Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Report: Continuation of the Gaza blockade

Amnesty International [PDF]- On June 20, 2010, following concerted international pressure, the Government of Israel announced a set of measures to ‘ease’ its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip. This included:

• Publishing a list of items not permitted into Gaza and allowing all other items to enter;

• Expanding and accelerating the inflow of construction materials for

international projects;

• Expanding operations at the crossings and opening more crossings as more processing capacity becomes necessary and security conditions allow;

• Streamlining entry/exit permits for medical and humanitarian reasons and for aid workers;

• Facilitating the movement of people in additional ways as conditions and security allow.

Many in the international community, including Quartet Representative Tony Blair, expressed hopes that this would lead to a major change and alleviate the plight of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. However, five months later, there are few signs of real improvement on the ground as the ‘ease’ has left foundations of the illegal blockade policy intact. In order to have a positive impact on the daily lives of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children, Israel must fully lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

While the Government of Israel committed to expand and accelerate the inflow of construction materials for international projects, it has so far only approved 7 per cent of the building plan for UNRWA’s projects in Gaza, and of that 7 per cent only a small fraction of the necessary construction material has been allowed to enter for projects including schools and health centres. In fact, the UN reports that Gaza requires 670,000 truckloads of construction material, while only an average of 715 of these truckloads have been received per month since the ‘easing’ was announced. Read more [PDF]

Humanitarian groups appeal for end of siege on Gaza

IMEMC- A coalition of 21 international human rights organizations called for end to 'cruel and illegal' Gaza blockade, arguing that the partial lifting agreed by Israel has made a limited impact in improving life of Gaza civilians, sources reported on Tuesday. Read more

International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

IMEMC- Monday 29th November was marked as the world Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, with the Palestinian Authority appealing to the UN to act in order to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, sources said on Monday.

A statement released by the P.A. Ministry of Information called on the UN Security Council and General Assembly to put an end to the "longest occupation in modern times" and implement its resolutions including the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The same day marked the anniversary of the passage, in 1947, of Resolution 181 by the UN General Assembly, which demanded the partition of mandatory Palestine into one Jewish state and one Arab state. The PA commented the 1947 UN partition plan as "a dangerous turning point which led to our catastrophe and loss of our land and historic heritage." Read more

US students group calls to boycott an Israeli hummus brand

IMEMC- A group of Princeton University students proposed a boycott of the Sabra hummus brand for its donations to the Israeli army.

On Monday, a referendum was organized by the Princeton Committee for Palestine to decide whether to offer alternative brands of hummus in the campus.

The group argued that the only hummus brand, Sabra, which is available, is linked to human rights violations, due to the fact that it supports members of the Israeli military, Haaretz reported.

In view of the referendum, the spokeswoman of Sabra in the U.S., Ilya Welfeld, claimed that the company only makes donations in North America and that non of them are to support political or military organisms. Read more

Israeli army fire injures 5 Palestinians

IMEMC- Five Palestinian workers were wounded, on Tuesday, in an area close to the border north of Gaza after the army opened fire at them. The incident followed a rapid succession of sniper attacks, Ma’an News reported. Read more

Israeli government documents show deliberate policy to keep Gazans at near-starvation levels

IMEMC- Documents, whose existence were denied by the Israeli government for over a year, have been released after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group, Gisha. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are "putting the people of Gaza on a diet". Read more

US activists face repression, political prisoners struggle for justice

Electronic Intifada- For decades the United States government has attempted to criminalize work in the Palestinian community in support of their national liberation cause. But in recent years this repression has increased dramatically. The Electronic Intifada spoke with the daughter of Sami al-Arian and the daughter of Ghassan Elashi -- both political prisoners in the US -- about the impact this repression has had on their families' lives. And in an Electronic Intifada exclusive, Hatem Abudayyeh, an organizer and community leader whose home in Chicago was raided by federal agents on 24 September 2010, spoke to the press for the first time about his family's story.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with al-Arian, Elashi and Abudayyeh as activists across the United States prepare for emergency demonstrations as the subpoenas for three anti-war and solidarity organizers to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago are being reactivated by the Department of Justice.

The three activists are among the 14 who received subpoenas during and soon after coordinated FBI raids on homes and offices across the Midwestern US on 24 September. The government says that the raids and subpoenas are part of an investigation into "material support" of foreign terrorist organizations but it has not arrested or charged anyone.

A grand jury, no longer in use anywhere outside the US, is an investigative tool that allows the government to compel citizens to testify even if they are not suspected of any crime.

The 14 targeted activists are involved with various peace with justice groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, Fight Back! newspaper, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera. All the activists had submitted letters to the US attorney -- the local Department of Justice prosecutor who convenes the grand jury -- stating their intent not to testify; the Department of Justice had withdrawn the original subpoenas, but the grand jury was still convened. Read more

Report: Israel’s violations in Jerusalem, 1,485 Palestinian homes demolished

IMEMC- The al-Maqdese Society for Development concluded, recently, a comprehensive report on Israeli violations in occupied East Jerusalem, and revealed that since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished, and issued orders to demolish, 1,485 Palestinian homes in the city. Read more

Israeli PM spokesperson: “Israel will continue to construct in Jerusalem”

IMEMC- “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, we will continue to build and no freeze order ever applies to the city.” These are the words of Ofir Gendelman, Arabic Affairs spokesperson of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; stated in an interview with the Ma'an News Agency.

...Israel also refuses to hold talks on main issues such as borders, refugees and natural resources. Read more

Israel hands demolition orders to Palestinian village mosque, homes

Ma'an- Israeli forces on Monday handed demolition notices to a mosque and the owners of two homes in Al-Ma'sara village south of Bethlehem, locals said.

Six military jeeps entered the village and soldiers delivered the orders and photographed the homes and the mosque, said Awad Abu Sway, who coordinates settlement issues in the Bethlehem district. Read more

Israel gives Palestinian man 10-year sentence

Ma’an- An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced a Gaza man to 10 years in prison for plotting to kidnap an Israeli soldier, Israeli sources said. Read more

Spontaneous Israeli checkpoints stop Palestinian residents

Ma’an- The area north of the At-Tayba checkpoint south of Tulkarem was declared a closed military zone on Tuesday afternoon, with a flying checkpoint erected at the edge of the zone.

Troops were seen checking identity cards of Palestinian civilians attempting to pass through the area, with at least three cards confiscated, stranding the bearers - who all worked for a garage nearby - for an unknown period of time.

Soldiers prevented members of the press from gaining access to the area, telling them it was a closed military area. Read more

Poll: Most Jews would deny Arabs say over future of Israel

Ma'an- Some two thirds of Israeli Jews believe Arab citizens should have no say on security or diplomacy issues as long as the conflict with the Palestinians lingers, a poll showed on Tuesday.

The findings, part of an annual survey conducted on the state of democracy in Israel, were presented to President Shimon Peres by the Israel Democracy Institute, a local think tank. Read more

Israeli navy prevents Palestinian fishermen from utilizing coast

Ma’an- Skies will be generally clear Tuesday as temperatures remain higher than seasonal and mild to moderate winds move southeasterly, the Palestinian Meteorological Department predicts.

The sea off Gaza's coast will be alluring for Gaza's fishermen, who are prevented from venturing too far off the coast by Israel's navy. Read more

Palestinian President fears Israeli settlements are destroying hopes of peace

Ma'an- President Mahmud Abbas warned Monday that Israel's settlement of occupied territories has become "a time bomb" that could destroy peace hopes at any moment.

And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to mark an international day for Palestinians that there was little sign of optimism by Palestinians or Israelis that a peace accord could be achieved soon. Read more

Senior UN envoy says 'prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories is new crime against humanity'

Ma'an- Israel's prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories is "a new type of crime against humanity," a senior UN envoy said Monday.

UN representative on human rights in the Palestinian territories Richard Falk urged the international community to draft a new protocol of international humanitarian law to address the situation imposed on Palestinian people by 43 years of Israeli occupation.

Falk called for "some outer time limit after which further occupation becomes a distinct violation of international law, and if not promptly corrected, constitutes a new type of crime against humanity," in a statement issued to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Read more

Analysis: American taxpayers pay $3 billion for planes that will be given to Israel... and that's just the beginning

Joe Clifford - There has been considerable media coverage of a weapons deal with Israel involving the “sale” of latest generation F-35 fighter jets to Israel. Media outlets referred to it as a “sale”, a disingenuous description at best, because the Israelis did not buy the weapons, you did, and then your government gave them to Israel. You paid almost 3 billion dollars for the planes which will now be given to Israel.

Iran accuses US and Israel of killing nuclear scientist

Ma'an- Iran on Monday accused the US and Israeli intelligence services, the CIA and Mossad, of killing a prominent scientist in the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program. Read more

New discriminatory laws and bills in Israel

Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel- New report by Adalah detailing 20 main new laws and currently-tabled bills in the Knesset that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel and threaten their rights as citizens of the state. Some of the legislation is specifically designed to preempt, circumvent or overturn Supreme Court decisions providing protection for these rights. Read more

Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian home and workshop in Jerusalem

Ma’an– Bulldozers of the Jerusalem municipal council escorted by Israeli police and border guards demolished a newly constructed home and a printing workshop Tuesday in the neighborhood of Al-Isawiya, north of the Old City. Read more

Monday, November 29, 2010

US groups collect tax-exempt gifts for aid to settlements in Occupied West Bank

NY Times- Twice a year, American evangelicals show up at a winery in this Jewish settlement in the hills of ancient Samaria to play a direct role in biblical prophecy, picking grapes and pruning vines.

Believing that Christian help for Jewish winemakers here in the occupied West Bank foretells Christ’s second coming, they are recruited by a Tennessee-based charity called HaYovel that invites volunteers “to labor side by side with the people of Israel” and “to share with them a passion for the soon coming jubilee in Yeshua, messiah.”

But during their visit in February the volunteers found themselves in the middle of the fight for land that defines daily life here. When the evangelicals headed into the vineyards, they were pelted with rocks by Palestinians who say the settlers have planted creeping grape vines on their land to claim it as their own. Two volunteers were hurt. In the ensuing scuffle, a settler guard shot a 17-year-old Palestinian shepherd in the leg.

“These people are filled with ideas that this is the Promised Land and their duty is to help the Jews,” said Izdat Said Qadoos of the neighboring Palestinian village. “It is not the Promised Land. It is our land.”

HaYovel is one of many groups in the United States using tax-exempt donations to help Jews establish permanence in the Israeli-occupied territories — effectively obstructing the creation of a Palestinian state, widely seen as a necessary condition for Middle East peace.

The result is a surprising juxtaposition: As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.

A New York Times examination of public records in the United States and Israel identified at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last decade. The money goes mostly to schools, synagogues, recreation centers and the like, legitimate expenditures under the tax law. But it has also paid for more legally questionable commodities: housing as well as guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes and vehicles to secure outposts deep in occupied areas.

In some ways, American tax law is more lenient than Israel’s. The outposts receiving tax-deductible donations — distinct from established settlements financed by Israel’s government — are illegal under Israeli law. And a decade ago, Israel ended tax breaks for contributions to groups devoted exclusively to settlement-building in the West Bank. Read more

Israeli army uses Facebook to expose draft dodgers

BBC- The Israeli army has come up with a novel way of exposing women who lie about their religious background in order to avoid military service.

It is using the social networking site Facebook to check up on them.

More than 1,000 women have been tracked down after they falsely claimed they were exempt from the draft because they were Orthodox Jews.

The site revealed information about the women's habits and social lives which showed they were lying. Read more

Israel tries to improve its international image

IMEMC- The Israeli foreign ministry has called on 10 of its embassies in Europe to begin an advocacy campaign for Israel, starting with recruiting 1,000 public members. The new policy comes in response to the boycott campaigns against Israel that are gaining support in Europe. Read more

WikiLeaks: Netanyahu said no peace with right of return

Ma'an- The Palestinians will not be a partner for peace until they drop demands for the right of return, Benjamin Netanyahu said two years before being elected premier, leaked US cables showed Monday.

Details of his remarks were catalogued in a diplomatic cable sent by the then US ambassador Richard H. Jones in April 2007 when Netanyahu was leader of the opposition, which was one of hundreds of secret documents released by WikiLeaks late Sunday.

Netanyahu told the officials that Israel would not have a partner for peace until the Palestinians dropped their demand for refugees to return to homes they either left or were forced out of in the war which accompanied Israel's creation in 1948. Read more

Memories and maps keep alive Palestinian hopes of return

The Guardian - Ian Black - Refugees remain the most intractable issue of the Middle East conflict, as two new books show.

Memories and maps feature prominently in the experience of Palestinians – a people scarred by dispossession, dispersion, occupation and profound uncertainty about their future. So amid the latest wrangling over the stalled peace talks with Israel come two sharp reminders of the depth of the conflict and how difficult it will be to resolve.

Salman Abu Sitta, a refugee from 1948, has spent years cataloguing the course and consequences of the nakbah (disaster) that Israel's "war of independence" represented for his people. Now he has published an updated version of his massive Atlas of Palestine, stuffed with tables, graphs and nearly 500 pages of maps that trace the transformation of the country starting with its conquest by the British in 1917 and the Balfour declaration's promise to create a "national home" for the Jews.

Aerial photographs taken by first world war German pilots are combined with mandate-era and Israeli maps supplemented by digitally enhanced satellite images that record old tribal boundaries, neighbourhoods and even individual buildings. Most striking are the hundreds of Arab villages that were destroyed or ploughed under fields, as well as postwar Jewish settlements and suburbs. The Abu Sitta family lands, for example, are now owned by Kibbutz Nirim, near the border with Gaza.

Abu Sitta is a leading expert on the nakbah and what is nowadays widely described as the "ethnic cleansing" it involved. There can be no mistaking where his sympathies lie and where he stands in the febrile debate about Zionist intentions. Still, large parts of his account draw on the history of the 1948 war as rewritten by revisionist Israeli scholars in recent years as archives have opened up and old myths been demolished.

He is also a passionate advocate of the "right of return", under which Palestinian refugees must be allowed to go back to their lost lands and property. Refugees are the single toughest issue of the Middle East conflict: the Oslo agreement between Israel and the PLO implied that the right would not be exercised inside pre-1967 Israel, but only in a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and so, apart from a symbolic number of family reunifications, there would be no mass "return" to west Jerusalem, Haifa, Lydda or hundreds of now non-existent villages. Read more

UN chief calls on Israel to stop settlement activity

Ma'an- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to freeze settlement activity Monday in a message to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Israel's resumption of settlement construction after the expiry of a partial freeze in late September was a "serious blow to the credibility of the political process," Ban said, adding that Israel was obliged to stop building under international law. Read more

Israeli forces fire on peaceful Palestinian march

Ma’an- Israeli forces opened fire on a peaceful protest march in the northern Gaza Strip near the Erez crossing point, demonstrators said.

The march was organized by the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The demonstrators were carrying Palestinian flags. Read more

Israeli troops arrest Palestinian boy after house searched

IMEMC- On Sunday night, Israeli troops arrested a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in the village of Sair, near Hebron, after inspecting his house.

Asad Zaydan Jaradat was taken from his house during a night raid, although it not clear the reason for the arrest. Jaradat was previously detained by the Israeli military for a week, Ma'an reported. Read more

WikiLeak documents reveal US working against Palestinian reconciliation talks

IMEMC- After some documents regarding the U.S. Palestinian relations and alleged plans prepared by Washington to foil Palestinian reconciliation attempts, the White House told the Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, that the P.A. should not overreact.

...The White House’s message revealed that some of the leaked documents will include “assumptions regarding the U.S. support to Israel over the Palestinians and the peace process.

The documents also include “Washington’s stance against reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas.

Over the last few days, the White House briefed several U.S. allies such as Britain, Canada, Australia, Turkey and Israel in order to inform them on the issue before the documents are published.

The Palestinian official said that “it is not a secret that Washington is acting against Palestinian reconciliation, and that it loves Israel and is trying to boost the power of Fatah leader, Mohammad Dahlan. Read more

Threat of another full-on Israeli invasion looms over Gaza

Al Ahram Weekly- Accumulating accusations seemingly to deflect attention from its documented war crimes in Gaza,Israel is accusing the Palestinian resistance in the Strip of using prohibited weapons, writes Saleh Al-Naami.

From Rafah, at the southernmost point in the Gaza Strip, Mohamed Al-Hassan, 39, headed to a psychiatric health centre in Gaza City on Saturday with his daughter Arwa, aged seven. She appears to be suffering severe psychological stress after she woke up last week to the sound of massive explosions as Israeli military jets shelled farming areas near her district with bombs weighing more than one ton. Arwa's family home shook with every explosion and the windows shattered, causing the child to wet herself, suffer night frights, and be unable to concentrate. These are the same symptoms she suffered for over a year after the end of the war on Gaza, when her district was also targeted by Israeli bombers.

Israel Government Tourist Office to exclude Bethlehem from Holy Land tours

Middle East Monitor- A new economic squeeze by Israel Government Tourist Office to exclude Palestine from Holy Land pilgrim tours has begun, aided by full page colour adverts in Church newspapers like the Anglican Church Times* and Roman Catholic The Tablet*, which appear to have been taken in. Seven UK and one Irish tour companies** are linked on a new website to sell IGTO tours for 4, 7, or 10 days. None of the tour itineraries includes Bethlehem, Hebron or Jericho or mention Palestinians. But parts of illegally annexed East Jerusalem feature, including the controversial 'King David's City' controlled by the Elad settlers, as well as Galilee, Tel Aviv and holiday resort Eilat. We do not yet know if Christian Churches condemn this initiative, as Jewish human rights organizations have done. Read more

Russell Tribunal on Palestine concludes with statement against 'corporate complicity in Israeli violations'

Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Public Statement of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine following the conclusion of the London Session on corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law. The RTP London Session took place at the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL on 20-21 November 2010.

Over the past two days, the Tribunal heard compelling evidence of corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law, relating to: the supply of arms; the construction and maintenance of the illegal separation Wall; and in establishing, maintaining and providing services, especially financial, to illegal settlements, all of which have occurred in the context of an illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

It is clear from the evidence of witnesses that this conduct is not only morally reprehensible, but also exposes those corporations to legal liability for very serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. What distinguishes the present situation from others in which international action has been called for, is that in this case both Israel and the corporations that are complicit in Israel’s unlawful actions are in clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The first session of the Tribunal, held in Barcelona in March 2010, found the EU and EU member states complicit in Israeli violations of international law, including: the illegal construction of the Wall in Palestinian territory; systematic building of illegal exclusively Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory; the illegal blockade on Gaza; and numerous illegal military operations against Palestinian civilians, particularly during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (Dec 2008-Jan 2009), which constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.

Israel, US tense as WikiLeaks set to release classified bilateral communiques

Haaretz- WikiLeaks material includes diplomatic cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world, a senior Israeli official says.

The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has informed the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem that the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks was planning on releasing hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic cables, some of which might deal with Israel-America relations.

The Americans said they wanted to let the Israeli government know so it would not be surprised and would be prepared for publicity that might cause diplomatic embarrassment.

...The American message said that if cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv were released, it could be embarrassing because they relate to relations between Israel and the United States, which are usually kept confidential, or because they involve internal correspondence between American diplomats that do not always reflect the official position of the U.S. administration. Read more

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Israeli police: Officers who shot tear gas canister into U.S. activist's eye did no wrong

Haaretz - The Judea and Samaria district police found no criminal wrongdoing in the actions of the Border Police soldiers who left an American art student without an eye after getting hit in the face with a tear gas canister at a protest in Qalandiyah six months ago.

The incident took place on May 31, when Emily Henochowicz, a student at Cooper Union College in New York, took part in a small protest against the Israel Defense Forces raid on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza that morning.

… Attorney Michael Sfard, representing the Henochowicz family, slammed the police investigation…. He said the investigation was negligent, pointing out that investigators did not bother to speak to Haaretz reporter Avi Issacharoff and photographer Daniel Bar-On, who were present at the scene and captured the incident in print and photos.

… “Anyone who finds no need to question objective witnesses, who have stated the Border Police officer took direct aim, is obstructing the investigation and is as good as confessing to having no interest in finding the truth." Read more

Palestinian prisoners of Israel begin hunger strike to protest solitary confinement

IMEMC - The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights reported that Sheikh Jamal Abu Al Haija, 52, from the Jenin refugee camp, and detainee Ahed Abu Ghalama, 42, from Beit Forik near Hebron, started an open-ended hunger strike three days ago demanding to be removed from solitary and to be allowed visitations.

Fuad Al Khuffash, head of the Center, stated Saturday that the two detainees are demanding the prison administration to end its illegal practices against them.

Al Khuffash added that Abu Al Haija was placed in solitary confinement six years ago despite the fact they he suffers several health issues.

The prison administration has been moving him from one facility to another since last year, and continues to prevent his sixteen-year-old daughter, Sajida, from visiting him.

Also, detainee Ahed Abu Ghalama is receiving a renewed solidarity confinement order every six months, and is denied his visitation rights.

His wife, Wafa’, stated that [he] insists to remain on hunger strike until he receives his legitimate rights, guaranteed by the International law. Read more

Israeli forces chase Palestinian vehicle; 17 wounded

IMEMC - Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem reported Saturday evening that 17 Palestinian workers were wounded near Beitar Illit Jewish settlement after their vehicle flipped over as the army was chasing it.

The 17 Palestinians were in a “Ford Transit” vehicle transporting them to Israel when the army noticed them and chased the vehicle. The Palestinians were heading to Israel seeking work but apparently had no entry or work permits.

At least nine Palestinian ambulances rushed to the accident scene to rescue the wounded, and moved to local hospitals for treatment. Read more

Palestinian: Israeli soldiers confiscated my shirt

Ma'an - A 26-year-old Palestinian from Nablus said Israeli soldiers ordered him to remove his shirt and then confiscated it on Sunday.

Nader Rezeq Dweikat said he was walking near his home in Beta village to get fuel for his tractor when three soldiers in a military jeep stopped him.

"Initially I thought they wanted to check my identity card, but they said 'We do not want your ID card, just take off your shirt.' I thought I misunderstood, but they repeated their order, 'Take off your shirt,' and I did so under force, they seized my shirt and immediately left the area, they didn't ask me about anything else," he said. Read more

Israeli forces shoot four Palestinian workers

Ma’an - Israeli forces shot and injured four Palestinian workers who were collecting stone aggregates Sunday near the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Read more

Israel: Gaza rocket report false alarm

Ma’an - The Israeli army said its report of a rocket being fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Sunday appeared to have been a false alarm. Read more

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Britain to curtail its international human rights laws to protect Israeli officials

IMEMC - The Jewish Chronicle reported that the United Kingdom will be taking measures meant to prevent British courts from issuing arrest warrants against Israeli military and political leaders accused of committing war crimes.

The Chronicle stated that starting next week, the British Interior Ministry will issue a new legislation to “reform the legal international jurisdiction” as part of reforms targeting the jurisdiction of British Police.

... In December of last year, former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, had to cancel a trip to London fearing that she would be arrested due to a lawsuit against her for war crimes against the Palestinians during the war on Gaza.

Earlier this month, Israeli Intelligence Chief, Dan Meridor, was also obliged to cancel a trip to London for the same reason. Read more

Israeli forces beat Palestinian woman prisoner for refusing strip search

Ma'an - The PA Ministry of Prisoners Affairs released a report Saturday alleging that a Palestinian woman in Israeli custody was brutally beaten in the Ramle prison after she refused to submit to a strip search.

Twenty-two-year-old Sumoud Hasan Karaja, from the central West Bank village of Saffa, was transferred from Israel's Damon prison to the Ramle facility on 8 November, lawyers for the ministry reported after visiting the woman.

At Ramle prison, the report said, a group of male and female wardens wanted to strip-search her but she refused.

When she struggled, a male warden grabbed her head covering and her neck, pushing her into the ground. She said one warden spat in her face, then the male pulled her up forcibly by the handcuffs on her wrists behind her back. Read more

Israeli forces shoot 12-year-old Palestinian

Ma'an - A Palestinian boy was shot and injured by Israeli forces in Beit Lahiya Saturday morning, after soldiers opened fire on the boy, who was with a group of men collecting stone aggregates along the Gaza-Israel border.

Medics said the unidentified 12-year-old was shot in the foot and evacuated to the Kamal Udwan Hospital where he was treated for the moderate injury.

... Figures provided by Geneva-based rights group Defence for Children International show that in the six months between March and October this year, 14 teenage gravel-pickers were wounded by Israeli fire -- with those injured being shot in an area ranging from 50 to 800 metres from the border. Read more

Arab League denounces Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes

Ma'an - The Arab League on Saturday denounced Israel's recent escalation in demolitions of Palestinians homes across the West Bank.

In a statement, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League for Palestine Mohammad Subeih said Israel's attacks on Palestinians exceeded the racism of the apartheid regime of South Africa, and called on human rights organizations to intervene.

Subeih said Israel's policy of demolishing homes in the West Bank -- under the pretext that they are in Area 'C', lack permits, or are near the separation wall -- aimed only to expel Palestinians.

The recent demolitions in Jerusalem, Salfit, Hebron and the Jordan Valley violated international law and conventions which prohibit an occupying power from arbitrarily attacking a civilian population, he said. Read more

Israel mulls rail link to settlement in Occupied Territories

Yahoo - Israel is considering building a rail link to the sprawling Jewish settlement of Ariel, which lies deep inside the occupied West Bank, a transport ministry spokesman told AFP on Friday.

... The proposed rail line would link the town of Rosh Ha Ayin, east of Tel Aviv, with Ariel and also serve Barkan, another settlement.

... Although Ariel lies 17 kilometres (11 miles) from the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank, and cuts a deep indentation into the territory, successive Israeli prime ministers have insisted on keeping the settlement in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

... Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now reported earlier this month that a private developer was poised to begin work on 800 new homes in Ariel, despite US pressure for a freeze on new settlement construction to rescue moribund peace talks with the Palestinians.

The Palestinians see the settlements as a major threat to the establishment of a viable state, and they view the freezing of settlement activity as a crucial test of Israel's intentions. Read more

Palestinian negotiator asks UN to stop Israel imposing 'facts on the ground'

Ma'an - Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat met with UN and European officials in Jericho on Saturday and asked them to intervene to stop Israel imposing "facts on the ground" in the occupied Palestinian territories.

... The chief negotiator urged all the officials to intervene urgently to stop Israel implementing policies which he said would end the peace process.

Erekat referred particularly to a rail line which the Israeli government is considering building to link the illegal settlement Ariel with Tel Aviv. He also referred to a bill drafted by a knesset member to declare Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish people.

These projects aimed to enforce the occupation and impose facts on the ground which would signal the end of the peace process, he said.

... The US has reportedly offered Israel military and political incentives in exchange for a one-off 90-day ban on settlement construction in an attempt to revive negotiations. But settlements in East Jerusalem would be exempt from the freeze. Read more

Israeli forces fire on Palestinian fisherman

Ma'an - A Palestinian fisherman on the shore of the northern Gaza Strip was shot in the foot on Saturday, medics said, the second casualty of the day by Israeli fire.

Spokesperson of Gaza’s medical services Adham Abu Silmiyya said a 19-year-old man was injured in his left foot and was evacuated to Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabalia. Read more

Friday, November 26, 2010

Opinion: Rabbi who preached 'Gentiles exist only to serve Jews' is Israel's top politician

YNET - Op-ed: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has seen it all and is more influential than any minister. ... [He] holds greater decision-making power than any minister elected by the public; at times, he is even more influential than the prime minister.

...For 26 years now, somehow, after all the discussions and negotiations and cabinet votes and trips to America and press commentary, it always ends up boiling down to the rabbi’s decision... Read more

[In his Oct. 18 sermon, Rabbi Yosef stated that Gentiles exist only to serve Jews.]

Israel contributed to Hariri Tribunal author

IMEMC – Israel's Foreign Minister said Israel has contributed to U.S. backed tribunal probing the murder of ex-Lebanese Premier, Rafic Hariri, sources reported on Friday.
....Hariri was killed, along with more than 20 other people, in a huge car bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005. Following the incident, the U.S. sponsored Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established by the U.N. and the Lebanese government, in May 2007, to investigate the murder. The court is due to release its findings by the end of 2010.
...In a televised speech in August, Nasrallah disclosed evidence proving that Israel had been behind the assassination in the form of footage taken by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and recorded confessions by Israeli fifth columnists. Read more

Israeli forces abduct 4 Palestinians from their homes in night raid on West Bank village

IMEMC – Four Palestinians, including two prominent activists, were arrested in a late night raid, on Thursday, on the town of Beit Ummar...

Israeli forces from the Gush Etzion military base came, at 2.00 am on Thursday, to the homes of brothers Yousef and Mousa Abu Maria, both National Committee members and co-founders of the PSP, in Beit Ummar, southern West Bank.

Mousa, whose infant girl and wife are both Israeli citizens, was forced outside while soldiers searched his home. Three computers belonging to the organization were confiscated. Yousef, father of 10 year-old Reem, 4 year-old Obay, and 1 month-old Della’, was also taken from his home in the early hours of the morning.

...."Both were held outside in freezing temperatures in Gush Etzion military base for over 5 hours; neither were allowed to put on proper shoes or clothing and repeated requests to be put inside were denied,"

...Saddam Abu Dayyeh, aged 25, Muayad Mahmoud at-Tit, 20, from north of Beit Ummar, were detained.

The arrests come after months of protracted harassment on the committee of Beit Ummar, including a prior late-night home invasion last month. Both brothers are accused of organizing the weekly demonstrations against the illegal settlements in the area as well as of “bringing internationals” to Beit Ommar... Read more

PCHR: Israeli forces kill 2, would 18 during last two weeks

IMEMC – According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights' Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the period from 11 – 24 November 2010, a Palestinian resistance fighter and his brother were extra-judicially executed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. 4 Palestinian civilians, including two children and a woman, and a resistance resistance fighter were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 9 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded. Israeli forces continued to fire at Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip. 4 Palestinian workers were wounded. Israeli forces conducted 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and two limited ones into the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces abducted 29 Palestinian civilians, including a child... Read more

Israel demolishes Palestinian home, rendering 25 homeless

Ma’an – The extended family of Iyad and Muhammad Musleh Al-Amour, 25 men, women and children in total, had their 250 square meter home demolished by Israeli Civil Administration forces early on Thursday.

The home, in the Ad-Derat area east of Yatta in the southern West Bank, was razed using heavy machinery and in the presence of personnel from 15 military jeeps. Officials on the scene said the home had no permit.

...Local officials said there were 30 other homes with outstanding demolition orders on them, all adjacent to the Karmeil settlement, reportedly due for an expansion. Read more

Israeli forces detain five demonstrators - a 14-year-old and 4 internationals - at nonviolent rally near Bethlehem

Ma'an – Israeli forces detained five demonstrators at a weekly anti-wall rally in Al-Ma'sara village in Bethlehem on Friday.

...four international activists were detained as well as 15-year-old resident Mu’tasem Sa’dy.

The protest began at Az-Zawahreh school and demonstrators marched towards the village entrance, where Israeli forces were waiting. Soldiers fired tear gas and sound grenades at the rally.

...Israel’s separation wall annexes thousands of dunums of agricultural land from Al-Ma’sara and its surrounding villages for the illegal Gush Etzion settlement.

Meanwhile, international, Israeli, and Palestinian activists in Bil’in, Nil’in, and An-Nabi Salih, near Ramallah, were met with tear-gas canisters as they marched toward the separation wall to protest the confiscation of land. Read more

Israeli forces invade West Bank city of Nablus again

Ma'an – Following an official hand over of military control to Palestinian Authority Security forces one week earlier, Israeli military vehicles were reported moving near the former government compound toward Joseph's Tomb... Read more

Thursday, November 25, 2010

DCI-Palestine: Israel arrests 21 Palestinian children in neighborhood since October

DCI-Palestine- Since 8 October 2010, DCI-Palestine has investigated at least 21 cases of children who have been arrested from the Silwan neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Voices from the Occupation [PDF]– 12-year-old boy arrested in Silwan on 25 October 2010

Voices from the Occupation [PDF]– 10-year-old boy arrested in Silwan on 18 October 2010

Residents report heightened tensions in the neighborhood due to Jerusalem Municipality’s plans to demolish houses and the presence of around 380 settlers in the area. Please note that the table below is not an exhaustive list of the number of children who have been arrested.

Next US Flotilla to be named "The Audacity of Hope"

US to Gaza Campaign- During this season, as many of us are making plans for the coming holidays, a time when we are grateful for family and friends and encouraged to think of others, we want to extend our deepest thanks to you for your generous participation in this campaign, U.S. TO GAZA. We briefly want to look back so that we may remember how, together, we began to organize to send a U.S. BOAT TO GAZA.

On May 27th of this year, only days before the fatal attack on Freedom Flotilla I by the Israeli military, Retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright, a passenger on one of the boats, wrote in Common Dreams:

"Many of us would like to see our boat renamed The Audacity of Hope as that is what we want to see from the Obama administration-- courage to challenge the Israeli government on the siege of Gaza. It would be a really brave, bold move...

100-year-old Palestinian refugee gets new home in time for Eid holiday

Electronic Intifada- The four-member Abu Daher family lived their happiest day yet since Israeli army bulldozers crushed their cement home almost two years ago during Israel's massive assault on the Gaza Strip.

"This is a remarkable day for me, my elderly mother, my handicapped brother and my sister," Suhaila Abu Daher said, sitting for the first time ever in a newly-built 60 square meter home near the Izbet Abed Rabbo neighborhood of Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. The new house is just a short distance from the tent the family had lived in since the Israeli attack made them and thousands of other Gaza families homeless. Read more

Palestinian child wounded after Israeli soldiers pushed her mother while carrying her

IMEMC- The Research and Documentation Unit at the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights reported that a 4-year-old child was wounded two weeks ago after Israeli soldiers pushed her mother while carrying her on her way to a Jerusalem hospital.

...Randa Taha, a bearer of West Bank identity card, was trying to take her daughter, Amna, to the Hadassah Israeli hospital in Jerusalem to change her feeding tube but was stopped at the Shu’fat roadblock as the soldiers refused to allow her through.

Randa showed the soldiers official documents stating that she was heading to the hospital and that despite the fact that her child suffers development issues, the soldiers told her that she cannot cross through the roadblock. Read more

Israel police 'abusing minors'

Press TV- In a letter to the Israeli premier, a group of Israeli experts has criticized the police for detaining and physically abusing Palestinian minors.

The caution-laden letter, addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cited instances of "flagrant violations" of the law by the forces in their treating the minors, AFP reported on Thursday.

The children were faced with "threats and humiliation at the hand of the investigators ... which sometimes involved substantial physical violence," they wrote.

"Over the last few months, there has been a growing number of testimonies of minors and their families which point to flagrant violations of the rights of detained minors," the letter said. Read more

Israel pulls down Palestinian mosque

Al Jazeera- Palestinians say troops have demolished mosques and several other structures in two areas in the occupied territory.

Israeli troops have demolished a mosque and more than 10 other structures in two areas in the ooccupied West Bank, Palestinian sources have said.

Most of the demolition activity took place in the village of Khirbet Yarza in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday where local residents said troops had razed a very old mosque and its much-larger extension, which was built last year.

They also said troops had levelled "more than 10 buildings used for sheep". Read more

Turkey vows reaction to Israel threat

Press TV- Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is prepared to react to any potential Israeli offensive against Lebanon.

Erdogan described Israel as full of "uncertainties" and said, "It is not definite what it will do." He further warned of the prospects of such hostilities, Turkey's state Anatolia news agency (AA) reported on Thursday.

"Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?" AFP quoted him as saying in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Read more

Obama administration needs revolutionary approach to Middle East peace process

Al Jazeera- Mark LeVine - Without adopting a new approach, the Obama administration will fail in its quest to bring peace to Palestine/Israel.

It might seem strange to imagine a non-territorially grounded resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but there is in fact nothing to say that such a political-territorial arrangement is the only viable model for Israeli and Palestinian identities to take, or even the best one.

Indeed, various alternative forms of identity have been imagined by members o the two communities for almost a century, most of them focusing on shared sovereignty-either a binational or single-state solution.

The problem with such alternative solutions is that while most Palestinians would welcome them, hardly any Israelis would agree to them as long as they were offered in the context of a territorially grounded notion of sovereignty. The reason is clear: such an arrangement would very quickly mean the end of a Jewish state, with Jews living as a minority in a country they previously controlled.

...What is needed more than outside-the-box thinking is outside-the-box leadership. And while Israelis and Palestinians could desperately use a new and courageous generation of leaders, the need is nowhere greater than on the part of an Obama Administration which has until now exhibited a tragic predilection for embracing the status quo while calling it change.

If the President is willing to take the risk of reaching out for creative solutions to this interminable conflict, there is a chance he will help enable the kind of change Israelis and Palestinians can actually believe in. If not, he'll continue to get poned by Netanyahu and his American allies, and we will all be the losers for it. Read more

"War Criminals" leak strikes at heart of Israeli society

Paul Larudee- When unknown elements in Israel leaked the name, rank, identification number and other information about two hundred Israeli military personnel who reportedly participated in the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, the effect was sudden and profound, according to sources in Israel.

Although the first site on which it appeared was taken down by the host, it has continued to circulate via email, and has appeared on at least one other site, The Israeli military and other Israeli agencies are reportedly doing all they can to shut down every site on which it appears, and to prevent it from "going viral." At least one popular blog that links to the site has received a record number of death threats.

What is so special about the list? As several critics have pointed out, it doesn't even state the crimes that the listed individuals are alleged to have committed.

The root of the problem, according to the sources in Israel, is a poorly kept secret - namely, that it is hard to serve in the Israeli military without committing war crimes, because such crimes are a matter of policy. What Israeli soldier has not ordered a Palestinian civilian to open the door to a building that might house armed militants or be booby-trapped? Who has not denied access to ambulances or otherwise prevented a Palestinian from getting to medical care, education, or employment?

Armed members of Jewish Defense League forced way into Paris museum

The BDS France Campaign- On Sunday November 21, 2010, more than 30 members of the Jewish Defense League forced their way into the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris, which was showing an exhibition of photographs from Gaza taken by Kai Wiedenhöfer. Armed, wearing helmets and hoods in some cases, group members tried to reach the basement exhibition room in order to vandalize the photographer's work, but were prevented from doing so by the museum security staff.

Self-proclaimed "terror expert" Emerson funnels tax-exempt donations into for-profit company

Forward – Steven Emerson has made his reputation by scrutinizing American Muslim organizations and individuals, trying to uncover their possible ties to terror groups. But lately he is being scrutinized himself, by a Nashville, Tenn., daily newspaper digging into the finances of his operation.

...Emerson, it turns out, succeeds in veiling his foundation’s data by channeling the tax-deductible funds he raises into a for-profit company that he controls.

...The Tennessean, Nashville’s sole daily newspaper, and led to the paper’s October 24 investigative report on Emerson’s tax status.

“Emerson is a leading member of a multi-million-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances,” the report claimed.

In its wide-ranging article, The Tennessean reported that while the IPTF is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charity, it in fact distributes almost all of its contributions to SAE Productions, a for-profit company that Emerson founded in 1994 and continues to control, as he does the IPTF.

Citing publicly available tax filings, the paper reported that Emerson’s foundation paid $3,390,000 to SAE in 2008 — the foundation’s only significant expenditure. It was the Emerson-controlled for-profit firm that then made all expenditures on the foundation’s behalf. Read more 

* * * 

Related article - John Sugg: ...In tandem with his vassal reporter at the Tampa Trib, Michael Fechter, Emerson waged a decade-long jihad against a professor at the University of South Florida, Sami Al-Arian, accused by Emerson and Fechter of being a terrorist mastermind. Emerson and Fechter were backed by a shadowy network of former federal agents and foreign spooks, notably a disinformation specialist for Israel’s ultra-right Likud party named Yigal Carmon and a controversial ex-FBI official named Oliver “Buck” Revell – and a lot of money whose origins have never been revealed.... Read more

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom Hurndall's parents will participate Friday in an online discussion of upcoming book of Tom's journals

Trolley – Trolley Books is launching a crowdfunding campaign for their upcoming book ‘The Only House Left Standing – the Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall.’

Tom Hurndall, a young British photojournalist and peace worker, was shot in the head in Gaza in April 2003 whilst carrying Palestinian children to safety. He died nine months later in a London hospital. The book will contain Tom’s photographs in the weeks running up to his shooting, as well as his personal writing from his diaries and poems, and contains a preface by Robert Fisk.

The eight week campaign will launch on Friday 26th November, the day before Tom’s birthday, with a panel talk commencing at 16.00 GMT. The panel includes Tom's parents and others...

This will be filmed and streamed live online to launch the fundraising campaign.... People are invited to watch the online panel talk live, on your computer, ipad or iphone, simply by registering with your email in advance. Trolley will then send registrants information on how to join them online live for the talk. Read more

Poster of Tom Hurndall

One hundred famous Norwegians call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel

European Jewish Press- One hundred famous Norwegians, led by the country’s national football coach, have signed a petition demanding a cultural and academic boycott of Israel, accusing its educational institutions of “playing a key role in the occupation” and equating it with apartheid.

A Norwegian ex-premier denounced their boycott call.

Egil Drillo Olsen, coach for the national Norwegian football team, recently wrote in Aftenposten, the country’s second largest paper, that the call to boycott Israel was "in line with what 90 percent of the world’s population believes. There cannot be many other opinions."

The petition is the last item in a string of similar and high-profile initiatives to have taken place in Norway over the past two years. It was signed by coach Olsen and 99 other public figures from the arts and culture, who stated that a boycott is "necessary" not only to help Palestinians, but also to "support Israelis opposing the occupation." Read more

Analysis: US Intelligence on war with Israel's 'nemeses'

Common Dreams- Ray McGovern - ...The bad news is that Adm. Fallon was sacked for making it explicitly clear that, "We're not going to do Iran on my watch," and there are few flag officers with Fallon's guts and honesty. Moreover, President Barack Obama continues to show himself to be an invertebrate vis-à-vis Israel and its neocon disciples.

...It was Clapper whom former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put in charge of imagery analysis to ensure that no one would cast serious doubt on all those neocon and Iraqi "defector" reports of WMD in Iraq.

And, when no WMD caches were found, it was Clapper who blithely suggested, without a shred of good evidence, that Saddam Hussein had sent them to Syria. This was a theory also being pushed by neocons both to deflect criticism of their false assurances about WMD in Iraq and to open a new military front against another Israeli nemesis, Syria. Read more

Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security chief who released Israelis who filmed the 9-11 attack and who promotes full-body scanners, represensts the primary company that sells them

Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security, has close Israeli ties and may have Israeli citizenship. Chertoff was in charge of Homeland Security when the five Israelis who had filmed the 9-11 action and were seen celebrating were released. Investigative reporter Christopher Ketcham reports in CounterPunch :
Following what ABC News reported were "high-level negotiations between Israeli and U.S. government officials", a settlement was reached in the case of the five Urban Moving Systems suspects. Intense political pressure apparently had been brought to bear. The reputable Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that by the last week of October 2001, some six weeks after the men had been detained, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and two unidentified "prominent New York congressmen" were lobbying heavily for their release. According to a source at ABC News close to the 20/20 report, high-profile criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz also stepped in as a negotiator on behalf of the men to smooth out differences with the U.S. government. (Dershowitz declined to comment for this article.) And so, at the end of November 2001, for reasons that only noted they had been working in the country illegally as movers, in violation of their visas, the men were flown home to Israel. (pdf version)
Journalist Michael Scott reports:
...One of the primary advocates for the use of body scanners or the more politically correct 'advanced imaging technology' (AIT), is former DHS head Michael Chertoff. Secretary Chertoff's advocacy of body scanners dates back to at least 2005. After leaving DHS, Chertoff founded the Chertoff Group, a consultancy firm whose corporate logo is an iron spiked closing portcullis.
The Chertoff Group represents the primary manufacturer of body scanners, Rapiscan, which is set to make billions of dollars off the sale and maintenance of the body scanners. In the days after the attempted underwear bombing, Chertoff made the rounds on the cable news talk shows where he stressed the necessity of deploying body scanners. Of course Chertoff failed to disclose the fact that his company represented Rapiscan. Chertoff is not alone in having conflicting interests: a competing manufacturer of body scan systems, American Science and Technology, has retained the services of two former TSA administrators who are now acting as lobbyists. Read more

Report: a divide in the US Jewish community

Haaretz - Bradley Burston- It's in the direct interest of pro-settlement forces in the U.S. Jewish community to have an Israeli government which alienates as many young, energetic, moderate U.S. Jews as possible.

... the fault lines dividing Jew from Jew extend directly from the Green Line, the pre-1967 war border that divided Israel from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. For the purpose of this discussion, let's give these pieces a name. On one side are the Jews of the Wall. On the other, the Jews of the Gate.

The Jews of the Wall are that minority of Israeli and American Jews who sincerely and unshakably believe in permanent settlement in all of the West Bank. Over time, they have become the vanguard both of Orthodox Judaism and the secular neo-conservative Jewish right, whose power and influence, much of it monetary, has American Jewish institutions terrified of their own shadows.

The Jews of the Gate, meanwhile, comprise the majority of Jews in both America and Israel. They want to see a future partition of the Holy Land into two independent states, a democratic and internationally recognized state of Israel next to a sovereign and independent state of Palestine.

...What I've seen in the past few weeks are unprecedented clashes between the two groups, a new desperation on the part of activists and string-pullers of the Jews of the Wall, and the nascent strength of the Jews of the Gate.

In New Orleans, when members of the Young Leadership Institute of Jewish Voice for Peace heckled Netanyahu and held up signs reading that occupation, loyalty oaths and settlements were delegitimizing Israel, they were manhandled, placed in headlocks, and their signs literally chewed to pieces.

A few days later in the Bay Area, an Israeli flag-draped member of a rightist advocacy group, San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs, disrupting a Jewish Voice of Peace meeting, pepper-sprayed two JVP members in the face and eyes.

The attack followed the May vandalism of the Berkeley home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, whose Tikkun Magazine had awarded its annual human rights prize to Judge Richard Goldstone. Among the vandals' messages was one reading "Leftists and Islamofascists are Terrorists." Read more

Volunteers of the Harvesting Peace Project report hostile encounters with Jewish settlers and checkpoint guards

Mondoweiss- A Palestinian family living in Bethlehem but originally from the village of Jeb al Theeb contacted our group of volunteers asking for help in harvesting olives on their land adjacent to the settlement of Nokdim, home to Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman. For the past ten years they have been forbidden to access or cultivate the land.

...We were told to wait while they contacted the military, and in the meantime they began with the usual explanations: "This is our land. It is a closed military zone and you are not allowed access." One settler on a motorbike exiting the settlement stopped to speak to us and was so infuriated at our presence that his upper lip began to tremble. He said something to the guard in Hebrew and then told us, "I just asked him if I can shoot you." Read more

Iraq's Christians co-existed alongside their Muslim neighbors for centuries

Al-Ahram - Ramzy Baroud – On Sunday, 31 October, when a group of militants seized a church in Baghdad, killing and wounding scores of Iraqi Christians, it signalled yet another episode of unimaginable horror in the country since the US invasion of March 2003. Every group of Iraqis has faced terrible devastation as a result of this war, the magnitude of which is only now beginning to be discovered.

True, the situation in Iraq was difficult prior to the war. Having visited the country in 1999, I can testify to this. But the hardship suffered by many Iraqis, especially political dissidents, was in some way characteristic of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Iraq could, at that time, be easily contrasted with other countries living under similar hardships. But what has happened since the war can barely be compared to any other country or any other wars since World War II. Even putting aside the devastating death toll, the sheer scale of internal displacement and forced emigration is terrifying. This is a nation that had more or less maintained a consistent level of demographic cohesion for many generations. It was this cohesion that made Iraq what it was.

Iraqi Christian communities had co-existed alongside their Muslim neighbours for hundreds of years. The churches of the two main Christian groups, the Assyrians and Chaldeans date from 33 AD.

First-hand report: How news agencies consistently cover-up the news on Israel-Palestine

The Link - Jonathan Cook – ...The Guardian has earned an international reputation—including in Israel—as the Western newspaper most critical of Israel’s actions. That may be true, but I quickly found that there were still very clear, and highly unusual, limitations on what could be written about Israel.

Particularly problematic for the Guardian—as with other news media —was anything that questioned Israel’s claim to being a democracy or highlighted the contradictions between that claim and Israel’s Jewish self-definition. The Guardian’s most famous editor, C P Scott, was a high-profile lobbyist for Jewish rights in what was then Palestine. He was also instrumental in bringing about the Balfour Declaration—the British government’s commitment to the Zionist movement in 1917 to create a “national home” in Palestine for Jews.

Thus, I was not entirely surprised that an account I submitted based on my investigations of an apparent shoot-to-kill policy by the Israeli police against its own Palestinian citizens at the start of the second intifada was sat on for months by the paper. After I made repeated queries, the features editor informed me that he could not run it because it was no longer “fresh.”

Another report about the suspected use by Israel of an experimental type of tear gas against schoolchildren near Bethlehem—and earlier in Gaza— was rejected. Eyewitness testimony I had collected from respected French doctors working in local hospitals who believed the gas was causing the children nerve damage—a suspicion shared by a leading international human rights organization—was dismissed as “inadequate.” The foreign editor told me he was concerned that no other journalists had reported the story—leading me to wonder for the first time in my career whether newspapers were actually interested in exclusives.

I also remember arguing with the foreign desk about another story I offered on a new section of the wall Israel was starting to build in Jerusalem, on the sensitive site of the Mount of Olives, in time for Easter 2004. It would block a famous procession that had been held for hundreds of years by Christian pilgrims every Palm Sunday, following the route Jesus took on a donkey from the Biblical town of Bethany into Jerusalem. I was flabbergasted when an editor told me it was of no interest. “Readers are tired of stories about the wall,” she said, apparently ignoring the fact that the story also raised troubling concerns about the protection of religious freedoms and Christian tradition in the Holy Land.

The most disturbing moment professionally, however, followed my investigation into the death of a United Nations worker, and British citizen, Iain Hook, in Jenin refugee camp at the hands of an Israeli sniper in 2002. As the only journalist to have actually gone to the U.N. compound in Jenin in the immediate aftermath of his death, I was able to piece together what had happened, speak to Palestinian witnesses and later get access to details of a suppressed U.N. report into the killing.

Israel claimed that the sniper who shot Hook in the back believed the U.N. official was really a Palestinian militant holding a grenade, rather than a mobile phone, and that he was about to throw it at Israeli troops. My investigation showed that the sniper’s account had to be a lie. From his position on the top floor of a small apartment block overlooking the compound, the sniper could not have misidentified through his telescopic sights either the distinctive red-haired Hook or the phone. In any case, Hook would not have been able to throw anything from out of the compound because it was surrounded by a high concrete wall and a chainmail fence right up to the metal awning that covered the entire site. If Hook had thrown a grenade, it would have bounced right back at him—as the sniper, who had been positioned in the apartment for several hours, must have known.

When I offered this investigation to the Guardian’s foreign editor, he sounded worried. Again I was told, as if in admonition, that no other media had covered the story. But it seemed to me that this time even the foreign editor realized he was offering excuses rather than reasons for not publishing. He had bought me off.

Shortly afterwards I recruited Chris McGreal, the Guardian’s recently appointed Jerusalem bureau chief, to my struggle to get Hook’s story told. McGreal, the paper’s distinguished South Africa correspondent who covered the apartheid era, had quickly brought a much keener critical edge to the Guardian’s coverage of Israel—and, from what I saw, had battled hard for the privilege. He lobbied for the paper to print my article and personally took the project under his wing.

Eventually, the editors relented and reserved a page for my investigation. However, when the story was published, it was half the promised length and had lost a map showing the improbabilities of Israel’s account of Hook’s killing. The foreign editors later claimed that they had been forced to accept at the very last moment a half-page ad for the page on which my investigation appeared. (I had worked on the foreign desk for many years and struggle to remember any instance where an ad change was made close to deadline.) The editors had cut the second half of the story, the part that contained the evidence I had unearthed.

I was suffering similar setbacks with other mainstream media. The most significant was the International Herald Tribune... Read more

Palestinian boy used as human shield says, "I'll always remember"

Ma'an – Majid Rabah, 11, says he will always remember the "black day" that Israeli soldiers ordered him to open bags they thought were rigged with explosives.

"Every moment I remember what happened," he said in his home in Gaza City's Tel Al-Hawwa neighborhood Tuesday.

An Israeli military court gave a suspended sentence and a demotion Sunday to the two soldiers who used Majid as a human shield, in a ruling he and his family said did not do justice to the trauma. Read more

Jewish groups push for pardon of worst spy against US

JTA – A combination of timing, diplomatic considerations and, above all, good old-fashioned noodging has culminated in the biggest push in years to free Jonathan Pollard.

Insiders associated with the push, which resulted last week in a congressional letter to President Obama asking for clemency for the American Jew convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel, say the main factor was one man: David Nyer, an Orthodox activist from Monsey, N.Y.

Nyer, working under the auspices of the National Council of Young Israel and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, repeatedly called dozens of congressional offices and pressed Jewish groups asking for a leader to take on the case of Pollard...

39 Congressional Representatives lobby for Israeli spy Pollard

Maggie Sager – In one of the United States Congress’ most recent displays of “Israel First” policy, 39 Representatives, all democrats, have requested that President Obama pardon Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for the State of Israel in 1987. Pollard is currently serving a life sentence for his crimes.

Rabbi's followers in Israeli settlement handed heavy sentences over child abuse

Ha'aretz – The convicts, led by Rabbi Elior Chen, allegedly used knives, hammers and other items to abuse the children of one of the rabbi's followers in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit in February and March 2008. Read more

Holocaust survivors deal with purported $42M fraud, false stories

Ha'aretz – ...Along this Brooklyn outpost's ocean edge - the heart of much community life here - residents are talking about the betrayal they feel after the arrest of 17 people, mostly from Brighton Beach, on charges that they faked stories of Holocaust survival to profit from money meant for survivors of Nazi persecution. ...Federal prosecutors say they have already uncovered more than 5,500 fraudulent claims, many of them containing altered birth dates and faked stories of suffering. Read more

Israeli generals, not just soldiers, responsible for atrocities

Ha'aretz - Amira Haas – ...This practice was prevalent in the Golani Brigade. Civilians were bound, blindfolded and exposed to the cold so they could serve as human shields for soldiers in huge trenches and in houses that were turned into lookout points and from which soldiers opened fire. This was not the whim of an isolated few. There were soldiers who fired directly on civilians bearing white flags. On their commanders' orders, soldiers prevented Palestinian rescue teams from reaching the wounded, so an unknown number of people, including children, bled to death. The multiplicity of similar incidents shows that the soldiers were acting in accordance with uniform guidelines.

Internal military investigations tend to focus on the individual soldiers who took part in the ground offensive. But most of the Palestinian civilians killed by the Israel Defense Forces were killed as a result of computerized fire from afar, whether from the air, the sea or land. Children on the roofs of their homes were killed in just these kinds of deadly video games - by the push of a button pressed by our anonymous warriors, who will not be brought to justice. Read more

Israeli rights group: Israel denies Palestinian children Jerusalem residency

Ma'an – The Israeli Ministry of Interior denies permanent residency to Palestinian schoolchildren in ‎Jerusalem, an Israeli human rights group said Tuesday.

HaMoked, the center for the defence of the individual, will argue a case ‎Thursday at the Israeli Supreme Court that could determine the fate of scores of children who have been denied the right to ‎permanent residency.

Israel bulldozes Palestinian agricultural projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars [likely that funding came from US taxpayers]

Ma'an – Israeli forces demolished two agricultural projects south of Salfit in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.

Both projects were funded by the Palestinian Finance Ministry and were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. [It is likely that much of the financing came from US aid.]

Israeli settlers seize Jerusalem home

Ma'an – Israeli settlers took control of a Palestinian-owned apartment in the At-Tur neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, residents said... The reported takeover comes a day after Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their home in Jerusalem's Jabal Mukabber neighborhood. Read more

Israeli forces shoot Gazan collecting scrap materials

Ma'an – Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man who was collecting scrap materials Wednesday near the border with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip, a medical official said... The shooting was the tenth this month along the border area... Read more

Israeli forces destroy more structures in Jordan Valley, beat elderly man trying to defend his property, group says this is “ethnic cleansing practiced before the eyes of the whole world”

Ma'an – As the sun rose early Wednesday, Palestinian Bedouins living in Abu Al-Ajaj, a small village in the Jordan Valley were surprised to see Israeli bulldozers demolishing their sheds and sheep shelters.

The incident came only two weeks after Israeli authorities confiscated lands belonging to the village slated to expand an illegal settlement.

Ma’an’s correspondent visited the village whose 135 residents are all members of the D’eis family. He said he saw demolished sheds and barracks as well as water tankers which provide water for domestic use and for animals to drink. The water was spilt on the ground. Locals told him that bulldozers completed the demolition in the early morning.

He was also told that Israeli soldiers who escorted the bulldozers attacked residents when they attempted to defend their property. Amongst those beaten by the soldiers was an elderly man identified as Shihda D’eis. The soldiers detained several people and released some of them later. Osama Omar D’eis and Ali Shihda D’eis remained in detention, according to locals.

Israel razes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, two buildings and tent in Jordan Valley

Ma'an – Israeli police on Wednesday razed a Palestinian house in occupied East Jerusalem, shortly before the owner arrived home with a court order halting the demolition. Read more

Palestinians, Syria condemn new Israel referendum requirement as 'mockery of international law'

Ma'an – Palestinian and Syrian officials on Tuesday condemned a new Israeli law mandating a national referendum ahead of any withdrawal from occupied East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat said the bill, passed by Israel's parliament late Monday, makes "a mockery of international law... Read more

Israeli army detains three Palestinians overnight

Ma'an – Soldiers detained three Palestinians late Tuesday in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military announced early Wednesday.

The unidentified detainees were taken for "security questioning," the army said. It was not clear if they had been accused of any specific crimes or if they had lawyers. Read more

Israel rejects Swiss scientist's article that Mossad killed German politician

Ma'an – Israel rejected Monday a claim by a retired Swiss chemistry professor that the murder of a German politician 23 years ago had the hallmarks of a Mossad assassination. Read more

Palestinian scouts document 100-year history

Ma'an – Palestinian scouts have launched a campaign to document their history as the movement prepares for its centennial anniversary.

Celebrations will begin in 2011 and last for one year until the movement's 100th anniversary in 2012. Read more

Under Dayton policies, US funds Palestinian internal conflict

Ma'an - Samah Jabr – Although United States-sponsored security coordination with the Palestinian Authority started in the nineties, the scale and nature of US intervention in Palestinian affairs intensified through the program headed by Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton that was launched by the Bush administration in 2005.

When Hamas ousted Fateh from the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the atmosphere then became ripe to escalate the growth of this political mutation that transformed former "national heroes" into "terrorists". While Hamas security forces in Gaza are considered illegal, governments in Europe and North America provide generous financial support to the PA and its security forces.

In an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy[a branch of the Israel Lobby], Dayton said (as if this were a compliment) that his program had created a "new kind of Palestinian man." Three battalions of 500 men each have graduated from the program, and more are currently in training to engage in a series of offensives against members of the resistance groups in the West Bank. Senior Israeli commanders were so impressed with the Palestinian troops, said Dayton, they asked him, "How many more of these new Palestinians can you generate, and how quickly?" Dayton promised to invest around 1.3 billion dollars in the Palestinian security establishment; to graduate 4,700 personnel; provide training, equipment and basic capacity building for another 15,000 troops; and restore the organizational structure of the PA's security institutions.

The United States does not invest this money in the well-being of the Palestinian population--to build schools and hospitals that support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, for example--but rather uses this money to bribe some Palestinians with power, money and privileges that reinforce internal Palestinian conflict and disunity. It is creating a "Palestinian Contra" to do the dirty work for Israel's occupation... Read more

More official European boycott activities – Spain, The Netherlands...

Eric Walberg – Despite the stranglehold Israel lobbies have on Euro-parliaments and politicians, there have been some surprisingly plucky official moves to protest illegal Israeli settlements recently.

Israeli mayoral visits to Spain and the Netherlands were nixed in September because the delegation included leaders of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The visit of thirty Israeli mayors to the Netherlands was organised by the Israeli branch of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) after the Spanish municipal organisation cancelled a proposed visit in light of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

The Dutch conference was to be hosted by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), located in The Hague. The aim of the trip was purportedly to learn more about the Dutch system of local, regional and national authorities, though such official visits are really an Israeli ploy to provide de facto recognition of illegal settlements.

The JDC and the Union of Local Authorities in Israel tried to arrange the tour through the embassy of the Netherlands in Tel Aviv... but when informed, VNG refused to host the delegation as long as the occupation mayors were part of it...

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee emphasised that there are more than 150 settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, housing 475,000 settlers on more than forty per cent of the West Bank... Read more

Australian Video: Friends of Israel — Enemies Inside the Gates

By Anthony Lawson

CPT: Palestinian students demonstrate for right to learn after Israeli forces detain five schoolboys

[Media Advisory] Students, teachers and members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee will have a walking demonstration starting from the school in At-Tuwani.

Why: To protest the fact that Israeli soldiers took five schoolboys, ages 11 to 15, from their home villages and detained them for 15 minutes. The soldiers detained the five boys after refusing to escort the group of children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed safely to school.

The Israeli army is mandated by the Knesset to escort the schoolchildren from their villages to their school in At-Tuwani. This escort is necessary because settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma'on have often attacked the schoolchildren on their way to school.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Israeli town launches campaign against foreign workers

Haaretz- Bnei Brak city hall begins public campaign against renting flats to migrant workers yet simultaneously employs them.

Bnei Brak city hall launched a public campaign against renting flats to migrant workers and refugees two weeks ago, but it appears the municipality actually employs migrants, Haaretz has found. The city employs 10 foreign workers in its sanitary department through the subcontractor Ford Municipal Systems.

The municipality, in confirming this, said all 10 had residence and work permits, and that it could not restrict the workforce under its current contract with the subcontractor. Read more

UNICEF: Israel violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child

IMEMC- A statement by the UNICEF, issued on the 21st anniversary of the Geneva Convention to protect children's rights, accused Israel of failing to uphold international law and live up to its obligation to protect children, Quds Press reported on Monday.

In a report to mark International Children's Day, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warned Israel that it is in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report highlighted that Israel has no comprehensive strategy to protect the rights of the child and apply the Convention, and there is not a single government agency that deals with the issue of child protection appropriately. Read more

Abbas: Israel referendum bill is obstacle to peace

Haaretz- New law requires two-thirds Knesset majority or a referendum to cede land in East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday slammed an Israeli bill that sets tough requirements for any withdrawal from the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem.

"This step puts obstacles in the way of the political process," Abbas told reporters during the opening of the new headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah.

"The Israelis want to tell the whole world that they will not withdraw from Jerusalem or the Golan," he said. Read more

Palestinians evicted from East Jerusalem home

Haaretz- Israel Police forces on Tuesday evacuated a Palestinian family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, after right-wing activists claimed to have purchased the building. Read more

Opinion: Non-violent Palestinian demonstrators subject to military courts in Israel

The Jerusalem Post - Larry Derfner- Here’s a look at justice for Palestinians in the only democracy in the Middle East.

This was justice as I’d never seen it, as very, very few Israelis have seen it.

The judge was an IDF officer in a light-green uniform and knitted kippa. The prosecutor was an IDF officer in a light-green uniform, no kippa. The defendant was a Palestinian in a brown prison jumpsuit. This was last Thursday afternoon in a bungalow that serves as military appeals court on the grounds of Ofer Prison, the towering, concretewalled monstrosity on Route 443 between Modi’in and Jerusalem. Ofer is Israel’s prison in the West Bank for Palestinians.

...Another wrinkle in Israeli justice for Palestinians is that Abu Rahmah’s wife and children, who live in Ramallah, weren’t in court on Thursday; the IDF didn’t let them through the checkpoint. Furthermore, they’ve only been allowed to visit him in prison once or twice in the last year, Lasky said, because even though the prison is in the West Bank, they need a permit to enter “Israel proper” to go there, and Palestinians whose spouses are in prison cannot get a permit to enter Israel proper.

...SO WHAT was the remorseless Abu Rahmah convicted of? Organizing illegal demonstrations and incitement. (Originally, he was also charged with stone-throwing and possession of arms – piles of spent IDF bullet cartridges and tear gas canisters he’d collected from the ground in Bil’in for an exhibit – but was acquitted on those two counts.)

...If the army says a demonstration is illegal, then demonstrating is a crime – certainly in military court. Read more

Analysis: US organizations funding segregation in Occupied Palestine

Mondoweiss- It was a hot, sticky day, and the thought of taking a dip in the cool undeground waters of Abraham’s Well sounded superb. After a long circuitous route, unable to cross Shuhada St., Hebron’s main thoroughfare banned from use by Palestinians, we reached an olive grove just above the well. In our enthusiasm, we didn’t notice the four Israeli soldiers sitting above it until they came running, screaming at us, rifles aimed in our direction.

...There wasn’t a physical attack or a home bulldozed. No one was arrested or tear gassed. Just another of the thousand daily humiliations that is apartheid Hebron. That was the last day I was in Hebron, and the last time I saw Hamzi, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Shortly thereafter I flew home for a visit and returning a month later discovered I had been banned from re-entry.

...Here in New York husbands and wives and their families parked their cars and walked breezily past the indoor soccer fields to a feast of their own, making tax-exempt donations to bankroll Hamzi’s oppression. Tuesday night was the annual dinner of the Hebron Fund, founded in 1979 to raise money for the Hebron settlements. According to the Washington Post, the Hebron Fund and similar organizations have donated $33.4 million since 2004 to the settlement enterprise. Settlements, keep in mind, are illegal according to international law. Read more