||Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~
Settlers / Land, property and resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing|
Residents fume as court approves Jewish-only housing / Jillian Kestler-D'Amours
..."We are very disappointed from the decision of the [Supreme] Court," said Sami Abu Shahadeh, the Coordinator of Darna, The Popular Committee for Housing Rights in Jaffa."The result of this decision is that it is legal and legitimate to build a settlement in the heart of the Ajami neighborhood, which has a vast Arab majority. The settlement is closed only for national,
religious Jews, and this means that anyone who is living now in the Ajami neighborhood -- Arab or Jew -- is not allowed to have an apartment in the project which is built nearby his house," he said. Indeed, with the Supreme Court’s ruling, Be’emunah, a settler movement that aims to create ideological and religious Jewish communities in cities with large Palestinian populations, was given the go-ahead to build 20 apartments in the heart of Ajami.
A privatized Nakba / Charlotte Silver
Palestinians describe the Israel Land Administration Law (ILA) quietly passed by
the Israeli Knesset in 2009 as the final stage in the 62-year process of displacement from their homeland. The legislation is expected to have a long-term, disastrous impact on Palestinian lives and precludes the possibility of a negotiated resolution to the conflict ... This law allows the state to transfer ownership of all developed land to an individual, private company or corporation. With egregious disregard for international law, Israel's Land Reform Law applies not only to land within Israel proper, but also to occupied East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in violation of international law in 1981.
Israel: New planning policy for East Jerusalem
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat presented a controversial new city planning policy for East Jerusalem to the public on Tuesday morning, as East Jerusalemites celebrated Eid Al-Adha with friends and family. The re-zoning plan, according to a statement from the mayor's office, would take into account the "current unsatisfactory situation" and call for a freeze on all current demolition orders until the plan is approved and can go forward ... In the spring of 2010, residents of the community put together an alternative plan proposing a series of measures that would bring the number of forced evictions
and demolitions planned by the Jerusalem municipality down to zero. Days ahead of the announcement of the new policy, a spokesman for the municipality said he was not aware of the plan.
Haaretz editorial: Israel's government can restore reason to Sheikh Jarrah
A new plan that urges the state to take possession of disputed properties could head of decades-old disputes on both sides of the city ... Efforts to reclaim Jewish assets in East Jerusalem open up old "1948 files," invite Palestinians to pursue reciprocal
claims on the western side of the city [quelle horreur!], undermine Israeli opposition to a right of refugee return, sabotage hopes of a peace agreement and turn Jerusalem into a flashpoint in the continuing dispute. The government, however, still has the power to amend this distortion.
PM office prevented the recognition of two Bedouin villages / Noam Sheizaf
A state committee was about to include two Palestinian-Bedouin
villages in a new municipal plan, thus giving their residents official rights over their lands and homes after decades of dispute. A letter from an adviser to Netanyahu changed this decision -- The problem of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Israeli south received some media attention recently following the repeated destruction by the state of a village named Al-Arakiv. There are more than 40 unrecognized Palestinian-Bedouin villages in Israel, many of them predating the state itself. Their residents are Israeli citizens, but they don’t receive basic services such as water and electricity, and occasionally, they are evicted from their homes and lands.
Of scorpions, settlers, soldiers, and springs / Mazin Qumsiyeh
...The Zawahras' saga is just an example. Colonial Jewish settlements in two main locations of the Zawahras' domain (in the hills around Bethlehem and in the Jordan valley) have made it impossible for the Zawahras to continue the Bedouin way of life. In the Bethlehem district, Israeli colonies, security zones, army bases etc now control the vast majority of the rich lands. The remaining land is basically the developed Palestinian areas with few open areas. With less than 5% of the open range areas of the Bethlehem district left available for grazing, the impact was devastating: 1) significant decrease in number of animals (even as the human population more than tripled in the past 45 years),
and 2) the forced overgrazing on the few remaining open areas had a devastating ecological effect. It is sad to compare biodiversity in the Bethlehem area today versus what I saw 40 years ago.
After Ariel: Kiryat Arba gets new culture hall
After Ariel residents got their very own brand new cultural center which was accompanied by three boycott letters, and quite a media storm,
the residents of Kiryat Arba are hoping to enjoy concerts and performance in their own culture hall: The construction of luxurious cultural center, the second beyond the green line, is set to be completed over the next few months.
Settlers set Saffa ablaze, 3 Palestinian youth arrested
17 Nov - Palestine Solidarity Project - Last night [Tuesday] settlers from the Bat Ayn settlement set fire to 70 olive trees in the Saffa region of Beit Ommar. The trees belonged to the Thalji Aady family, who have been subject to frequent settler violence and military harassment. The fire was lit around 9:30 pm, and burned for 3 hours before fire trucks from the village were able to extinguish the flames. At 11:00 pm 3 military jeeps arrived and attempted to prevent villagers from extinguishing the fire, arresting 3 Palestinian youth in the process.
Settlers blamed for
fire near Nablus
Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland between the West Bank cities of Nablus and Qalqiliya on Tuesday, officials said. Ghassan Dughlus, the Palestinian Authority official monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank, said Israelis from the settlement of Givat Gilad set fires in the village ofJit. He said about 100 trees were burned in the blaze. Mayor Nasser As-Sida told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers bared villagers from going to the land in order to put out the fire.
AG: Seal Jewish home in East Jerusalem
General Yehuda Weinstein orders municipality to carry out court order to evacuate, seal Jewish building in east Jerusalem suburb of Silwan, in keeping with rule of law principle [why this one building... to look impartial?]
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
13 activists detained during volunteer work
BEIT UMMAR, Hebron (Ma'an) -- Thirteen activists from a group of 30 were detained by Israeli forces Thursday afternoon while aiding local farmers whose land is set for confiscation by an adjacent
settlement, locals from the village of Saffa reported. Early Thursday morning officials said the activists were escorted to lands belonging to Sheik Mohammad Aady, reportedly slated for annexation the Bat Ayin settlement.
Students join Ariel boycott
Ariel boycott -- first artists, now students. A group of education students from Beit Berl College on Wednesday informed the college's administration that they refuse to hold their final project at an educational facility in the city [settlement] of Ariel. "We will not teach beyond the Green Line," the students
Veteran TV host Yaron London endorses cultural boycott of Ariel
In this morning’s Yediot [full translation of article at bottom of post; Hebrew original here], London explains how a chance encounter with two of West Bank settlers lead him [to] this conclusion: "This story taught me that contrary to what I thought at first, there is actually some benefit to the boycott declared by the actors. Its main goal is to damage Ariel’s image as a completely ordinary community, just like one of the communities within the Green Line. The image of normalcy has been successfully instilled, because consciousness is not fond of complex structures of thinking ... But this is not so: Ariel was built on occupied land, and its existence poses a challenge to common decency and international law. A few brave artists have done us the service of reminding us of this, and their protest created a great commotion. This is all that is required of an effective protest.
New Yorkers protest fundraising cruise for illegal Hebron settlements
17 Nov - 120 New Yorkers silently picketed at the entrance to Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers this evening (16 November) to protest against the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund’s fundraising event to expand Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron ... The protest was endorsed by sixteen US human rights and peace groups, three of which are Jewish (see groups below).
#BDS: British boycott campaigners target Israeli string quartet
British activists of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) are planning to protest outside a concert hall in the city of Bath, in England, later this week, over a concert given by a string quartet from Israel. The ‘Bath Chronicle’ reports that the Bristol branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign alleges that group – theJerusalem String Quartet – was aligned with the Israeli military. The musicians reject the charge.
#BDS: 5 Australian unions support BDS of Israel
Five Australian unions have joined the international campaign advocating the boycott of Israeli goods from the occupied West Bank ... Peter Tighe, national secretary of the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union, told The Australian
newspaper, "We are not anti-Jewish, we just think the human misery over there is outrageous."
#BDS: US Mennonite students push for divestment from Israeli occupation
On 12 November 2010, Students for Morally Responsible Investment (SMRI) presented their case against EMU's investment in businesses which help fund or further oppression in Israel-Palestine. Leaders of SMRI have now met with Everence (a Mennonite financial institution),
Mennonite Educational Agency (MEA) and the EMU administration, seeking a change of policy. They say they are hopeful about progress made at the meetings - including the Financial and Audit Committee of EMU last week.
Israeli fights Spanish site's boycott
Bertha Linker gets Spanish learning website to accept her, remove anti-Israel material -- Bertha Linker, 32, recently decided to register with theescritores.org website in order to improve her level of writing in
Spanish through online studies. But she was soon surprised to learn that her request had been rejected as the website is boycotting Israel over its policy in the Palestinian territories.
Strauss Group removes support for IDf from English website
An Israeli company that co-owns Sabra, the number one selling hummus brand in the United States, has removed support of the IDF from its
English-language website after a video circulating the internet criticized the company's support of Israel's "human rights abuses," according to a press release issued Thursday by the Philadelphia branch of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement ... Kate Zaidan, a spokesperson for BDS group said, "We notice that while Stauss's English-language website no longer makes these claims, the Hebrew-language part of the site still includes them."
Extrajudicial assassinations / War crimes / War criminals
killed in Gaza strike
GAZA CITY -- Israeli aircraft targeted Gaza's most populous city Wednesday, killing two Palestinian men. Witnesses said a drone strike targeted a white Subaru just off central Gaza City's Al-Wehda street, leaving a hole in the ground. The car was ripped in half, the back blown 10 meters from the front with other pieces littering the street. Power lines were damaged in the blast. Black stains from smoke and fire could be seen on an adjacent building. The strike came at sundown on the second night of the Eid Al Adha holiday, in a busy section of the city. Medical officials at Ash-Shifa Hospital identified the deceased as Muhammad Yassin and his brother, Islam Yassin. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the assassination, which was the second in two weeks. She said "a senior operative belonging to the terrorist group Army of Islam was targeted" because the group, a radical Islamist organization, was plotting to attack
Israeli citizens in the Sinai.
Islamist group posts Hebrew-language threat online
An Islamist group on Thursday posted a Hebrew-language threat on the Internet, pledging revenge for the killing of two militants in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City a day earlier ... At the end of the clip, the speaker identifies himself as belonging to "Ansar al-Sunna in Al-Quds" -- in what appeared to be a reference to a Gaza-based Salafist group which models itself on Al-Qaeda.
Israel and gang warfare in Gaza / Tim King
(SALEM, Ore.) - Try to imagine driving down the street in Los Angeles, London, or any other modern city, and watching the car in front of you blow to smithereens from a drone strike as parts of auto and men fly into the sky, filling the air momentarily with a reddish haze. This was the scene in the historic city of Gaza today, when Israel savagely attacked two men in a white Subaru in a busy part of Gaza ... Welcome to the Mideast gang wars. That is how Israel operates, like a ruthless street gang; perhaps the supreme street gang.
Dubai's top cop denies meeting Israeli police official
DUBAI, November 17, 2010 (AFP) - Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan, who has said Israeli agents assassinated a Hamas commander while in the emirate, on Wednesday denied a press report he met a top Israeli police official in Qatar. "I categorically deny the report," Khalfan told AFP. He was referring to a report in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot that he had met Israel's police investigations and intelligence branch chief, Major General Yoav Segalovich, at the Interpol general assembly in Doha. "I did not even attend the Interpol meeting," Khalfan said.
German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer exhibition - aftermath of Cast Lead in Gaza
Exhibition of Kai Wiedenhöfer at the Musée d´Art Moderne de la ville de Paris. Interview with France 3. [Warning: many photos horrifying. Israel National News says that there is no mention of this exhibition on the museum's website, and that appears to be true, though it is mentioned elsewhere. A large Jewish group in France has objected to the exhibition, and the museum's director seems to have claimed no
responsibility for housing it.]
IDF officer suspected of covering up Gaza killing
An IDF commander is suspected of blocking an investigation into the death of a Palestinian in Gaza, according to reports released on Thursday. The officer is suspected of not submitting the results of a probe about a woman killed when she approached a Givati Brigade station during Operation Cast Lead.
Site exposes IDF 'war crminals'
A website that went online Tuesday has published a list of 200 IDF soldiers which it classifies as directly involved in operations carried out in Gaza duringOperation Cast Lead. Each entry features the soldiers and officers' pictures and personal details, including identification numbers
and addresses ... Soldiers listed include officers from the very top of the IDF hierarchy – Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and down to a sergeant in the infantry training program ... The officers and soldiers aren't quite sure how their details got into the website's hands, but clarified that they were proud of their actions and happy to be included in the list.
MK Dichter cancels participation in Madrid Coalition peace conference for fear of arrest
Member of Knesset Avi Dichter, former Head of Israeli General Security Services (GSS), recently canceled a trip to Spain, due to fear he would be detained or arrested by Spanish authorities for his involvement in alleged war crimes against Palestinians.
Violence / Incursions
Israeli troops raid Beni Naim school, east of Hebron
Hebron – PNN - Israeli forces raided the Abdullah bin Mas’ud school in Beni Naim township east of Hebron on Thursday morning. Local sources said surrounded and inspected the school and ransacked much of the furniture inside. The specific target of the raid was unclear. On the morning of the raid, Israeli troops set up military checkpoints and stopped passersby to check their identification at the main entrances to Hebron, including the northern Halhoul Bridge. This is the second day
in a row such checkpoints have been set up. Raids and arrests have been occurring in Hebron for the past week.
Israeli forces close village looking for Molotov thrower
Israeli forces entered the Nablus-area village of Madama on Wednesday night, searching for young residents allegedly behind a Molotov cocktail-throwing incident earlier in the day. Member of the local village council Hasan Ziyadeh said that during the raid soldiers closed down the town, preventing residents from leaving their
homes and searched several residential buildings under the cover of gunfire before detaining one man ... An Israeli military spokeswoman said two Molotov cocktails were thrown toward a settler road in the area,
Stones injure Palestinian, Israeli drivers
A Palestinian and two Israelis were injured when vehicles were pelted with stones in separate incidents in the Jerusalem area on Tuesday night, Israeli radio reported. According to the report, a Palestinian man was hospitalized after his car was struck with stones near Israel's Hizma military checkpoint
northeast of Jerusalem. A Palestinian and two Israelis were injured when cars were showered with stones in several areas near Jerusalem. It was unclear who was responsible. Two Israelis were also mildly injured when stones were thrown at a bus traveling through East Jerusalem.
Israeli settlers' violence report - September and October 2010
The following report highlights a drastic change in Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, not only because of the increasing number of aggressions but
also because of the evolution of the violence itself. In September and October 2009, only a few aggressions against Palestinian farmers – related to harvest, land and farming equipment – were reported. Yet approximately 22 incidents of this kind were reported this year for the same period. Even if this time of year is particularly violent in the West Bank due to the olive harvesting season, other notable changes can be observed this year.
Mortar shells from Gaza hit Israel, no injuries
Two mortar shells fired from Gaza landed in Israeli territory on Thursday, causing no injuries, the country's army said, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed two brothers in the Palestinian enclave. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the shells landed in the Eshkol Regional Council, adjacent to Gaza. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.
Group reports clashes near Gaza border
wing of Islamic Jihad confronted an Israeli force entering the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, the group said. The Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement that its fighters launched mortar shells and live gunfire to turn back an Israeli force which crossed into Gaza via the Al-Qaraqa village north of Khan Younis in the southern strip. A number of soldiers were injured during the approximately 15-minute clash, according to the group, which reiterated its "right to resist Israeli aggression and affirmed the choice of resistance until the whole land is free."
Israel may hold protester beyond sentence
BETHLEHEM -- Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the anti-wall protester, was scheduled to be released Thursday after a 1-year prison term. But the military prosecution has filed a petition demanding to extend Abu Rahmah's detention past the time he was sentenced. If the petition is accepted, Abu Rahmah will be kept in jail past his release date, and despite having served his sentence in full. Supporters said Wednesday that the detainee's case will be heard at Ofter prison Thursday morning.
Eid without a father and husband / Evie Soli,
An interview with the wives of Abdallah and Adeeb Abu Rahma -- Al Eid is a holy time of the year for Muslims. Families gather and visit each other over the four holidays, which are for most a time for families to be together. When one member of the family is missing, it makes it hard to enjoy Al Eid in the same way. Thousands of families of Palestinian political prisoners are suffering because a family member is in prison. For Majida, wife of Abdallah Abu Rahma who has now been held for one year in Israeli jail under the accusation of 'incitement', every day without her husband is difficult.
Wa'el al Faqeeh released
from Israeli prison
UPDATE | 17 November 2010: Wa’el al-Faqeeh was released from Israeli prison today and is back in his Nablus home. The International Solidarity Movement strongly condemned his arrest, which marked an escalation in Israeli targeting of Palestinian popular resistance leaders. Wa’el has been a irreplaceable grassroots organizer in the Nablus area and we are ecstatic that he has been released. He is back in Nablus and is ready to continue his reign as Chess champion. Please consider making a donation to help pay for his legal fees (see bottom of the post to donate) or visit the International Solidarity Movementdonations page.
Journalists held after covering Safa village arson
Hebron – PNN - Israeli forces held a group of journalists who tried to cover Wednesday’s settler assaults in the village of Safa, near Hebron. Muhammad Ayad Awad, media spokesman for the Palestine Solidarity Project, said that troops detained a Palestine Television crew including Fada Nasir and Mahmoud Khilaf, as well as a group of solidarity activists. They were forbidden from taking pictures of the fire started in Safa by Israeli settlers from nearby
Bat Ayin. The fire reportedly destroyed more than ten acres of olive and almond trees.According to Awad, the military’s explanation was that the burning acreage was a "closed military zone."
Two arrested in Beit Awla west of Hebron
Hebron – PNN - On Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested two citizens of Beit Awla, a Palestinian village west of Hebron, and set up two military checkpoints at the city’s north and south entrances. Local sources said the troops
arrested Hakim Muslim Firashat and confiscated his motorcycle, but the other arrested citizen has not been identified.
66-year-old sentenced to 6 months in jail
NABLUS - The Israeli military court Ofer has sentenced Yousef Aref Muhammad, 66, from Nablus to six months in prison. The detainees’ center reported that Muhammad was detained for opposing the occupation, and it was not his first time in prison.
Israel grants reprieve to former Fatah fighters
Israel granted a reprieve Wednesday to 75 members of Fatah's now-dormant armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Palestinian sources said. The former guerrilla fighters were all in various stages of an amnesty process established by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Under the deal, the fighters agreed to hand in their weapons and serve time in prison, in return for Israel's agreement not to arrest or kill them. Some of the men were granted the right to sleep in their own homes instead of a security compound where they were told to report under the amnesty deal. Others were granted full amnesty and
a return to civilian life.
Siege / Restriction of movement / Humanitarian
Palestinian-Israelis flock to West Bank for Eid
The parks, zoo and playgrounds of northern West Bank cities Qalqiliya, Jenin and Tulkarem were overwhelmed with visitors from the Palestinian cities and towns in Israel over the Eid Al-Adha holiday, giving a boost to the local economy ... In Jenin, the Hadad resort was full of visitors locally known as "48 Palestinians," with Israeli residency or citizenship, prompting locals to wonder why. "When all we want is to be able to
reach the shores of Lake Tiberias or the beach at Haifa, like we used to do on holidays, why are so many coming here?" one local visitor at the resort asked.
Israel opens 2 Gaza crossings
Israel decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing point in order to allow cooking gas and other fuels into the blockaded Gaza Strip on Thursday. PA liaison official Raed Fattuh said the Karni crossing would also be opened to allow 130 trucks carrying wheat and feed for animals into Gaza.
Racism and discrimination / Israeli injustice system
This racist's salary is paid for by our taxes / Didi Remez
This morning’s Maariv runs a 1,000-word teaser for a weekend magazine interview with Safed’s Chief Rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu. If the name doesn’t ring a bell you should read the full translation at the bottom of this post. If you’ve been following the latest bout of anti-Arab racism in Israel in general - particularly the consequences of the Rabbinical decree proscribing the rental of apartments to Palestinian-Israeli students - nothing in the article will surprise you. Like most other reporting to date, there’s something missing from the most extensive interview with this racist in recent weeks - the fact that he’s a senior civil-servant.
Safed rabbi to be suspended for inciting war between Jews and Arabs
Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Wednesday to begin the process of immediate suspension of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu from his post as municipal rabbi of Safed. Braverman wrote Neeman that Eliyahu, whose salary is paid by public funds, has been conducting a campaign of racism against the Arabs for years.
Haaretz editorial: Racism under cover of the Torah
Not only are some rabbis not acting according to guidelines, they are using public bodies to incite, inflame passions and provoke divisiveness in Israeli society ... The justice minister, the religious services minister and the mayors where these rabbis serve must warn them that they are abusing their positions and even suspend them if necessary. Otherwise, they too will bear responsibility for turning Israeli society into a tool in the hands of religious racist fanatics.
The lesser of many evils: plea bargain of Ameer Makhoul and the Israeli legal system
Advocate Hussein Abu Hussein spoke to the Haifa Arabic-language daily Al-Ittihad about the plea bargain that was reached by the state prosecutor and the defendant of Ittijah’s Executive Director Ameer Makhoul. ... According to official Israeli statistics, the percentage of convicted defendants in criminal cases in Israel ranges between 96% and 99% of the cases. When compared to the same official statistics in the state of New York, for example, according to which in 50% of the criminal cases brought to court the defendant is found guilty, the figure in Israel seems irrational. Furthermore, a closer study of the Israeli
statistics shows that the percentage of convicted Arab citizens of the state of Israel in criminal courts is much higher than that of Jewish citizens.
Israel's Justice Ministry to probe claims of Shin Bet torture and abuse
...More than 650 complaints of abuse and torture of examinees by Shin Bet
investigators have been turned over to the government's legal advisers since 2001. According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, in every one of these cases the Shin Bet's internal examiner decided not to open a criminal investigation.
My flight out of Tel Aviv, with a $60 fee for an empty suitcase / Daoud Kuttab
For years I have succeeded to avoid it, but for some reason, I fell in the
trap. I am not sure if my decision to fly out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport rather than my usual starting point of Amman's Queen Alia Airport was to see if things might have changes or some crazy sadistic desire to suffer on the hands of the Israeli airport security.
US official: Israel must refrain from East Jerusalem construction during freeze
18 Nov - Shas has said
that it will oppose U.S. exchange offer if Jerusalem is included in the 90-day freeze; U.S. official: Whatever Netanyahu told Shas about Jerusalem is not true.
About half Netanyahu's party against new freeze (dpa)
JERUSALEM - Around half of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 27-member parliamentary caucus have signed a petition rejecting a new temporary freeze on construction in West Bank settlements,
Israeli media reported Wednesday.
Abbas briefed on US plan for new freeze (AFP)
David Hale, assistant to US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, briefed Abbas on details of the plan at a meeting [Wednesday] in the West Bank town of Ramallah, the Palestinian political capital, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said. It was the first time the Palestinians had been officially informed of details of the offer, which would grant Israel a package of diplomatic and security pledges in exchange for a fresh 90-day moratorium on new West Bank settlement building.
Abbas: We refuse any link between settlement freeze and arming Israel
Ramallah – PNN - Commenting on reports of an American deal circulated by Arab and international media, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Thursday that Palestinians refused to be the means to further arm Israel.
Israel hopes to have US building freeze offer 'soon' (AFP)
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to receive written US commitments "soon" on incentives for a fresh freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank, his office said Wednesday. Netanyahu "hopes to soon complete his contacts with the US administration," his office said in a statement.
Netanyahu meets Yishai on freeze deal
Nov 17, 14:24 -Prime minister attempts to secure Shas's support for freeze while rightists fight to protest before homes of ministers who refuse to take sides on issue
Shas threatens Netanyahu
Nov 17, 21:01...The haredi party is demanding the exact details of housing construction to be permitted in Jerusalem during the moratorium in return for its support in
the cabinet. Shas expects Netanyahu to present such details to the US and obtain its blessing -- even if this is verbal alone. Shas is also demanding that Defense Minister Ehud Barak approve building in the West Bank immediately after the freeze period. Party representatives say that Barak has not signed any such permits since the current government was formed.
Court asks why demos outside Shas MKs' homes denied
The High Court of Justice on Thursday issued a show-cause order asking the state to explain why the police refused to grant a permit for a vigil outside the
homes of Shas ministers Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias. The petition was filed by attorney Itzhak Bam on behalf of Ro’i David Reeder, who wanted to hold a protest outside their homes to pressure them into voting in the security cabinet against the three-month building freeze on Jewish settlements and illegal outposts which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to impose.
Israel: Freeze deal with US nearly finalized
18 Nov - Government sources say Jerusalem, Washington close to agreement on American incentives package aimed at convincing hard-liners to back
settlement construction moratorium. 'Pressure on Bibi increasing daily,' official says
Poll: 51% of Israelis support renewing freeze
Over half of Israelis (51 percent) support an additional construction moratorium, according to a poll commissioned by the Knesset Channel, released Thursday. The survey also shows that 45% of the public oppose a freeze. In addition, 73% agree with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that any building freeze should not include Jerusalem.
Rightist rabbis back Lieberman for PM
In protest of freeze, rabbis dub Netanyahu a 'fraud', call on Shas not to abstain from vote 'as in Oslo'
Yaalon: Bibi taken captive by Barak
Rift between prime minister, deputy PM growing; Yaalon slams Bibi for 'capitulating' to US --
Tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his deputy Moshe (Bogi) Yaalon are "on the verge of explosion," Likud sources say.
IDF officers: Talks failure may cause Fatah collapse
IDF sources reportedly say Fatah government's survival depends on peace talks' progress ... According to foreign reports, IDF military and intelligence officers warn that if no peace agreement is soon reached, the Fatah government may collapse, leaving the regime in the hands of Hamas – supported by Iranand Syria.
Turkish ire is hurting Israel's NATO ties / Amir Oren
To avoid angering the Turks, Israel has scrapped plans to take part in a NATO naval drill.
Israel grants PA 24-hour control of Nablus
NABLUS -- Israel has transferred full security control of the West Bank city of Nablus, long considered a stronghold of Palestinian armed groups, to the Palestinian Authority, officials said Wednesday.
Until recently, Western-backed PA troops controlled the city each day from sunup until midnight, when PA forces left their posts, allowing Israeli forces to operate freely in the city, raiding houses and arresting "wanted" Palestinians. From now on, if Israeli forces wish to invade the city, liaison officers from Israel's Civil Administration will have to notify the PA and coordinate any operation in advance, Palestinian officials told Ma'an. Earlier on Wednesday, PA officials said their forces arrested Hamas members who were plotting to kill the governor of of Nablus, Jibrin Al-Bakri.
Al-Dhamiri denies Israeli reports of security transfer in Nablus
Brigadier-general and Palestinian military spokesman Adnan al-Dhamiri rejected recently leaked information from Israeli media, which claimed the security responsibility for the northern West Bank city of Nablus had been transferred to the Palestinian Authority ... He said the Palestinian policy was to follow a 2000 agreement agreed upon under the Road Map to Peace.“We don’t deal piece by piece with the Israelis,” said al-Dhamiri ... About the security arrangements, al-Dhamiri was brief. He said coordinating security with an occupier was "like coordinating between a prisoner and a guard."
PA says it foiled Hamas plot to kill governor
NABLUS -- Palestinian Authority forces arrested Hamas members who were plotting to kill the governor of the West Bank city of Nablus, Jibrin Al-Bakri, PA officials claimed Wednesday. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the group that hatched the alleged plot was based in Nablus with a network extending throughout the northern West Bank. PA forces raided the group's headquarters, seizing weapons and cash, they said. The group were said to be members of Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, who were in direct contact with the Hamas-run government in Gaza.
Zahhar rebuts claim of attempted assassination of Nablus governor
GAZA, (PIC)-- Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al Zahhar refuted Wednesday allegations by the Palestinian Authority security that his Movement was behind a plan to assassinate the mayor of the West Bank city of Nablus ... Zahhar considered these claims as an attempt to justify Fatah faction's escape from national reconciliation and continued abuse of Hamas supporters in the West
Haifa University bans Palestinian MK from campus event
MK Zoabi was scheduled to participate in a student Balad Party sponsored event at Haifa University Monday, focusing on the political situation over the past year, according to the Israeli news daily Haaretz. The students, who requested event permission in October and learned Sunday that Zoabi would not be
allowed on campus, decided to hold the event anyway.
Half of Israelis don't enlist or finish IDF service
Half of Israel's citizens either don't enlist in the IDF or fail to complete their army service, Army Radio reported on Thursday, quoting a report released by the IDF's human resources department. According to the report, 67 % of those obligated to enlist in the IDF do so, a number that is expected to fall to 64
% by 2020.
Haniyeh: Christians share our pain, hope
Gaza-based Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday reiterated his government's "moral and national commitment" to the Palestinian Christian community. During a meeting with Bishop Alexios of the Greek Orthodox Church, Haniyeh reaffirmed the unity of the Palestinian people and "especially that our Christian brothers are sharing our pain and hope."
Suspicion: Anarchists torched field near settlement
Security forces detain 12 people, including seven foreigners for allegedly setting fire to field near Bat Ayin; 12 acres destroyed ... The grove has been set on fire three times over the past few weeks by anarchists.
new bill threatens Reform, Conservative movements
Knesset pushes two more legislative pieces that would drive Israel further from democracy -- ACRI, which sent a sharp letter regarding the bill to Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, termed the bill as an attempt at political persecution by one side of another. Among the societies who may be hit by the law, it cautioned, are “The Reform movement, the Conservative movement, and other movements of Jewish pluralism; any organization supporting, in any way, full civil equality to minorities in Israel, even under a democratic regime; any organization supporting refugee rights, or work emigrants’ rights, or Palestinian rights (regarding their status in
Israel); companies or societies supporting or carrying out activities on Shabbat; societies who support people who left religious life (hozrim b’sheela) or women trying to have an abortion; societies working for freedom from religion or for women’s rights in rabbinical courts, or for women’s prayer at the Western Wall with talis; human rights organizations who act for Palestinians’ rights in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza; organizations trying to carry out educational activity which engages in dialogue with ‘the other’, trying to understand its history and point of view; and many more ... The Israeli media has given the bill absolutely no coverage.
UN pay strike closes Palestinian schools in West Bank (BBC)
A strike by UN workers in the West Bank has entered its second month, forcing Palestinian children out of school and leaving rubbish piling on the streets. Local staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are demanding strike pay - for this strike and an earlier one. The agency runs camps and schools for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank.
Palestinians meet Golan Druze in makeshift soccer friendly
Palestinian soccer association was established 15 years ago, with long interruptions in between due to the security situation at various times.
UK center releases historic map of Palestine
LONDON - The
Palestinian Return Centre in London held a seminar Friday to release an atlas of Palestine between 1917 and 1966. The project is the work of Professor Salaman Abu Sita, who used official documents and maps collected from German, French, Turkish and British archives to outline the history, landscape and geography of Palestine, a statement from the centre said. In a presentation attended by MPs, journalists and researchers, Abu Sita analysed the ongoing mechanism of expulsion which began in 1947, the centre said.
Scientists dig below Dead Sea for slice of Earth's history
JERUSALEM - An international team of scientists has begun drilling deep below the Dead Sea in an effort to extract material that could provide an unusual look at Earth's history over the past 500,000 years ... In an unusual example of regional coordination, the governments of Israel and Jordan, which lies on the east bank of the Dead Sea, as well as the Palestinian Authority are cooperating with the project, which is expected to run until the end of this year.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
With Netanyahu bribe, Washington going for broke /
So far, in attempting to resolve the conflict, Obama has nearly exhausted his political capital. There were intimations this week that the White House could not afford further humiliation and was going for broke ... Washington's hopeful logic is that a renewal of the freeze will be unnecessary in three months because an agreement on borders will already have established whether a settlement is to be considered included in Israel's territory and therefore permitted to expand or inside Palestine and therefore slated for destruction.
Settlements are destroying Zionism / Ari Shavit
The right is loonier than ever and about to turn Israel into South Africa ... The conclusion is unequivocal - if Israel wants to live it must release itself from the loony right's stranglehold.
Review: The burden of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 2010, Adva Center
The Adva Center, an Israeli think tank dedicated to
studying equality and social justice, recently published its second issue of a bi-annual report entitled, The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The report seeks to examine the costs of occupation on Israel in economic, social, military, political, and diplomatic terms and concludes that Israel would be richer socially and economically if it ended the occupation. In its own words,
Expert suggests sovereignty for Gaza as talks stall / Glenn Kessler
With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks mired in stalemate, someone has come up with a truly provocative idea: Give Gaza sovereignty. Gaza, of course, is the Palestinian enclave now run by Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group. It is the subject of an Israeli quarantine and been largely forgotten as the Obama administration presses ahead with a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.
Book Review: Mechanisms of state discrimination
State Practices and Zionist Images: Shaping Economic Development in Arab Towns in Israel, by David A. Wesley. 2008. This is a book of major importance by an Israeli anthropologist. It analyzes the relations between Jewish and Arab towns in the Galilee during the period 1992-1997 when an industrial area close to Nazareth called Zipporit was being developed. It also examines the role of central
and local government bureaucracies in the planning process. Israeli bureaucracy is formidable in its ability to block development, but where the Arab minority is concerned there are additional factors at work.
Book review: An Israeli academic's struggle against McCarthyism
The Israeli historian Ilan Pappé's new memoir Out of the Frame (Pluto Press, London and New York, 2010) is subtitled "The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel." This manages to link Pappé's personal struggle
against Israeli McCarthyism with a broader struggle for human and political rights of which "academic freedom" is merely one aspect.
Wednesday: 3 Iraqis killed
While the Eid al-Adha observances may still be cutting the number of reports, two significant stories did come out of Iraq today. In the first, President Talabani has taken a stand against executing Tariq Aziz. The second deals with the continuing problems of government formation. Only three casualties were reported today, all of them deaths.
Talabani against Aziz execution
Iraqi president says he will not sign execution order for Tariq Aziz, the former foreign minister under Saddam Hussein. "No, I will not sign the execution order for Tariq Aziz, because I am a socialist," Talabani told French television France 24 in an interview on Wednesday."I sympathise with Tariq Aziz because he is an Iraqi Christian. Moreover he is an old man who is over 70," he said.
Israel approves Ghajar pullout
Israel has approved a plan to withdraw troops from the northern half of a divided village that straddles the country's border with Lebanon. The 15-member security cabinet of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, passed the northern Ghajar pullout in a vote on Wednesday, but did not set a date ... The village, which lies in a strategic corner where the boundaries between Syria, Israel and Lebanon meet, has already changed hands three times in the last century. Israel captured it from Syria in 1967 ... as Al Jazeera's Sherine
Tadros reports, Israel is negotiating the agreement with the UN, without consulting Lebanon or the villagers themselves. The villagers are originally Syrian and feel no affiliation with Lebanon. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMv7XKSPJZs
'Israel wants UN to declare it free of Lebanon border violations' / Barak
Israel will ask the United Nations to announce that once the Israel Defense Forces withdraws from the northern section of Ghajar, it will no longer be in violation of the international border with Lebanon, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz Wednesday ... Israel is seeking the UN's official recognition to prevent Lebanese factions from raising further territorial demands, such as the future of the Shaba Farms area on Mount Dov.
Unilateral land transfer angers villagers
Residents of a small village in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights told reporters they were furious on Wednesday, following a unilateral decision by the Israeli government to hand half of the town over to Lebanon. [See photo with caption: "Family members watch an Israeli-Druse bride from the village of Buqata in the occupied Golan Heights. The bride walks through the buffer zone at the Kuneitra Crossing, manned by UNIFIL forces. Crossing over into Syria, the bride will not likely see her family again." Also see film The Syrian Bride on this subject]
Israel finally leaves tiny village straddling Middle East's political fault line / Donald Macintyre in Ghajar
...Yigal Palmor, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, insisted that there is "no intention" physically to divide the village, and that residents – most of whom have been Israeli citizens since the occupation of the Golan Heights in 1967 – have nothing to fear. "We hope to preserve their daily lives without any changes," he added. But the assurances seem unlikely to satisfy residents, in the absence of direct guarantees or consultation.
Villagers protest Israeli withdrawal plan
(dpa) Residents of the southern border town of Ghajar have decided to protest the Israeli decision to withdraw from the northern part of the village, Lebanese media reported Wednesday. Local council representative Najib Khatib said in radio interviews that the entry of UN troops "into the northern part of the village will be over the corpses of its
War overshadows Eid al-Adha
RIYADH (AFP) -- Muslims around the world on Tuesday marked Eid al-Adha with prayers and ritual sacrifices, but celebrations in some countries were overshadowed by war, natural disaster and soaring livestock prices. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, honours Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God, who according to Islamic tradition provided a lamb in the boy's place.
Amnesty: Egypt should probe torture death allegation
CAIRO (AFP) -- Amnesty International said on Tuesday that Egypt should immediately investigate allegations that a teenager was killed in detention in the same district another man died after being beaten by police. Relatives of 19-year-old Ahmed Shabaan say he was tortured to death by police in the Sidi Gaber district in the port city of Alexandria and his corpse thrown into a canal.
Mass arrests ahead of Egyptian election (AFP)
CAIRO -- Egyptian police have rounded up about 600 Muslim Brotherhood members ahead of this month's parliamentary election and some 250 are still detained, a senior Brotherhood official said Tuesday.
Outspoken Egyptian blogger released
Kareem Suleiman freed after serving four-year sentence for his online writings about religion. -- Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman,
reportedly the first blogger in Egypt to face trial for his online writings, has been freed from prison after being held 10 days beyond his intended release date.Suleiman, who was imprisoned for more than four years, has declined to speak publicly since he was released on Monday, according to the website of the campaign organised to support him.
U.S. and other world news
US activists face new repression
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.
New York's Muslims, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Israel / Alex Kane
Ever since Lawrence Swaim of the California-based Interfaith Freedom Foundation articulated his valuable insight to me that the question of Israel courses through Jewish-Muslim relations, I’ve been coming across stories that fit into that theme. In general, strong support for Israel correlates with an aversion to understanding legitimate Palestinian, Arab and Muslim grievances about the United States and Israel, and given the dehumanization of Palestinians (the majority of them Muslims) that pervades Israeli and U.S. society, it’s no surprise that Israel is a big roadblock in Jewish-Muslim relations. You have to place the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s opposition to Park 51 in lower Manhattan in that context.
Thanksgiving in Beirut / Maya Mikdashi
November 25, people from across the United States will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving ... Like all ideologically inflected nationalist myths, holidays such as Thanksgiving or Columbus Day both commemorate and mask the histories of violence that build and sustain nations. Such masking enables us to know that people lived on and were removed from the land but also allows us to disregard the fact that the descendants of those people still live in the reservations their ancestors were forced onto through acts of genocide. On November 25, people from across the United States will be, unwittingly or not, celebrating the ongoing success of settler colonialism.
Baiting a faith in Oklahoma / Micharl Gerson - WaPo
Just to be on the safe side, voters in Oklahoma this month overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that prevents the Talibanization of the Sooner State. Henceforth, there will be no public stonings in Ponca City, no forced burqa wearing in Bartlesville, no sharia law in Lawton. Even supporters of the referendum - which forbade state courts from considering sharia in their deliberations - admitted that the threat from Oklahoma's 30,000 Muslims couldn't be called "imminent." "It's not a problem and we want to keep it that way," explains state
Sen. Anthony Sykes. Sharia law, according to state Rep. Rex Duncan, is a "cancer that must be removed with a preemptive strike."
Oklahoma Univ. student government votes to condemn Shariah law ban
NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Student Congress on Tuesday condemned Oklahoma's recent ban on international and Shariah law. With two members abstaining, the other 23 members of the Student Congress voted unanimously in favor of a resolution stating that
the recent passage of State Question 755 hurts OU's ability to function on the international stage and when recruiting international students.
Tanzanian cleared of terror charges in key Guantanamo trial (AFP)
NEW YORK – A Tanzanian man accused in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies was cleared of terror charges Wednesday, but could still face life in prison in a dramatic end to the first civilian trial of a former Guantanamo Bay inmate. A jury in New York
federal court returned the surprise verdict after five days of deliberations, finding Ahmed Ghailani not guilty on all but one of 286 charges. He was found guilty only of conspiracy to destroy US property,
Hague's Guantanamo plea overshadows Middle East talks / David Usborne in Washington
A day after announcing it was to pay millions in tax-payers' money to compensate a group of 16 men who were detained and allegedly tortured by American interrogators
at Guantanamo Bay, the ][U.K.] Government last night implored the US to free the last Briton remaining there.
Britain to settle rendition torture case for millions
The British government will reportedly pay millions in compensation to seven British nationals who were unlawfully “rendered” to U.S.-run prisons and tortured with the cooperation of British intelligence. The British press is
reporting that ministers and the security services appear to have decided that exposure of thousands of documents in open court was a risk they could not take.
The obstacles to reporting the truth about war / Serene Assir
The phenomenon of over-exposure with little or no interest in context and other aspects of ethical journalism is not the only problem that media workers and human rights activists have to face in the West. Other subjects are treated with complete silence. Among
the topics highlighted by Arce and Diaz are Egypt's increasingly powerful workers' movement and the systematic violation of human rights in Syria. "Stories on Palestine are manipulated but at least the topic is now on the agenda," said Arce. Meanwhile, Diaz added, "The list of issues that never make it into Western media is long and varied.
Eisenhower on the opportunity cost of defense spending
Dwight David Eisenhower, "The Chance for Peace," speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Apr. 16, 1953: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat...."
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