abrupt end.

As he points out the old mosque and olive press, names come tumbling back, events, memories – a life before 1948, the fateful year that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their ancestral homes during Israel’s war of independence, most of them never to return.

All that remains of this once-prosperous village are the shells of dozens of houses dotted throughout the valley, their outer walls largely intact but now overgrown with wildflowers and weeds.

How much longer the village will remain in this state is anyone’s guess. It is at the centre of a wrangle over whether it should be preserved in its current state as a reminder of the Palestinian dispossession or redeveloped into luxury housing. The Israel Land Administration, now the legal owner of the land, is marketing plots to developers to construct an upscale neighbourhood based on the buildings that already exist.

“They [the Jews] did not destroy Lifta in time of war, so they should not destroy it when Israel is talking about peace,” says Mr Odeh, a Palestinian in his early 70s who spent his early childhood there.

Lifta is the last of the deserted Palestinian villages still standing in modern-day Israel. The several hundred other communities abandoned have either been built over, destroyed or resettled. Proponents of redevelopment say it is not as simple as letting Lifta remain as it is. Architects involved with the new housing project in its early stages say to do nothing at all would ensure the eventual disappearance of the village.

But Shmuel Groag, one of the same architects who wanted to restore the village, is aghast at the scale of the new project, targeted at wealthy buyers. Developers have drawn up a plan that adds another 268 apartments and a hotel to the 55 houses currently there.

The developer handling the project declined to be interviewed for this story, but the Jerusalem municipality which first approved it in 2006 insisted the village’s character would not be changed, and the existing houses and buildings would be carefully restored and preserved.

Petitioners, including former residents of Lifta and Israeli NGOs, have secured a temporary injunction to freeze the project on technical grounds. It is an imperfect solution as, even if the developers are forced to return to the drawing board, they could return with an amended plan. What the petition fails to address is the issue of two competing historical narratives that has underscored the tensions between Palestinians and Israelis for generations.

“On setting up its state in 1948, Israel set about demolishing every vestige of Palestinian life and history in the land,” writes Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian author, in a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times. “The battle to preserve Lifta must be won – it remains a physical memory of injustice and survival.”

In 1947, a United Nations partition plan proposed to divide Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state with Jerusalem as an international city. The Arabs opposed the plan, and fighting erupted between the two sides as they scrambled for territory before the British Mandate expired.

The Palestinians claim that they were driven out by the Jews or frightened into flight by acts of brutality in other villages, while Israel contends that they left of their own accord during a time of war, foregoing the right to their land under Israel’s absentee laws.

Mr Odeh was just eight years old when the shooting started one day in January 1948. Tensions were already high – a month previously, the Stern Gang, the pre-state Jewish militia, had killed six of the villagers in the coffee house in an apparent reprisal attack. Occupying a strategic position at the entrance to Jerusalem, Lifta became an important target for Jewish fighters. When the first shots were fired in the village, Mr Odeh’s father hoisted his youngest child on to his shoulders, and bade his wife and children to follow as they made for a nearby road. With several other families, they boarded a truck heading away from Jerusalem.

“We went only in the clothes that we wore because we [thought we] were coming home the next day,” says Mr Odeh. “Everything – clothes, food – remained at home.”

Like most Palestinians who fled, he could not return home. Jewish soldiers blew up the roofs of their homes to make them uninhabitable, and chased off those who did try to come back. By the end of February, the village’s nearly 3,000 inhabitants had all left.

The family initially lived in Ramallah, where Mr Odeh says he slept under a tree and queued long hours for food. His father succumbed to illness and depression and died soon after. The family later settled in Jerusalem, and, when he was old enough, Mr Odeh joined the Palestinian resistance, a step that would earn him 17 years in an Israeli jail and see his family home destroyed once again, this time in retribution.

The Palestinians describe the events that led to the creation of Israel as the Nakba, literally “catastrophe” in Arabic. By UN estimates, more than 750,000 Palestinians fled during fighting in 1947-1948, some to the West Bank, others further afield to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, where most ended up in refugee camps that still exist today.

Many dream of one day returning to their villages, and still hold the deeds to their abandoned homes. But, for now, there is little meaningful discussion at government level in Israel regarding the mass return of Palestinian refugees, which many Israelis believe would spell doom for Israel.

“Many places in Israel were abandoned,” says an official from the Israel Land Administration, pointing out that Jerusalemites are leaving the city in droves due to a shortage of housing. “If we waited for all the refugees to come back, we wouldn’t have a country.”

Some argue that Israel could nevertheless seize an historic opportunity by allowing a symbolic number of refugees to return to Lifta, a move that would create goodwill at little cost.

“If we do destroy it, this would send a very bad message on many levels to the Palestinians,” says Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot, an Israeli organisation that has meticulously recorded all the pre-1948 villages. “It sends a message that we don’t care and will continue with this plan to [keep] this country only for Jews.”

It was David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who said “the old will die, and the young will forget” in an assurance that the Palestinians would never come back. Mr Odeh, who these days takes guided tours around Lifta, is determined to ensure that will never happen, bringing his children to this spot at least once a year, urging them to remember.

“We lost everything when we were kicked off our land,” he says, adding that he simply wants Israel to acknowledge what he and others went through. “We have the right to live free in our home.”


6.  Al Jazeera,


April 28, 2011

When Montgomery comes to Nabi Saleh

As the nonviolence movement in Palestine continues to be threatened, knowledge of its existence remains minimal at best.

Mark Perry

Weekly nonviolent protests, such as those held in Nabi Saleh or Bil’in, rarely evoke interest from the international community, yet its increasing momentum is giving Israel cause for worry [EPA]

On March 24, the Israeli government arrested Bassem Tamimi, a 44-year-old resident of the small Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, which is just west of Ramallah.

Tamimi was arrested for leading a group of his neighbours in protest marches on a settlement that had “expropriated” the village’s spring – the symbolic centre of Nabi Saleh’s life.

Tamimi was brought before the Ofer military court and charged with “incitement, organising unpermitted marches, disobeying the duty to report to questioning” and “obstruction of justice” – for giving young Palestinians advice on how to act under Israeli police interrogation.

He was remanded to an Israeli military prison to await a hearing and a trial.

The detention of Tamimi is not a formality: under Israeli military decree 101 he is being charged with attempting “verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.”

As in Syria, this is an “emergency decree” disguised as protecting public security. It carries a sentence of 10 years.

A strategic choice

The arrest of Tamimi marked only the most recent escalation in Israel’s campaign to suffocate the Nabi Saleh movement: in the two months prior to his arrest, Israeli officials detained more than 18 Nabi Saleh youths; over the last two years, nearly 15 per cent of Nabi Saleh’s population has spent time in Israeli jails; half of those arrested have been under the age of 18 and the youngest of them was 11.

But what is extraordinary about the Nabi Saleh campaign is its effectiveness. The protesters are trained in non-violent tactics.

“Our strategic choice of a popular struggle – as a means to fight the occupation taking over our lands, lives, and future – is a declaration that we do not harm human lives,” Tamimi has said. “The very essence of our activity opposes killing.”

Tamimi’s arrest has not stopped the movement. On the morning of April 8, about 80 villagers marched from Nabi Saleh’s main street towards the settlement.

As they crossed into some nearby fields, they were attacked by Israeli soldiers with teargas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades.

The villagers fled, but then reorganised themselves, defiantly linking arms in front of the soldiers. Again, the Israeli army responded harshly and, by that evening, had arrested six villagers.

But these are small incidents in a continuing battle. The protests go on day after day, week after week – and have over the course of the last four years.

Nabi Saleh does not stand alone.

The non-violent protests actually began eight years ago in small communities near Israel’s security wall, then took root in the villages of Mas’ha and Budrus; the protests have now spread to towns and villages across the West Bank, encompassing mass rural movements from Hebron in the south to Nablus in the north.


The protests have involved dozens to hundreds, and on rare occasions, thousands of villagers.

But pride of place for this widespread non-violent resistance movement belongs to Bil’in, a village that (like Nabi Saleh) has seen much of its land taken over by a settlement.

The leader of the Bil’in protests is Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the head of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall. Like Tamimi, Abu Rahmah has trained his young activists in the principles of non-violence, sparking movable protests that the Israeli army has found impossible to suppress.

Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher at the Latin Patriarch School in Ramallah, began organising Bil’in’s protests in 2004, even as the violence of the Second Intifada was beginning to wane.

Every Friday after prayers, Abu Rahmah would lead a group of Bil’in residents on a protest march towards a local settlement – and every Friday his march would be intercepted by the Israeli army.

In one demonstration, an Israeli sniper used a .22 calibre rifle to disburse the protesters, killing a Palestinian boy.

Twenty-one unarmed demonstrators, among them five children, have been killed in non-violent West Bank demonstrations since the beginnings of the movement.

In the village of Nil’in in 2008, American activist Tristan Anderson was paralysed after an Israeli soldier fired a high velocity tear gas canister at his head from a distance of 15 meters.

In December of 2009, Israeli soldiers raided Abu Rahmah’s home, arrested him for incitement, and sentenced him to 12 months in prison.

At the end of his sentence, the Israeli military asked his sentence to be extended for another four months, describing Abu Rahmah as “dangerous”. The court agreed.

Abu Rahmah has become a symbol of the protests. While in prison, he smuggled letters to his supporters, including one – written this last February – that has become a kind of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” of the movement.

He wrote:

Ofer is an Israeli military base inside the Occupied Territories that serves as a prison and military court. The prison is a collection of tents enclosed by razor wire and an electrical fence, each unit containing four tents, 22 prisoners per tent. Now, in winter, wind and rain comes through the cracks in the tent and we don’t have sufficient blankets, clothes, and other basic necessities. Food is a critical issue here in Ofer, there’s not enough. We survive by buying ingredients from the prison canteen that we prepare for our tent. We have one small hot plate, and this is also our only source of warmth.

One month after penning this letter, Abu Rahmah was released, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s arrested again – and shut inside one of the half-dozen Israeli military prisons and administrative facilities that dot the West Bank.

Israeli tactics, the mass arrests, and the use of live fire have been condemned by a long list of human rights organisations. But not by the United States.

Demonising nonviolence

Just how much do the Bil’in-Nabi Saleh protests worry Israel?

One widely circulated article from the popular Israeli political daily Yediot Ahronot described Naji Tamimi, who helped his cousin Bassem organise the Nabi Saleh movement, as “a pied piper” who “fans the flames of violence” (despite the fact that not one Israeli has died as a result of the protests).

The article went further: “Even though it hasn’t been proven, it seems that sources connected to the Palestinian Authority are directing the activities and that the funds paid out to the youths is coming from donations from organisations registered abroad.”

Not proven – because it’s not true.

In fact, while Fatah and Hamas officials monitor the protests (PA officials have come to Nabi Saleh – before scuttling back to their offices in Ramallah), they have been careful not to interfere in them.

They view the protests as a credible and powerful movement that is better left alone. Hamas leaders agree.

“We wish them well. We hope they succeed. We support them. We are staying away,” a senior Hamas official says.

A group of international activists have been helping the Nabi Saleh protests.

Jonathan Pollak, a 29-year-old native of Tel Aviv, has found himself at the centre of the protests – and has written about them extensively.

“I grew up in a progressive home,” he says, “but I don’t think that anyone in my family could be described as a radical. I came to Nabi Saleh and realised I had to help. What’s happening here is just wrong.”

Joseph Dana, a New York native and journalist, works alongside Pollak. He came to Israel to find his Jewish identity. “I haven’t found it,” he says. “What I found instead was an army that arrests children.”

Silencing nonviolence

Pollak, Dana, and other international activists are working to bring attention to the Nabi Saleh movement and have escorted diplomats from Europe through the village.

A few low-level American diplomats from Jerusalem have come to Nabi Saleh, but no senior American officials have visited.

“The international community has been asking for years where the Palestinian nonviolent movement is,” Joseph Dana says from his home in Jerusalem. “Well, here it is. And the Americans are nowhere to be found.”

Pollak and Dana are being modest. While the events at Nabi Saleh and Bil’in have been largely ignored in the United States, they have sparked a simmering conflict between Palestinian villagers and Israeli settlers.

The Israeli army has taken the side of the settlers, arresting hundreds of young Palestinians (many of them minors) and using (in one case) the testimony of a 14-year-old boy to condemn the movement’s leadership.

“They kept him up all night, shouting at him,” Dana says. “He was frightened, alone. Finally, he did what they wanted. If you can imagine, Israeli soldiers subjecting a child to mental torture.”

While the world’s attention has been diverted by the events in Tahrir Square, Israeli officials have struck back against what may well be the greatest threat to their settlement project – condemning non-violent protesters as “terrorists” and standing aside while settlers have taken more and more land from unarmed and defenceless people.

Israel has poured increased funds into countering the protests, deployed more and more soldiers to stop them, and escalated the arrest of its leaders – breaking down the doors of their homes in pre-dawn raids designed to frighten and intimidate them.

Nothing has worked.

The quest for civil rights

Unfunded and unnoticed, Bassem Tamimi, his cousin Naji, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, and a handful of others have organised and trained battalions of young men and women in the art of non-violent resistance.

Bassem Tamimi’s arrest has not stopped the protests. They are growing, and spreading. The movement is now in the hands of Bassem’s wife, Nariman, who vows to fight on.

She has already spent time in an Israeli jail, but remains undeterred.

“There is no knowing what the future holds,” she says from her home in Nabi Saleh, “but our path is clear and so is our goal. We know well that it is possible to achieve it, and we will continue to fight for it. To a great extent, the question of our victory is also one that should be directed to the American people and their government – are you on the side of justice and victory, or on the side of continued oppression?”

The Arab Spring has seen revolutions come to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. In each revolution, US president Barack Obama has praised the crowds seeking democracy and freedom.

Again and again he has talked of the need to fight extremist violence. He has paid homage to the young men and women who have brought freedom to Egypt and Tunisia.

He has supported those defending themselves in the streets of Benghazi, Sanaa, and Damascus. His talisman has been non-violence, his pole star the American civil rights movement.

In Cairo, in June of 2009, Obama linked the Palestinian quest for freedom to the American civil rights movement.

“Palestinians must abandon violence,” he said. “Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed.”

He was right. So why is it that now – when finally, Montgomery has come to Nabi Saleh – he chooses to remain silent?

Mark Perry is a military and political analyst and author of eight books, including Partners In Command, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace, and most recently Talking To Terrorists.

This article first appeared in Foreign Policy.


Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

EU member states to impose arms embargo on Syria in response to brutal crackdowns


by crescentandcross


European Union member states reach preliminary agreement to impose embargo; at meeting EU ambassadors ask EU experts to prepare plans for possible travel bans and asset freezes that could be imposed on Syrian leadership.

European Union member states reached preliminary agreement to Friday to impose an arms embargo on Syria and consider other restrictive measures in response to Syria’s crackdown on protests, diplomats said.

At a meeting in Brussels, ambassadors of EU governments gave a preliminary green light to the arms embargo and a ban on equipment used for repression, which will have to be formalized in the coming days.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
Photo by: Reuters

They also asked EU experts to prepare plans for possible travel bans and asset freezes that could be imposed on the Syrian leadership.

“There was political agreement for an arms embargo,” one EU diplomat said. “They also agreed to prepare for individual sanctions.”

A spokesman for Hungary, which hold the bloc’s six-month rotating presidency, said preparations could move quickly.

“(EU governments) understood the grave situation in Syria. The presidency made it clear that as soon as we have a proposal on the table, we will start working on sanctions,” he said.

The preliminary agreement comes on the same day that the Obama administration announced that it would be imposing sanctions on Syrians involved in government crackdowns, and the United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution S-16/1, condemning the Syrian government’s violent reprisals against its citizens.

The U.S. sponsored sanctions were leveled against two relatives of President Bashar Assad, Syria’s intelligence agency and its director, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force in response to their part in crackdowns on Syrian protests.

Assad was not among those targeted for the sanctions, which will include asset freezes and bans on U.S. business dealings, but he could be named later if violence by government forces against pro-democracy protesters continues, the officials said.

Obama said in the executive order authorizing the sanctions that they were being leveled as a result of the “government of Syria’s human rights abuses, including those related to the repression of the people of Syria, manifested most recently by the use of violence and torture against, and arbitrary arrests and detentions of, peaceful protestors by police, security forces, and other entities that have engaged in human rights abuses.”

The U.S. president said that these actions pose “an unusual andextraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
One official said the White House is “not ready” to call on Assad to step down because President Barack Obama and his aides “do not want to get out in front of the Syrian people.”

The UN Human Rights Council expressed similar sentiments to the U.S. president, condemning for using deadly force against peaceful protesters and launched an investigation into killings and other alleged crimes.

Human Rights Council Resolution S-16/1 expressed “deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of people in connection with the recent and ongoing political protests in Syria, and grave concern with respect to alleged deliberate killings, arrests, and instances of torture of peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities.”

The resolution reiterated UN Chief Ban Ki-moon’s recent call for an independent and transparent investigation of the situation in Syria, calling on the Syrian government to put an end to killings and allow freedom of expression.

It noted the Syrian government’s stated intention to take steps for reform “urging the Syrian Arab Republic to take urgent and concrete measures to meet the legitimate demands of its people, including by enlarging the scope of political participation and dialogue, following through on the abolition of the High State Security Court and the lifting of measures restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms.”

The resolution fell short, however, of calling for international intervention, and reaffirmed that all UN members should refrain from breaching “the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.

The human rights body, like the U.S. president, refrained from overtly calling on Syrian President Assad to step down.

The U.S. – sponsored resolution condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters by Syrian authorities, calling on the Syrian government to allow all its people access to medical treatment and put an end to all human rights violations.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on EU member states to impose arms embargo on Syria in response to brutal crackdowns

Zio-Nazi racist regime “concerned” over Egypt’s policy on Gaza, Hamas



by crescentandcross

Cairo’s decision to open Rafah border has Jerusalem worried over new security threats

Ed note–Israel is not ‘concerned’ about this latest development at all. She plans all-out war with Egypt in order to steal the Sinai and all the land up to and including the Nile River, and in order to prepare the public mind for this a state of war must be created between Israel and Egypt, one of the many reasons that the “revolution” in Egypt was allowed to take place.

Egypt’s shifting foreign policy, including the decision to open the Egypt-Gaza border, embrace Hamas and upgrade relations with Iran, has Israel concerned that these recent moves may translate into new security threats, which may eventually undermining the peace between Jerusalem and Cairo.

“We are troubled by recent developments in Egypt,” a senior Israeli official told the Wall Street Journal. “These developments can affect Israel’s national security at a strategic level.”

The reaction emphasizes what has already been called a “widening rift” between Israel and Egypt, on the backdrop of the recent wave of popular unrest sweeping across the Arab world.

One of the first major changes to ensue was the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who worked with Israel to contain Hamas, through a blockade of the coastal strip.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi said Thursday in an interview with al-Jazeera Television that Cairo plans to open up the Rafah border crossing within 10 days. Israel, however, expressed concerns that such move will ease the flow of weapons into the Gaza Strip, while allowing fluid access to militants bent on attacking Israel.

General Sami Hafez Anan, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, said that “Israel has no right to intervene in the decision about the Rafah border – it is an Egyptian-Palestinian matter.”

The Obama administration sought on Friday to play down Egypt’s moves, with Jacob Sullivan, director of planning and policy at the State Department, saying that “there had always been movement of people and quantities of humanitarian goods across the border.”

Still, privately, both US and European officials acknowledged that Cairo’s decisions could significantly undercut Washington’s efforts to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

New Egyptian policy

Israeli analysts see the new Egyptian border policy as part of the new government’s efforts to respond to the Egyptian public’s sympathy with the Palestinians in the Gaza, as well as its desire to break Mubarak’s policy of cooperation with Israel.

This new border policy, on the heels of Egypt’s successful brokerage of the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, has Israeli concerned that Egypt will drift toward Iran’s orbit of influence.

Cairo and Iran both recently announced they were “turning a new leaf” in their diplomatic relations, after more than 30 years without high-level official contact.

Egypt’s ruling military council reaffirmed its commitment to the 1979 Israeli-Egypt peace treaty shortly after it assumed power, but soon after, the foreign ministry began adopting new policies.

Taher Nunu, a Hamas government spokesman in Gaza, said Egypt has gotten “positive signals” regarding the border opening and that “all future progress on Egypt’s part is going to serve the interests of the people of Gaza.”

It is unknown what type of border regime the Egyptians and the Palestinians have reached, but it seems to mark a big departure from a US-brokered border accord between Israel and the Palestinians reached months after the Israeli army withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005.

Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian negotiator, told the Wall Street Journal that the “border deal is still in the works,” adding that the five-year-old agreement “would not play a factor… because it is not in operation because of the Israeli intransigence and the Israeli siege.”

A senior Israeli official said Jerusalem was appealing to the international community to remind the Egyptian government to honor the peace treaty.

“In the past, despite the effort of the government of Egypt to prevent it happening, Hamas was able to build in Gaza a formidable military terrorist machine,” said the Israeli official. “If Egypt ceases trying to prevent that from happening, the threat to Israel will be much greater.”

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Zio-Nazi racist regime “concerned” over Egypt’s policy on Gaza, Hamas

U.S.: Syria’s deplorable actions warrant strong international response



by crescentandcross



White House slaps sanctions on Syria’s intelligence agency and two relatives of Assad in first concrete steps against Syria violence, in which at least 500 have been killed.

Ed note–again, the hypocrisy on the part of the US is staggering. Where is this “outrage” on the part of the US whenever Israel is engaged in one of her ritual bloodlettings of innocent civilians in Gaza or elsewhere? The US (or any other western country for that matter) lecturing anyone on oppression is like porn king Larry Flynt teaching a seminary class on the value of chastity.

The White House called Friday for Syrian President Bashar Assad to “change course now,” saying his government’s violent crackdown on its people warrants a strong international response.

“In addition to actions that we are taking, the United States believes that Syria’s deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

syria - AP - April 27 2011 A Syrian protester beats a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad with a shoe, as he attends protest against the ongoing violence in Syria, April 27, 2011.
Photo by: AP

Carney welcomed the decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn Syria for its crackdown.

Separately, ambassadors from European Union nations discussed a package of possible economic sanctions which could be imposed on Syria to protest its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The U.S on Friday slapped sanctions on Syria’s intelligence agency and two relatives of Assad in Washington’s first concrete steps in response to a bloody crackdown on protests.

Assad, Syria’s long-serving ruler, was not among those targeted under an order signed by President Barack Obama but could be named soon if violence by government forces against democracy protesters continued, a senior U.S. official said.

“The sanctions that were announced today are intended to show the Syrian government that its behavior and actions are going to be held to account,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters after a meeting with Japan’s visiting
foreign minister.

Sanctions for alleged human rights abuses were imposed against Maher al-Assad, Bashar’s brother, and Atif Najib, one of his cousins, together with Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate and its chief.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard was also targeted, accused of helping Syria’s crackdown.

The action, details of which were first reported by Reuters, marks a more assertive approach by Washington, which has been criticized by human rights groups for not doing more to curb Assad’s efforts to crush an uprising against his autocratic 11-year rule.

But another U.S. official said the White House is “not ready” to call on Assad to step down — as it has done with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi — because Obama and his aides “do not want to get out in front of the Syrian people.”

The White House said in a statement: “We call on President Assad to change course now, and heed the calls of his own people.”

The sanctions, which include asset freezes and bans on U.S. business dealings for those on the list, build on broader U.S. measures against Syria in place since 2004.

In his executive order, Obama said the Syrian government had committed “human rights abuses, including those related to the repression of the people in Syria, manifested most recently by the use of violence and torture.

A U.S. official said the new sanctions were meant to show that no member of the Syrian leadership was “immune” from being held accountable. “Bashar is very much on our radar and if this continues could be soon to follow,” the official said.

“It puts Syria’s leaders on notice that decisions to kill unarmed civilians have consequences,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry.

A Syrian rights group said at least 500 civilians had been killed since the unrest broke out in Deraa on March 18. Authorities dispute the death toll, saying 78 security forces and 70 civilians died in violence they blame on armed groups

Posted in SyriaComments Off on U.S.: Syria’s deplorable actions warrant strong international response

Long list of Zionist Child Molestor Rabbis gets no media coverage and Zionist homosexual pedophiles are undisturbed.



by crescentandcross

Know a tree by the fruit it bears. Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into The Fire.
7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.


Case of Shlomo Aviner (Rosh Yeshiva, Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, Rabbi of Beit El, Israel)
Case of Rabbi Lewis Brenner (Convicted of child molestation. The original charges included 14 counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of sodomy in the third degree, a Class E felony, in exchange for a sentence of five years’ probation.) 

Case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks (Accusations about sexual inappropriate behavior with children started surfacing in the 1980′s. Rabbi Bryks is currently a member of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. The Vaad is a Rabbinical committee that makes important decisions within an orthodox community.)

Case of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (Accused of several cases of child molestation, and sexual assault of young women)

Case Rabbi Perry Ian Cohen – Montreal and Toronto Canada (Accused of sexual abuse of a seventeen year old. Fired for sexual impropriety with congregants)

Case of Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen (Accused of sexually harassing students at Bar-Ilan University)

Case of Rabbi Ephraim Goldberg – Boca Raton, Flordia (Pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of exposure of sexual organs in a washroom at a Palm Beach Mall.)

Case of Rabbi/Cantor Sidney Goldenberg (Convicted of molesting children. The first complaints came in 1971. He was finally convicted in 1997.)

Case of Cantor Joel Gordon (Convicted of having keeping a house of prostitution and involvement in a prostitution ring.)

Case of Rabbi Israel Grunwald (Accused of molesting a 15 year old on a 1995 plane flight from Australia to LA. The charge against him were dropped after agreeing to perform 500 hours of community service and to seek counseling. Grunwald was the chief rabbi of an Hungarian Hasidic congregation in Brooklyn, known as the Pupas).

Case of The State of Israel Vs. Sex Offender (Convicted of repeated rape and forced molestation of his graddaughter.)

Case of Yehudah Friedlander – Rabbi ‘s Assistant (Accused of molesting a 15 year old on a 1995 plane flight from Australia to LA. Friedlander was the assistant to the chief rabbi of an Hungarian Hasidic congregation in Brooklyn, known as the Pupas)

Case of the Rabbi at Hillel Torah, Chicago, IL (A teacher at the Chicago school was accused of child molestation. His name was not released. The school did everything correctly in attempting to keep the children safe once accusations were made.)

Case of Rabbi Solomon Hafner (Accused of sexually abusing a developmentally disabled boy)

Case of Rabbi (Alan J.) Shneur Horowitz (Convicted and sentenced to 10 – 20 years in prison for sodomizing a nine-year-old psychiatric patient. Allegedly, he has assaulted a string of children from California to Israel to New York in the past twenty years. Alan J. Horowitz is an Orthodox rabbi, magna cum laude, M.D., Ph.D. A graduate of Duke University, and was a writer for NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association).

Case of Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement (Accused of cultic type practices and sexual offenses)

Case of Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum (Accused of child pornography on the internet)

Case of Rabbi Robert Kirschner (Accused of sexually exploited or harassing three congregants and a synagogue employee)

Case of Rabbi Ze’ev Kopolevitch (Convicted of molesting students at Rosh Yeshiva, Netiv Meir yeshiva high school)

Case of Rabbi Baruch Lanner (Convicted – child molestation.)

Case of Rabbi Jerrold Martin Levy (Convicted of two counts of soliciting sex through the Internet and two counts of child pornography. He was sentenced to six years and sex in prison. He was caught in the “Candyman” year-long sting operation by the US government.)

Case of Rabbi Pinchas Lew (Accused of exposed himself to a woman.)

Case of Rabbi/Psychologist Mordecai Magencey (lost his license to practice in the State of Missouri because of his sexual misconduct with his patients.)

Case of Rabbi Richard Marcovitz (Convicted of indecent or lewd acts with a child, and sexual battery)

Case of Rabbi Juda Mintz (Convicted – internet sting on child pornography)

Rabbi Yona Metzger (Accused of sexually misconduct with four men)

Case of Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz (Accused of two counts of sex abuse with boys at a special education school in New York)

Case of Cantor Howard Nevison (Accused of molesting his nephew)

Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair (Accused of sexual molestation of a then-14-year-old girl)

Case of Cantor Stanley Rosenfeld (Convicted of molesting a 12-year-old boy he was tutoring.)

Case of Rabbi Charles Shalman (Accused of sexual misconduct toward female congregational members)

Case of Cantor Robert Shapiro (Accused of three counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault and battery to a mentally retarded woman)

Case of Cantor Michael Segelstein (Accused of attempted rape; Chabad – Las Vegas, Nevada)

Case of Rabbi Ze’ev Sultanovitch (Accused of sexually molesting a number of adult yeshiva students at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva)

Case of Rabbi Melvin Teitelbaum (Accused of three counts of sex crimes against two boys under the age of 14, and one count of assault with intent to commit rape against one boy’s mother. The charges were dropped for lack of evidenced)

Case of Rabbi Isadore Trachtman (Accused of cultic type practices and sexual offenses)

Case of Rabbi Hirsch Travis (Rabbi in Monsey, accused of posing as a Brooklyn doctor specializing in infertility problems, and allegedly sexually abusing and assaulting a patient.)

Case of Rabbi Matis Weinberg (Accused of cultic type practices and sexual offenses)

Case of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner (Accused of molesting boy at Camp Mogen Avraham, New York)

Case of Rabbi Don Well

Case of Cantor Phillip Wittlin (Convicted of molesting two girls)

Case of Rabbi Mordechai Yomtov (Convicted of sexual abuse and committing lewd acts against three boys)

Case of Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman (Violated guidelines concerning “sexual ethics and sexual boundaries,” )

Case of Rabbi Max Zucker (Accused by three women of improperly touching)

And Other Trusted Officals (Parents, Teachers, Camp Counselors, etc.)

Case of Arie Adler and Marisa Rimland, NY (Arie Adler was accused of molesting his daughter. Marisa Rimland murdered her daughter, and then committed suicide).

Case of Simcha Adler – Ohel Counselor, NY (Plea-bargained charges of sodomy, sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child down to attempted sodomy.)

Case of Eugene Loub Aronin – School Counselor, TX (Convicted in 1984 of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy)

Case of B’Nai Torah Congegation – Hillel Community Day School janitor, Boca Raton, FL (Accused of child molestation)

Case of Chaim Ciment (Accused and charged with first-degree sexual abuse, after allegations were made that he fondled a 17 year old girl in an elevator).

Case of James A. Cohen – Jewish Youth Group Leader (Convicted child molester, sentenced to 9 years for assaulting 4 boys)

Case of Larry Cohen – Soccer Coach, Lake Oswego, OR (Accused of molesting two individuals.)

Case of Lawrence Cohen – School Teacher, NJ (Convicted and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for transmitting child pornography through his home computer).

Case of Phillip “Eli” Cohen, London, England (Accused of 13 charges of indecently assaulting a boy and four offences of indecently assaulting a girl)

Case of Stuart Cooperman, MD – Pediatrican, Merrick, New York (Accused of molesting six female patience).

Case of Delaware Family (Father accused of alleged child molestation)

Case of Mordechai (Morton) Ehrman – Simcha’s Play Group, Brooklyn, NY (Accused of molesting dozens of students).

Case of Hbrandon Lee Flagner (Convicted of the kidnapping and aggravated murder of Tiffany Jennifer Papesh a 8-year-old girl. Flagner also claimed to have molested hundreds of girls during his life. While in prison, Flagner convert to Judaism by an Chasidic rabbi.)

Case of Arnold and Jesse Friedman (Capturing the Friedmans) (Convicted sex offender)

Case of Richard “Steve” Goldberg (Allegedly engaging in sex acts with several girls under 10 in California. He is on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives list)

Case of Ross Goldstein (Convicting of sodomy in the first degree (three counts) and use of a child in a sexual performance. He was Sentenced to four concurrent indeterminated terms of 2 to 6 years imprisonment. Also see: Case of Arnold and Jesse Friedman)

Case of Several Child Sex Offenders in Har Nof 0 Jerusalem, Israel (Outlines several cases of alleged child sex offenders in the charedi town of Har Nof)

Case of David B. Harrington – School Principal / Big Brother, Rockville, MD (Convicted sex offender. Cases from the 1960′s – 1980′s.)

Case of State of Israel Vs. a Sex Offender (Convicted – 68 year old Israeli religious man pled guilty to repeated molestation of his granddaughter, was sentenced to 19 years in jail.

Case of Eric Hindin – Jewish Big Brother Volunteer, Newton, MA (Convicted of 35 counts of child rape. He was sentenced to 20-22 years in prison).

Case of Judge Ronald Kline, CA (Accused of possessing child pornography and for allegedly molesting a neighborhood boy 25 years ago).

Case of the Kosher Butcher in Chicago (Accused of molesting children for over 30 years)

Case of Lawrence Nevison – (Convicted of molesting his nephew. He is the brother of Cantor Howard Nevison)

Case of Stuart Nevison – (Convicted of molesting his cousin. He is the brother of Cantor Howard Nevison)

The Case of the Students of Ner Israel Yeshiva in the 1950′s (Students accused of sexually molesting a younger student)

Case of the New York Society for the Deaf’s Home (Accused of treating disabled patients “like animals,” beaten, drugged and robbed of their government checks).

Case of Ozzie Orbach, M.D. (Accused of molesting his daughter)

Case of the Rogers Park JCC, Chicago Illinois (This was the first case of alleged mass molestation recorded in Illinois to involve accusations of sexual abuse by a group of adults, consists of 246 allegations that staff members abused children enrolled at the center, according to the Illinois Department of children and Family Services).

Case of Jonathan Rosenthal – Community Police Liason, London, England (Acquitted of sexually assaulting a few children, after a jury used ancient common law right, deciding evidence wasn’t strong enough.)

Case of Adam Theodore Rubin – Teacher, Coach and Girl Scout Coordinator (Accused of using a computer to solicit sex with a minor, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia).

Case of Georges Schteinberg – Teacher, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Accused of possession of child pornography. Charges dropped when Schteinberg fled the country).

Case of Aryeh Scher – Israeli vice-consul, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Accused of possession of child pornography. Charges dropped when Scher fled the country).

Case of David Schwartz – Camp Counselor, Culver City, CA (Convicted and sentenced to one year in residential treatment and five years’ probation for molesting a 4-year-old boy in his care at summer camp. A six-year prison sentence was suspended).

Case of Jerrold Schwartz – Scoutmaster, NY (Convicted and sentanced to 8 years in prison for multiple counts of sodomizing his former scout ).

Case of Irwin Silverman – Chief Counsel to U.S. secretary of interior 1933-53 (Accused of molesting his daughter Sue William Silverman. )

Case of Paul Slifer – Teacher (Accused of sexually assaulting a several students, and impersonating a doctor. )

Case of Ari Sorkin – Synagogue Youth Worker, Elkins Park, PA (Accused of molesting a 16 yr. old girl)

Case of Tel Aviv Arts School, Tel Aviv, Israel

Case of Dr. Saul and Judith Wasserman (Accused of molesting their daughter)

Case of David Douglas Webber – Mashgiach (Kashrut Supervisor), Canada (Convicted and sentenced to six years for possessing child pornography and molesting seven boys over the past eight years).


  1. And lest we forget the child molester who put ADL on the map!

    I’ve done some research on this to and with the hub bub about the Catholics a couple years back.
    It is real interesting you never heard these cases all over the news. (Scratching his head) I wonder why?

  2. What a list! But the US and European zionist controlled media only reports priests. How can majority of America not see the patterns around them?. Or maybe they do but they just bear it.

  3. Gary says:

    Why don’t you make a list of Muslim Child Molester imams that gets no media coverage and how Muslim homosexual paedophiles are undisturbed? You will find that the list is a lot longer.

  4. Malachi Martin in 70s,80s, 90s indicated that catholic church was INTENTIONALLY infiltrated by homosexual men with intent to ruin it. Today we have Howard Hubbarb in albany, NY; there was weakland in milwaukee; there are suspicious things in rochester, NY and other areas of new yourk. There was Cardinal Roger Mahoney in Los angeles
    The list of abusers in muslims is also long but in Islamic country how long could a pedophile get away with his sick actions

    remember though that in catholic church-there was intentional infiltration- read on bella dodd and martin

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