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  • Facebook didn’t even bother to reply
    Amira Hass | Jul. 21, 2021 - Haaretz.com

    The giant corporation Facebook has spokespersons and a PR department in Israel, which publishes the names of its employees.

    On Saturday, I sent them questions regarding the blocking of the account of a Palestinian user, Omar Nazzal. That is, I wanted to understand why Facebook put up a roadblock in its cyberspace. The Israel Defense Forces puts up roadblocks in the geographical space and denies the Palestinians their right to freedom of movement, and Facebook does the same in virtual space.

    Reports and investigations prove that Nazzal is not the only Palestinian targeted by Facebook’s restriction of movement policy. At the same time, this social-corporate network is filled with the accounts of settlers and settlements and with ads for settlements. In other words, Facebook systematically provides total freedom of movement to serial criminals who violate international law, and encourages crimes such as moving to settlements.

    From Facebook’s notification to Nazzal about the suspension of his account, it could be inferred that it was because he posted a letter written by political prisoner Khalida Jarrar after the funeral of her daughter Suha – a funeral the mother was not permitted to attend. I asked Facebook about the reason for the suspension and how the decision was made. I didn’t get an answer.

    We, the journalists who cover the Israeli occupation from an explicitly stated starting point of opposing it as a matter of principle, are accustomed to government spokespersons who evade giving answers, do not provide information and sometimes lie. But they – the spokespersons for the army, the Civil Administration, the Israel Prison Service and even the Shin Bet security service – at least send some sort of generic reply. Sometimes they may surprise us and supply a little information, on or off the record.

    I don’t know if it was a personal decision by Israeli Facebook spokespersons not to answer me, or if the directive came from above. But failure to reply to a journalist’s question – which is rude in itself – is a type of statement: “After all, we know that nothing will reduce our power, certainly not the failure to discuss Facebook’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinian users. So why should we bother to reply?”

    In the absence of an official response, it is left for us to answer: Presumably there were Israelis who demanded the suspension of Nazzal’s account, and Facebook obeyed. On May 13, during the war in Gaza, Defense Minister Benny Gantz – who was then also the justice minister – met with company representatives and pressed them to take more serious steps against “extremist elements that are seeking to do damage to our country” (Time Magazine, May 21, citing a statement from his office).

    In fact, Time reported, in the week since the meeting, the Justice Ministry noticed that Facebook had responded more quickly to Israeli requests to remove content. “We would like to see even greater responsiveness going forward,” Time quoted a ministry official as telling the magazine.

    Israel has the personnel resources, the money and the unlimited chutzpah to pressure Facebook and its ilk to hobble the movement of the Palestinians and their supporters in cyberspace. Just as it has the power to deter mainstream international media outlets from investigating its actions against the Palestinians.

    Israel has the power to influence Facebook’s algorithms to interpret as incitement or violence any Palestinian definition of the nature of the oppressive Israeli regime that dispossesses them, any criticism or any incriminating photograph of Israeli killings or home demolitions.

    Whether it was the Israel National Cyber Directorate, supposedly “neutral users” or Facebook’s existing algorithms that demanded the suspension of Nazzal’s account, Israel’s aggressive footprint is in evidence here too. And Facebook again proved that it sides with the center of power and money. Had the company existed in apartheid-era South Africa, its blocking policy would undoubtedly have adapted to the demands and persecution methods of the white racist regime.

    P.S. On Tuesday morning, after this article was published in Hebrew, Facebook unblocked Nazzal’s account and apologized. “We are sorry we got this wrong,” the new announcement to Nazzal said.

    I don’t know if it was a personal decision at Facebook Israel not to answer me, or if the directive came from above.

    • Facebook bloque le compte qui a publié une lettre d’une ancienne députée palestinienne emprisonnée
      19 juillet | Amira Hass pour Haaretz | Traduction BP pour l’AURDIP |

      Khalida Jarrar écrit à sa fille, après ses funérailles, mardi dernier : ta vie est « la vie d’une Palestinienne qui aime la vie et l’espoir et la liberté, et qui déteste l’esclavage et le colonialisme ».

      Facebook a suspendu pour deux mois le compte d’un utilisateur qui avait posté une lettre de Khalida Jarrar, militante politique palestinienne et ancienne membre du parlement qui subit une peine de prison en Israël, une lettre écrite après les funérailles de la fille de Jarrar mardi.

      Omar Nazzal, ami proche des Jarrar, a été informé cette semaine que son compte Facebook était suspendu pour deux mois, peu après avoir posté cette lettre. (...)

  • Israel’s NSO and Pegasus are a clear and present danger to democracy around the world
    Eitay Mack | Jul. 21, 2021 - Haaretz.com

    NSO’s Pegasus spyware, a cyberweapon enabling state-sponsored terrorism against civil society, has outraged the world. In Israel, there’s complicity – or complete indifference

    “The violation of Israeli settlers’ right to ice cream”: The Ben & Jerry’s “outrage” is what most of Israel’s media, government and the Israeli public have been obsessing over for the last 24 hours, while in the rest of the world, newspapers headlines have been publicizing Israeli surveillance company NSO’s complicity in the political persecution of journalists, lawyers, politicians and human rights activists.

    Since 2017, when NSO’s involvement in political persecution in Mexico was exposed, there has been a steady flow of investigations around the world into its other human rights violations, and every few months more findings have been published.

    And in Israel, there was, and is, general indifference, both in the public square and in the political sphere.

    A charitable explanation of that indifference in Israel would be based as stemming from the (mistaken) belief that these were isolated, exceptional cases, or that the publications that exposed the misdoings were inherently “anti-Israel.”

    But even now, when the trickle of information about NSO has become a tsunami, in particular its Pegasus spyware (believed to have been acquired by numerous authoritarian governments as a spyware weapon to target political opponents, journalists and human rights activists), Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its products in the occupied territories is still the most discussed issue in Israel – and the trigger for the loudest outrage.

    Perhaps there was never any reason to expect otherwise from a state that defines itself as democratic but, for 54 years, has been holding millions of Palestinians hostage to its whims.

    After 12 years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister, in which human rights activists and Knesset members were smeared as supporters of terrorism, critical journalists deemed enemies of the people and left-wing voters as traitors, why would the Israeli public, which had grown accustomed to view dissident voices as enemies, care about what happens to journalists in Azerbaijan, India or Hungary?

    If Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention, without trial at all times, why would there be any outcry if new friends Saudi Arabia and Rwanda use an NSO system, born and bred in Israel, to incriminate opposition activists so they then rot in prison?

    Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other cabinet ministers decided it was urgent and essential to condemn in a unified demagogic wave the ice cream brand’s decision and even claimed, implicitly or explicitly, that it fueled antisemitism and terrorism.

    But they all retain the right to remain silent regarding the Defense Ministry granting licenses to NSO, which serve in practice as licenses for state-sponsored terrorism against civil society around the world.

    Even Meretz, the party which has traditionally championed human rights, has lost its voice. Now ensconced in government after 20 years of exile in opposition, with two senior government portfolios and representation in the foreign affairs-national security cabinet, the paty is now feigning innocence, or ignorance, and prefers to keep mum rather than fretting about a “minor” issue such as human rights.

    Meretz has adopted the Machiavellian pragmatism of the Ministry of Defense, which, by licensing NSO, serially prioritizes the support of dubious allies to quash resolutions unfavorable to Israel in global forums - human rights and international law be damned.

    It’s a dismal decline for a party that once led the Knesset to consider its moral conscience, proposing to amend the 2007 Defense Export Control Law to include a ban on exporting goods or services that could be used to violate human rights. Now-Minister Tamar Zandberg once filed a petition to actually revoke NSO’s export license to Mexico.

    But now, Meretz is content to settle for a request for “clarification” from Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Why not demand that Gantz immediately freeze all NSO export licenses? What other clarifications does Meretz need? Would Meretz ask the science minister for “clarifications” as to whether the earth is round?

    Two petitions have been filed in the courts regarding NSO’s export licenses. A gag order was issued in the court’s ruling in March 20, 2018 on the export of the company’s system to Mexico. Israeli Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut, and Justices Yosef Elron and Menachem Mazuz, who heard the petition, approved for publication only the bare fact that they’d rejected the petition to block sales to Mexico.

    Judge Rachel Barkai, who heard another petition, following the exposure by Amnesty International of an attempt to attack one of its staff member with the Pegasus spyware, wasn’t satisfied with merely rejecting it but chose, in her ruling of 12 July 2020, to pay gratuitous tribute to the Ministry of Defense for its adherence to human rights norms in issuing licenses for defense exports.

    Israel’s judicial system has thus serially missed opportunities to prevent NSO and Israel’s Ministry of Defense from becoming a real and present danger to democracy all over the world.

    Two weeks ago, High Court justices Alex Stein, David Mintz and Anat Baron rejected a petition to revoke an export license to Russia granted by the Ministry of Defense to the Cellebrite system, which has been used to hack into the cellphones of activists in Alexei Navalny’s anti-Putin, anti-corruption organization.

    The judges went even further, blocking further petitions on the issue, ruling that defense export policy, as the prerogative of the state, is not subject to judicial review - except for extreme cases “involving abuse of authority, conflict of interests or extremely unreasonable conduct.” It is no longer clear that there is a path through Israel’s courts to fight the sale of cybertech to repressive regimes.

    Only time will tell whether escalating international pressure will succeed in changing the State of Israel’s defense export policy for the weaponry of spyware any more than international pressure is helping end the occupation. Clearly, past experience is no cause for optimism, no matter the riptide generated by the Pegasus revelations.

    Eitay Mack is a human rights lawyer and activist based in Jerusalem specializing in the issue of Israel’s arms trade. He filed the petitions to revoke the NSO and Cellbrite defense export licenses and participated in writing the bill banning the export of defense-related goods or services that could be used to violate human rights mentioned in the article above

    Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman

    #Pegasus #NSO

    • Ben & Jerry’s annonce la fin de ses ventes dans les territoires palestiniens occupés
      Par Alex MacDonald
      Published date : Mardi 20 juillet 2021 - 10:27

      La société de crèmes glacées Ben & Jerry’s a annoncé qu’elle allait mettre un terme à ses ventes dans les territoires palestiniens occupés.

      Dans un communiqué publié lundi, l’entreprise juge ces ventes « en contradiction avec [ses] valeurs » et ajoute avoir « entendu et compris les inquiétudes partagées par [ses] amateurs et [ses] partenaires de confiance. »

      « Nous avons un partenariat de longue date avec le détenteur de notre licence, qui fabrique la crème glacée Ben & Jerry’s en Israël et la commercialise dans la région », indique le communiqué.


  • Israel’s Lapid to EU’s top diplomats: Two-state solution is unfeasible - Jonathan Lis | Jul. 12, 2021 | 6:01 AM - Haaretz.com

    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is expected to announce Israel’s intention to join the Creative Europe program, which grants generous support to cultural initiatives but bars funding for projects in settlements

    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that although he supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is currently unfeasible. Lapid made the remarks as the main guest at a meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, which was attended by 26 EU foreign ministers.

    “It is no secret that I support a two-state solution. Unfortunately, there is no current plan for this. However, there is one thing we all need to remember. If there is eventually a Palestinian state, it must be a peace-loving democracy. We cannot be asked to take part in the building of another threat to our lives,” the Israeli foreign minister said.

    Lapid said that Israel has a new type of peace with the Arab world, noting the inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates ten days earlier. The Israeli foreign minister expressed the hope that Israel would also open embassies in Morocco, Bahrain and Sudan in the coming weeks.

    Lapid added that he seeks to expand the scope of Israel’s peace agreements, including to the Palestinians. “What we need to do now is ensure that no steps are taken that will prevent the possibility of peace in the future, and we need to improve the lives of Palestinians. Whatever is humanitarian, I will be for it. Everything that builds the Palestinian economy, I am for it," he said.

    Earlier on Monday and against the backdrop of the worsened relationship between Israel and the EU, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said: “Today’s meeting with Lapid is a great chance to restart relations with Israel from a bilateral point of view, but also regarding the situation in the Middle East.”

    Also on Monday, Lapid met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, where he stressed the common values that Israel and the alliance share. Lapid expressed Israel’s willingness to expand cooperation in a range of fields, including intelligence, cybertechnology and climate change.

    In the course of his visit, Lapid is seeking to promote Israeli-European dialogue through the Association Council, which governs Israeli-European partnerships in areas such as commerce and foreign policy. The council has not been convened in recent years due to a dispute between the two sides.

    Lapid is also expected to announce Israel’s intention to join the Creative Europe program, which grants generous support worth hundreds of millions of euros to cultural initiatives in participating countries, including film production, book translations and the establishment of cultural institutions. Then-Culture Minister Miri Regev opposed Israel’s joining the initiative in 2017 because it was conditioned on prohibiting the use of program funding in West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights

    In Israel, the current expectation is that unlike the hard line pursued by Regev, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and right-wing parties in the coalition government will support joining the initiative. In 2013, Bennett supported a compromise that allowed Israel to join a comparable EU initiative, Horizon 2020, providing funding to scientific projects, even though that initiative also barred funds going to areas beyond Israel’s 1967 borders.

    A diplomatic source told Haaretz that the fact that Lapid was invited to meet with the foreign ministers just a month after he assumed office is “a significant event that attests to the wish of member states to open a new page in their relations with Israel, but it’s unclear to what extent they can or are willing to update relations between the two sides.”

    According to another source familiar with the details of Lapid’s visit, “[former Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu deliberately led to a deterioration in the ties with European countries in recent years, on the backdrop of their critical stance, preferring to promote relations with countries that cooperated with him, mainly Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. Lapid has a clear goal of rehabilitating relations with other states. The Europeans were also waiting for a change in government.”

    This source added that “it’s unclear if this move will be entirely successful. Lapid can advance numerous achievements, but in order to moderate the European Union’s attitude toward Israel, European ministers will demand to see significant progress in the diplomatic process, and that is something the Bennett-Lapid government is not ready for at this point.”

  • Israel bars jailed Palestinian lawmaker from attending daughter’s funeral
    Jack Khoury - Jul. 12, 2021 11:38 PM - Haaretz.com

    Israel Prison Service refuses to let Khalida Jarrar, who is serving a two-year sentence for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to attend the funeral of her daughter who died of a cardiac arrest

    Israel barred Monday imprisoned Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar from attending the funeral of her daughter, who died the previous day from a cardiac arrest.

    Jarrar is serving a two-year sentence for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and is due to be released in four months.


    • Yafa Jarrar
      @YafaJarrar - 6:34 PM · 13 juil. 2021
      My mom Khalida Jarrar’s letter from her cell in Damon prison, Haifa. Read at my sister Suha’s funeral this morning.

      Imprisoned But Free : Letter from the heart from jailed Palestininan leader Khalida Jarrar, to her daughter, Suha, gone too soon. July 12th 2021

      I am in so much pain, my child, only because I miss you.
      I am in so much pain, my child, only because I miss you.

      From the depths of my agony, I reached out and embraced the sky of our homeland through the window of my prison cell in Damon Prison, Haifa. Worry not, my child. I stand tall, and steadfast, despite the shackles and the jailer. I am a mother in sorrow from yearning to see you one last time..

      This doesn’t hapen except in Palestine. All I wanted was to bid my daughter a final farewell, with a kiss on her forehead and to tell her I love her as much as I love Palestine. My daughter, forgive me for not attending the celebration of your life, that I was not beside you during the heartbreaking ans final moment. Mt heart has reached the heights of the sky yearning to see you, to caress and plant a kiss on you forehead through the small window of my prison cell.

      Suha, my precious, they have stripped me from bidding you a final goodbye kiss. I bid you farewell with a flower . Your absence is searingly painful excruciatingly painful. But I remain steadfast ans strong, like the moutains of bloved Palestine.

      Yafa Jarrar
      @YafaJarrar - 7:05 AM · 16 juil. 2021

      New letter from Khalida Jarrar:
      “And to all of you, give Suha her flowers. Talk about her, her beautiful character, and plant an olive tree by her grave so that she can always be under its cool shade.” #FreeKhalidaJarrar


      When Suha came to the world, her father was incarcerated. And she is leaving it now while her mother is behind bars. This is a condensed example of human life for Palestinians who love freedom despite the cruelty of occupation and colonialism which rob us even of the oxygen we breathe.

      The occupation robbed me of saying goodbye to my little bird Suha, forcing me to bid farewell with a flower from our land instead of a kiss. Rest in peace, Suha, my heart’s bird.

      As for you, Yafa, my other little bird. I love you with all my heart as I have loved your sister Suha. Be strong so that I can draw my strengh from you.

      Ghassan, be resilient and take care of yourself an Yafa and don’t worry about me.
      And to all of you, give Suha her flowers. Talk about her, her beautiful character, and plant an olive tree by her grave so that she can always be under its cool shade.

      I love you,


    • Damn them all
      Gideon Levy | Jul. 15, 2021 | 1:14 AM | Haaretz.com

      Damn them all. Damn Rafael Gana, the deputy head of the Israel Prison Service, who wrote to the interior minister: “Your request does not meet the prerequisites for consideration.” Damn Katy Perry, the head of the Israel Prison Service, who approved the decision. Damn Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, the heartless coward, who didn’t lift a finger to change this evil decision. And above all, damn the Shin Bet, which probably stands behind the decision, as it stands behind far more than we know.

      Damn all those who are partner to this sadistic decision not to release Khalida Jarrar from prison to attend her daughter’s funeral. Damn this new government, which presumed to herald a change, and none of whose ministers acted to oppose the evil institutions that decided to leave Jarrar in prison. Not even ministers Merav Michaeli and Tamar Zandberg, who presumably have far more in common with the secular feminist freedom fighter Jarrar than with their colleague Ayelet Shaked.

      And damn the Israeli media, which, with the exception of this newspaper, took no interest in the story, which was reported worldwide but not in Israel. Jarrar is a political prisoner. After a sequence of arrests without trial, she was sentenced to two years in prison for “belonging to an illegal organization,” in a land where there is no organization that is permitted to Palestinians. Jarrar is scheduled to be released September 25, about two months from now. All the existential dangers that lie in wait for the country upon her release will be ready to pounce in another two months.

      On Sunday, her daughter Suha was found dead, apparently from cardiac arrest. Suha’s body was found about five hours after her death, after her sister in Canada was unable to reach her by phone and asked friends to break into the house. Suha’s father Ghassan was in Jenin at the time and rushed to her home. The Khalidas have two daughters: Suha, who completed a master’s degree in climate change in Canada and worked for the Al Haq human rights group in Ramallah, and Yafa, who completed a doctorate in law in Canada and lives there.

      I will never forget that moment in the military court in Ofer in the summer of 2015: Yafa, Suha and Ghassan in the audience, Khalida in the dock, and the Israel Prison Service officer, Bassam Kashkush, suddenly allowed the two young women to approach their mother and embrace her. Even the warden teared up. It was forbidden, against regulations, but what Officer Kashkush dared to permit, in a rare moment of humanity and compassion, the State of Israel, the head of the Prison Service and the interior minister failed to do.

      All that was needed was a tiny degree of humanity. All that was missing was a minimal amount of humanity. “He had a mother, after all,” wrote poet Nathan Alterman. They are also parents, after all, Katy and Omer and the Shin Bet agents. Are they capable of imagining what it means to lose a young daughter and not be able to go to her funeral? Not to be with her father and sister during their tragedy? To mourn in grief in a cell in Damon Prison? To hear about the death of their daughter on Radio Palestine?

      What else? What else needs to be said about Israeli insensitivity, except for one thing: Jarrar is a human being. But to most Israelis, she isn’t. She’s a terrorist, although she has never been convicted of terrorism, and she is a proud Palestinian, and that is even worse, apparently.

      The day after Suha’s death, when there was still hope that Jarrar would be released, the banquet hall in the center of Ramallah was filled with people. The entire secular left of the city came to be with Ghassan, who remained so alone in his mourning. He cried and cried, and everyone cried with him. Fadwa Barghouti, Marwan’s wife, who sat next to me, said their son Aarab was at this moment visiting his father in prison for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus. He is the only one in the family allowed to visit Marwan. Fadwa is not allowed to visit her husband, and Khalida is not allowed to attend her daughter’s funeral. Israeli malevolence, how awful it is.

  • Israel’s Bennett, Jordan’s king meet secretly, make water deal - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

    In a meeting July 8 in Jordan, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi formalized an agreement reached by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Jordanian King Abdullah last week on increasing the quantity of water Israel will sell to Jordan.


    Israel and Jordan sign water and trade deals in foreign ministers’ meeting - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Jordan will purchase an additional 50 million cubic meters of water from Israel and increase its exports to the West Bank from $160 million a year to around $700 million, the two countries announced Thursday.

    #israël #jordanie #palestine #eau

  • Israël et l’Autorité palestinienne savent comment se renvoyer la balle – Par Amira Hass Jul. 5, 2021 traduction A l’encontre

    Depuis que le militant Nizar Banat a été battu à mort alors qu’il était détenu par l’Autorité palestinienne [voir l’article publié sur ce site en date du 27 juin], l’avocat Farid al-Atrash a émis des critiques cinglantes contre l’Autorité palestinienne (AP) et ses agences de sécurité.

    Il l’a fait dans des entretiens aux médias, dans des dizaines de posts sur Facebook, tout en participant à des manifestations. La phrase « Ce qui était avant [le meurtre de] Nizar Banat n’est pas ce qui sera après » termine presque tous les messages qu’il a écrits depuis le 24 juin, quelques heures après la mort du fervent critique de l’AP, qui était son ami proche. La dernière manifestation contre l’AP à laquelle Farid al-Atrash a pris part s’est déroulée samedi 3 juillet à Ramallah. Quelques heures plus tard, il a été arrêté alors qu’il rentrait chez lui à Bethléem.

    Et non, il n’a pas été arrêté par des membres des agences de sécurité palestiniennes, mais par les troupes de la police israélienne des frontières stationnées au poste de contrôle dit « des conteneurs », au sud d’Abu Dis [qui est dans la « zone B », donc sous contrôle israélien et palestinien], sur la route sinueuse qui est la seule route par laquelle Israël autorise les Palestiniens à circuler du nord au sud de la Cisjordanie. Apparemment, lorsque la carte d’identité d’Al-Atrash a été vérifiée, le signal « recherché » a clignoté sur l’écran de l’ordinateur du poste de contrôle. Il s’avère qu’il avait commis le grave délit de participer, le 15 juin, à une manifestation à Bethléem contre le massacre de civils palestiniens dans la bande de Gaza suite à des bombardements israéliens. Son interrogatoire du dimanche 4 juillet portait sur « la participation à une perturbation, l’organisation d’une marche sans autorisation préalable, l’opposition à un soldat et le trouble à l’ordre public ». (...)


  • Chile’s Jewish leaders are using antisemitism to bash a pro-Palestinian leftist. Again
    Claudio Mandler - Jun. 27, 2021 12:28 PM

    Presidential candidate Daniel Jadue aims for a more just society in Chile and justice for Palestinians. But the Jewish community’s leadership is falsely branding him an antisemite - just as it did with Salvador Allende
    Claudio Mandler | Jun. 27, 2021 | 12:28 PM | 1

    It’s hardly surprising that institutions that equate all criticism of Israeli policies with antisemitism are labeling Daniel Jadue, the leftist candidate for the presidency of Chile who’s part of the country’s Palestinian community, as antisemitic. It’s a common accusation against politicians who criticize Israel in many places around the world.

    Therefore the claim that Jadue expressed antisemitic views on account of his Palestinian background and pro-Palestinian views, as suggested in a recent Haaretz article (A Grandson of Palestinian Immigrants Could Be Chile’s Next President, and These Jews Are Worried) was predictable, as was the fact the Simon Wiesenthal Center named him in their top 10 list of global antisemites for 2020, an exercise in delegitimization.

    But despite being expected, this claim, the official line of the leadership of the Jewish community in Chile, cannot be allowed to stand without being challenged. That has to start with asking the leaders of Chile’s Jewish community to justify the antisemitism slur, and to ask whether this is actually their real objection to Jadue’s candidacy.

    Outwardly, on Israel-Palestine, the leadership of the Jewish community in Chile presents itself as “pro-peace.” It has repeatedly asked the large local Palestinian community not to “import” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Chile. But those same Jewish community leaders didn’t feel any qualms about “importing” the conflict when it was amongst the first to publicly congratulate President Trump when he defied Palestinian rights and moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

    Chile’s Jewish community considers itself Zionist, to the point of declaring that there are no Jews who are not Zionists. The community’s interpretation of Zionism means an endless willingness to justify or “clarify” any news about Israel: Any criticism from Jews towards Israeli policies in general, and those in the occupied territories in particular, is branded as “Jewish self-hatred.”

    This isn’t the first time that the institutional Jewish community in Chile has expressed animosity towards a prominent leader on the left. Salvador Allende, the socialist president of Chile between 1970 and 1973, was also branded an antisemite. Just as with Jadue, Chile’s Jewish community leadership talked up antisemitism rather than address their more fundamental opposition to left-wing economic policies.

    Many Jewish families “escaped” from Chile after he became president, frightened by the “horrors of communism”. But the only horror came on September 11, 1973, when Allende was overthrown by a bloody civil-military coup, which established the 17-year Pinochet dictatorship, killing, torturing, exiling thousands of people.

    I am part of a proud group of Jews on the left in Chile who identify with the social and political struggles that the candidacy of Daniel Jadue represents. We are convinced that the attacks on him and the bad faith accusations against him are fueled by opposition to his political and economic policies, under the guise of concern for Chilean Jews.

    We are very happy that at last Chile is leaving behind the dark ages of Pinochet’s dictatorship. We are delighted that, more than 30 years since the end of the authoritarian regime, Chile will be writing a new Constitution to enshrine in law the human and civil rights of Chile’s people, in accordance with the results of a referendum several months ago.

    We are heartened by the presidential program that Jadue presented last week, as the first act of his candidacy: a diverse, inclusive Chile, without discrimination of any kind.

    Daniel Jadue aims for a more just society, a better Chile for all Chileans. As Jews, as Chileans, we are very proud to back him as our candidate.

    Claudio Mandler was born in Chile, grew up in Jerusalem, served in the IDF’s Nahal infantry brigade, and returned to Chile as an emissary for the Hashomer Hatzair movement in 2005. He is a tourist guide and audiovisual editor who co-directed ‘Los caminos de la ausencia,’ a documentary film about the military dictatorship and human rights in Chile


  • Reality of a West Bank outpost: Four dead Palestinians and drone spraying tear gas
    Amira Hass Jun. 23, 2021 7:06 PM - Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 12:51 PM - Haaretz.com

    The protest around the illegal outpost of Evyatar has claimed four lives in six weeks. Palestinians on whose lands the outpost was built tell of armed civilians walking amidst Israeli soldiers

    Among the four residents of Beita who have been killed since mid-May in protests over the establishment of the illegal outpost Evyatar, Dr. Issa Barham is the only one who didn’t “merit” the same generic statement that the Israeli army spokesperson issues whenever there is a Palestinian casualty. A statement such as: “there were disturbances… the army is familiar with the report that a Palestinian was killed.” Barham, 41, was a legal scholar who specialized in international criminal law and worked in the Palestinian prosecutor’s office in the district of Salfit. He came to the protest in order to help evacuate the wounded. He was past the age of the youngsters who clamber over the terraced hills, race down the paths wending among the olive groves, burn tires, throw stones at soldiers a dozen meters away or more, and flee from tear gas. This is a protest that demands above average physical fitness and light feet.

    On Friday, May 14, there weren’t enough ambulances to take the sheer numbers of wounded and the mosques called on people to bring cars, says Barham’s brother Sultan. One of the responders was Barham.

    It was the second day of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast; the fourth day of the war in Gaza; and the twelfth day since the illegal outpost began to arise, and fast, on land belonging to Beita, Qablan and Yatma.

    That Friday there were demonstrations throughout the West Bank. Ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire, four of them in the Nablus area alone. Barham was one of them. About 1,650 people were injured. The Palestinian Red Crescent called for blood donations.

    A protester who had been near Barham relates that there were soldiers about 200 meters away from them. He also noticed armed Israeli civilians on the slope, near another group of soldiers. “Settlers,” he concluded.

    That is a detail repeated by a number of witnesses in Beita: alongside the soldiers, who are spread out in several groups, are armed Israeli civilians. One of the witnesses mentioned armed Israeli civilians when he told B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Daba’i about seeing Barham.

    Barham had been driving towards him along a dirt road between olive groves, in his white Hyundai Tucson SUV, and asked him, “Where are the wounded?” Several had already been taken in another car. Others, including one in serious condition, were still waiting among the trees, whether to be evacuated on stretchers by ambulances or for support to get to a car. Barham parked and started to walk toward the wounded. The witness saw that one soldier – from the distant group – lowered himself to sniping position. The witness didn’t think the soldier would shoot; he thought maybe he just wanted to put the wind up in the people. At that spot, at that moment, things were relatively calm. Everyone was busy with the wounded.

    Suddenly the witness heard one shot. “I saw Issa fall to the ground on his back,” he told a-Daba’i. Barham was hit in the middle of his abdomen. He was still breathing and had a pulse when he was put into another volunteer’s car to be taken to the field hospital set up in Beita, then to an ambulance. Soldiers were blocking the main entrance to the village; the ambulance drove north on the narrow winding roads of Beita, Odala and Awarta. En route the ambulance crew tried to resuscitate Issa. But at Al-Najah Hospital in Nablus, he weas declared deceased.

    We need to describe the topography in order to understand what’s going on there.

    The demonstrations take place on Mount Sabih, which has several peaks: Evyatar is on the highest, most southern one. As the crow flies, the distance between it and the other, lower peaks is about half a kilometer (0.3 miles). One of the other peaks has a fenced swimming pool surrounded by a garden. On Fridays at midday protest prayers are declaimed by the pool; then the more daring of the demonstrators begin to spread out on the mountain and down the wadi. The soldiers are already waiting for them, far away; they fire tear gas at the protesters, followed by rubber-coated bullets. Another point of assembly is one of the westerly peaks, near large storage buildings. The soldiers and armed Israeli civilians are usually positioned above the demonstrators. Sometimes soldiers travel on the dirt roads of the groves towards the demonstrators, dismount from their armored vehicles, then from a distance of a few dozen meters, fire tear gas and coated metal bullets. Sometimes soldiers, unnoticed before, suddenly appear out of the wadi. Sometimes soldiers prostrate themselves to sniping position, and fire live bullets.

    On the slopes of the southern peak the young people burn tires, hoping the black smoke will reach the settlers in the outpost who invaded their land. They would prefer to climb as close as possible to the outpost, but as one climbs, the mountain grows steeper and the trees are sparse.

    The military spokesman commented to Haaretz: “Violent disorderly conduct … endangers the lives of Israeli civilians … which is why a military force was deployed at the site.” But the armed Israeli civilians choose to leave the outpost and descend down the mountain towards the unarmed demonstrators, and the soldiers’ lives are not in any danger, the demonstrators explained to Haaretz.

    The number of demonstrators ranges from a few dozen to several hundred, depending on the day and the time. “We deploy here in protest every day, at night too,” said one of the demonstrators to Haaretz last week. He didn’t use the term “nighttime harassment,” which apparently joined the jargon just this week, whether spontaneously by demonstrators, or intentionally by spokesmen associated with Hamas, who echo the Gazan attempt to engage and confuse the army along the separation barrier.

    The demonstrators are in groups that can number anywhere from three to 10 young people. “Sometimes we sit like at a picnic, on a rock, next to a tree,” said Mohammed Hamayel, brother of Zakaria Hamayel. Mohammed was right next to Zakaria when he was killed on May 28. “People stay several meters from one another, and then if they’re wounded – nobody sees the moment of injury. That’s what happened with Zakaria. He had moved several meters away from me and my other brother and our cousin, looking for a place to recite the afternoon prayer. That was at about 4 P.M. We saw a group of soldiers and heard the shot, but at first we didn’t know that he was the one who was wounded.”

    Meanwhile, a medical team nearby was treating a man shot through the leg. The bullet went in one side and out the other. When the shouting “Ambulance, ambulance” began, some of the team started to run over.

    The terrain is rocky. Soldiers, and a number of armed settlers, had positioned themselves at a higher point. The shooters were perhaps a few dozen meters from Zakaria, one of the demonstrators told Haaretz; another estimated the distance at about 150 meters. Anyway, as the volunteers and the medical team were coming in Zakaria’s direction, the soldiers fired at them, one of them told Haaretz. One of the rescuers was hit in the thigh by a rubber-coated metal bullet. He had been dressed, as they all were, in the phosphorescent vest worn by medics. Tear gas grenades were fired at them even as they carried Zakaria on a stretcher. One of the rescuers was hit by a gas grenade in the face.

    Zakaria, 26, had taught Arabic in a school in Bir Nabala, south of Ramallah. The bullet entered his torso from the right. He suffered from internal hemorrhage and was bleeding profusely from his mouth and his nose. Two witnesses told Haaretz that he had been shot by an armed civilian; one said that the civilian was wearing a red shirt. Another said that the shooter was dressed in black. Another witness said that it was the soldiers who fired, but that there were armed civilians next to them.

    The army spokesperson later stated: “At this point the reason for the shooting is unknown.” He did not directly answer Haaretz’s question if they’re checking the claim that the shooter was a civilian, issuing only the generic statement that the military police investigative unit is investigating, following which any findings will be sent to the military prosecution.

    The army spokesman also told Haaretz that when necessary, soldiers use live fire in compliance with the rules of engagement.

    What in the conduct of Zakaria Hamayel and Issa Barham, and the distance between them and the soldiers, required the soldiers to fire on them with live and lethal fire, hitting their torsos? What in the location and behavior of Mohammed Hamayel, a 16-year-old high school student, who was killed on June 11, “required” the use of live fire against him? The army isn’t saying.

    “We went out to demonstrate after the afternoon prayer, at about 12:50,” M., a student in Al-Najah, told Haaretz. “We spread out in the area of the storage buildings (on the western peak), where we also prayed, among the olive trees. We saw two buses unloading soldiers and therefore kept our distance from them. I was there for several hours, fleeing from the gas, hiding among the trees, resting, advancing towards the top. At about 5 P.M. I found myself next to another two guys – Mohammed and his cousin. We know each other from the neighborhood. We didn’t throw stones. We saw four soldiers. One soldier picked up his weapon. I thought he wouldn’t fire, or at most would fire a rubber-coated metal bullet. The soldier fired twice, Mohammed and his cousin fell, and I was in shock. I froze in place. I didn’t know what to do.” He said that Mohammed had concealed his face; other witnesses didn’t remember that detail.

    Another witness told Haaretz that the four soldiers, at a distance of a few dozen meters, were lying on the ground, aiming their rifles. Other soldiers around them fired tear gas. The sound of the firing of the gas grenades and the rubber-coated metal bullets muffled the sound of the live fire. The cousin was shot in the shoulder. The bullet that hit Mohammed entered the center of his chest, exited from the left and penetrated his left arm, near the shoulder.

    The wounded cousin managed to run on his own in the direction of the rescuers. At first they thought that he was the only casualty; then they discovered Mohammed, bleeding. One of his evacuators told Haaretz. “I ran towards him. The soldiers fired tear gas at us. There was so much tear gas that I didn’t see his wound. We were suffocating. I don’t know how we continued to carry him on the stretcher, while we were having a hard time seeing the path, among the rocks and trees and terraces.” Later the army spokesman stated: “We know of a Palestinian claim about a young man who was killed, and wounded men.”

    On June 18 another high school student, Ahmad Bani Shamseh, was killed. The army spokesperson said that he had thrown an explosive at a soldier which is why he was shot. Haaretz was has not yet obtaine testimony about the circumstances.

    The army spokesperson didn’t answer Haaretz’s questions as to whether soldiers were wounded at those demonstrations in Beita, and whether it’s true that the drone that fires tear gas at the demonstrators comes from Evyatar and is activated from inside the outpost.

    Regarding the repeated eyewitness reports that tear gas grenades were fired at medical teams and people evacuating the wounded, and that Red Crescent ambulances that work in the Beita area come under attack, the spokesman replied: “The IDF forces do not use means of crowd-dispersal at demonstrations or fire at medical personnel and ambulances deliberately.”

    The conversations with the families of Zakaria Hamayel and Issa Barham lasted for hours, durign which they relived their lives. The beehives that Zakaria put next to the house constrict his brother’s throat.

    “Not only their deaths: their lives also deserve to be written about,” said Barham’s uncle and father-in-law, Ziad Bani Shamseh, grandfather to Issa’s four children. Asinat, the eldest, is 7, Maryam, the youngest, is a a toddler a year-and-a-half old. He has two sons, 6-year-old Yihye and Mohammed, 4-and-a-half. They’re too young to understand what death is, he said. Issa’s brother, Sultan, said: “A few days ago a white SUV like Issa’s stopped next to the house. His children shouted happily: Daddy’s here, Daddy’s here.”

    #Evyatar #Beita

  • Israel stops its nighttime ’mapping’ raids, but constant surveillance of Palestinians continues
    Amira Hass | Jun. 17, 2021 | 9:26 PM - Haaretz.com

    In stopping this army practice, fewer West Bank residents will wake up to find that armed Israeli soldiers have broken into their homes. But tracking and monitoring is a central component of Israel’s control over the Palestinians

    The military’s nightly raids on West Bank homes to collect intelligence – a practice to which the army put an end this week – are just one of the many tactics Israel uses to track, monitor and gather information about the Palestinians. The methods are legion, and the agencies perpetrating what could be called “permanent espionage directed at all Palestinians” are numerous and diverse. Ending the invasive and aggressive method of “mapping,” as the military calls it, is definitely welcome. Fewer people, including numerous children, will awake in fright at night, to a break-in by armed soldiers enjoying the power they wield or hiding their own fears behind pointed guns, barking orders in broken Arabic.

    But even without these searches, the many-armed espionage apparatus used against Palestinians continues and will continue to operate. Information gathering, surveillance and monitoring are a central axis of Israeli control over the Palestinian people, in Israel proper and in territories conquered in 1967; they are disciplinary tools.

    Their purpose is to make Palestinians obey and resign themselves to a Jewish takeover of most of their lands in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem and Israel proper. It is to acclimatize them to being concentrated in enclaves of limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza, or into detached neighborhoods in Jerusalem or overcrowded towns in Israel, land that has been expropriated over many years and allocated to Jewish communities. When required, when Palestinians show they will not obey or this, surveillance and monitoring are used to intimidate and punish – through arrests, trials and imprisonment by military and civilian courts.

    There are some methods of surveillance and information gathering that appear to be innocent, such as the meticulous monitoring of everything written and said in Palestinian media. There is also the close monitoring of social media, a treasure trove for any intelligence agency, even when following public discourse, rather than hacking an account.

    But most of the other methods are invasive and aggressive. Some are physically violent; the violence of others is derived from the very asymmetrical power relations and from a will to exploit Palestinian weakness for the benefit of the rule of Israel and its Jewish population. This includes the use of collaborators at all levels, wiretapping, obliging people to carry biometric identity documents, summons by the Shin Bet to a “conversation.” There is also the Shin Bet interrogation of detainees, with or without the use of torture; detentions for the sake of gathering information or incrimination (such as the arrest of fishermen in Gaza or of minors in villages where demonstrations against settlements are held); the use of stool pigeons in prison cells, the use of psychologists, Middle East experts or terror experts to get Palestinian prisoners to talk; placing cameras at checkpoints and surveillance drones and balloons above towns and villages and using face-identification technology.

    There are also “natural” methods of collecting intelligence or conducting surveillance, which are part and parcel of the relation between occupier and occupied, as determined by the Oslo Accords. These include “friendly” questioning at Civil Administration offices, regular meetings and talks between senior Israeli officials and representatives of the Palestinian Authority, questioning at border crossings and a demand for extensive information when requesting travel permits – mainly for medical purposes. Israel’s control over the population registry provides the army with a gigantic database, covering all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    It’s not just state institutions – such as the army, the Shin Bet security service and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and its branches, the Civil Administration and liaison offices – that deal with this constant espionage. Private agencies, which have multiplied in recent years, also engage in it. It’s the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center; the Regavim non-profit, which monitors every shack, sheep pen or terrace that Palestinians build in 60 percent of the West Bank (in what is called Area C); Palestinian Media Watch; NGO Monitor and various settler groups. It is certain that all these organizations – official and unofficial alike – share the information they gather through their own tracking and monitoring.

    When the commander of Central Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, says that the army can forgo home invasions for mapping purposes because it has advanced technological alternatives, one can believe him. But it’s very likely that the army would not have relinquished this method without the efforts of NGOs. These include the obstinacy of Breaking the Silence, which published information on these raids even before a report on this issue came out, and the legal action taken by attorneys Michael Sfard and Hagai Benziman who represented that organization, as well as the Yesh Din and Physicians for Human Rights NGOs.

    The nighttime raids are also a means of intimidation, another brick in the structure of dominance. The army and Shin Bet will surely find it easy to label Palestinians as “suspects” in order to continue breaking into their homes at night. The concession doesn’t really hurt the system.

    The reality of life under supervision, surveillance and information gathering, meant to discipline and regulate domination, is not an Israeli invention. The 18th century British legal scholar and philosopher Jeremy Bentham built a model of an efficient prison called a panopticon, an all-seeing instrument. This is an architectural model in which prisoners live in illuminated cells (rather than dungeons), under constant surveillance by their jailers, who are located in towers overhead. The prisoners can’t see their jailers, but knowing they are present keeps them disciplined.

    Bentham expanded his model to include hospitals, factories and schools, assuming that their efficiency would benefit society. Philosopher Michel Foucault analyzed the panopticon model as a mechanism of power, which allows one to understand the conduct of societies in the liberal-capitalist age, as well as the covert and overt techniques of oppression used by the sovereign against large groups of people.

    Ordinary liberal-capitalist societies have democratic measures that moderate the invasiveness of aggressive surveillance mechanisms and try to limit the number of people affected. But it cannot happen in a fundamentally non-democratic reality, as the Israeli occupation is. The panopticon, the sophisticated prison Israel has built, is the essence of the Palestinian reality.


  • @humanprovince sur Twitter

    Israelis refusing to vaccinate Palestinians for months while hoarding unneeded vaccines and then expecting a pat on the back for loaning Palestinians their vaccines that are about to go bad is peak Israel.

    Avril 2021:
    Another 36 Million Vaccines? Israel Already Has Millions Going to Waste

    #sans_vergogne #vitrine_de_la_jungle

  • Palestinian Authority nixes COVID vaccine deal with Israel due to close expiration date
    Jack Khoury | Jun. 18, 2021 | 8:18 PM | Haaretz.com

    Israeli health officials say the PA was completely aware of the vaccines’ expiration date when it agreed to reimburse Israel with Pfizer’s inoculations

    Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has ordered the Palestinian Authority to scrap a deal in which Israel would give the PA about 1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine because many of the doses are set to expire.

    The Palestinians said the doses, which Israel began shipping to the West Bank, are too close to expiring and do not meet their standards. In announcing the agreement, Israel had said the vaccines “will expire soon” without specifying the date.

    Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila announced the decision in a press conference, just hours after the agreement was struck.

    Israel said Thursday that it would transfer the vaccines to the PA in the coming days. The first 100,000 doses were transferred to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank Friday afternoon.

    The new Israeli government, which was sworn in on Sunday, said that the Palestinian Authority would reimburse it with a similar number of vaccines when it receives them from the pharmaceutical company in September or October. Up to 1.4 million doses could be exchanged, the Israeli government said in a statement.

    Israeli Health Ministry sources later confirmed that some vaccines would expire by the end of June or July. However, they said that the PA was completely aware of that as well as the amount of vaccines it was supposed to receive.

    A senior official in the ministry said the decision to cancel the deal is probably due to “an internal Palestinian issue.”

    Speaking in a press conference, Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government, said that all the doses that Israel has already transferred to the PA would expire by the end of the month.

    Melhem said that the PA was not aware that the vaccines were about to expire and expressed concern that Israel will continue transferring soon-to-expire doses.

    Palestinian officials had come under heavy criticism on social media after the agreement was announced, with many accusing the PA of accepting subpar vaccines and suggesting they might be ineffective.

    Earlier on Friday, both Israel’s Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and his Palestinian counterpart Mai al-Kaila welcomed the agreement.

    “This is not an agreement with Israel, but with the Pfizer company," al-Kaila said earlier Friday, before the deal was called off.

    Israel’s decision to send the vaccines was made in principle by the previous government, but the details had not been finalized.

    Although Palestinians sources claimed the vaccines would have been given to people in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, political sources said that according to agreement with Israel the inoculations would have been limited to West Bank residents and that the PA had agreed to its terms.

    According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 436,275 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have received at least one dose of vaccine, including around 260,000 who have received both doses. This includes around 100,000 Palestinians employed in Israel, who have been vaccinated by Israel over the past few months.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    • Vaccins anti-Covid : l’Autorité palestinienne annule l’accord avec Israël
      Avec notre correspondante à Ramallah, Alice Froussard – Publié le : 18/06/2021 - 20:16 – Modifié le : 19/06/2021

      Les doses de vaccins Pfizer reçues de l’État hébreu devaient bientôt expirer et ne répondaient pas aux normes requises, précise-t-elle. Retour sur ce deal annulé.

      Indiquant qu’elle refusait de recevoir des doses « en passe d’être périmées », l’Autorité palestinienne a annulé ce vendredi un accord avec l’État hébreu portant sur le transfert d’un million de doses de vaccins contre le coronavirus.

      Plus tôt, ce vendredi, Israël avait en effet annoncé qu’il transférerait environ un million de doses de vaccins en échange d’un nombre similaire de nouvelles doses que les Palestiniens s’attendent à recevoir plus tard dans l’année. Il s’agissait, selon le ministère de la Santé palestinien, d’une initiative visant à « accélérer la campagne de vaccination », et mis en place après qu’Israël a été invité depuis des mois à faire plus d’efforts pour assurer l’accès des Palestiniens aux vaccins.

      Le porte-parole de l’Autorité palestinienne a été clair : « après l’examen du premier lot de vaccins Pfizer reçu d’Israël, il a été découvert qu’il n’était pas conforme aux caractéristiques prévues par l’accord ». « Le gouvernement refuse donc des doses en passe d’être périmée » insiste-t-il lors de la conférence de presse, alors que déjà 90 000 doses avaient été reçues et sont sur le point d’être rendue.

  • Netanyahu ordered illegal shredding of docs at his office before Bennett took over, sources say - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    The material was kept in safes in the so-called ‘aquarium,’ where prime ministers and their most senior aides sit. It’s unclear which, or how many, documents were destroyed at Netanyahu’s orders

    Documents stored in safes in the Prime Minister’s Office were shredded on Sunday, in violation of the law, shortly before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office.

    People who worked at the office under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was he who ordered the documents shredded. It was not immediately clear which documents were destroyed or how many.[…]

    • ’Severe shock’: Netanyahu left scorched earth for Bennett at Prime Minister’s Office - Israel News - Haaretz.com

      The reason for Netanyahu’s 30-minute briefing with Bennett is that there was simply nothing to pass on, senior political says

      The 30 minutes that former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was kind enough to give his successor were to have covered 12 years of his rule, part of which was almost autocratic. That, of course, was a joke. Except that it wasn’t funny.

      Dozens of private diplomatic conversations with world leaders, agreements and understandings that go unmentioned in meeting minutes, the Iranian nuclear issues or strategic ties with the American government about which private conversations were held with Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump: All of these remain in Netanyahu’s notebooks and his memory, as if they were his private possession. The heads of the intelligence community who briefed Bennett know only some of these issues – what they were told.

  • Israeli troops ambushed the protesters. They didn’t stop firing even after shooting a teen in the head
    Even before the demonstration in solidarity with Gaza began, IDF troops fired at the protesters. Islam Burnat , 16, stood up, and was shot and killed
    Gideon Levy, Alex Levac | Jun. 10, 2021 | 11:51 PM - Twilight Zone - Haaretz.com

    The marker in memory of Bassem Abu Rahma – a metal plaque with text in English – stands along the path that descends to the separation barrier, mute testimony to a local hero who was killed here in 2009 in the struggle for his village’s lands and for his freedom. Bassem’s sister, Jawahar, was also killed not far from here, in demonstrations mounted by this West Bank resistance village of Bil’in, choked off by Israel.

    The way down the path is strewn with remains of burned tires; alongside are scorched fields and a grove of oaks, with a large, torn Palestinian flag flying at half mast. These lands in the western part of Bil’in were returned to the village a few years ago by order of Israel’s High Court of Justice. The villagers turned the area into playgrounds and recreational spots, but the place looks more like a battlefield than a picnic area.

    The houses of the huge ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modi’in Ilit, which was built on Bil’in’s property, abut the concrete wall of separation. A white-shirted Haredi settler is standing on the other side of the wall here, casting suspicious glances at us. Three weeks ago, Israel Defense Forces soldiers, standing not far from there, killed 16-year-old Islam Burnat with a bullet to the head. The strains of Haredi music playing a distance away encroach on the awful silence here. A makeshift circle of stones marks the spot where Islam fell. Fading bloodstains are still visible in the center of the circle, next to an empty bag of Bamba snack food.

    Bil’in displayed solidarity with the Gaza Strip from the first day of last month’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, against Hamas. The IDF, for its part, apparently decided that under cover of war, its forces could abort any political demonstration by Palestinians using all means – including live fire. With all eyes turned to Ashkelon and the Strip during the fighting, no one took an interest in the killing of demonstrators in the West Bank. That was especially blatant on the May 14, a black Friday, when soldiers killed 12 protesters in different places in the West Bank, and on May 18 in Bil’in .

    That day saw the third demonstration in Bil’in, northwest of Ramallah, since the war had erupted a week earlier. The Palestinians knew by then that the troops had changed the rules and were firing live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators who posed no danger to anyone, from the other side of the barrier – which has graffiti on it in support of BDS.

    “Use of live fire became a trend,” says Iyad Hadad, the experienced field researcher of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. “They didn’t want to give the demonstrations a chance and used live ammunition even before they started [the protest].” When Hadad visited the site where we’re now standing, five days after Islam was killed, in order to investigate the circumstances of that appalling death – soldiers fired live ammunition at him, too. He wasn’t hurt.

    On May 18, a general strike was called in the West Bank – a karama (dignity) strike – in a show of solidarity with bomb-battered Gaza. The village of Bil’in turned out to demonstrate. In the afternoon, as the heat abated, a vanguard force of 15 to 20 children and teenagers set out on the path leading down to the wall, in order to scout the area. Veterans of earlier demonstrations, they checked to see whether there were troops lurking in ambush. They saw nothing other than two soldiers standing on a dirt mound to the north of them, on the other side of the separation barrier, and an IDF jeep about 150 meters away from there. The small tent adjacent to the wall, also on the other side, which the soldiers had used in previous demonstrations to take refuge from the sun, was closed and looked deserted. The young Palestinian scouting party threw a few stones in the direction of the tent, to ensure there were no soldiers in it, and got no response.

    The group of young people taunted the two soldiers on the mound, chanting and throwing stones, which fell short. In response the soldiers hurled tear-gas canisters at them, and fired a few rubber-tipped metal bullets. The area was still relatively quiet; the main group of demonstrators from the village hadn’t yet arrived. Four of the youths approached the wall, the others kept their distance. Concentrating on the two soldiers standing to the north, the advance party didn’t notice a few soldiers suddenly emerging from the tent nearby.

    “Kamin! Kamin!” – “Ambush! Ambush!” – one of the teenagers screamed. About 40 meters separated the soldiers laying in the ambush from the four youths who were approaching the barrier. The soldiers started to rain live fire on them. The youths lay on the ground to protect themselves, and then the shooting stopped. Islam, who was lying on the ground and covering his head with his hands, couldn’t have known where the shooting was coming from, because from where he was it was impossible to see the tent, which was located on a slope on the other side of the wall.

    When the shooting stopped, Islam stood up. It was the last mistake he would ever make. He was shot in the head by a soldier standing to his right. Islam collapsed into an expanding pool of his blood. But things didn’t end there. When his distraught friends tried to evacuate him, the soldiers went on shooting at them for another five minutes, preventing his removal, according to testimonies taken by Hadad, the field researcher.

    When the firing died down, Islam’s friends carried him about 150 meters, until a Palestinian ambulance arrived on the scene. But in the absence of equipment for administering intensive care, there was little the volunteer paramedic could do, other than to try to staunch the blood spurting from the teenager’s head. About half an hour went by from the moment Islam was hit until he arrived at the Government Hospital in Ramallah. The medical report states that he sustained a direct shot to the head and that he had arrived in a state of brain death. About two hours later, at around 7:30 P.M., he was pronounced dead.

    Only the soldiers’ four chairs remained this week at the place from which the shots were fired at Islam; the tent has been removed.

    The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit again made do with its generic, automatic response to questions, this time about why Islam was shot in the head with live fire and why the soldiers went on shooting after he was hit and thus prevented his evacuation: “In the wake of the incident, a Military Police investigation has been launched, at the conclusion of which the findings will be conveyed to the military advocate general’s office for examination.”

    A new one-story house, whitewashed, stands at the edge of Bil’in. This is the home of Islam’s family. The house is enveloped with memorial posters and Palestinian flags. The family moved to its new home just two-and-a-half months ago. Islam’s bereaved mother, Janat, 37, is staying in her parents’ home, not far away. She is grief-stricken, her face cloaked in a kerchief. She cries constantly, a pent-up, quiet sobbing. Islam was her and her husband Wahal’s firstborn; they have three other children.

    On the day of his death, Islam got up after 10 – there had been a strike at school, too. At midday his younger sister, 7-year-old Fatma, asked him to make her French fries, and he did. Islam liked to cook. He then asked his mother whether she wanted to go to the demonstration: The Burnats are a fighting family; they usually go together to all the demonstrations. Janat replied that it was too early to go – she would join them later. Islam left home together with his uncle Mahmoud, who is his age. It was around 4 P.M. His mother says she had a bad feeling – her heart sunk, she recalls now, describing what she felt.

    At 5:15, Janat’s sister told her that she had heard live fire from the direction of the demonstration. With much foreboding, she asked whether anything had happened to Islam. Leaving behind an electrician who was working in the house, Janat rushed out into the street. Her brother Mahmoud ran toward her, weeping. Who was hurt, she asked. He said he didn’t know, maybe someone from the neighboring village. Her little daughter Fatma now leans mutely on the armrest of her chair. Janat’s brother, Rani, is sitting next to her; she curls up next to him from time to time, weeping.

    Rani Burnat, 40, a charming, good-looking man, was wounded on the second day of the second intifada by a bullet aimed at his head. It struck him in the neck, he tells us, when he turned his head at the last second. It happened during a demonstration in Ramallah, immediately after his last driving lesson, ahead of the test that was scheduled for the next day. After a year in hospitals in Jordan and the West Bank, his lower body and one arm are paralyzed and he is wheelchair-ridden for life. In that wheelchair he takes part in all the village’s demonstrations. He was also at the demonstration where his nephew, Islam, was killed.

    Frightened, Janat decided to go to the hospital in Ramallah. She was certain her son had been wounded, even though no one had told her so explicitly. When she arrived there with her husband, Islam was being operated on, in a desperate attempt to staunch the massive bleeding from his head. Rani also arrived at the hospital, in his specially outfitted car. He told us that he had been at the demonstration and had heard the shooting but hadn’t been able to see who was hit. Rani is a volunteer with B’Tselem who documents incidents with his video camera, but he did not manage to video the killing of his nephew. A friend who next to him had told him even before the shooting started that one of the soldiers looked like someone who “had come to kill.”

    Islam’s grandfather, Wajiah Burnat, a familiar figure in the Palestinian struggle, bearded, impressive, Hebrew-speaking, says he has frequently heard soldiers saying to one another, “Put a bullet in his head.” Never has he heard, “Put a bullet in his leg.”

    On that day, IDF soldiers rather than Border Police were deployed at the demonstration, the latter having been sent to impose order in Israel’s so-called mixed cities, which were on fire. Wajiah, 65, asks what other countries send soldiers to break up demonstrations.

    When we visited the home of Islam’s grandparents, on Monday of this week, Shai Carmeli-Pollak, the Israeli director of the marvelous 2006 documentary film “Bil’in My Love,” was also there. Four years ago, while preparing to direct a new feature, he shot a short promo to present to the film foundations – a scene with children from Bil’in in which Islam was the central character. On the day after the killing, Carmeli-Pollak edited segments of the clip, showing Islam with his friends, and with Roger Waters’ “Song for Palestine” playing in the background. It’s a harrowing sight. A boy who loved to swim, and dreamed of becoming a lifeguard, laughing and acting in a film.

    Carmeli-Pollak wrote on his Facebook page: “I have known Islam since he was a little boy. He’s the grandson of Wajiah Burnat, my good friend from Bil’in. A few years ago I filmed him for a scene from a film I am developing. He was a brave boy, who always went ahead in demonstrations, and it turned out that he was also a very talented actor. I had so much fun with him and his friends. On May 18, 2021 an Israeli occupation soldier murdered him in cold blood near the wall in Bil’in. He was 16 years old. I am looking for the right words to say and can’t find them. I am very sad.”

    RIP Islam
    Il y a 4 semaines
    Shai Carmeli Pollak


  • Israel deploys Iron Dome batteries as Hamas warns against Tuesday’s Jerusalem march
    Nir Hasson, Josh Breiner, Jack Khoury | Jun. 14, 2021 | 11:51 AM - - Haaretz.com

    The right-wing Flag March is a ’fuse for a new explosion,’ Hamas spokesman says a day after PM Bennett takes office

    The Israeli military has deployed Iron Dome air defense batteries and raised its level of alert ahead of the Jerusalem Flag March on Tuesday, as Hamas says it would respond to the right-wing march if it goes through as planned, potentially with rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

    Omer Bar-Lev, the newly sworn-in public security minister, decided on Monday evening, after a meeting with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and representatives of several Israeli defense agencies, to let the march go on as planned.

    “I was under the impression that the police is well prepared and that a great effort has been made to safeguard the delicate fabric of life and public safety,” Bar-Lev said in a statement.

    Hamas warned Israel that the march will renew unrest, less than a month after the two sides reached a cease-fire following 11 days of fighting in Gaza.

    “We are calling on Palestinians in Jerusalem and within the Green Line to halt the march tomorrow,” said Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanua on Monday. He dubbed the march, in which right-wing groups parade through the Old City carrying Israeli flags, a “fuse for a new explosion for the protection of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.”

    According to a Monday report on Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, Hamas leadership told Abbas Kamel, the head Egyptian intelligence who was heavily involved in mediating last month’s cease-fire with Israel, that the organization’s response to the march would be “identical” to its actions in May, when rockets were fired at Jerusalem.

    The report also said the group’s military wing has been ordered to stand by, but any action would “depend on Israel’s conduct.”

    The organizers of the Jerusalem Flag March reached an agreement with the Israel Police on Friday to allow for a march to take place on Tuesday. It had been planned for last Thursday, but was canceled after organizers and police failed to agree on a route over police fears that the march would reignite tensions and lead to riots in the city by passing through Palestinian areas.

    The march was originally scheduled, as per tradition, for Israel’s Jerusalem Day last month, and was diverted due to security concerns as clashes between police and Palestinians in the city intensified. It was dispersed shortly after it began, after tensions peaked and Hamas fired rockets from Gaza.

    The march planned for Tuesday will proceed down Sultan Suleiman road before arriving at the Damascus Gate, a flashpoint of tensions between Palestinians and police in recent months. An Israeli flag dance will be held at the plaza in front of the gate. The marchers, however, will not enter the Old City through the Damascus Gate and the gate will be closed off.

    From the Damascus Gate, marchers will pass through the Jaffa Gate and head toward the Western Wall through peripheral areas of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Part of the route will be detoured through the Jewish Quarter due to security concerns and to prevent overcrowding.

    The organizers of the march said, “We thank the Israel Police, police commissioner, and Jerusalem District from their cooperation and are happy that Israeli flags will be flown with pride in all parts of the Old City.”

    The organizers added, “We call on all citizens of Israel to join us this Tuesday with Israeli flags, to praise Israeli heroism and dance with joy in Jerusalem.”

    The change to the parade route came after Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman refused to allow the march to pass through the Damascus Gate, or the center of the Muslim quarter. Turgeman said that under no circumstances would he approve the route originally requested by the organizers, fearing that the march would incite riots throughout the Old City.

    The deputy head of Hamas in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, issued a warning to Israel on Thursday night, warning that if “settler extremism” and the Flag March aren’t reigned in, the “fragile cease-fire could explode.”

    Hamas’ military wing said it’ is “closely following the provocative and aggressive actions by the usurpers and their leaders in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn against harming Al-Aqsa, and salute her free defenders in Jerusalem.”

    Last month, Israeli security forces clashed repeatedly with Palestinians near and in the Al-Aqsa mosque, leaving hundreds of Palestinians injured.

    Security officials say that the situation in the Gaza Strip is still very sensitive, and that the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is looking for an excuse to escalate tensions with Israel – and may find one in the events in Jerusalem.


  • In just a month, illegal settler outpost sprouts up on Palestinian lands
    Amira Hass | Jun. 7, 2021 | 11:01 PM - Haaretz.com

    The aim of settlers at Evyatar, which already boasts some 40 buildings, is to prevent any contiguity between the three villages on whose lands they are currently building. Civil Administration inspectors can’t keep up with the pace of construction in the West Bank

    In the past month, in the heart of a Palestinian rural area south of Nablus in the West Bank, a new/old outpost called Evyatar is being constructed and expanded. Although only a short period of time has passed, there are already around 40 structures on the site. The massive construction is being carried out overtly, at the initiative of the Nahala settlement movement, which is providing financing and logistical assistance, and with the backing of the Samaria Regional Council. However, this past Sunday, two days after this article was first published in Hebrew, a military order was issued that is supposed to prevent entry to the site and to enable its demolition. The settlers vow to defy the order.

    After a few unsuccessful efforts, the outpost is now being built on land belonging to the villages of Beita, Qabalan and Yatma, in close proximity to their orchards and stone terraces, on a hill that was the site of an army base in the 1980s. Last month, during protests by villagers against the outpost, live fire by the Israeli army killed two young men from the village of Beita and wounded some 25 others. On Sunday the army blocked the main entrance to that village.

    The general secretary of Nahala, Daniella Weiss – whom Haaretz was referred to by the outpost settlers, as their spokeswoman – said last Thursday that the outpost covers several dozen dunams as of now, but has the potential to expand to 600 dunams (about 150 acres). As of Sunday 46 families were already living there. Weiss said another 75 are hoping to join them soon.

    Evyatar is located about 1.6 kilometers east of the Za’atara (Tapuah) Junction and according to the settlers’ Facebook page it “prevents the creation of a connection between the villages of Qabalan, Yatma and Beita” – but on the other hand, creates contiguity between the settlements of Tapuah, west of the Za’atara Junction, and Migdalim, about nine kilometers southeast of the junction.

    The Civil Administration told Haaretz that the structures in Evyatar were erected “illegally, without the necessary permits.” In other words, without a decision by that body’s Supreme Planning Council and without a proper master plan – which means that the public did not have a chance to submit its objections. The administration also said that “enforcement will be carried out at the site in accordance with authorizations and regulations, and subject to operative considerations.”

    Haaretz has learned that this kind of reply is given when military and/or political leaders intervene in order to prevent evacuation of a settlement, as evidenced by the many illegal and unauthorized agricultural outposts dotting the northern Jordan Valley: They have continued to expand in the past three or four years despite demolition orders against them.

    Daniella Weiss confirmed that demolition orders for the Evyatar outpost were indeed issued, but “not for all the structures, because every day new ones are being built.” In other words, Civil Administration inspectors can’t keep up with the pace.

    A resident of Kiryat Arba who moved to Evyatar told Haaretz last Tuesday: “The Israelites left Egypt in haste, and Evyatar was built in haste.” And in fact, the residents of Qabalan and Beita report hearing heavy machinery operating day and night.

    The Civil Administration did not reply to Haaretz’s question about the legal status of the land.

    Weiss claims that the property on which the outpost is being erected is in the process of being declared state land, within the area of jurisdiction of the Samaria Regional Council. When the military base was originally built on this site, an order was issued that green-lighted temporary seizure of the (privately owned) land for military purposes.

    Villagers recall their parents and grandparents cultivating the local fields, and explain that since the evacuation of the military base in the 1990s, they were prohibited from building there because the site is in Israeli-controlled Area C, where Palestinians are not allowed to build – even on their own private land.

    The outpost is named after Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the settlement of Yitzhar who was murdered by a Palestinian in May 2013. Following his murder there were three attempts to build an outpost at the site – in 2013, 2016 and 2018 – but the mobile homes and other structures erected there were evacuated very quickly. This time – just hours after the shooting attack against three students of the yeshiva in the settlement of Itamar, on May 2 – settlers began to set up awnings, mobile homes and tents, all at once. After reports of the death of Yehuda Guetta, one of the students, it was decided to name the study hall after him.

    ‘No hut on a rocky hill’

    When Haaretz asked why the authorities did not immediately evacuate the structures springing up this time, Weiss said that it’s due to a combination of the settlers’ daring and a deliberate decision to operate differently.

    “If you take a risk and demonstrate daring, you increase the chances [of succeeding],” she said, adding that the Nahala movement and the settlers decided that they did not want "a hut on a rocky hill, but a mass, with concrete blocks immediately, with heavy equipment immediately – in a big way.”

    Weiss added that right after the May 2 attack, military forces were preoccupied with the search for the shooter, which is how the opportunity was created at Evyatar.

    “It’s not that someone gave us freedom of movement,” she says, “but a situation arose, and families started to arrive. And then the war [between Israel and Hamas, in the Gaza Strip] broke out.” In other words, another factor that kept the army busy.

    Weiss was not aware of the report in the daily Maariv on January 11 to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a directive asking that the Supreme Planning Council approve the construction of 400 additional residential units in Beit El, Evyatar, Shavei Shomron and other settlements.

    Some of the structures brought into Evyatar are mobile homes that have seen better days; other buildings have been assembled on site from prefab components (such as walls, windows, closets and so on), and there are several concrete structures as well. Last week the settlers started paving the internal streets with asphalt. Last Tuesday the parking lot was still unpaved; by Thursday it was covered with asphalt.

    Piles of plywood were lying on the ground – awaiting assembly. In addition to the study hall, and a small grocery which is supposed to become a supermarket, there is already a nursery school with a small playground and a swath of artificial grass.

    Last Tuesday many children could be seen, as well as about 10 women and some 20 to 30 young men, most of them armed with rifles or pistols, “but not all of them,” says Weiss. “If only there were more armed men.”

    There is no fence around the outpost, an approach that she says is in keeping with her decades-old philosophy, implemented in her own settlement, Kedumim – to the effect that fencing is a sign of fear and weakness. Nor were any soldiers seen at the outpost on Tuesday. Weiss says that they were in Beita. According to a post on the website Hakol Hayehudi, the “Israeli canine unit” – a private organization based in the settlement of Tapuah – sent guard dogs and their handlers to Evyatar, along with technological means of protection.

    Some 90 percent of the work going on at the outpost is being done on a voluntary basis, Weiss says; low wages are being paid to those hired to work. Nahala is responsible for bringing in the heavy machinery (shovels, a cement mixer, and so on). During the first days at the site, residents of the surrounding Palestinian villages noticed that uniformed troops were helping with the construction. Weiss says they were apparently soldiers “who saw and became enthusiastic about building the land – soldiers who are often bored and are happy when there’s action. But there’s no need, because there are loads of young people who are working here.”

    A crowdsourcing campaign directed by Zvi Sukkot, an associate of the head of the Samaria Regional Council, a member of the hard-right Otzma Yehudit party and a spokesman for the settlement of Yitzhar – has brought in donations totaling about 1,200,000 shekels (about $370,000). The settling “cell” registered for Evyatar is one of seven organized by Nahala. Weiss adds that a number of families with eight or nine children have moved to the outpost (they have been allocated concrete structures, which are larger than the mobile homes). Two of the families in the cell are from Petah Tikva and the rest from West Bank settlements.

    Many people supporting the effort at Evyatar have made pilgrimages to the site, including the rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu; Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the Samaria Regional Council, Rabbi Shimon Rosenzweig of Tapuah; MKs Miki Zohar (Likud) and Amichai Shikli (Yamina); and members of the Bnei Akiva youth movement. Last Shabbat residents hosted hundreds of supporters.

    MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) turned to Defense Minister Benny Gantz on May 3, the day the establishment of the outpost was declared, and demanded its immediate evacuation in order to prevent an escalation of tensions. He traveled to the village of Beita “in order to ask permission from the legal landowners to go up [to the outpost] in order to see what was happening on their land, and to console them in their mourning.” Raz told Haaretz that his letter to Gantz, which warned about the crime being perpetrated by the settlers “was totally ignored and has not been answered to this day. Settlements are a war crime that must not be ignored.”


  • IDF Cyber-Intelligence Analyst, Tomer Eiges, Dies in Military PrisonFamily : « A Crime Took Place »
    June 3, 2021 by Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam תיקון עולם

    Over the past few days, I broke the story of AMAN cyber-intelligence analyst, Capt. Tomer Eiges, age 25, who died in a military prison last month. The Shin Bet arrested and charged him secretly, according to the security source I consulted, with espionage.

    After I published my first story on the case, Israeli media began to clamor for the military censor to release more details for publication. Until I published his name, the media could only report the barest details of the case.

    The family has also taken issue with the claim that he committed suicide in his prison cell. Today, a military appeals court permitted publication of details stating that Eiges had not been charged with espionage or treason and that he had not been spying for a foreign country.

    If that’s so, then why is Eiges buried in the civilian portion of the cemetery? It is customary for army veterans to be buried with their military comrades. Apparently, the army prohibited Eiges’ from being buried in the military section of the cemetery where he was buried. Why?

    My source responded to this court release with the following:

    “I dare the military court to release the full – and I mean full! – charge sheet and court sessions protocols.” (...)


    • IDF Chief of Staff “Regrets” Eiges Death, But Claims He Was Stopped at “Last Minute” from Committing Espionage
      June 9, 2021 By Richard Silverstein 6 Comments

      הרמטכל אביב כוכבי הבוקר על טרגדיית הקצין מאמן בכנס לזכרו של הרמטכל לשעבר אמנון ליפקין שחק זל pic.twitter.com/D12hBYcU2f

      — Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) June 9, 2021

      In an unprecedented statement, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi addressed the nation concerning the death of AMAN Capt. Tomer Eiges in a military prison. He was forced to do so by the rising furor inside Israel about the death of the young, brilliant cyber-intelligence specialist. Eiges had been kidnapped off a Tel Aviv street last September by counter-intelligence officers and held in solitary confinement for most of the nine months he was in custody for a crime the army has refused to disclose.

      Yesterday, Avner Cohen and I co-authored a post which offers strong circumstantial evidence of the alleged offense: Eiges during his cyber-intelligence work had, we theorize, discovered a major vulnerability in an operating system of the cell phones and electronic devices it hacks. The officer either published the vulnerability and its source code or planned to do so. He likely saw this as a way to market himself to future employers as he prepared to leave army service. (...)

      Intel Officer Who Died in Jail Was About to Compromise ’Big Secret,’ Says Israeli Army Chief
      Yaniv Kubovich - Jun. 9, 2021

      Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday that the IDF managed to stop the officer ’at the last minute,’ before he caused harm

    • Le chef d’État major s’exprime sur l’affaire de l’officier du renseignement mort
      Aviv Kohavi affirme que l’armée a empêché le suspect, retrouvé mort en détention, de porter atteinte à un secret d’État "à la dernière minute"
      Par Judah Ari Gross 9 juin 2021, 14:15

      Le chef militaire Aviv Kohavi a défendu mercredi la décision de l’armée israélienne d’imposer un embargo strict sur la mort d’un officier des services de renseignement dans une prison militaire, où il était détenu après avoir été accusé de graves infractions à la sécurité nationale, affirmant que cette décision était nécessaire pour protéger à la fois le pays et la vie privée du militaire.

      Bien que l’armée ait depuis levé certaines parties de l’embargo concernant cette affaire, de nombreux détails ne peuvent toujours pas être publiés, notamment l’identité de l’officier – bien qu’elle ait été largement partagée en ligne – et la nature spécifique de ses crimes présumés, dont certains, selon l’armée, ont été admis par l’officier lors de son interrogatoire.

      Dans un discours, Kohavi a déclaré que l’officier avait failli causer des dommages à un secret d’État, mais que ces dommages ont été évités à la dernière minute. (...)

      L’armée continue à censurer des détails au sujet de l’officier mort en prison
      L’officier était en prison au moment de son décès ; il était accusé d’infractions graves à la sécurité nationale - la nature précise des faits est également sous censure
      Par Judah Ari Gross 10 juin 2021, 19:34

      L’armée israélienne et la famille d’un officier du renseignement, décédé dans des circonstances obscures dans une prison militaire le mois dernier, sont en conflit au sujet de la décision de continuer à interdire la publication du nom du militaire, chacune des parties affirmant que l’autre partie était responsable de cela.

      « Le porte-parole de Tsahal a oublié que nous ne vivions pas dans les années 1980, et de la même manière que vous ne pouvez pas faire disparaître une personne, vous ne pouvez pas briefer les journalistes et publier des déclarations irresponsables », a déclaré l’avocat de la famille, Benny Kuznitz, dans un communiqué.

      « Le contenu de leur déclaration est en violation des accords avec l’accusation selon lesquels les risques sécuritaires liés à la publication [du nom] n’ont pas encore été pris en compte par la Direction des opérations », a-t-il déclaré. (...)

  • You call this a government of change ?
    Gideon Levy | Jun. 3, 2021 | 12:21 AM | Haaretz.com

    One can understand those who are experiencing relief or even joy today, on the assumption that a new government is about to be formed. It’s harder to join in the pompous and childish exaggerations, which describe Israel as going from darkness to light, and from slavery to freedom, as if it’s Alexander Lukashenko who had fallen and not Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Both camps are guilty of hysterical exaggerations: Netanyahu’s departure is neither the end nor the portal to heaven. The camp that despised Netanyahu, ignored his achievements and focused on his lifestyle and failures, will jump with joy into the city pool tonight, so I’m sorry to be a party pooper. But the Netanyahu government will be replaced by another right-wing government. Israel will wake up to a new day that will be too much like the previous one.

    One can understand the happiness at removing Likud from power, given the multitude of its clowns and muzzlers and its government, which in recent years has been a one-man show. Seeing Miri Regev disappear from our lives is a sublime moment. The new government will have a more efficient and impressive team of ministers, some of whom will try to do their job more decently. It’s pleasing. But over everything hovers a black and oppressive cloud: The right is replacing the right. A right without Netanyahu will replace a right with Netanyahu, and both are cruel. No serious leftist can rejoice in this.

    Just before the left is also tempted to believe the Bibi-ists’ campaign of threats, of this “extreme left-wing government,” one must return with great sorrow to reality: The right will have unrestrained rule over this government as well. It represents neither unity nor change – it is right wing. The process of forming this government heralds what will come next: No one courted Meretz and Labor during the coalition negotiations; they were in the pockets of the big boys. They threw them the transportation and health portfolios, and offered a few bribes to the United Arab List, which can hardly be called left-wing.

    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will travel the world for photo ops with statesmen, charming all those who so desperately want to see Israel as supposedly different. It will be another illusion like the ones disseminated by Shimon Peres, Lapid’s predecessor in the role of Israel’s beautiful face. This will not only be because of the government behind him, but also due to his own positions: Lapid is right wing. He will agree with almost all the moves of this right-wing government, why should he complain? On crucial issues, brother Bennett will implement brother Lapid’s policy, and vice versa. What fraternity!

    It would be best not to say too much about Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Israel has never had such a right-wing and rotten finance minister. Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked will be the face of the government’s evil. Here there won’t even be the appearance of compassion and humanity, let alone equality, toward the country’s non-Jews. Defense Minister Benny Gantz is already strangling Gaza as no one has strangled it before.

    And all this will be presided over by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, whose belt already has one notch from a terrible war in Gaza, for which he pushed and incited because of the kidnapping and murder of three young Jews in the West Bank, and which he’d be happy to repeat. Iran, the nation-state law, the rule of law, the defense budget and the settlements will be dealt with just as under the previous government. In the Evyatar outpost, the last wild weed as of now, they can already break open the champagne. This extreme left-wing government will support them as well. It’s a bad-news government.

    The remnants of the miserable Zionist left will longingly observe what is happening from the visitors’ gallery. No one will take them seriously, and rightly so. They have no options. Nitzan Horowitz will protest, Merav Michaeli will threaten, and the cabinet secretary will record it in the minutes. In this government they are out of their league.

    I wish that all this weren’t true. I wish it was just the irritable grumbling of someone who always sees the worst. Unfortunately, there’s no chance of that.

    #Bennett #Lapid

  • During the Gaza flare-up, Israel killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank. He was one of them
    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | May. 28, 202 - Haaretz.com

    Umar Titi on the roof in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp where his brother Hussein was killed. A few dozen meters separated the troops from their victim.Credit: Alex Levac

    A resident of the Fawwar camp, Hussein Titi , went up to his roof to watch troops leave after they’d snatched his neighbor. Titi peeked out – and was shot dead

    When the cannons roar in the Gaza Strip, the muses may be silent, but the Israel Defense Forces kill in frightful numbers, and in the West Bank as well. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the IDF killed 27 people in the West Bank during the 11 days of war in Gaza. During that dark period, no one here took an interest in the goings-on there. May 14, for example, was the deadliest day there since 2002, claiming the lives of 12 Palestinians. During the same period, not one Israeli was killed in the West Bank, so the ratio is a harrowing, Gaza-style one: 27-0 in favor of Israel – or should we say, to its discredit.

    One gets a feeling of Gaza when one visits the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, near Hebron, at the southern edge of the West Bank. Divided according to their 1948 villages of origin, down narrow alleys through which only one person can pass at a time, an appallingly crowded population of 12,000 souls is packed into one square kilometer here, among all the neglect, the poverty, the meagerness, the filth and a fine breeze that blows despite everything.

    In the rickety Abu Washdi restaurant the cook, a graduate of Hebron University in political science, welcomes us with falafel balls and a minty beverage. It was on the roof above this restaurant that Hussein Titi was killed on the night of May 12. Twenty-eight years old and employed as a guard in a private Palestinian security company, Titi was assigned to the Qasrawi factory in Hebron, which manufactures snack foods. Photographs show a well-built young man wearing sunglasses. Hussein’s brother, Umar, was next to him when he was killed. The two were very similar in appearance.

    We are sitting in the neighborhood diwan (community center), which is called al-Hara, named for the diwan in the Titi family’s hometown, the village Iraq al-Manshiyya, on whose ruins the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat now stands. The diwan serves as a venue for social gatherings and a place to mourn the dead.

    Umar, 31, who works for the Palestinian National Security service, was the last person to see Hussein alive. On the evening before his death, Umar tells us, Hussein arrived home from work around 5 P.M. It was at the end of Ramadan, and he went to sleep. He got up at 8 P.M., in time for the Iftar meal, and ate with his parents, with whom he lived on the first floor of a building off the main street of the camp, before returning to bed. He awoke again at 3 A.M., to eat before the day-long fast began.

    Gunshots were heard in the camp. Israeli troops had launched a raid that night from the hills to the southeast. They started shooting in the air while they were still a few hundred meters from the camp, startling the inhabitants out of their sleep. Eyewitnesses relate that the soldiers appeared to be very edgy and kept firing into the air. In a cellphone video that a passerby on the street shows us, the soldiers are seen striding through Al-Fawwar with rifles at the ready, their hands on the triggers, turning their heads and weapons every which way. They had come to snatch three residents of the camp, and arrived in a large force – a few hundred troops, according to the locals – which fanned out in three groups to raid the homes of the wanted individuals. At the same time, multi-story buildings were being bombed in the Gaza Strip.

    Exactly a year earlier, on May 13, 2020, a force from the Duvdevan special-ops unit raided Al-Fawwar in search of Ayman Halikawi, a mentally ill youth of 18 who had written a provocative post on Facebook about the regional commander of the Shin Bet security service, “Captain Nidal.” The soldiers didn’t find Halikawi, but they saw Zeid Qaysiyah, a 17-year-old who dreamed of becoming a famous singer, peeking out from a distant rooftop. They shot him in the face, killing him, in the presence of his young cousins, who were with him on the roof to watch the events below. Halikawi, the target of the Duvdevan mission, reported to the Shin Bet the next day after one of its agents called his father.

    A few dozen meters and a year minus one day separate the roof on which Qaysiyah was killed and the roof on which Titi was gunned down. In 2013, another young man was shot in the camp while standing on a roof: Mahmoud Titi, Hussein’s cousin, 26 at the time of his death.

    One of the people the soldiers were looking for this time was Mohammed Abu Hashhash, 49, the secretary of the Fatah organization in the camp. Abu Hashhash and his many siblings live in the building opposite that of the Titi family. After Hussein got up and ate breakfast, on the first floor, he went up to his brother Umar’s apartment, on the fourth floor of the same building, to see what was going on in the street. From the window they saw soldiers taking Abu Hashhash, dazed from sleep, blindfolded, hands bound, to their vehicle. A masked Palestinian collaborator had led the soldiers to the house. Abu Hashhash was subsequently interrogated by the Shin Bet, following which he was placed in administrative detention – incarceration without trial – for half a year. Naturally, no one knows what he’s been accused of.

    Seeing their neighbor being taken away, the two Titi brothers were certain the army had completed its mission, and would depart the camp. They decided to go up to the roof, where they could see the troops pulling out. That was the mistake of their lives. Within minutes Hussein would be dead.

    The roof above Umar’s apartment is a small space that holds the building’s water tanks; it’s accessed by a narrow wooden ladder that leans on a wall painted light blue. The two climbed up the ladder. It was 3:40 A.M., and the camp was still shrouded in darkness. During their raid, soldiers had shot at the windows of a few neighboring houses. The Titis’ cousin, Yusuf Titi, went out to the balcony of his second-floor apartment in a nearby building, to see what was going on. Two shots were fired at him, but he was lucky: A neighbor shouted to him to watch out and he ducked. A hole in the balcony wall testifies to a bullet that missed him.

    But Hussein had no such luck. He and Umar walked between the plastic containers to the edge of the small roof, which has no railing. Umar recalls that he was walking behind his brother, who bent over and peeked into the street. He didn’t know that on the roof opposite, above Abu Hashhash’s apartment, soldiers were still hiding to provide cover for the departing troops. Hussein peeked out for a second – and was hit. Without warning, the soldiers, who were apparently startled, shot him to death from the building opposite using a Ruger Precision rifle with a silencer.

    Hussein was not endangering anyone, of course. No curfew had been declared in Al-Fawwar. The small bullet slammed into his right shoulder, but because he had leaned forward the projectile entered his lungs. He shouted to his brother, “They’ve paralyzed me,” before collapsing. Umar says he stopped breathing instantly.

    Now it was necessary to lower Hussein’s body on the narrow, dangerous ladder and get him to a hospital. At first the soldiers prevented Red Crescent ambulance from entering the camp – according to one witness they fired into the air – so Hussein was taken in a neighbor’s car to a clinic in the nearby town of Dura, where he was pronounced dead. Four other camp residents were also wounded that night by soldiers’ gunfire; one remains hospitalized in Hebron in serious condition.

    The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit made do with this blasé response to a query from Haaretz: “Because of the incident in question, a Military Police investigation was launched, at the end of which the findings will be conveyed for examination by the military advocate general’s office.”

    We climbed up to the roof where Hussein was killed and looked down at the street, and then went up to the roof of the building opposite, from which the soldiers shot him. A few dozen meters separated the troops from their victim. Below, on the street, life in the camp resumed its piteous routine.

    Iyyad Abu Hashhash, 41, and Ismail Abu Hashhash, 48, two brothers of Mohammed Abu Hashhash, who was arrested that same night, told us in fluent Hebrew that they had been detained a few years ago, beaten by IDF soldiers and tortured by their interrogators. Today the two run a makeshift gas station, where they sell a liter of gas for 4 shekels ($1.25; about 33 percent cheaper than in Israel). They try to eke out a living, but their faces are ravaged by suffering.


  • Israeli archaeologists discover what ancient Judeans actually ate - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Analysis of fish bones unearthed across Israel suggests observance of kashrut only began in late Second Temple period, centuries after the Bible was written

    A study of fish bones unearthed at archaeological sites across Israel shows that ancient Judeans commonly ate non-kosher seafood, seemingly ignoring the biblical ban on such fare for centuries.

    The ancient Israelites apparently feasted on catfish, sharks and other taboo catch during the entire First Temple period, including the days of the mythical kingdom of David and Solomon, and well into the Second Temple era. Only from beginning of the Roman period, in the first century B.C.E., is there clear archaeological evidence that the Jews were eschewing prohibited fish, concludes the study published Tuesday in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

    The study is based on the painstaking identification of some 21,000 fish bones spanning more than 2,000 years, unearthed over the last decades at 30 archaeological sites, including in Jerusalem, the capital of the biblical Kingdom of Judah.

    What immediately drew our attention was that in periods when, supposedly, the biblical laws already existed, people were consuming non-kosher fish,” says Omri Lernau, a researcher from the University of Haifa and an expert on the study of ancient fish bones.

    The discovery helps answer questions about when the ancient Israelites began observing the biblical ban on eating scaleless and finless fish. More broadly, it gives us clues about when Judaism as we know it, with its dietary laws and other signposts of the faith, became a mass religion, says Yonatan Adler, an archaeologist from Ariel University, in the West Bank, who co-authored the study.

    When scholars look at early Judaism they are often looking at texts that were written by the intellectual strata of ancient Judean society and don’t necessarily reflect what people actually knew about, were interested in or were observing,” Adler says. “I’m interested in finding out when people first learned about the Torah and began to observe its laws in their daily lives.

    Canaanites didn’t eat pork

    The African catfish: A favored but non-kosher dish in biblical-era Israel
    Credit: Heiti Paves / Shutterstock

    The biblical commandment on eating only seafood that has fins and scales is one of the most important dietary laws in Judaism and, for example, is the reason why observant Jews don’t consume shellfish. The rule is repeated twice in the Torah (Leviticus 11: 9-12 and Deuteronomy 14: 9-10) and immediately follows the even more famous taboo on eating pig.

    But despite their textual proximity, these two prohibitions appear to have a very different history.

    Archaeologists have long noted that pig bones are almost completely absent from archaeological layers across the Levant, starting already in the Late Bronze Age, a time before the emergence of the Israelites and the writing of the Bible. With the exception of the southern coast of the Levant, which was then home to the pork-loving Philistines, pig bones are absent not just at sites associated with the Israelites but also with the Canaanites, the Arameans and other peoples across the region.

    This suggests that the dearth of pork remains in the archeological record doesn’t necessarily signal observance of a biblical precept, since this dietary custom predates the writing of the Torah itself and cannot be linked only to the ancient Hebrews, Lernau notes. It is more likely that the swineless Levantine diet arose for economic or ecological reasons, and only became a Jewish religious taboo at a later time, Adler adds.

    Conversely, going far back to the Bronze Age, the people of the Levant did eat scaleless and finless fish liberally, so a change in eating habits should be visible in archaeological layers and can be used to investigate when the kosher dietary laws first began to be observed, the two researchers aver.

    If you are wondering why they looked at fish rather than, say, shellfish remains, that’s because some mollusks were used for ornamental purposes or to extract dyes for textiles, and are thus not a good indicator for dietary habits.

    If you find fish bones in Jerusalem or another site that is far away from a large body of water then you can be pretty sure it was eaten, because a fish carcass can hardly be used for anything else,” Adler says.

    Catfish in the City of David
    For the era from 950 B.C.E. to 586 B.C.E., which roughly coincides with the First Temple period, an average of 13 percent of fish bones unearthed in Jerusalem and other sites in the biblical Kingdom of Judah came from non-kosher species, the study reports.

    These were mainly catfish, with a few sharks and rays mixed in. The latter two would have had to be brought from the Mediterranean. As for the catfish, most of these were native to the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, and Mediterranean coastal rivers and swamps, but some belonged to species that lived only in the Nile, and would have had to be imported from Egypt.

    This is not entirely surprising, as it is known that the ancient Egyptians established a bustling export business of processed fish – probably dried, salted or smoked – across the entire Eastern Mediterranean, Lernau explains.

    The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. did not put an end to the eating of non-kosher fish. As Judeans repopulated their capital after the exile and built the Second Temple in the Persian period (539-332 B.C.E), catfish bones continue to feature amongst the leftovers of their meals.

    For example, under a tower in the so-called City of David – the original urban nucleus of Jerusalem – archaeologists found 195 fish bones dated to this period, with 36 belonging to non-kosher catfish. For the subsequent Hellenistic era, which begins with Alexander the Great’s conquest of Jerusalem in 332 B.C.E., there are still a few remains of non-kosher fish found across Israel, but the total amount of fish bones dating to this period is too small to determine whether the biblical dietary law was followed or not during this time, Adler and Lernau acknowledge.

    Anterior vertebra of a catfish excavated in Jerusalem
    Credit: Omri Lernau

    Only from the early Roman era are non-kosher fish bones mostly absent from Judean settlements, indicating that kosher laws were more widely observed by then.

    Ezra brings the Torah (or not)
    The consumption of non-kosher fish during the Persian period is particularly significant in light of what we think we know about the birth of Judaism and the writing of the Bible.

    Scholars are divided on when the holy text was first put in writing, but it is generally considered to be the result of a long process of compilation and editing that lasted centuries and involved multiple hands and sources. While parts of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, may have already been written at the end of the First Temple period, most scholars today agree that it only assumed its final form after the Babylonian exile, in Persian times, and that Judaism as we know it began in this era.

    This is in part suggested by the Bible itself, which tells us that the local Judeans were ignorant of the Torah, and its laws, until the scribe Ezra brought it with him from Babylonia during the Persian period and read it to the people in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8).

    Fish bones dug up from archaeological sites obviously don’t tell us anything about when the Torah was written or if it was read out in Jerusalem, but they do suggest that, at least in the Persian period, there may not have been any particular awareness or observance by the Judeans of the dietary laws on aquatic fauna.

    I’m not suggesting that biblical texts didn’t exist by this time – I don’t know when they were written, and they might even have been written quite early – but there is a big difference between a text being written and sitting on a shelf and a text that is known and accepted by the masses as binding law,” Adler tells Haaretz.

    The archaeologist leads a broader project , of which the fish bones study was just one part, that looks for the archaeological evidence for the beginnings of Judaism as a religion identified with the observance of biblical laws.

    When it comes to archeological evidence for this, mikvehs (ritual baths) and stone vessels, which are associated with biblical purity rules, don’t appear in the archaeological record until the time of the Hasmonaeans, in the second century B.C.E. Similarly, figurative images abound in Judean statuettes and other ancient media during the First Temple period and then onward on coins from Persian times – in apparent contradiction to the ban on making graven images imposed by the second of the Ten Commandments. Only at the end of the second century B.C.E., after the revolt led by the Hasmoneans against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, are graven images truly eschewed, the archaeological evidence shows.

    The surprising conclusion is that there is no evidence that the masses knew about the bulk of these rules before the second century B.C.E,” he says. “For the Persian period, which is when most scholars believe Judaism begins, we have clear evidence that non-kosher fish was being eaten, figurative art was regularly used on coins, and so on. I think we need to seriously reconsider the idea that Judaism as a way of life begins as early as the Persian period.

    Fish stories
    But do these simple fish bones really imply that we must move the clock forward on the birth of Judaism by some 300 years?

    Not necessarily, says Elon Gilad, a Haaretz columnist and expert on Jewish history and language. Firstly, as mentioned above, the fish bone study has a gaping data hole when it comes to the Hellenistic period, caused by the fact that few archaeological digs have unearthed layers from this time in Israel, and therefore we can’t say much about observance of kosher rules by the ancient Judeans between the Persian and Roman eras, he notes.

    Secondly, as the saying goes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The population of Jerusalem and Judea during the Persian and Hellenistic periods was very small, so it might be expected to find few signs in the archaeological record of their religious and cultural norms, Gilad says. The fact that significant amounts of data from fish bones, ritual baths and other findings only appear in the Hasmonean period may simply be a reflection of the expanding population and borders of Judea at that time, rather than a signal of the actual start of widespread Torah observance, he says.

    Adler, one of the authors of the fish study, agrees that more information is needed, particularly when it comes to the Hellenistic period, and hopes that future digs will provide more bones for the analysis.

    What we are looking for is when do people know about the Torah and are observing its laws, and the earliest evidence we have now is for the second century B.C.E.,” he maintains. “So Judaism began then or earlier, but how much earlier we don’t know yet.

  • Israel deprives East Jerusalem political activists of state insurance, stipends
    Suspending medical benefits and halting social benefit payments are common procedures inflicted on East Jerusalem Palestinians
    Nir Hasson | May 27, 2021 | 2:34 AM

    Israel has suspended the social and medical benefits of at least 11 Palestinian political activists and their families as well as former prisoners who live in East Jerusalem.

    The wife of Majed Al-Jouaba, a resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, discovered the National Insurance Institute had suspended her benefits when she went for a blood test on Wednesday as part of a routine checkup during her pregnancy. According to her husband, the nurse at the health clinic told her she could not receive the results of her test since she was “blocked on the computer system.”

    A short investigation revealed that this move was enacted five days earlier. Jouaba is a former security prisoner, known to residents of the Old City and the police as a political activist. He says he did not take part in the demonstrations on the Temple Mount or at Damascus Gate during the city’s latest round of violence. Police make sure they take his ID card every time he comes to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but he has not been arrested or questioned lately.

    Jouaba’s friend Hamza Zghayer discovered that he and his family were also shut out of computers at the National Insurance Institute. His benefits were suspended while he was in hospital with his 11-year-old son, who was hospitalized for an infection. “They told me at the hospital that there was a problem with my insurance; I received no letter or anything. I’ve been working for 17 years in the East Jerusalem Electricity Company and have been paying my National Insurance dues the whole time, but now they tell me there’s a problem. If my child is sick now, where do I take him, to Jordan?”

    The purpose of deleting activists and their families’ names from the system is to harass and threaten them, according to sources in East Jerusalem. “The Shin Bet security agency tells the National Insurance to make their lives difficult. Now they have to file requests and appeals to the courts, which will investigate and determine that they are indeed residents of Jerusalem,” said a senior official at one of the health maintenance organizations in East Jerusalem.

    The denial of insurance benefits, which includes suspension of medical benefits at health maintenance organizations and a halt to social benefit payments, is a common procedure inflicted on East Jerusalem residents. Usually, this is done based on a claim that the insured person left Jerusalem and is living in the West Bank, or that their center of life is not in Jerusalem. Moving from Jerusalem to the West Bank can mean moving to another part of the same neighborhood or street, which happens to lie on the other side of the municipal boundary.

    However, denying people’s rights based on suspicions of security-related offenses is patently illegal. According to Palestinian sources in the city, such a step was taken a few years ago against activists who were involved in the Al-Murabitun movement, a group of demonstrators who used to protest when Jews went to pray on the Temple Mount. They all got their benefits restored, but only after a long investigation process, in which some individuals had to appeal to the courts.

    On Wednesday, MK Osama Saadi (Joint List) appealed to the director general of the National Insurance Institute, Meir Shpigler, asking for his urgent intervention in the matter. “It’s unclear on what basis the Institute suspended the eligibility of these families, who are residents of East Jerusalem, and what is the legal basis for stopping their medical and child benefits. This is collective punishment of the insured and their families, with no legal basis and unsupported by any court ruling,” wrote Saadi.

    Administrative arrests

    Furthermore, in another unusual move, 11 East Jerusalem residents were arrested in recent days and put under administrative arrest, without being presented with any evidence to justify their arrest. The detained are former security prisoners or known Palestinian activists in Jerusalem. They were arrested for periods of three to six months based on an injunction signed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

    In response to this report, the National Insurance Institute said: “As a rule, residency in East Jerusalem is determined on the basis of evidence, and, at times, based on external investigations. MK Osama’s request was received on Wednesday afternoon and immediately passed onto the press without awaiting a response. As per the request for an immediate response from the newspaper, there has been no opportunity to look into the incidents in depth, and therefore in the coming days the matter will be investigated and a specific response will be given for each case.

    “In cases in which it arises that an East Jerusalem resident’s life is centered outside of the Jerusalem municipality, a letter is sent to the insured, which they have the right to appeal. As such, we will clarify that if it is found that the insured’s life is based in Israel, they qualify to retroactively receive all benefits.”

    The Shin Bet did not issue a response by press time.