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  • Israel bars jailed Palestinian lawmaker from attending daughter’s funeral
    Jack Khoury - Jul. 12, 2021 11:38 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-bars-jailed-palestinian-lawmaker-from-attending-daughter-s-

    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.

    #KhalidaJarrar
    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    #FreeKhalidaJarrar
    https://www.change.org/p/human-rights-campaign-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D8%AE%D8%A

    • Yafa Jarrar
      @YafaJarrar - 6:34 PM · 13 juil. 2021
      https://twitter.com/YafaJarrar/status/1414986494100520961
      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

      https://twitter.com/YafaJarrar/status/1415900274716205065

      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,
      Khalida

      #FreeKhalidaJarrar

    • Damn them all
      Gideon Levy | Jul. 15, 2021 | 1:14 AM | Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-should-have-treated-khalida-jarrar-with-humanity-1.10000031

      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.

  • Israël et l’Autorité palestinienne savent comment se renvoyer la balle – Par Amira Hass Jul. 5, 2021 traduction A l’encontre
    http://alencontre.org/moyenorient/palestine/israel-et-lautorite-palestinienne-savent-comment-se-renvoyer-la-balle.ht

    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 ». (...)

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-and-the-palestinian-authority-know-how-to-scratch-each-othe

  • You call this a government of change ?
    Gideon Levy | Jun. 3, 2021 | 12:21 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-you-call-this-a-government-of-change-1.9869175

    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

  • Is a divided Israel turning into Yugoslavia ?
    Shlomo Sand | May 24, 2021 | 12:13 AM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israelis-splashing-about-in-their-jewish-democratic-pools-1.983643

    It is said that after Napoleon conquered all of Europe and killed millions of soldiers, he noted that you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them. In more recent times, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, I thought, naively, that Israel had begun to learn the basic lesson of the famous Corsican: You can occupy and oppress, but every action by a foreign power also has its limits. Ultimately, in modern times, if you don’t destroy or expel people who have no sovereignty or have meaningless and fraudulent sovereignty, they will rebel again and again.

    The latest flare-up in Gaza was sparked with the help of two matches. The first resembles the one that ignited the uprising in October 2000: a disrespectful attack at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is not only a key religious site but also a clearly nationalist symbol.

    The second match constitutes a kind of innovation. The demand to evict Arab residents from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood – based on the legal claim that Jews owned the property before 1948 – was like plunging a needle in a festering wound, and a shocking manifestation of outrageous injustice. You demand that refugees leave their homes despite the fact that you appropriated their previous homes during the Nakba, along with hundreds of thousands of others, without even thinking about compensating the owners. Such is the temerity of a foolish conqueror, which might lead to the torching of all the houses built here over the last 100 years. Indeed, it seems that the fire has already begun to spread.

    At first, the East Jerusalem residents rose up, which was not surprising. Some 380,000 Palestinians reside in the “eternal Jewish city.” They make up about one-third of the urban population, having lived without political or civil rights for 54 years now. Israel, which annexed them, did everything so as not to give them Israeli citizenship. It openly and demonstrably applied mythological glue to unite the inanimate stones, the high walls – but not living human beings. They, after all, are not Jews.

    But actually the real surprise this time around has been the Palestinian Israelis. The ones that have citizenship and enjoy full political equality in the State of Israel. Of all people, they, who for years were the hewers of wood and the drawers of water – that is, the laborers and the service providers – have recently “in their droves” begun to fill positions in hospitals, pharmacies and universities. How is it that now, of all times, when the first signs of integration and socioeconomic progress can clearly be seen, that a broad and violent rebellion has been born, which is beginning to resemble a civil war?

    About 180 years ago, the liberal philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville sought to understand the French Revolution based on a new insight: It was progress toward equality before the revolution that set the stage for that great eruption and especially for the demand for full political equality during the revolution.

    “When inequality of conditions is the common law of society,” he wrote in “Democracy in America,” “the most marked inequalities do not strike the eye: when everything is nearly on the same level, the slightest are marked enough to hurt it. Hence the desire of equality always becomes more insatiable in proportion as equality is more complete.”

    This realization is valid for Israel at this time. The increasing Israelization of Arab citizens, their knowledge of the Hebrew language, the improved social status some of them have, and even their hesitant integration into the world of media, together with the continued occupation of the West Bank – all this has produced new sensations and new conclusions.

    You can’t be equal, you never will be equal, in a country that clearly declares that it is not yours. Israel, as opposed to other liberal democracies, is not the state of all its citizens but the state of all the world’s Jews (who don’t even want to live there). The meaning of “Jewish democracy” resembles that of other terms with an internal contradiction, such as “white democracy” in the United States or a “Gallic-Catholic republic” in France.

    In any nation-state in the world, a national anthem is selected that is meant to unite and inspire all citizens, regardless of their religion, skin color or origins. In Israel, the anthem openly and coarsely alienates some of its citizens, because, after all, not everyone has a “Jewish soul [that] yearns.” The State of Israel is prepared to take in anyone who can prove the Jewishness of their mother, or who has converted according to Jewish religious law. Palestinian Israelis cannot unite with their first- and second-degree relatives who were uprooted from here in 1948 and live in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Since the borders of Israel were established in 1967, some 700 new Jewish communities have been established, but not a single Arab one (except towns for Bedouin who have been expelled from their lands). Although about 21 percent of Israel’s citizens are Arab, there is not one Arabic-speaking university. (In contrast – to the glory of Israel – there is a Hebrew-speaking university in what is obviously Palestinian territory.)

    Although Israel presents itself to the world as a secular, liberal country, a Jewish woman cannot marry a non-Jewish man here, because there is no civil marriage. To wed her chosen partner, she must travel to another country that does not intentionally try to prevent the marriages of Jews and non-Jews.

    We could point out many more unequal or exclusionary elements inherent in the infrastructure of the Jewish state (the so-called nation-state law is no innovation in this respect, but has only exposed and highlighted these elements), but we should be aware that critical discourse of this nature has been virtually useless, thus far.

    Most Jewish Israelis are indifferent to the basic inequality here and prefer to continue splashing about in their “Jewish and democratic” pool, which until this point they’ve believed would exist forever. And now, all of a sudden, thousands of Palestinian Israelis have erupted in raging and violent protest against the intolerable inequality. Members of the Arab middle class did not take part in the harsh protests, but for the first time they allowed their children to face off against police officers’ clubs, as well as the fists of Jewish racists and settlers who were brought in from beyond the proverbial hills of darkness – that is, from the areas of the liberated Land of Israel.

    Violence is always detestable and ugly, but unfortunately, it has accompanied struggles for equality throughout history. The current severe use of force within Israel is reminiscent of the great violence of the Black Panthers in 1960s America, especially after the assassination of Martin Luther King.

    The struggle of rioters in poor Black neighborhoods made another decisive contribution toward turning the United States from a mainly white country into an egalitarian democracy for all of its citizens. As we know, the struggle toward this goal is not yet over.

    The question that remains after the recent severe clashes in Israel is this: Will a divided Israel go downhill and morph into a kind of Yugoslavia – which deteriorated into a bloody war between its varied and unequal citizens, and shattered into pieces? Or will we be able to transform it, despite all the difficulties, into a country like Canada, Belgium or Switzerland, which despite all the fissures, manage to preserve themselves as multilingual democracies, where the principle of civil identity that is not ethnic-religious or ethnic-biological in nature is their guiding light?

    Time will tell.

  • Israel’s ultra-Orthodox are its latest neo-fascist thugs
    Gideon Levy | Apr. 24, 2021 | 11:41 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-israel-s-ultra-orthodox-are-its-latest-neofascist-thugs-

    The most frightening and depressing thing that happened in Jerusalem recently isn’t the pogroms against the Palestinians. These of course are endlessly frightening and depressing, but most frightening and depressing is something new about the identity of the assailants.

    We already had the Lehava phalanxes, the La Familia militias and the hilltop thugs, and now the ultra-Orthodox have joined in. There’s a new bully in the neighborhood and they’re scarier than all the rest.

    The rioters in shtreimels might sweep Israel to fascist places it hasn’t known before, thanks to their huge electoral potential. The ultra-Orthodox are the reserves of the neo-Nazi movement developing in Israel, and they promise a great future for MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir.

    Without the ultra-Orthodox, those two are a mere curiosity. Thanks to the ultra-Orthodox, their party might become the Alternative for Germany or the Sweden Democrats of Israel, yet much more extreme than those two most far-right parties in Western Europe. The brownshirts could change their color to white. This is frightening because the ultra-Orthodox are many, and it’s depressing because there was once a different ultra-Orthodox majority that I once respected and knew, one fallen victim to persecution and ostracism.

    The original sin was the establishment of huge ultra-Orthodox settlements in the 1990s that became the largest settlements in the West Bank, much larger than their ideological predecessors. What began as a low-cost housing solution, free of political beliefs, became extreme nationalism. With terrifying speed, those who until a generation ago were considered non-Zionist or political doves with leaders like Rabbi Elazar Shach and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef became bearers of the flag of Israeli fascism.

    Where are the days when they burned trash bins only because of desecration of the Sabbath, and who would have thought we would miss those days? Where are the rabbis who said “there’s no obstacle to relinquishing parts of the Land of Israel” and “relinquishing [these lands] for peace is not relinquishing,” as Rabbi Shach said.

    The fear came true: The views of the ultra-Orthodox were decided by their place of residence. They proved that it’s impossible to live on stolen Palestinian land without hating its owners. They settled in the Palestinian West Bank and became wonderfully integrated into the apartheid landscape around them. They became haters of Arabs and supporters of the far right. The road from there to participation in pogroms was short.

    In last month’s election they expressed this clearly. The Religious Zionism alliance became the third largest party in their community. In Jerusalem it won 9 percent of the vote and in Betar Ilit 10 percent, six times more than Likud. In Bnei Brak and in Modi’in Ilit, the largest Jewish city in the territories, it’s the third largest party. With reserves like this, one day we’ll have a Kahanist as prime minister; half of Israel already considers Naftali Bennett a legitimate candidate and even longs for him.

    True, only a few hundred ultra-Orthodox took part in the pogroms, but the rabbis did nothing to stop them, maybe because they knew that the genie was out of the bottle. Now the numbers will grow. The young ultra-Orthodox might change the rules of the game.

    The pictures from the past few days in Jerusalem are terrifying. Leave aside “proper” media coverage, which tries to maintain “balance” when on one side is the occupation, which has no balance. Leave aside the shocking pronouncements by the public security minister and the police commanders who condemned only Palestinian violence. This violence is the most justified and restrained act of resistance against injustice and other violence, and it comes as a direct response to the police’s ongoing abuse of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the pogroms against them by far-right extremists.

    Make no mistake: The mass attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem are the harbingers of Israeli neo-Nazism. Intimidating marches, beatings, arson, looting and calls for death are exactly what neo-Nazism looks like. God save us from its ultra-Orthodox emissaries who have joined the fray.

    #Jerusalem #pogroms

    • The privatization of violence: Right-wing Jerusalem thugs are an arm of the state
      Don’t look at the rioters in Jerusalem as some eccentric Haredi nationalists, a mob unrelated to us, the civilized Israelis
      Amira Hass | Apr. 26, 2021- Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-privatization-of-violence-right-wing-jerusalem-thugs-are-an-ar

      “When you hear the cries ‘May your village burn down,’ does that represent you?” Suleiman Masswadeh, a reporter for the Kan Public Broadcasting Corporation, asked a young woman who participated in the rioting by Lehava – a hard-right, anti-Arab organization – in downtown Jerusalem on Thursday. Sporting a “Kahane was right” sticker on her chest, she replied: “Not in that way. I don’t say that it should burn down, but that you should leave the village and we’ll go live in it.”

      Now that’s an answer that sums up our history in a nutshell: It’s not necessary to burn things down, it’s enough merely to expel the Palestinians and then inhabit their homes.

      The Lehava people are not alone in this battle. Almost at the outset of the holy month of Ramadan on April 12, the Israel Police created a provocation when they blocked the Damascus Gate plaza as a sitting and gathering place for Jerusalem’s young men, with the pathetic excuse of easing access for the masses of worshippers. And yet such a step wasn’t taken prior to the coronavirus period, when the number of worshippers was far greater.

      So why now? Whether the provocation was the result of foolishness, or a deliberate attempt to destroy the atmosphere of togetherness typical of these days of Ramadan – it should be viewed in a more general context, as Yudith Oppenheimer and Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim, an NGO that focuses on Israel’s policies in Jerusalem, write on the website Siha Mekomit (Local Call, the Hebrew version of the +972 website): "Those who are following what’s been happening in Jerusalem in the past two years will detect a direct line linking incessant police harassment in [the East Jerusalem neighborhood of] Isawiyah and the events of recent days at the Damascus Gate.

      "What the two have in common is the targeting of an area in which there is active Palestinian life, entering it with large police forces and unrelenting attempts to cause friction during a period whose end is not in sight.”

      “Why did the Israel Police declare a curfew here of all places,” ask Oppenheimer and Tatarsky, and reply: “The implied message is: You want a holiday? Fine, observe it in your own home, behind walls and doors. The holiday lights are on display above Damascus Gate as they are every year, but the city square is empty, battered and bleeding, and the municipality that put up the lights is keeping mum. The police are creating ‘evidence’ by means of ongoing friction with the Palestinian residents. In the end, if not by force then by even more force, the disturbing pictures surface, which in turn justify the additional use of force and the further displacement of Palestinian residents from their public sphere.”

      Just as there is a connection between the police harassment in Isawiyah and at Damascus Gate, there’s a connection between the right-wing spectacles of hatred and high-handedness in downtown Jerusalem and the Old City – and the attacks by the settlers throughout the West Bank (another one was reported at the time this article was being written on Saturday: Israelis leaving the outpost of Havat Ma’on attacked farmers from the village of Al-Tawani who were working their land. According to initial reports, two Palestinians and two activists from the Israeli-Palestinian anti-occupation group Ta’ayush, who escorted them, were wounded.

      Lehava and the impassioned young people who answer its call are among the privatized branches of the government, the Jerusalem Municipality and the police, who implement their policy of making Palestinians disappear from the public sphere – just as the hilltop hooligans are another privatized arm for implementing the government policy of cramming Palestinians into densely populated enclaves and taking over most of the area of the West Bank.

      Land-grabbing right-wing NGOs with a religious and messianic patina, such as Regavim, Amana, Elad, Ateret Cohanim and Ad Kan, are other nongovernment branches, which, with their impressive financial resources, constitute a tailwind for the state’s institutions and their consistent Zionist policy. Their mother ship is the Gush Emunim movement and its incarnation as the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Regional Council.

      Individual, unbridled and messianic violence – which for decades has been met by one blind eye and one winking eye of the law enforcement authorities – is a vital component of the belligerence of the most Jewish country in the world. In its democratic way (namely, with the support of most of its Jews), this Jewish state is working on the erasure of the Palestinian past, present and future in this land.

      The appetite of those rioters, the ultranationalist right-wing posses in Jerusalem and the South Hebron Hills, increases with every judicial decision that permits the takeover by a right-wing NGO of a Palestinian neighborhood such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, with every uninvestigated attack against a Palestinian farmer on his own land by Israelis who emerge from Havat Ma’on or Yitzhar, with every license allowing the Civil Administration to declare Palestinian land as state land, and to allocate it to a settlement or adjacent outpost.

      “Disappearing” the Palestinians from the public sphere and crowding them into enclaves may turn out to be a preface to another mass expulsion of Palestinians from the country. That crime against humanity was in the past advocated by a religious Jew like Meir Kahane and a secular Jew like Rehavam Ze’evi, and is now being repeated by their successors, the Hardalim (Haredi nationalists) Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, in various guises.

      Don’t look at the rioters in Jerusalem as just some eccentric Hardalim and Haredim, a rabble that is unrelated to us, the civilized Israelis who, with good taste and good manners, ostensibly uphold the rule of law. The rioters are becoming stronger and multiplying, because Israelis who consider themselves “decent” centrists (and support parties including Labor, Kahol Lavan and Yesh Atid) have lived and are living in peace with these despicable acts of Israel’s governments and their privatized and reinforced satellites.

      Perhaps if this country’s friends – Europe and the United States – warn Israel about its policies and impose sanctions against it – the Israeli “center” will wake up and stop being silent, indifferent, remaining on the sidelines or actively supporting that policy.

    • Point de presse du 26 avril 2021 - France-Diplomatie-Ministère des Affaires étrangères
      https://basedoc.diplomatie.gouv.fr/vues/Kiosque/FranceDiplomatie/kiosque.php?fichier=ppfr2021-04-26.html#Chapitre3

      3. Israël/Territoires palestiniens - Dégradation de la situation sécuritaire (26 avril 2021)

      La France est vivement préoccupée par les tensions et les violences des derniers jours à Jérusalem, notamment autour de la vielle ville, ainsi qu’en Cisjordanie. Elle condamne fermement les tirs de roquette depuis la bande de Gaza qui ont visé des zones habitées du territoire israélien en violation du droit international. La France rappelle dans ce contexte son attachement indéfectible à la sécurité d’Israël.

      La France appelle l’ensemble des acteurs à la retenue, à mettre un terme à toutes les violences et à permettre un retour au calme dans l’ensemble des territoires palestiniens. Toutes les actions qui concourent à l’escalade doivent cesser.

      Les violences des derniers jours viennent souligner la nécessité de la relance d’un processus politique crédible, dans le cadre du droit international et sur la base de la solution des deux Etats. La France y est engagée aux côtés de ses partenaires allemand, égyptien et jordanien.

      #FranceDiplo

  • My people know our past
    The uprooted refugees of Haifa are my people and their tragedy is part of the formative story of the entire Palestinian people
    Ayman Odeh | Apr. 23, 2021 | 12:34 AM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-my-people-know-our-past-1.9738536

    On Thursday, Nakba Day was marked in Haifa, the city where I was born and have lived all my life. When I walk the streets of Haifa, I can’t help but think of the people who once lived in the abandoned houses, my Aunt Fathiya among them. On April 22, 1948, the conquest of the city was completed. Tens of thousands of Haifa’s people became refugees in Lebanon and other countries, while others scattered throughout Israel, and to this day not one of them has been permitted to return to their home. On the morning of April 23, out of the 70,000 Palestinian Arab residents of Haifa, only 2,900 remained.

    The uprooted refugees of Haifa are my people, they include my neighbors and my family, and their tragedy is part of the formative story of the entire Palestinian people.

    For 73 years now, we’ve been expected to forget this tragedy. One Israeli government after another demands that we – Arabs who are part of the Palestinian people, citizens of this country – abandon our past and our identity and wear a new identity – “Israeli Arabs.” The “Israeli Arab” is detached from his roots and his identity is drained of meaning. He’s like a warped, hybrid creature that does not belong to the Palestinian people but is also not fully Israeli in the Jewish state. For there is no such thing as an “Israeli Jew”; Jewish citizens of Israel are simply called Israelis.

    In his book “A Curtain of Sand,” Yigal Allon wrote, “A people that does not know its past has a meager present and a future that is shrouded in fog.” We Palestinian citizens of Israel are told that to gain a future we must give up the past, but the truth is that the only way we can build a future for ourselves is by acknowledging the past. A future in which we are both part of the Palestinian people and full, equal citizens in the country in which we were born.

    In Israel in recent years, the fight for the future has became a fight between two groups – one that is for Benjamin Netanyahu and one that is against him. Again we are expected to put history and our identity aside, and to join the camp that hopes to replace Netanyahu at any cost. So what if the leading candidate of this camp is Naftali Bennett, who denies the Nakba and simultaneously calls for its continuation via home demolitions, legalization of settlements, annexation of occupied territory and land appropriations from Arab communities in the Negev and Galilee? How can I, whose family was torn apart and whose aunt lives to this day in exile in a refugee camp in Jordan, ignore all that?

    Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin went so far as to say at the torch-lighting ceremony that the Yom Ha’atzmaut holiday belongs to all Israelis, including the Arabs – which is akin to inviting someone to dance on his own grave. Could anything be crueler and more cynical? The indirect racism that seeks to disguise itself as a hand outstretched in partnership is just as serious and damaging as the crude, direct kind.

    True partnership cannot exist without acknowledgement of the injustices of the past, and of those that endure in the present. True partnership cannot exist while the occupation continues, while a policy of Judaization continues throughout the country, while there is no recognition of the unrecognized villages in the Negev, while the Arab towns and villages are subject to discrimination in planning and building, infrastructure and land, while the police treat Arab citizens as enemies and leave them at the mercy of crime organizations.

    True Jewish-Arab partnership begins with mutual recognition of the rights of the two peoples, Jewish and Palestinian, to self-definition. Only through recognition and amending the historical injustice can we build together a future of justice, equality, democracy, peace and partnership.

    Ayman Odeh is an MK and chairman of the Joint List.

    #Nakba

  • Arabs in Israel are not allowed to be happy. Or sad
    Gideon Levy | Apr. 7, 2021- Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-arabs-in-israel-are-not-allowed-to-be-happy-or-sad-1.9691769

    Arabs in Israel are not allowed to be happy. They’re also not allowed to mourn. On Thursday of this week, for example, Holocaust Remembrance Day, they are not allowed to be happy. Next week, on Independence Day, they’re not allowed to mourn.

    Arabs in Israel are only allowed to be happy when Jews are happy and sad when the Jews are sad. Any deviation is considered treason. Just look at how Ibtisam Mara’ana, the newly elected Arab Knesset member from the Labor Party, tripped herself up.

    On Holocaust Remembrance Day, they need to identify with the pain of the Jewish people.

    On Memorial Day, they need to stand in silence in memory of the soldiers who killed members of their people. On Independence Day, they need to rejoice and be happy about the establishment of the state that was established on the ruins of their land and that sealed their fate in every way – other than independence.

    But that’s not enough. Israel is demanding their obedient identification at a time when Israel itself is not prepared to show understanding, compassion, sympathy or identification with their catastrophes or even their feelings. The country that is purportedly their country doesn’t recognize their feelings. Sometimes it even criminalizes them.

    An Israeli citizen is released after 35 years in prison. That’s nearly twice as long as “regular” murderers serve, more than three times what most of the Jewish terrorists serve, more even than what Palestinian terrorists serve. Rushdi Abu Mukh sat in jail for 35 years, more than half his life, for murdering Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam.

    Members of Abu Mukh’s family were happy that he was released. How could they not be? In his town of Baka al-Garbiyeh, they were happy about his return. How could they not be? Members of his people were pleased about his release. How could they not be?

    Many view him as a hero, a person who decided to sacrifice his life in a violent fight against injustice – a hero just like Israeli heroes who killed in the fight for the establishment of Israel. Many others disagree with the means that he resorted to. Another member of the group that carried out the killing, Walid Daka, long ago expressed his disapproval of the act. Daka will only be released from prison in another four years, after about roughly 40 years in prison. For killing a soldier.

    Soldiers kill innocent civilians in the West Bank on a routine basis and they are almost never put on trial for it. This week it was a couple from the village of Bidu whom soldiers thought were trying to run them over. They killed the man and wounded the woman, even though they almost certainly did nothing wrong. Thirty-five years? No, not even 35 seconds of investigation.

    As young people, Abu Mukh and Daka were shocked by the horrors of the war in Lebanon and the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Chatila there and decided to join the resistance. They have been serving their full sentences, which were disproportionate. Now there are people who are happy for the release of one of them. Isn’t that humane? Understandable? Just like the pain of the Tamam family.

    Not in ruthless Israel. Here it sparked outrage: Abu Mukh was happily welcomed in Baka al-Garbiya. There was even a former Knesset member there to welcome him.

    There are deafening calls to strip Abu Mukh of his Israeli citizenship. The interior minister is already looking into it. Expel the Arab members of parliament from the Knesset, the right-wing is already threatening. If it were up to them, Abu Mukh would have long ago been executed, along with hundreds and thousands of others who have dared to oppose the occupation with force.

    None other than this week, the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day, one would have expected a bit less of a show of fascism and a bit more humaneness and sensitivity to the pain of others, even if they’re not Jewish.

    In 2014, four members of the group that carried out Tamam’s killing were due to be released as part of a fourth prisoner release that Israel had committed to. At the last minute, Israel reconsidered. At the time, I met two of their elderly mothers, Farida Daka, who was 84, and Sumiya Abu Mukh, who was 81. They hoped to still have the chance to hug their sons. The two have long since died.

    More than 15 years ago from prison, Walid Daka wrote: “I am writing to you from a parallel time. One of the young people of the intifada who arrived here recounted that many things have changed in your time. Telephones no longer have dials, car tires don’t have inner tubes. We’ve been here since before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

    When Daka is finally released from prison, I will be happy, if that’s allowed. Or even if it’s not.

  • Israel, a vengeful democracy
    Amira Hass | Mar. 29, 2021 | 11:19 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-a-vengeful-democracy-1.9665256

    The Shin Bet security service has ruled that Laith Abu Zeyad, 30, would be a danger to Israeli security if he travels to London for a year to work in the head office of Amnesty International. The risk he poses to our security is so great that Israel didn’t even allow him to be at his mother’s side as she was dying from cancer in an East Jerusalem hospital, three kilometers from their home in Al-Azzariyeh in the West Bank. After much effort was exerted, the permit came through, two days after his mother died.

    The Shin Bet has not summoned him for any type of interrogation. Soldiers haven’t raided his house in the dead of night. The military prosecution hasn’t charged him with anything. And still, for over a year-and-a-half he has been forbidden to do what he had previously done without any problem – go to Amnesty’s office in East Jerusalem and travel abroad. In August 2019 he was still able to attend work meetings in New York. A month later he was forbidden to accompany his mother to the hospital and in October 2019, he was turned back at the Allenby Crossing as he tried to get to the funeral of a relative in Jordan. His alleged dangerousness is so great that he is not allowed to know what evidence there is of it.

    He’s a talented guy, Abu Zeyad. He has a master’s in sociology and human rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international law and human rights at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, and also worked as an intern in its human rights clinic. From January 2016 until October 2017, he worked for the Addameer organization that supports Palestinian prisoners. Then he was hired by Amnesty.

    Israel is a strong country. A military power, and according to foreign reports, also a nuclear one. Its economy is stable, and according to official Israeli reports, it’s a democracy. So what is the secret, threatening weapon that could harm it if Abu Zeyad manages Amnesty’s campaigns to increase awareness of the state of human rights in North Africa and the Middle East, from London?

    Abu Zeyad questioned the ban on leaving the country. The response he received was, “You are involved in Popular Front activity, and your leaving the area poses a risk to regional security.” He asked to have the security restriction removed so he could be with his mother. He was refused. He petitioned the Administrative Affairs Court through attorney Tamir Blank. During the hearing Judge Moshe Sobel heard behind closed doors what the Shin Bet had to say, and ruled that it was fine to block Abu Zeyad from traveling abroad.

    However, at the hearing it was also said that the petitioner could again request a permit to leave the country once nine months had elapsed since the former request. The new request was submitted and on February 1 it was again rejected. “You are an activist with the Popular Front, and as such there is concern that your exit will be exploited to advance security activity,” the refusal notification said. Abu Zeyad suggested a meeting with a Shin Bet representative to inform him personally that it wasn’t true: He wasn’t, nor had he ever been, a Popular Front activist. His suggestion got no response. His lawyer wrote another administrative petition, which will be heard next week. The Jerusalem prosecution hasn’t yet responded.

    The Shin Bet argues that the travel ban has nothing to do with Abu Zeyad’s work for Amnesty (i.e., the group’s most recent reports on the wounding and killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, and the illegality of businesses in the settlements). But because the Shin Bet, in its arrogance, is hiding behind ambiguity and secrecy, there’s only one conclusion: By denying Abu Zeyad freedom of movement, Israel is not just taking revenge on him or on Amnesty, it is threatening that anyone who works to increase international awareness of the illegality of Israel’s domination over the Palestinians, will be punished. Especially Palestinians.

    #IsraelAmnesty

  • All together now: The Israeli army committed no war crimes
    Gideon Levy | Mar. 13, 2021 | 11:39 PM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-all-together-now-the-israeli-army-committed-no-war-crimes-1.961674

    Remove the hatred or idolization of Benjamin Netanyahu and the upcoming election has no importance. You want to know why? Because barring the hatred and idolization of the prime minister, all Jewish parties are saying the same thing – they all affirm Zionism, Jewish supremacy and the continuation of the occupation. Thus, this election is devoid of any real choices, an election offering no alternatives, an election that is not a real election.

    Note, for example, the reaction of the heads of all the Zionist parties to the decision made in The Hague to investigate Israel, a decision which on a really good day could generate a sea change in Israel’s conduct. From Benjamin Netanyahu to Merav Michaeli and all the others, everyone parroted the same phrases: they all trust the IDF and rely on its investigations. In other words, they all agree that there have been no war crimes. A children’s choir, the choir of the sanctimonious. Only Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said something different, not sufficiently different, but the election does not revolve around Meretz.

    This blind rallying behind the IDF and the state on an issue as significant as the occupation brings on despair. After all, the majority of politicians in the center-left, from Michaeli to Yair Lapid, know the truth. They know everything about the IDF and almost everything about its crimes and the way it “investigates” itself, but they lack the courage to tell the truth. They lie to themselves, in their silence and in the backing they give the army.

    The right, in contrast, believes that Israel and the IDF are permitted to do as they please, with no one anywhere in the world permitted to question this, with only antisemitism driving any criticism of the state. Between the right, which believes Israel is permitted anything, and the left, which doesn’t dare tell the truth, the choice is difficult. There is no difference and the result is the same: support for everything caused by the occupation and unwillingness to take any responsibility.

    For two generations there has been an occupying army in an occupied land, without a day going by that its soldiers don’t violate international law, with an entire country cheering it on. A settlement enterprise exists, 53 years old, with 700,000 settlers, established under left-wing governments and fortified under right-wing ones. Most of the world says that this is a clear-cut violation of international law, and the Israeli choir pounces furiously on anyone wishing to investigate and punish those responsible for the crime of the settlements.

    Take, for example, Saturday, a beautiful weekend day. A Palestinian family, parents and eight children, go out to their own plot of land for a picnic, where they are attacked and stoned by masked settlers coming from the settlement of Mitzpeh Yair, in the southern Hebron hills. Terrified cries can be heard on a video taken by B’Tselem, where the father can be seen taken to a hospital with his face bleeding.

    A crime or not a crime? It is not for the first time that the attack came from this violent settlement. And not for the last time either, obviously. There is no army, no police, and no justice. But there is a response from the occupation authorities: “Israel is aware of the incident.” No one was arrested and no one will be, just like no one was arrested after an assault on Khalil Haryani, a 78-year-old shepherd who was attacked with chains, clubs and stones two months ago by settlers from the same Mitzpeh Yair.

    “Israel is aware of the incident.” The awareness does not lead to any action. Awareness and encouragement. That’s how Israel investigates itself. The leaders of the left and center know this full well. They know that only an international body could put an end to this, but they lack the integrity and courage to say so.

    This is precisely where the court in The Hague must enter the picture. This is precisely where the left should have invited the court to do so, and that is precisely the place where Israeli politics sings in a strident, despair-inducing choir, almost from wall to wall.

    The identity of this choir’s next conductor is of much less importance than one might think. The style might be different, as well as the arrangement, but the song will remain the same song and the choir the same choir.

    #IsraelElections #CPI

    • Tous ensemble maintenant : l’armée israélienne n’a commis aucun crime de guerre
      https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2021/03/16/tous-ensemble-maintenant-larmee-israelienne-na-commis-aucun-cri

      Gideon Levy, le 13 mars 2021 - Source : Haaretz - Traduction GD pour l’Agence média Palestine

      Enlevez la haine ou l’idolâtrie à l’égard de Benjamin Netanyahu et les prochaines élections n’auront aucune importance. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’en dehors de la haine et de l’idolâtrie envers le premier ministre, tous les partis juifs disent la même chose – ils sont tous en faveur du sionisme, de la suprématie juive et de la poursuite de l’occupation. Ainsi, cette élection est dépourvue de tout choix réel, il s’agit d’une élection n’offrant aucune alternative, une élection qui n’est pas une vraie élection.
      Notez, par exemple, la réaction des chefs de tous les partis sionistes après la décision prise à La Haye d’enquêter sur Israël, une décision qui, dans le meilleur des cas, pourrait générer un changement radical dans la conduite d’Israël. De Benjamin Netanyahu à Merav Michaeli en passant par les autres, tous ont répété les mêmes phrases : ils font tous confiance à Tsahal et se fient à ses enquêtes. En d’autres termes, ils sont tous d’accord pour dire qu’il n’y a pas eu de crimes de guerre. Une chorale d’enfants, la chorale des moralisateurs. Seul le leader de Meretz, Nitzan Horowitz, a dit quelque chose d’un peu différent, certes pas suffisamment différent, mais l’élection ne tourne de toute façon pas autour de Meretz.
      Ce ralliement aveugle derrière Tsahal et l’État sur une question aussi importante que l’occupation suscite le désespoir. Après tout, la majorité des politiciens du centre-gauche, de Michaeli à Yair Lapid, connaissent la vérité. Ils savent tout sur les FDI et presque tout sur leurs crimes et la façon dont elles « enquêtent » sur elles-mêmes, mais ils n’ont pas le courage de dire la vérité. Ils se mentent à eux-mêmes en gardant le silence et en apportant leur soutien à l’armée.
      La droite, en revanche, croit qu’Israël et les FDI ont le droit de faire ce qu’ils veulent, sans que personne, où que ce soit dans le monde, n’ait le droit de le remettre en question, et que seul l’antisémitisme motive toute critique de l’État. Entre la droite, qui croit qu’Israël a le droit de tout faire, et la gauche, qui n’ose pas dire la vérité, le choix est difficile. Il n’y a pas de différence et le résultat est le même : soutien à tout ce que provoque l’occupation et refus d’assumer toute responsabilité. (...)

  • Élections israéliennes : la seule et unique alternative est la Liste Commune
    Par Gideon Levy - 10 février 2021 – Haaretz – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine
    https://www.chroniquepalestine.com/elections-israeliennes-la-seule-et-unique-alternative-est-la-lis

    Les quatre candidats susceptibles d’être élus Premier ministre sont tous terriblement similaires. Ne croyez pas aux contes de fées sur l’existence d’un grand gouffre idéologique entre eux.

    Fondamentalement, ils sont identiques : tous sont des juifs sionistes qui soutiennent l’occupation, des adeptes de la suprématie juive en Israël.

    Ils sont en faveur des colons et des colonies et ne rêveraient jamais de les stopper.

    Ils ne critiqueront jamais l’armée pour ses actions injustifiables et ils sanctifient toute opération violente d’Israël. Des crimes de guerre ? La loi internationale ? Les droits des Palestiniens ? Ne les faites pas rire. Ils ont tous suivi exactement la même ligne concernant la Cour pénale internationale de La Haye.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Lapid, Gideon Saar et Naftali Bennett sont tous les mêmes.
    Ils promettent l’occupation et la suprématie juive pour toujours. Ce sont des nationalistes juifs israéliens qui emploient exactement le même vocabulaire sur les questions qui comptent vraiment. (...)

    #élections_israéliennes

    • Joint List or the worst of all evils
      Amira Hass | Feb. 12, 2021 | 12:18 AM - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-joint-list-or-the-worst-of-all-evils-1.9532858

      The left I belong to doesn’t waste its time on tedious debates about which right-wing prime minister is preferable, be it Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Gideon Sa’ar or Yair Lapid. The fashionable squabbling over who is more suitable for crowning only highlights for those of us on the left how far we are from their world. And now we hear people saying that since these contenders’ parties are at the front of the political pack, and our own options are so skimpy, we should vote for the least of all evils.

      Yet, each and every aforementioned leader who could become the next prime minister is the worst of all evils, a source of concern and fear. The fact that an Israeli prime minister is not a sole captain of the ship increases the fear. In the basic matters, which are the entrenching of this state’s colonialist nature or destroying the welfare system, prime ministers have always been part and parcel of an establishment that embraces, materializes and manages those ideologies. You can call it Zionism, the national project, a Jewish state. A big part of Jewish-Israeli society protects the fruits produced by the dispossessive domination over the Palestinians, fruits which balance out the ills of neoliberal policies. This equation lies at the root of Israelis’ overwhelming rightist tendencies.

      In essence, the left stands on three legs: the adherence to the principle of equality among all human beings, the opposition to the state’s expropriating nature of the state on both sides of the Green Line, and the striving for a society in which capital would not dominate and profits and commodoties cease to determine the value of human beings and their lives. The linkage between them explains why the left is so shrunken, having so few options for voting.

      The crumbling Kahol Lavan, or the more successful Yesh Atid, never came close in their essence to a “center-left,” let alone the left. Center-right would be a more apt description of these parties. One of the greatest conceptual distortions that’s arisen here is the identification of the left with middle- or upper-class Ashkenazi Jews, and with pilots who bombed refugee camps in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The sociological phenomenon whereby those two categories are not numbered among traditional right-wing voters (regardless of the number of Ashkenazi Jews and former defense establishment officials in the top echelons of Likud), does not make Labor a left-wing party, given that this was the party that established and developed the expropriation enterprise spanning between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

      Even before 1948, all strands of the labor movement utilized socialist institutions (like the kibbutzim and the Histadrut labor federation) to push out as much as possible the native Palestinian population from its homeland and from the political system. Jewish ethnocracy and expropriation are so inbred into the average Israeli that those socialist husks continue to define the labor movement as left-wing, even though these tools were discarded when they were no longer required for advancing the Zionist project. With all due sympathy to Labor leader Merav Michaeli, it’s hard to envision her small party entering a genuine process of assuming responsibility for the historical dispossession. The adherence of Meretz to a Zionist ideology is puzzling and off-putting. The new party called The Israel Democratic Party signals a healthy development, but it’s still too embryonic. The Joint List, whose components are not all left-wing, has disappointed.

      So, is there no one to vote for? Not voting makes the election even more important than it is, as if we had more influence by not casting a ballot. This is a narcissistic attitude. We don’t wish to be and cannot be partners to a Zionist government, but not voting concedes something which nevertheless is taught by left-wing praxis: using any means at our disposal to express our ideas and to present alternatives anywhere possible, including in parliament.

      Belonging to the left is characterized by an almost religious belief in the possibility of changing things for the better and by the obligation to act upon this belief, even in the prevailing darkness. This is why leftists are active in organizations such as the Koah Laovdim labor union, in helping the constantly harassed Masafer Yatta hamlets near Hebron, in feminist groups, in demonstrations in East Jerusalem’s Silwan against the eviction of this neighborhood’s residents, and in the protests at Balfour Street. This is why the Joint List, as the representative of the most dispossessed group in Israel, is deserving of our votes.

  • Palestinian Young Man Paralyzed after Israeli Forces Shoot Him in the Neck
    Jan 2, 2021 – – IMEMC News
    https://imemc.org/article/palestinian-young-man-paralyzed-after-israeli-forces-shoot-him-in-the-neck

    Israeli forces shot a Palestinian young man in the neck, on Friday, in the village of Al-Tuwanah, south of Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank, the Jerusalem Press reported.

    The victim, Harun Rasmi Abu Aram, 24, was shot in the neck with live rounds as he attempted to stop the seizure of his generator by Israeli soldiers.

    Witnesses told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli soldiers fired from point blank range, striking the young man in the neck. He was then transferred to the Yatta Public Hospital, where his condition was deemed critical.

    In a statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that Abu Aram has suffered complete paralysis of his arms and legs (quadriplegia), as a result of sustaining live rounds to the neck, at close range, which severed his spine.

    The Palestinian was arguing with the soldiers who were trying to confiscate his electricity generator, providing him and his family with the needed power to their home.

    https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1345075442991165440/pu/vid/640x1136/EvojyZoFQCXVrVYZ.mp4?tag=10

    • Un jeune homme paralysé après que les forces israéliennes lui ont tiré dans le cou, totalement dépendant d’un respirateur artificiel
      Par IMEMC- 06.01.2021
      http://www.ism-france.org/temoignages/Un-jeune-homme-paralyse-apres-que-les-forces-israeliennes-lui-ont-tire-d

      Les médecins de l’unité de soins intensifs et de chirurgie ont effectué une intervention chirurgicale pour stabiliser l’état de Haroun Abu Aram, 24 ans, le jeune homme grièvement blessé par un soldat de l’occupation qui lui a tiré une balle dans le cou à bout portant. Les scanners ont révélé que la balle israélienne a brisé les vertèbres C5, C6 et C7 de sa colonne vertébrale. Il ne peut plus sentir ni bouger aucun de ses membres et est complètement paralysé du cou jusqu’en bas, en plus d’être totalement dépendant d’un respirateur artificiel.
      Le patient ne peut pas respirer par lui-même et reçoit des médicaments par voie intraveineuse.
      Son père a déclaré que l’armée a essayé de forcer la famille à quitter ses terres à Al-Tuwanah, au sud d’Hébron et a ajouté que la dernière attaque est une grave escalade des violations continuelles.

      « Ils ont fait pression sur nous pour que nous quittions nos terres ; Haroun n’a rien fait de mal ; il était chez lui quand les soldats sont venus et ont essayé de confisquer le générateur d’électricité dont la famille dépend », a ajouté le père, « Ce n’est pas un incident séparé ou unique ; c’est une occupation continue et une escalade des violations contre des civils innocents ».
      Le père a ajouté que son fils, récemment fiancé, prévoyait de se marier dans quelques jours.

      Il faut mentionner que l’armée israélienne a démoli sa maison il y a deux mois, sous prétexte qu’elle avait été construite sans permis du « Bureau de l’administration civile », géré par l’occupation militaire israélienne illégale.

      https://imemc.org/article/palestinian-young-man-paralyzed-after-israeli-forces-shoot-him-in-the-neck

    • Settlers control the drones. The Israeli army then pulls the trigger
      Amira Hass | Jan. 4, 2021 - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-settlers-control-the-drones-the-israeli-army-then-pulls-the-trigge

      The Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration are acting in the West Bank under the orders of the settlers. We’ve known that for a long time, but the generator incident on Friday indicates how quickly our forces respond to the directive of their commanders. It’s important to note that the settlers would not have become the army commanders without their subordinates – the government and the security apparatus – wanting them to command.

      A few hours before an IDF soldier shot Harun Abu Aram, 24, who is now lying paralyzed, unconscious and ventilated in a Hebron hospital, a photography drone flew over the village of al-Rakeez, southeast of Yatta. We know that settlers had launched it around 9 A.M. on Friday, January 1 (Abu Aram’s birthday, as it happens). We know that its operators immediately reported something to the Civil Administration.

      What did they report? That those cheeky Palestinian criminals were insisting on living on their land? That they had put up a toilet stall or set down an old swing for the kids, or extended a water pipe? That they had topped some structure with a tin roof that hadn’t been there two weeks ago? These are extremely serious violations under the laws of the only Jewish state in the world, so long as those committing them are Palestinians.

      Around four hours after the spy drone hovered over the heads of the residents, Husam Muadi arrived in the village. Muadi is an infrastructure officer in the Hebron District Coordinating Office, which is part of the Civil Administration, which answers to the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories. He was accompanied by five soldiers whose names are not known.

      Remember, it was Friday afternoon. Shabbat is starting to be felt in the military bases. Were the five soldiers upset because they weren’t going home for the weekend? Were they happy because they love action and know the drone operator, who had already invited them for a Shabbat meal at his villa? And what about the infrastructure officer? Why was it so urgent for him to raid the home of Ashraf and Firyal Amour and order the soldiers to confiscate the generator, which allows Firyal to use their washer to wash the clothing that her children collect from a garbage dump, which they then sell for pennies at the Yatta market? It’s hard not to conclude that top officers in the Civil Administration are afraid that if they don’t immediately obey the orders of General Drone, the settlers will disparage them in the government, the Knesset and the media.

      We do not know if the drone operator is a resident of a settlement or an outpost, or whether he has an official position in the far-right Regavim organization. In its crusade to expel Palestinians from Area C, that outfit began operating surveillance drones against them years before the Settlement Affairs Ministry decided to help settlers buy them.

      It can be assumed that a similarly industrious drone was monitoring the simple concrete home that the family of Harun Abu Aram had built after the cave where their ancestors had lived was no longer habitable. But the family only managed to enjoy it for two weeks. On November 25, the demolition crew arrived. Yair Ron of the Villages Group described the destruction. “From the top of the hill we could see how the tractor was cruelly and deliberately destroying the home, the outhouse, the water tank, the solar panels and even the sheep shed. Everything … There was a whole army of soldiers and border policemen who were armed and protected from head to toe, their faces covered with space helmets and dozens of Civil Administration employees, and Jeeps and light trucks and four yellow bulldozers.

      “The destruction came without advance warning … the chief destroyer didn’t even [give] the family enough time to pack their belongings. Some they were able to save and some were left in the house and were crushed in the ruins, which the bulldozer shovel rammed repeatedly, crushing and pulverizing with the sickening sound of dead checking.”

      And General Drone was certainly sitting at home, rubbing his hands with glee.

  • Israeli forces fatally shoot Palestinian child during village protest
    By MEE staff |Published date: 4 December 2020
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-forces-fatally-shoot-palestinian-child-ali-abu-aalya
     

    Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian child near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday evening, the local health ministry has confirmed.

    The boy has been identified as Ali Abu Aalya and is believed to be either 13 or 14 years old. The teen was killed during clashes that broke out between Palestinian residents and Israeli soldiers in his village of al-Mughayir, northeast of Ramallah, the ministry said.

    The Palestinian Red Cross told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Israeli forces shot Abu Aalya in the stomach. He was then rushed to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

    Clashes broke out in the village on Friday after Israeli forces responded to a protest held by local residents against a new settlement outpost in the area. Haaretz reported that the demonstration had taken place “far from the outpost”.

    Palestinian communities often use Friday after midday prayers as a time to protest the Israeli policies of land confiscation, road blockades, and settlement expansion - among other issues.

    Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have condemned Israel’s response to such protests, which frequently result in the loss of life, accusing the army of carrying out a “shoot-to-kill” policy that encourages “extrajudicial killings”.

    (...)

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Child Near Ramallah
      Dec 5, 2020
      https://imemc.org/article/israeli-soldiers-kill-a-palestinian-child-near-ramallah-2

      Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Friday, a Palestinian child in the al-Mughayyir village, northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

      Amin Abu Alia, the head of al- Mughayyir Village Council said several army jeeps invaded the eastern area of the village, and attacked unarmed protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades.

      He added that the soldiers shot Ali Ayman Abu Alia, 13, with a live round in the abdomen, before Palestinian medics rushed him to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was immediately sent to surgery, but succumbed to his serious wounds despite all attempts to save his life.

      Abu Alia also stated that the soldiers shot four young Palestinian men with rubber-coated steel bullets, and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

      Nickolai Mladenov, the United Nations’ Special Coordinator to the Middle East, called for a credible and independent investigation into the death of the child.

      In a tweet, the UN official said, “Israel must swiftly and independently investigate the shocking incident,” and added that “Children enjoy special protection under International Law, and must be protected from violence.”

      The Office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the slaying of the child, and said that this incident is part of Israel’s continued brutal and criminal violations against the Palestinian people, especially the children.

      It also called on the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people, and to ensure the establishment of an independent, contiguous, and sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

    • Israel’s war on Palestinian children
      Gideon Levy | Dec. 5, 2020 | 11:17 PM

      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-war-on-palestinian-children-1.9350708

      Last week, we were in the Al-Arroub refugee camp, searching for an open area in which to sit, for fear of the coronavirus. There wasn’t one. In a camp in which house touches house, whose alleys are the width of a man and strewn with garbage, there’s nowhere to sit outside. One can only dream of a garden or a bench; there isn’t even a sidewalk. This is where Basel al-Badawi lives. A year ago, soldiers shot his brother dead, before his eyes, for no reason. Two weeks ago, Basel was snatched from his bed on a cold night and taken, barefoot, for questioning. We sat in his family’s cramped home and realized there was no “out” to go to. While we were there, Israeli soldiers blocked the entrance to the camp, as they occasionally do, arbitrarily, and the sense of suffocation only grew.

      This is Basel’s world and this is his reality. He is 16, a bereaved brother, who was abducted from his bed in the dark of night by soldiers. He has nowhere to go to except for school, which is closed for part of the week due to COVID-19. Basel is free now, more fortunate than certain other children and teenagers. Around 170 of them are currently detained in Israel. Other children are shot by soldiers, wounded and sometimes killed, with no distinction made between children and adults – a Palestinian is a Palestinian – or between a life-threatening situation and a “public disturbance.”

      On Friday they killed Ali Abu Alia, a 13-year-old boy. It was a lethal shot to the abdomen. No one could remain indifferent to the sight of his innocent face in photographs, and his last picture – in a shroud, his face exposed, his eyes closed, as he was carried to burial in his village. Ali, as he did every week, went with his friends to demonstrate against the wild and violent outposts that sprouted out of the settlement of Kokhav Hashahar, taking over the remaining land of his village, al-Mughayir. There is nothing more just than the struggle of this village, there is nothing more heinous than the use of lethal force against protesters and there is no possibility that shooting Ali in the abdomen could have been justifiable. In Israel, of course, no one showed any interest over the weekend in the death of a child, one more child.

      Up until the current school year, around 50 children from the shepherding community of Ras a-Tin studied at the school in al-Mughayir, the village of the deceased boy. They had to walk about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) each day, round trip, to attend. This year their parents, with the help of a European Commission aid organization based in Italy, built them a modest, charming school in the village. Israel’s Civil Administration is threatening to demolish it, and in the meantime it is harassing the pupils and teachers with surprise visits to check whether the toilets had been, God forbid, connected to a water pipe – in a village that was never connected to the power grid or the water supply. The children of Ras a-Tin must have known Ali, their former classmate, now dead.

      The children did not know Malek Issa, of Isawiyah, in East Jerusalem. The 9-year-old boy lost an eye after it was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet fired by an Israeli police officer. On Thursday the Justice Ministry department that examines allegations of police misconduct announced that no one would be charged in the shooting, after 10 months of intensive investigation. It was enough for the policemen involved to claim that stones had been thrown at them, perhaps one of them hit the boy. But no video shows stones being thrown, nor is there any other evidence of this. Ali’s killers can also sleep in peace: No one will prosecute them. All they did was to kill a Palestinian child.

      These and many other incidents are taking place during a period that is among the quietest in the West Bank. This is the terror taking place, committed by the state. When we hear of such incidents in vicious dictatorships – children who are snatched from their beds in the middle of the night, one boy who was shot in the eye, another who was shot and killed – it sends shivers down our spine. Shooting at demonstrators? At children? Where do such things happen? Not in some faraway land, but rather just an hour’s drive from your home; not in some dark regime, but in the only democracy.

      What would you think of a regime that allows the shooting of children, that abducts them in their sleep and razes their schools? That’s exactly what you must think of the regime here in our country.

    • In New Crime of Excessive Use of Force, IOF Kill Palestinian Child and Wound 4 Civilians Northeast of Ramallah
      Date: 05 December 2020 - Time: 17:00 GMT
      https://www.pchrgaza.org/en/?p=15455

      According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 11:00 on Friday, a peaceful protest took off in the center of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, at the call of the villagers, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers and annexation wall. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. Following the Friday prayer, the protestors chanted slogans again the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 4 civilians sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and received treatment on the spot. At approximately 13:30, as the clashes were ongoing, Israeli soldiers shot at ‘Ali Ayman Naser Abu ‘Aliya (14), wounding him with a live bullet in his abdomen below the lung on the right side of his body. Abu ‘Aliya was immediately taken via a Palestinian Red Crescent Socitey (PRCS) ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he underwent a surgery. At approximately 18:00 on the same day, medical sources pronounced him dead. The medical report showed that the bullet penetrated the liver and ruptured it.

    • Un adolescent palestinien tué par l’armée israélienne enterré à Ramallah
      Avec notre correspondante à Ramallah, Alice Froussard - RFI - Publié le : 05/12/2020
      https://www.rfi.fr/fr/moyen-orient/20201205-un-adolescent-palestinien-tu%C3%A9-par-l-arm%C3%A9e-isra%C3%A9lienne-en

      Des centaines de personnes étaient rassemblées à Ramallah pour l’enterrement d’une jeune palestiniens tué par l’armée israélienne. AP - Majdi Mohammed

      Dans les Territoires palestiniens, l’émotion est vive après la mort d’un jeune Palestinien de 13 ans, tué vendredi 4 décembre en Cisjordanie occupée par des tirs de l’armée israélienne alors qu’il participait à une manifestation dans le village d’al Mughayir. Son enterrement, qui a eu lieu ce samedi, a rassemblé des centaines de personnes.

    • Israël/Territoires palestiniens - Q&R - Extrait du point de presse (07.12.20) - Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères
      https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/israel-territoires-palestiniens/relations-bilaterales-4261/evenements/article/israel-territoires-palestiniens-q-r-extrait-du-point-de-presse-07-12

      ❝Q : Le décès d’un jeune Palestinien lors d’une manifestation organisée dans le village d’Al Mughair, près de Ramallah, contre la politique israélienne de colonisation, est-il susceptible de relancer les tensions entre Israéliens et Palestiniens ?

      R : La France déplore la mort d’un jeune adolescent palestinien, Ali Abu Alia, survenue le 4 décembre, après qu’il a été touché par des tirs de l’armée israélienne lors d’une manifestation dans le village d’Al Mughair, près de Ramallah.
      #FranceDiplo

  • Israël / Territoires palestiniens - Colonisation (16.11.20) - Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères
    https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/israel-territoires-palestiniens/relations-bilaterales/evenements/article/israel-territoires-palestiniens-colonisation-16-11-20

    La France condamne les annonces relatives à la construction de 1 257 unités de logement dans la colonie israélienne de Givat HaMatos, à Jérusalem-Est. L’expansion de cette colonie porte directement atteinte à la viabilité d’un futur État palestinien, comme l’a rappelé à plusieurs reprises l’Union européenne.

    La colonisation est illégale en droit international et remet en cause sur le terrain la solution des deux États. La France appelle les autorités israéliennes à revenir sur cette décision. La France appelle à mettre un terme à toute mesure unilatérale remettant en cause la solution des deux États fondée sur les paramètres internationalement agréés, qui est seule à même de conduire à une paix juste et durable dans la région.

    #FranceDiplo

    • EU Mission Visits Site of Planned Israeli Settlement Expansion; Heckled by Right-Wing Israelis
      Nov 17, 2020
      https://imemc.org/article/eu-mission-visits-site-of-planned-israeli-settlement-expansion-heckled-by-rig

      Several representatives of the European Union (EU) in Israel and Palestine visited the site of a proposed Israeli settlement on Monday, issuing a strong condemnation of the Israeli plan to build more than 1200 new units on the site. As they were leaving the site, they were heckled by dozens of right-wing Israelis.

      In a statement, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, one of the EU representatives, said the proposed Givat Hamatos settlement, “forms part of a worrying trend where Israel continues its policy of advancing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”, adding, “If Israel is to go ahead with its plans for a settlement here, it would cause serious damage to the prospects for a viable and contiguous Palestinian State. More broadly, it will threaten the viability of a negotiated two-state solution, in line with the internationally agreed parameters and with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.”

      Burgsdorff reiterated the fact that all Israeli colonial settlements are illegal under international law, and that all settlement activity must stop.

      The EU representatives which accompanied members of Palestinian and Israeli civil society to the site on Monday, included representatives from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Norway and Switzerland.

      When they were leaving the site, they were confronted by right-wing Israeli settlers. According to the Jerusalem Post, the hecklers shouted, “You are antisemites. You are against Jewish building. Shut up and go home. According to the Bible this is Jewish land. This is the Jewish capital of Israel.”

      The construction of Givat Hamatos between Jerusalem and Bethlehem would mean that the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa would be surrounded on all sides by Jewish-only settlements, with no access to Bethlehem or the rest of the West Bank.(...)

      #colonialisme_de_peuplement

    • Preventing terror
      Amira Hass | Nov. 17, 2020 | 3:37 AM - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-preventing-terror-1.9312674

      It’s not only Givat Hamatos: Israel is constantly planning and implementing infrastructure and large-scale construction activities in East Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, all designed to sabotage the possibility of a Palestinian state. But to our delight this tender, for the construction of residential units on the land reserves of Beit Safafa and Bethlehem, is making some noise, because it is being interpreted as an underhanded maneuver before President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House.

      Yesterday European diplomats visited the site of the settlement. The condemnations, or to be more precise the reservations to the tender, will probably be published soon by the foreign ministries of the EU and several European states. The UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov has already expressed his concern. He mentioned for the millionth time that the construction of settlements violates international law.

      Not only U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged the Israeli land theft project. During two decades of negotiations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ritual expressions of regret and the condemnations by the European Union and its member countries taught Israel that it has nothing to fear. If those countries, which support the path of the Oslo Accords more than anyone else, don’t take concrete steps against Israel’s serial criminality, why should it worry? It can continue to rob and trample, and when necessary to pull out the weapon of “antisemitism” and “Holocaust,” to curb any initiative to stop the Israeli real estate-dispossession spree.

      So please. “Givat Hamatos” is an opportunity for those countries to convert the ritual into genuine actions, which they can and must adopt. First of all, they must publish the following clarifications:

      • Building settlements in occupied territory is forbidden by international law.

      • Apartheid is a crime for which its authors, executors and those consciously participating in it must be punished.

      • A declaration of “state land” backed up by weapons and military orders, and the transfer of this land to one ethnic group at the expense of the other, is a practice of terror.

      • Building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory grows out of the worldview and practices of an apartheid regime that considers Jews superior, and therefore might once again carry out acts of mass expulsion of Palestinians.

      Based on these clarifications, the countries opposed to state terror and apartheid will publish the following warnings:

      • Any contractor participating in the Givat Hamatos tender will not be allowed to participate in projects in which European companies are involved, and its owners and managers will not be allowed to enter Europe.

      • If the owners and managers are European citizens, they will be prosecuted in their countries for participating in the crime of apartheid.

      • The ban on entry and doing business, and the prosecution of offenders, also applies to the planners and architects.

      • All the above applies to the senior executives of the Israel Land Authority.

      • All the above applies to buyers of those residential units.

      • Owners and managers of companies operating in Europe who transact business with those subcontractors and architects will be prosecuted for abetting the perpetration of a crime.

      • Just as the bank accounts of those suspected of involvement in terror are confiscated, the bank accounts of all those mentioned above will be confiscated.

      • The sale of residences to Palestinians as a “fig leaf” will not render the project legal, unless Palestinians who are West Bank residents live there too.

      This will be the start. Later the same warnings will apply to other, less publicized construction plans – and to existing settlements. Don’t call it “delusional” if you oppose apartheid, and if you realize that its planners and beneficiaries are willing and able to expel more Palestinians from their homeland.

  • The worst national security corruption case in Israel’s history
    Akiva Eldar, Gilead Sher, Uzi Arad | Nov. 17, 2020 | 12:37 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-worst-national-security-corruption-case-in-israel-s-history-1.

    “Case 3000” – the submarines and war ships affair – is not just another “ordinary” corruption scandal, which relates primarily to unethical practices. Rather, It is Grand Corruption combined with Defense Corruption, both having severe legal implications.

    Grand Corruption is defined as a scheme perpetrated at the highest levels of government, involving leaders and senior officials. It usually entails substantial benefits for the individuals involved and significant losses for the state. It also leads to illicit exchanges in the realm of policy formation. Such corruption causes egregious harm to citizens but regrettably often ends with impunity.

    The common denominator to all transactions in Case 3000 is that they all belong to the defense sector involving the acquisition of major weapon systems. The suspects in the affair are senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, relatives of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as senior naval officers. All the acquisitions lead to the German Thyssenkrupp conglomerate.

    In several of these transactions, Netanyahu took decisions which contradicted the official stance of the military and defense establishment. The decision-making process undermined the binding procedure for strategic and defense procurement.

    One such decision related to the acquisition of a sixth submarine shortly after the defense establishment had determined that five submarines should suffice Israel’s military needs. The second decision dealt with the accelerated ordering of future submarines, 7, 8 and 9, despite opposition from the IDF chief of the general staff and the defense establishment who claimed such ordering is premature.

    Then there was another Netanyahu decision to wave Israeli opposition to the supply of advanced German submarines to Egypt, while concealing that decision from the defense establishment. Such supply apparently gave rise to the consideration of Israel purchasing anti-submarine vessels, something the Israel Navy never demanded – ostensibly to defend the sea lanes from the growing Egyptian submarine fleet.

    On top of it, was the distorted decision process to acquire four patrol boats to protect Israel’s economic waters? How come such large, heavy and expensive craft were ordered from Thyssenkrupp, when boats that meet operational requirements as defined could have been acquired from another supplier and at lower cost? Why was the international bidding process canceled, with Thyssenkrupp becoming sole supplier of these boats?

    How was the location of the main natural gas rig approved near the coast, without a comprehensive mandatory security risks assessment, which would have revealed that the site chosen was wrong in terms of security and safety? And finally, what lied behind the idea of privatizing Israel’s navy’s shipyards, in contradiction to the fundamental principle of Israeli self-reliance – for the sake of giving exclusivity to Thyssenkrupp?

    This is how the Israel Police summed up its investigation: “Deficiencies were found in matters relating to administrative procedures in various agencies, relating to strategic defense procurement for the State of Israel. Such deficiencies require that authorized bodies learn their lessons and draw the appropriate conclusions, to improve the defense procurement procedures, render them more efficient, and protect them from extraneous interests and inappropriate influences.”

    So why did the police confine itself only to pointing out the defects, which were exceptional in their scope and severity, without looking into the suspicions of security offences having been noticed by the investigation? Why did the Attorney General claim that the only criminal offences that should be investigated are those related solely to unethical behavior, and has not to-date allowed an investigation into the far more serious criminal offences in the realm of state security, foreign relations and official secrets? After all, the damages caused by such security offenses are often large-scale and the punishment accordingly heavier.

    Yet the Attorney General excluded, at the very outset, Netanyahu from the circle of suspects under investigation, and asserted – without there being any basis for such an assertion at that preliminary stage, as there isn’t one to this day – that Netanyahu is still not even a suspect in the whole affair. This disputed decision, taken by Israel’s chief prosecutor, has never been explained to the public.

    The AG himself said recently that disturbing materials had been brought to his attention, and that “the evidentiary material conveyed to me regarding the patrol boat transactions includes weighty claims, from senior and highly experienced officials in the public establishment … On the face of it, the claims show conduct that does not meet the proper standards of a public authority dealing with a matter of such importance to the national interests of the State of Israel.”

    And despite these very harsh statements, we still know of no process of clarification, examination, inquiry or investigation of the security offences committed under Case 3000, either by the Israel Police or even by the defense establishment. In the past, Israelis have been prosecuted on suspicion of undermining the state’s secrets, defined as serious espionage, harming military supplies or the country’s foreign relations, and some were prosecuted and sentenced – for committing far, far less severe crimes than what has been published to date as defense related violations in this case.

    Israel’s policy toward the German supply of submarines to Egypt was a particularly well-kept secret, and the prime minister himself explained that the reason for the unprecedented exclusion of defense establishment regarding these submarines was by itself a “secret.” Yet, the police investigation has revealed that non-official civilians among those suspected in the affair knew about Netanyahu’s secret approval for selling the submarines to Egypt – even before senior officials in the IDF and the defense establishment learned about it.

    Clearly the flow of top secret security and diplomatic information among suspects involved is no less serious than the flow of suspected money transfer. Prima Facie, the legal definition of such acts, in Israel’s Criminal Law, is “severe espionage.” No less. And the police investigation has explicitly stated some of the suspects were tasked with collecting and passing on of information, evidently classified, connected to the various weapons deals.

    It goes without saying that providing additional German attack submarines to Egypt poses a greater threat than there is now to shipping lanes, leading to and from Israel, places a heavier burden on its forces and adversely affecting its preparedness. That is certainly the reason for the defense establishment’s opposition to giving consent to this transaction. Top officials, former heads of the IDF General Staff and the Shin Bet security service, have described the actions undertaken in connection with the sale of German submarines to Egypt as seriously tainted – to the point of “treason.”

    Any Israeli acquisition of submarines, or patrol or anti-submarine craft, beyond what the army needs based on its multiyear plan, will come at the expense of weapon systems it considers of higher priority .Hence, a net detraction from the country’s military capability. But the greatest damage to Israeli future security stems from the corruption risk that has emerged out of the scandal and puts in jeopardy of the future supply of submarines 7, 8 and 9, which are meant to serve as a pillar of Israel’s future deterrent.

    The 2017 Israeli-German Memorandum of Understanding includes a clause that permits the German government to reconsider the deal for future submarines in the event that any elements of corruption are revealed. This new corruption risk caused by Israelis involved in the transactions, some of them subordinates and confidants of the Prime Minister, allegedly places on them a heavy responsibility, possibly criminal...

    Israel’s involvement in Egypt’s acquisition of submarines from Thyssenkrupp caused tension in relations between Israel and Egypt, and demanded that Jerusalem find ways to calm the anger in Cairo. The cancellation of the international tender for the patrol boats damaged relations with South Korea, and required compensation from Israel. And of course, the prosecution of Israelis accused of corruption in connection with ThyssenKrupp have cast a shadow over Israel-German relations, including relations between the German Chancellor and the Israeli Prime Minister.

    Article 5 of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials reads as follows: “Investigation and prosecution of the bribery of a foreign public official shall be subject to the applicable rules and principles of each Party … and shall not be influenced by considerations of … the potential effect upon relations with another state.”

    As a member of the OECD, Israel is committed to complying with this convention. In the event that it does not carry out the investigation of this Grand Corruption security affair to the point of prosecution, for reasons of foreign relations, it will find itself in noncompliance of the above-mentioned article. This in itself will damage Israel’s renowned rule of law and standing as a law-abiding country that fights corruption.

    In light of the widespread public call for a government commission of inquiry into Case 3000, the delay in forming it can be described as highly unreasonable. The findings prove that this is the most severe, -security corruption Israel has had. Allegedly, excluding the prime minister from the investigation at the outset, and neglecting criminal security offenses, are also unreasonable in terms of law and national security.
    This affair must be thoroughly investigated, with all its ramifications and consequences, with no further delay – if only to prevent a future recurrence.

    Prof. Uzi Arad served as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the National Security Council, and as the Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister and Mossad’s Director of Intelligence.

    Col. (res.) Gilead Sher, an attorney, served as Chief of Staff and Policy Coordinator to former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and as a senior Israeli negotiator. He served recently as visiting professor at Georgetown University.

    Akiva Eldar, a political analyst, previously Haaretz columnist and editorial writer.

    #corruption #3000

  • A tale of two protests: Dispossessed Palestinians vs. privileged Jewish Israelis
    Gideon Levy | Oct. 14, 2020 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium.highlight-a-tale-of-two-protests-dispossessed-palestinians-vs-priv

    It’s all there, in two brief videos. The first: a young Tel Avivian in a bikini at the beach, prohibited under the lockdown. A policeman approaches and very politely asks for her name, so he can write her a ticket. She refuses. The policeman – his name is Amit – tries to cajole her, saying that if she refuses to identify herself, he’ll be forced to arrest her. The woman stands up and starts to walk away, pointedly ignoring the officer. “You’re not putting handcuffs on me,” she says. The policeman tries again to persuade her, but right before she walks away dismissively, he handcuffs her and makes the arrest.

    The moment goes viral. It broke the Israeli internet: a Jewish policeman arresting a young, innocent Jewish woman in a bikini. Fascism has arrived. The end of democracy. Citizens are being abducted. Political arrests. Dictatorship. Totalitarianism; tyranny; Pinochet on the beach, Mussolini on the sand.

    The beach girl was soon released, of course. The police posted a video showing the moments leading up to the arrest, and the storm died down a bit. Perhaps fascism is tarrying on its way to the beach in Tel Aviv, but it’s definitely in transit. After all, the officer placed steel handcuffs on the young woman.

    The second video: Palestinian farmers from the village of Burqa are on their way to harvest olives on their own land. A group of settler thugs, clubs concealed in their shirts, ambushes them in the grove. “I am the king of this land. God gave it to me, and you are on our land. I am the son of Allah, and you are his slave,” one of the thugs from the illegal settlement outpost Oz Tzion barks, in a nauseating lordly tone. Neither the army nor the police are there, but after years of fear and cowering, the harvesters try to protect themselves and their property.

    A group of young Palestinians from Faz3a, an organization that was established to protect the farmers, escorts them to the grove, and as if by a miracle they succeed in driving the settler bullies from their land by throwing rocks at them. The settlers also throw stones, including at Ohad Hemo of Israel’s Channel 12 News, who is reporting on the incident.

    Hemo documented a daily occurrence during the olive season. For the Palestinians the harvest, a beautiful and moving agricultural and family event, has for years been a battle. Thanks to Hemo’s dedication, Israelis were exposed for a moment Tuesday to this reality. It certainly disturbed many good Israelis, who were ashamed by the sight, but no one took to the streets banging pots in protest. If there was a mini-storm, it was because Hemo was injured and people were worried about him. Nobody talked about fascism, tyranny, the end of democracy. This was not about the handcuffing of a Jewish woman on the beach.

    Protest vs. protest. The protest of the dispossessed, rightless Palestinian farmers who are trying to fight for the last remains of their property and their dignity, and the protest of privileged Jewish Israelis, who want to have a different prime minister and who lament the end of their democracy. One protest stirs up emotions, while Israel ignores the other. But they are intertwined. It’s impossible to demand democracy without demanding democracy for everyone. There is no such thing as democracy that is not for everyone. Israeli fascism is in Burqa, not yet on the Tel Aviv beach.

    And so it’s impossible to relate too seriously to the protests near the prime minister’s Balfour Street residence. If people in Burqa can’t harvest their olives because of fascism and the Balfour Street protesters don’t care, the Balfour Street protest is not an anti-fascism or pro-democracy movement, as it purports to be, despite all its fine words.

    As long as military tyranny reigns in Burqa, supported by violent and wild militias, Israel will not be a democracy, even if the protest at Balfour Street achieves its goals and Benjamin Netanyahu is sent to prison, to the joyful cries of the protesters.

    So demand democracy for everyone, or don’t talk about democracy at all.

    #Isrelmanifs

  • Even Ben-Gurion thought ‘most Jews are thieves’
    Gideon Levy | Oct. 4, 2020 | 2:48 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-in-the-words-of-israel-s-founder-most-jews-are-thieves-1.9206301

    The quote in the headline wasn’t uttered by an antisemitic leader, a Jew hater or a neo-Nazi. The words are those of the founder of the State of Israel, two months after it was founded. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was furious, or at least pretended to be, at a meeting of his political party Mapai, in light of the wave of looting of Arab property by the new Israelis throughout the nascent state.

    The concept of a state born in sin had never been so concrete: “Like locusts, the residents of Tiberias swarmed into the houses…”; “total and complete robbery…not a thread was left in [any house]”; and “soldiers wrapped in Persian rugs in the streets,” are a few of the descriptions of what happened in front of everyone, and was never told as it really was.

    Now the historian Adam Raz wrote about it: “Looting of Arab Property in the War of Independence,” and Haaretz’s Ofer Aderet reported on it in a shocking article in Haaretz on Friday. It should weigh on what is left of the conscience of any proper Zionist, and flood us with feelings of deep shame and guilt even after 72 years.

    The authorities turned a blind eye and thus encouraged the looting, despite all the denunciations, the pretense and a few ridiculous trials. The looting served a national purpose: to quickly complete the ethnic cleansing of most of the country of its Arabs, and to see to it that 700,000 refugees would never even imagine returning to their homes.

    Even before Israel managed to destroy most of the houses, and wipe from the face of the earth more than 400 villages, came this mass looting to empty them out, so that the refugees would have no reason to return.

    The looters therefore were motivated not only by ugly greed to possess stolen property right after the war was over, property belonging in some cases to people who were their neighbors just the day before, and not only by the desire to get rich quick by looting household items and ornaments, some of them very costly. The looters also served, consciously or unconsciously, the ethnic purification project that Israel has tried in vain to deny all through the years. The looters were a cog in the large machine of the expulsion of the Arabs.

    This looting, in which almost everyone took part, was the small looting, the one that proved if only for a moment that “most of the Jews are thieves,” as the founding father said. But that was mini-looting compared to the institutionalized looting of property, houses, villages and cities – the looting of the land.

    And so, the intentions of the heads of the Jewish community who allowed the looting are more infuriating than the individual descriptions of it. It is amazing that it was never talked about, another one of the apparatuses of denial and repression by Israel society.

    Thirst for revenge and drunkenness with victory after the difficult war might perhaps explain, even partially, the participation of so many. War is an ugly thing, and so is the day after. But when the looting reflects not only momentary human weakness but is intended to serve a clear strategic goal – purifying the country of its inhabitants – words fail.

    Anyone who believes that a solution will ever be found to the conflict without proper atonement and compensation for these acts, is living in an illusion. Now think about the feelings of the descendants, the Arabs of Israel and the Palestinian refugees, who are living with us and alongside us. They see the pictures and read these things – what crosses their minds?

    Perhaps a few of them once came across a Persian rug that belonged to their parents, or a glass display case that was their grandmother’s, a memory from their childhood, resting in the home of a Jew whose house they cleaned. Perhaps they see their grandmother’s coffeepot or their grandfather’s ancient sword on display in some Jewish home they were renovating.

    They will never be able to see the villages of their ancestors: Israel demolished most of them, to leave not a shred. But one small stolen souvenir from the home that was lost might cause a tear to fall. Just ask the Jews enraged over any stolen Jewish property.

    #Pillage

    • Jewish soldiers and civilians looted Arab neighbors’ property en masse in ’48. The authorities turned a blind eye
      Ofer Aderet | Oct. 3, 2020 | 7:47 AM | Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.highlight.MAGAZINE-jews-looted-arab-property-en-masse-in-48-the-au

      Refrigerators and caviar, champagne and carpets – a first-ever comprehensive study by historian Adam Raz reveals the extent to which Jews looted Arab property during the War of Independence, and explains why Ben-Gurion stated: ‘Most of the Jews are thieves’

      “We turned a mahogany closet into a chicken coop and we swept up the garbage with a silver tray. There was chinaware with gold embellishments, and we would spread a sheet on the table and place chinaware and gold on it, and when the food was finished, everything was taken together to the basement. In another place, we found a storeroom with 10,000 boxes of caviar, that’s what they counted. After that, the guys couldn’t touch caviar again their whole life. There was a feeling on one hand of shame at the behavior, and on the other hand a feeling of lawlessness. We spent 12 days there, when Jerusalem was groaning under horrible shortages, and we were putting on weight. We ate chicken and delicacies you wouldn’t believe. In [the headquarters at] Notre Dame, some people shaved with champagne.”

      – Dov Doron, in testimony about looting in Jerusalem

      *

      On July 24, 1948, two months after establishment of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, head of the provisional government, voiced some extreme criticism about its people: “It turns out that most of the Jews are thieves… I say this deliberately and simply, because unfortunately it is true.” His comments appear in black and white in the minutes of a meeting of the Central Committee of Mapai, the forerunner of Labor, stored in the Labor Party Archives.

      “People from the Jezreel Valley stole! The pioneers of the pioneers, parents of Palmach [pre-state commando force] children! And everyone took part in it, baruch Hashem, the people of [Moshav] Nahalal!... This is a general blow. It’s appalling, because it shows a basic flaw. Theft and robbery – and where does this come to us from? Why have the people of the land – builders, creators, pioneers – come to deeds like this? What happened?”

      The protocol was unearthed by historian Adam Raz in the course of his research for his new book which, as its title suggests, addresses a highly charged, sensitive and volatile issue: “Looting of Arab Property in the War of Independence” (Carmel Publishing House, in association with the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research; in Hebrew). The task he undertook was daunting: to collect, for the first time in a single volume, all existing information about the pillaging of Arab property by Jews during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence – from Tiberias in the north to Be’er Sheva in the south; from Jaffa to Jerusalem via the villages, mosques and churches scattered between them. Raz pored over 30 archives around the country, perused newspapers of that era and examined all extant literature on the subject. The result is shattering.

      “Many parts of the Israeli public – civilians and soldiers alike – were involved in looting the property of the Arab population,” Raz tells Haaretz. “The pillaging spread like wildfire among that public.” It involved the contents of tens of thousands of homes, stores and factories, of mechanical equipment, farm produce, cattle and more, he continues. Also included were pianos, books, clothing, jewelry, furniture, electrical appliances, engines and cars. Raz has left to others investigation of the fate of the land and buildings left behind by the 700,000 Arabs who fled or were expelled in the war. He focuses on movables only, items that could be stuffed into bags or loaded onto vehicles.

      Ben-Gurion is not the only senior figure Raz quotes. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Ben-Gurion’s fellow law student decades earlier, and later Israel’s second president, also mentioned the phenomenon. According to his account, those who engaged in looting were “‘decent’ Jews who view the act of robbery as natural and permissible.” In a letter, dated June 2, 1948, to Ben-Gurion quoted by Raz, Ben-Zvi wrote that what was happening in Jerusalem was doing “dreadful” damage to the honor of the Jewish people and the fighting forces.

      “I cannot remain silent about the robbery, both [that which is] organized by groups and [that which is] unorganized, by individuals,” he wrote. “Robbery has become a general phenomenon… Everyone will agree that our thieves fell upon the abandoned neighborhoods like locusts on a field or an orchard.”

      Raz’s thorough archival work turned up countless quotes, which make for painful reading, from senior and junior figures in the Israeli public and establishment, from leaders to low-ranking troops.

      In an archival file of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property (i.e., property owned by Palestinians who left their homes or the country after passage of the Nov. 29, 1947, UN partition resolution, which was seized by the Israeli government), Raz located a 1949 report by Dov Shafrir, the official custodian, which states: “The panicky mass flight of the Arab residents, leaving behind immense property in hundreds and thousands [of] apartments, stores, warehouses and workshops, the abandonment of crops in the fields and fruit in gardens, orchards and vineyards, all this amid the tumult of the war… confronted the fighting Yishuv [pre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine] with a grave material temptation… passions of revenge, moral justification and material allurement tripped up a great many… Events on the ground rolled down a slope unchecked.”

      The testimony of Haim Kremer, who served in the Palmach’s Negev Brigade and was sent to Tiberias to prevent looting, was found in the Yad Tabenkin Archive, in Ramat Gan. “Like locusts, the residents of Tiberias swarmed into the houses… We had to resort to blows and clubs, to beat them back and force them to leave things on the ground,” Kremer stated.

      The diary of Yosef Nachmani, a Tiberias resident who had been a founder of the Hashomer Jewish defense organization, was deposited in its archive and contains the following entry about events in his city in 1948: “The Jewish mob rampaged and started to loot the shops… By the dozens and dozens, in groups, the Jews proceeded to rob the Arabs’ homes and shops.”

      Many soldiers, too, “didn’t hang back and joined in the festivities,” wrote Nahum Av, the Haganah commander of the Old City of Tiberias, in his memoirs. Jewish soldiers who had just done battle against Arabs were posted at the entrance to the Old City, he wrote, in order to prevent Jewish residents from breaking into the homes of Arabs. They were armed “when confronting Jews who tried to force their way into the city with the aim of robbing and looting.” Throughout the day, “crowds thronged around the barriers and tried to burst in. The soldiers were compelled to resist with force.”

      In this connection, Kremer noted that “there was competition between different units of the Haganah… who came in cars and boats and loaded all kinds of objects… refrigerators, beds and so on.” He added: “Naturally, the Jewish crowd in Tiberias burst in to do likewise. It left a very harsh impression on me, the ugliness of it. It stains our flag… Our struggle is harmed at its moral level… disgraceful… such a moral decline.”

      People were seen “wandering between the looted shops and taking whatever remained after the shameful theft,” Nahum Av added in his account. “I patrolled the streets and saw a city which until not long beforehand had been more or less normal. Whereas now it was a ghost town, plundered, its shops broken into and its homes empty of occupants… The most shameful spectacle was of people rummaging among the heaps that remained after the great robbery. One sees the same humiliating sights everywhere. I thought: How could it be? This should never have been allowed to happen.”

      Netiva Ben-Yehuda, an iconic Palmach fighter who took part in the battle for Tiberias, was uncompromising in her description of the events. “Such pictures were known to us. It was the way things had always been done to us, in the Holocaust, throughout the world war, and all the pogroms. Oy, how well we knew those pictures. And here – here, we were doing these awful things to others,” she wrote. “We loaded everything onto the van – with a terrible trembling of the hands. And that wasn’t because of the weight. Even now my hands are shaking, just from writing about it.”

      Tiberias, conquered by the Jewish forces in April 1948, was the first mixed, Jewish-Arab city to be taken in the War of Independence. It was “an archetype in miniature of everything that would take place in the months ahead in the country’s Arab and mixed cities,” Raz says. In the course of his research, he discovered that no official data exist about the looting, its physical and monetary scope. But clearly, such acts took place extensively in every such town.

      Indeed, Raz found accounts similar to those about Tiberias in documentation of the battle for Haifa, which took place a few days later, on April 21 and 22. “As they fought and conquered with one hand, the fighters found time to loot, among other items, sewing machines, record players and clothing, with the other hand,” according to Zeev Yitzhaki, who fought in the city’s Halisa neighborhood.

      “People grabbed whatever they could… Those with initiative opened the abandoned shops and loaded the merchandise onto every vehicle. Anarchy reigned,” added Zadok Eshel, from the Carmeli Brigade. “Along with the joy at the city’s liberation and the relief after months of blood-soaked incidents, it was shocking to see the eagerness of civilians to take advantage of the vacuum and raid the homes of people whom a cruel fate had turned into refugees.”

      Yosef Nachmani, who visited Haifa after it was taken by the Jewish forces, wrote, “Old people and women, irrespective of age and religious status, are all busy looting. And no one is stopping them. Shame and disgrace overwhelm me; there’s a desire to spit on the city and leave it. This will take its revenge on us and in the education of the youth and the children. People have lost all sense of shame, acts like these undermine the society’s moral foundations.”

      So widespread was the looting and theft that the general prosecutor who accompanied the fighting forces in Haifa, Moshe Ben-Peretz, stated in June 1948: “There is nothing [left] to take from [the] Arabs. Simply a pogrom… And the commanders all have excuses; ‘I just got here two weeks ago,’ etc. There is no one to detain.”

      *

      “There were so many houses in ruins, and smashed furniture lying amid the heaps of rubble. The doors of the houses on both side of the street were broken into. Many objects from the houses lay scattered on the sidewalks… On the threshold of the house was a cradle leaning on its side, and a naked doll, somewhat crushed, was lying next to it, its face pointing down. Where is the baby? Which exile did he go into? Which exile?”

      – Moshe Carmel, commander of the Carmeli Brigade, about the looting in Haifa

      Members of the Yishuv’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry had warned about possible looting. “In the future we will stand before history, which will address the subject,” they wrote to the pre-state leadership body the Emergency Committee. The army’s Judicial Service Staff, part of the military justice apparatus, noted, in a document entitled “Epidemic of Looting and Robbery”: “This affliction has spread to all the units and all the officer ranks… The robberies and the pillage have assumed appalling dimensions, and our soldiers are occupied with this work to an extent that endangers their preparedness for battle and their devotion to their tasks.”

      Members of the Communist Party also spoke out on the subject. In a memorandum to the People’s Administration (the provisional government cabinet) and Haganah headquarters, the party referred to “a campaign of looting, robbery and theft of Arab property in frightening dimensions.” Indeed, “The great majority of the homes of the Arab residents have been emptied of all valuables, the merchandise and commodities have been stolen from the shops, and the machines have been removed from the workshops and factories.”

      After the conquest of Haifa, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary about “total and complete robbery” in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, perpetrated by the Irgun, the pre-state militia led by Menachem Begin, and Haganah forces. “There were cases in which Haganah people, including commanders, were found with stolen items,” he wrote. A few days later, in a meeting of the Jewish Agency executive, Golda Meir noted that “in the first day or two [following the city’s conquest], the situation in the area of conquests was grim. In the sector taken by the Irgun, especially, not a thread was left in [any] house.”

      Reports about the looting also appeared in the press. At the end of 1948, Aryeh Nesher, Haaretz’s Haifa correspondent, wrote, “It turns out that the Jewish people has also learned this profession [theft], and very thoroughly, as is customary with Jews. ‘Hebrew labor’ now exists in this vocation, too. Indeed, the scourge of thefts has struck Haifa. All circles of the Yishuv took part in it, irrespective of ethnic community and country of origin. New immigrants and former denizens of Acre Prison, longtime residents from both East and West without discrimination… And where are the police?” A reporter for Maariv, who took part in a tour of Jerusalem in July 1948, wrote, “Bring judges and police officers to Jewish Jerusalem, for we have become as all the nations.”

      *

      “All along the way there is no house, no store, no workshop from which everything was not taken… Things of value and of no value – everything, literally! You are left with a shocked impression by this picture of ruins and heaps of rubble, among which men are wandering, poking through the rags in order to get something for nothing. Why not take? Why have pity?”

      – Ruth Lubitz, testimony about looting in Jaffa

      Raz, 37, is on the staff of the Akevot Institute (which focuses on human-rights issues related to the conflict), and edits the journal Telem for the Berl Katznelson Foundation. (He is also a frequent contributor of historical pieces to Haaretz.) Though he does not possess a doctoral degree, his résumé includes a number of studies that could easily have served as the basis for a Ph.D. thesis – about the Kafr Qasem massacre, the Israeli nuclear project and Theodor Herzl. The looting of Arab property by Jews has been written about before, but Raz is apparently the first to have devoted an entire monograph to the subject.

      “Unlike other researchers who have written about the war, I view the looting as an event of far greater order than what has been said about it previously,” the historian notes. “In the book, I show how disturbed most of the decision makers were about the looting and the dangers it posed to Jewish society, and the degree to which it was a contentious issue among them.”

      He also maintains that there has been a “conspiracy of silence” about the phenomenon. As a result, even now, in 2020, colleagues who read the book prior to its publication were “surprised by its scale,” he says.

      He describes the plundering of Arab property by Jews as a “singular” phenomenon, because the looters were civilians (Jews) who stole from their civilian neighbors (Arabs). “These were not abstract ‘enemies’ from across the seas, but yesterday’s neighbors,” he says.

      On what grounds do you claim that this was a singular event? History shows that in World War II, the Polish public also looted the property of their Jewish neighbors, who had lived alongside them peacefully for centuries. Maybe this is a response that’s not unique to our case? Maybe it’s human nature?

      Raz: “Looting in wartime is an ancient historical phenomenon that is documented in texts thousands of years old. My book does not deal with the phenomenon in general, but with the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian case. It was important for me to emphasize that the looting of Arab property was different from ‘regular’ wartime looting. These weren’t American soldiers, for example, who plundered the Vietnamese, or Germans thousands of kilometers form home. These were civilians who looted their neighbors across the street. I don’t mean that they necessarily knew Ahmed or Noor whose property they stole, but that the neighbors were part of a shared social civil fabric.

      “The Jews from Haifa and the area who looted the property of close to 70,000 Arabs in Haifa, for example, knew the Arabs whose homes they pillaged. That was certainly the case also in the mixed cities and the villages that existed next to kibbutzim and moshavim. The book is rife with examples attesting to the fact that the looters knew that what they were doing was immoral. Furthermore, the public knew that the majority of the Palestinian community had not taken an active part in the fighting. In most cases, in fact, the looting took place after the fighting, in the days and weeks following the Palestinians’ flight and expulsion.”

      Still, it’s not the only case of its kind.

      “As a historian, I am not an advocate of comparative history, and I didn’t find that much could be gleaned about the Israeli case from pillaging that took place in history.”

      *

      From Haifa, Raz’s book moves to Jerusalem, where the looting went on for months, he says. He quotes the diary of Moshe Salomon, a company commander who fought in the city: “We were all swept up by it, privates and officers alike. Everyone was seized by a craving for possessions. They rummaged through every house, and some found food, others found expensive objects. The mania attacked me, too, and I was barely able to stop myself. In this regard there is no limit to what people will do… It’s here that the moral and human slope starts, so one can understand the meaning of the doctrine that says that moral values and humanity become blurred in war.”

      Yair Goren, a Jerusalem resident, related that “the hunt for booty was intense… Men, women and children scurried hither and thither like drugged mice. Many quarreled over one item or another in one of the heaps, or over a number of items, and it reached the point of bloodshed.”

      The operations officer of the Harel Brigade, Eliahu Sela, described how “pianos and armchairs in gold and crimson were loaded onto our trucks. It was awful. It was awful. Fighters saw a radio and said, ‘Hey, I need a radio.’ Then they saw a dinner set. They threw out the radio and took the dinner set… Soldiers pounced on bedding. They loaded and loaded [things] in their coats.”

      David Werner Senator, one of the leaders of Brit Shalom, which advocated Arab-Jewish coexistence in one state, and a senior administrator at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, described what he saw: “These days, when you pass through the streets of Rehavia [an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood], you see everywhere old people, young folk and children returning from Katamon or other neighborhoods with bags filled with stolen objects. The booty is diverse: refrigerators and beds, clocks and books, undergarments and clothing… What a disgrace the Jewish robbers have brought on us, and what moral ruin they have brought on us! Clearly, a terrible licentiousness is spreading among both younger and older people.”

      An operations officer in the Etzioni Brigade, Eliahu Arbel, described soldiers “wrapped in Persian rugs” that they had stolen. One night, he came across a suspicious armored vehicle. “We discovered that it was filled with refrigerators, record players, carpets and what have you.” The driver said to him, “Give me your address, I’ll bring whatever you want to your house.” Arbel continues: “I didn’t know what to do. Arrest him? Kill him? I told him, ‘Get the hell out of here!’ And he drove off.” Subsequently, he recalled, “A neighbor told my wife that an electric refrigerator could be had cheaply in a certain store. I went to the store and encountered the man from the armored vehicle there. He said, ‘For you, 100 liras!’ ‘Aren’t you ashamed?!’ I said to him. He replied, ‘If you’re an idiot, I have to be ashamed?’”

      *

      “I brought a few fine things from Safed. For Sara and me I found exquisitely embroidered Arab dresses, and they might be able to alter them for us here. Spoons and kerchiefs, bracelets and beads, a Damascene table and a set of gorgeous coffee demitasses made of silver, and above all, yesterday Sara brought a huge Persian carpet, totally new and beautiful, beauty like I never saw before. A living room like that can compete with that of all the rich folk of Tel Aviv.”

      – A Palmach fighter, about the looting of Safed

      There are only marginal references in Raz’s book to the reverse phenomenon: cases in which Arabs looted Jewish property.

      In a footnote you write, “Arabs, too, looted and pillaged during the war.” One might also wonder why you didn’t describe the plundering of Jewish property in Arab countries after the Jews fled or were expelled from them. Wouldn’t it have been proper to refer to that?

      “The book is a historical document, not an indictment. Let me tell you a story. I was invited to deliver a lecture at Ariel University [in the West Bank] in the wake of the publication of my book about the Kafr Qassem massacre. At the end, someone in the audience, who was apparently overwrought by what I had said, asked me, ‘Why didn’t you write about the massacre that the Arabs perpetrated against the Jews in Hebron in 1929?’ Well, the title of this book is ‘Looting of Arab Property by Jews in the War of Independence.’ It’s not ‘Looting and robbery in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict from the First Aliyah to the Trump Plan.’

      “I think that the looting of Arab property during the war is a singular and distinctive case – at least singular enough to write a book about it. I think that this plundering of property exerted, and continues to exert, considerable influence on the relations between the two people who share this land. The book shows, on the basis of much documentation, that an integral part of the Jewish public took part in the looting and theft of the property of more than 600,000 people. It doesn’t resemble the pogroms and the robbery carried out by the Arabs during the Palestine riots. The plundering of Jewish property in the Arab states – a fascinating subject in itself – is also unrelated to my book, whose first section is intended to describe the looting as a widespread phenomenon over the span of many months, and whose second section explains how such acts are interwoven with a political approach.”

      You write that “there is no comparison between the scale of looting” by the Arabs and that of the Jews, and that in any case most of the Arab plunderers “were from neighboring countries and not local residents.” What is the basis of that assertion?

      “It’s a simple matter. The Arab residents fled or were expelled – and fast. They didn’t have the time or ability to start dealing with closets, refrigerators, pianos and with the property in the thousands of homes and shops that were left behind. They fled in a hurry and the great majority of them thought they would be back in a short time. The country was emptied of its Arab population within a span of days, and civilians and soldiers moved quickly to plunder their possessions.

      “The Arab fighting forces, the great majority of whom were not local residents, also engaged in looting. But the scale is completely different. And, of course, the conquests of the Arab fighters were, happily, quite few. Kibbutz Nitzanim, which was taken by Egyptian forces, was looted and subjected to massive destruction. I do note in certain places (in the case of Jaffa or the Etzion Bloc, say) that the Arab forces engaged in looting. Even the British did some pillaging in the tumult of the hasty evacuation. But not on the same scale. You have to understand that the Jewish forces captured Tiberias, Haifa, West Jerusalem, Jaffa, Acre, Safed, Ramle, Lod and other locales. On the other side, the Arab fighters captured, for example, Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Nitzanim and the Etzion Bloc.

      “Haifa, for example, had a population of 70,000 Jews and a similar number of Arabs before the war. After the Israeli conquest of Arab Haifa, around 3,500 Arabs were left in the city. The property of the 66,500 Arabs who fled from the city was looted by the Jews, not by the beaten and frightened Arab minority.”

      What befell the looters? Archival documents show that between dozens and hundreds of cases were opened against suspected looters, both civilians and soldiers. However, Raz points out, “As a rule, the punishments were always light, if not ridiculous,” ranging from a fine to six months in jail. Raz’s opinion was apparently shared by some of the cabinet ministers, as is attested to by correspondence from 1948.

      Justice Minister Pinhas Rosen wrote, “Everything that has been done in this area is a disgrace to the State of Israel, and there is no appropriate response by the government.” His colleague, Agriculture Minister Aharon Zisling, complained that “the greatest robbery in the few cases of trials… received the lightest punishment.” Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan wondered “whether this is the way to do battle against robbery and thefts.”

      *

      “The people who came with the trucks went from house to house and removed the valuable items: beds, mattresses, closets, kitchen utensils, glassware, sofas, curtains and other objects. When I returned home, I wanted very much to ask my mother why they were doing this – after all, that property belongs to someone… But I didn’t dare ask. The sight of the empty city and the taking of all the possessions of its inhabitants, and the questions all this aroused in me, haunted me for years.”

      – Fawzi al-Asmar, about the looting in Lod

      Following a comprehensive discussion about the plundering that went on in the country, Raz turns to its political implications. “This is not purely an account of looting, it is a political story,” he writes. The pillaging, he maintains, “was tolerated” by leaders in the political and the military arenas, and first and foremost by Ben-Gurion – despite his condemnations in official forums. Moreover, according to Raz, the looting “played a political role in shaping the character of Israeli society. It was allowed to proceed apace with no interference. That fact calls for a political explanation.”

      And what is that explanation, as you see it?

      “The plundering was a means to realize the policy of emptying the country of its Arab residents. First, in the simple sense, the looting turned the looters into criminals. Second, it turned the looters who perpetrated individual acts willy-nilly into accomplices to the political situation – passive partners in a political-policy approach that strove to void the land of its Arab residents, with a vested interest in not allowing them to return.”

      That may be so in certain cases, but do you really think that the ordinary person on the street who saw a beautiful table and stole it, considered the matter carefully and said to himself, “I am stealing this table so that its owners will not be able to return, for political reasons”?

      “The person who looted his neighbor’s property was not aware of the process in which he was an accomplice to a political line that aimed to prevent the Arabs’ return. But the moment you enter your neighbor’s building and remove the property of the Arab family that had been living there until the day before, you have less motivation for them to return in another month or another year. The passive partnership between a specific political approach and the individual looter also had a long-term influence. It reinforced the political idea that espoused segregation between the peoples in the years after the war.”

      Without justifying the thieves, what do you think should have been done with this property? Transfer it to the Red Cross? Distribute it to the Jews in an “orderly” way?

      “The question is not what I, the historian, would want to happen to the Arab property. To offer recommendations 70 years after the events is inane. The book shows that there were decision makers who were critical of what was happening in real time, both at the level of the events on the ground and at the political level. They thought that the fact that Ben-Gurion had permitted the looting was intended to create a particular political and social reality, and was a tool in Ben-Gurion’s hands to achieve his purposes. The reason [for such an approach] lies in the fact that there is a substantive difference between the looting by masses of Jewish citizens of the property of Palestinians who left their homes, shops and farms, and the collection of the property by an authorized institution. Socially and politically, it’s significantly different.

      “And that was exactly the point of Ben-Gurion’s critics: that the looting was creating a corrupt society and served the line of segregation drawn between Arabs and Jews. Ministers and decision makers, such as the minister of minority affairs, Bechor Shalom-Sheetrit, and Zisling and Kaplan, were critical of the plundering by individuals. In their view, one authority, effective and with concrete power, should have been created to aggregate all the property and see to its distribution and handling. Ben-Gurion objected to this idea and torpedoed it.”

      What did you take away personally from the comprehensive research you conducted, beyond the historical documentation? As a person, as a Jew, as a Zionist?

      “The looting of Arab property and the conspiracy of silence around it constitute to this day actions with which the Jewish public, and the Zionist public, of which I am a part, must come to terms. Martin Buber said in this context (in a letter written at the time), ‘Inner redemption cannot be acquired unless we stand and look into the face of the lethal character of the truth.’”

    • Israël - 7 octobre 2020
      La génération fondatrice d’Israël était une génération de pillards
      Par Odeh Bisharat - Haaretz
      http://www.ism-france.org/analyses/La-generation-fondatrice-d-Israel-etait-une-generation-de-pillards-artic

      05.10.2020 - Selon l’historien Adam Raz, dans son livre « Le pillage des biens arabes dans la guerre d’indépendance » (Maison d’édition Carmel, en association avec l’Institut Akevot pour la recherche sur le conflit israélo-palestinien ; en hébreu), le Premier ministre David Ben-Gourion a déclaré en juillet 1948 : « Il s’est avéré que la plupart des Juifs sont des voleurs. » C’est ce qui m’a rendu le plus furieux dans l’article d’Ofer Aderet, qui a fait la critique du livre.

      Après tout, si cet homme était responsable de l’expulsion d’environ 800.000 Arabes, comment s’attendait-il à ce que ses subordonnés se comportent ? Sauver le mobilier des expulsés dans des cartons, le blé dans des greniers, les chèvres dans des enclos et l’or dans des coffres-forts - jusqu’au retour des expulsés ? (...)

  • Deploy the West Bank brigade to the protests. Let Israelis meet their army
    Gideon Levy | Sep. 30, 2020 | 10:33 PM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-deploy-the-west-bank-brigade-to-the-protests-let-israelis-meet-the

    The soft souls of Israel Defense Forces soldiers are about to be corrupted: They’ve been sent to disperse a demonstration and to stand alongside police officers at roadblocks. At a roadblock in Jerusalem, a paratrooper has already been insulted by a demonstrator; where will this shame lead?

    In response, Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi, who is meticulous about preserving the purity of his soldiers, ordered them back to their bases immediately. “This is awful,” said protest activist Giora Inbar, a brigadier general in the reserves. “Once they sent paratroopers to Jerusalem to rebuff the enemy; yesterday they positioned armed paratroopers to push back demonstrators who had gone to Jerusalem to defend democracy.”

    According to Inbar, between the “liberation” of Jerusalem in 1967 and the dispersal of the “democracy demonstration” on Balfour Street in 2020, the paratroopers were a local branch of the Salvation Army. They fed the elderly, helped the poor and trained by parachuting at the beach. With all due respect to Mr. Inbar, this is a rose-colored misrepresentation. The paratroopers who were brought to Jerusalem this week were doing exactly what they’ve been doing most of the past 53 years, only less brutally, of course.

    From Ammunition Hill to Paris Square, this is what they’ve been doing. Forcefully dispersing protests and standing at roadblocks and suffocating a people. A significant part of what the paratroopers and all the other field corps have been doing in the past several decades is policing and control, just like now in Jerusalem. That may not sound or look nice, and it is certainly far from being heroic – compare that teary paratrooper from the Western Wall to the paratrooper at a checkpoint – but it’s the same red beret, that should have been hidden in shame long ago. That’s the routine of the police and the occupation army, the Israel Defense Forces. Every night it raids homes and drags people out of their beds, especially for their political activity, another disgraceful and illegal action. Once every few years they conduct criminal operations in Gaza or Lebanon that are hard to call wars, since there is no army opposing them. Even when they are guarding settlers in patently illegal outposts and settlements, they are actively participating in the State of Israel’s biggest political game, taking a clear and unequivocal political stand.

    The IDF, as subcontractor for the occupation, is one of the most politicized armies in the world. There are few like it. Therefore, we ask the defense minister, the chief of general staff, and Brig.-Gen. Inbar – spare us your self-righteousness and hypocritical eye-rolling. The activities at Balfour Street are the most natural and necessary continuation of the paratroopers’ activity at the Beka’ot checkpoint and Dheisheh refugee camp. No one is as skilled as they are at checkpoints, and no one is more experienced in dispersing demonstrations with force. Ask any Palestinian. It’s true that they are, for now, using kid gloves in west Jerusalem, in contrast to the way they were trained to operate in the territories. Perhaps that’s why the Paratroopers Brigade, Kochavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz want to keep them away from the city, lest their skills get rusty. After all, on Balfour Street we’re talking about fellow Jews, Israeli citizens, human beings.

    But the IDF has even better trained forces than the paratroopers, whose glory is somewhat muted. Troops of the Kfir Brigade, the infantry battalions deployed in the West bank, are experts in handling checkpoints and demonstrations. Perhaps it would be better to move them to Balfour Street, to replace those of the red beret.

    The Border Police wouldn’t do a bad job, either. Simply set the border policemen free, and they will abuse the demonstrators, steal from them and even shoot helpless people with autism. Those who did this in a rubbish depot in East Jerusalem can easily do the same in the western part of the city, after a short adjustment period. The self-righteous fear that the people’s army will become politicized and the moral army will turn into guardians of the regime. No need to worry; the IDF has been those things for a while.

    Perhaps there is some positive aspect to all this: The people will finally get to know its army and how it works. Send the Kfir Brigade to Balfour Street and Israelis will be shocked. That’s another reason why Kochavi and Gantz want to keep the army off of the streets; so we won’t see what it really does and how its soldiers routinely treat human beings.

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    Charles Enderlin
    @Charles1045. 1:39 AM · 2 oct. 2020·
    https://twitter.com/Charles1045/status/1311813093580775424

    Gaz lacrymogène et policiers à cheval à Tel Aviv hier soir pour disperser la manif anti Netanyahu. La prochaine fois balles caoutchoutées ? Et ensuite ?

    https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1311750022783000583/pu/vid/960x720/5J3dd9ds7MtbsJ6B.mp4?tag=10


    #Israelmanifs

  • Twenty years after the second intifada, the Israeli victory is nearly complete
    Amira Hass | Sep. 30, 2020 | 12:59 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-twenty-years-after-the-second-intifada-the-israeli-victory-is-near

    The second intifada erupted because Israel exploited the negotiations with the Palestinians to advance its land grab project. The hypocrisy cried out to the heavens – talk of peace on one hand while continuing to take over Palestinian expanse for the benefit of the Jews. The hypocrisy cried out, but the Israelis didn’t listen.

    The anger and disgust at Israeli underhandedness built up over years of disappointment and sobriety following the Oslo Accords, erupting on September 29, 2000 (the day after the provocation by Ariel Sharon, with the approval of then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak). But the second intifada was not an intifada in the standard sense of the word: Aside from its first days, it was not a popular civil event and a majority of the public did not participate in it, unlike the uprising that erupted in 1987. The popular-collective characteristic that was preserved in it was the sumud (steadfastness) displayed by all the Palestinians in the face of the Israeli oppressive and punitive measures and policy of economic attrition.

    The Israel Defense Forces, Border Police and police, which used lethal means to suppress the protests from the very first day, managed to deter potential protesters. Yasser Arafat and his entourage worried about the criticism that could be heard in those demonstrations, directed at the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. They gave a green light to Fatah and the security forces to use weapons at friction points with the Israeli army and thus, by putting on the hat of resistance once more, seized control of the demonstrations. They also calculated that this militarization would strengthen the Palestinian negotiating stance. They still believed they could halt the Israeli settler-colonial drive in the 1967 territories.

    The well-oiled mechanism of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and the government spokespeople succeeded on the propaganda front in constructing the lie that the battles in the field were being fought between equal armies and that the Palestinians “started it.” Then, as now, the Israeli majority paid little heed to the Palestinian casualties, and did not view the seizure of their lands as institutional aggression. At the same time, the number of unarmed Palestinians killed by Israel kept growing. With every funeral, the Palestinian call for revenge grew stronger. With and without a green light from above, armed Palestinians shot at Israeli civilians (also armed, as many of the settlers are) in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Hamas joined somewhat belatedly and showed that if success is measured in the number of Israeli dead bodies, it was more effective than Fatah. Israel erased the Green Line – so why shouldn’t it resume attacking Israelis inside Israel? The armed wings of Hamas and Fatah competed with one another and lost in the competition with the IDF on the number of those killed. The suicide bombings created a balance of terror with the Israelis but they didn’t halt the Civil Administration’s bulldozers.

    There are four failures in all. The first intifada, with its hopeful demand for a sovereign state within the June 4, 1967 lines, failed. The Madrid and Oslo talks, which began in the wake of it, did not diminish Israel’s ravenous appetite for Palestinian land. Mahmoud Abbas’ tactic of diplomacy and acceptance in the UN also failed: The condemnations by Western countries do not amount to a policy — they are only meant to cover their butts. With the exception of a few isolated successes, the popular and legal battles against land seizures also failed. And the use of weapons, which many Palestinians still view as the pinnacle of the struggle and the resistance, even though only a few actually choose to do so, did not stop the process either. The use of arms is an expression of anger and the desire for revenge. It has no strategic value.

    Twenty years later, the Israeli victory is nearly complete: The well-planned armed robbery of Palestinian land goes on daily unhindered. The model that Israel created in Gaza is being copied in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and translated into something akin to “Pales of Settlement” which, as long as they don’t show signs of fury and rebellion, are of no interest to the Jews in Israel, the supreme ruler.

  • A Palestinian student wants a visa to Europe? Let him do research in Gaza
    Amira Hass | Sep. 22, 2020 | 12:50 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-he-wants-a-visa-to-europe-let-him-do-research-in-gaza-1.9174600

    The Be’er Sheva District Court, sitting as an administrative court, dared to rule that S.O., a Palestinian doctoral student in engineering, must be allowed to leave the Gaza Strip for Tel Aviv in order to receive a visa for the European state in which he is meant to begin his research on October 1. But Israel is determined to block the 28-year-old Gazan man from realizing his dream. To this end, it enlisted its endless supply of time, resources, clerks, officers and jurists. So important was it for Israel to shoot down S.O.’s scholarship and his research that it hastened to appeal the Be’er Sheva court’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court justices did not disappoint. They didn’t miss the opportunity to prove their conservatism. On Wednesday, Justices Neal Hendel, Anat Baron and Yosef Elron ruled that a one-time scholarship for doctoral studies does not meet the criteria for “exceptional humanitarian cases.” This is the rigid framework that the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories follows to implement Israel’s policy to deny Palestinians their freedom of movement and to cut off Gazans from the rest of the world.

    As is customary in the bureaucratic warfare at which Israel excels, killing time was the weapon immediately drawn against S.O. His consulate interview was scheduled for August 24. By the end of July he applied to the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison Office for a one-day exit permit to Tel Aviv. For two weeks the DCO, which answers to the Defense Ministry and the IDF, was silent.

    Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization that seeks to protect Palestinians’ freedom of movement, petitioned the Be’er Sheva court, asking it to instruct the DCO to reply. The state answered that the case was not urgent. Judge Gad Gidion disagreed. He scheduled a hearing for August 13, the day after the petition was filed, and ordered the state to respond to the exit permit request. On August 18, the DCO sent its standard refusal: S.O. did not apply through proper channels (that is, the Palestinian Authority). He does not fit any category of exceptional cases that are permitted to leave. And besides, there’s a pandemic.

    Gisha’s lawyers immediately petitioned to have S.O.’s case heard. A hearing was set for August 24. The consulate meeting was postponed to September 2. Judge Ariel Vago, like Gidion, was not intimidated by the state’s formalistic arguments (coronavirus, categories and proper channels). He proposed broadening the “humanitarian” definition beyond medical issues, and asked the state to weigh S.O.’s specific request. Only on the afternoon of September 2, after the time for the consular interview had passed, did the DCO reply: We considered the request. S.O. isn’t getting an exit permit.

    On September 5, Gisha filed another petition. S.O. had managed to get a third date for his consular interview: September 16. On September 9, the Be’er Sheva court held its third hearing. The case had returned to Gidion, who like Vago believed the opportunity posed by this special, one-time scholarship was indeed a humanitarian case. He ruled that S.O. must be allowed to go to Tel Aviv, subject to a Shin Bet security service check, as quickly as possible so that he did not miss his interview again.

    But when the state wants to, it can move quickly: Not two days passed before it appealed to the Supreme Court. This time the state won. The justices ruled that the court’s role in the first instance is not to set criteria instead of the authorities, but to review and monitor how the criteria are applied. They also hinted that giving S.O. a permit would set a precedent for other Gazans who win scholarships for foreign study, God forbid.

    Thus the Supreme Court justices joined the coordinator of government activities and practically announced: We love our Gazans when they are wretched, sick and dying (and even then, not always). Those are the only ones to whom we’ll throw crumbs of freedom of movement. We don’t like them when they are talented students, ambitious researchers and able Ph.Ds.

    #GAZA

  • In this Bedouin town, murder wasn’t the only crime
    Gideon Levy | Sep. 10, 2020 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-in-this-bedouin-town-murder-wasn-t-the-only-crime-1.9142593

    The murder of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was not the only crime committed by the State of Israel against his village, Umm al-Hiran, and it may not even be the worst. Of course, killing is killing. Abu al-Kiyan, a beloved math teacher and the first Bedouin Ph.D. in chemistry, was executed by incited policemen who were too quick on the trigger, who also let him bleed to death without giving him medical assistance that could have potentially saved him.

    But anyone who thinks that wraps up Israel’s crimes against Umm al-Hiran is deluding himself. The hollow apology by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t even begin the series of apologies that Israel owes the people of that village.

    The difficult images after the killing and destruction don’t fade: Raba al-Kiyan, a thin woman in black, wandering among the ruins of her house as she remains silent, her gaze fixed on the ground. Her nephew, a medical student in Moldova, explains that this is how she repeatedly recreates her last moments with her husband.

    At the same time, in the nearby town of Hura, the second widow was mourning – Dr. Amal al-Kiyan. She had married Yakub after her husband died, as Bedouin tradition obligated her to marry his brother. By the age of 24, she was already lecturing at Kaye Academic College of Education in Be’er Sheva. When we paid a condolence call she had earned a doctorate in education from Ben-Gurion University.

    The two widows and the entire village were in shock. A gas station attendant in Hura told us how much he had admired his math teacher at Yitzhak Rabin High School. Then-Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan – don’t ever forget this – and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and many others were competing for who could besmirch the teacher more.

    His brother-in-law said that Yakub had put his personal computer and other items into his jeep – the one ostensibly used in the “terror” ramming attack – to save them from the demolition of his home. That’s not how a terrorist leaves his home before an attack. A few days earlier, when he saw laborers starting to work on the construction of the Jewish town of Hiran, the one that was to rise up on the ruins of his village, he told his family, “Let them do their work.” That was the despicable terrorist, as the police commissioner and the minister referred to him.

    When Alex Levac and I were in Umm al-Hiran, after the killing and the destruction, we didn’t need an investigating committee, and certainly not three years of lies and insults and Amit Segal’s tendentious reporting to know that the teacher, Yakub, was innocent of any wrongdoing and that his killing was a heinous crime. We knew back then that his vehicle had moved slowly down the dirt road from his home when they shot him. In no Jewish community would police have shot at a slow-moving car, and certainly not let its driver bleed to death in that inhumane manner reserved for bleeding Arabs.

    But none of this began at dawn on January 18, 2017. Israel had decided to destroy a community that it itself created, after rehousing residents there it had expelled from their lands in 1956, to keep them away from a kibbutz. Now they are expelling them again to build a community for religious-Zionist Jews. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and justices before him rejected all the challenges. “The residents of Umm al-Hiran have no right to the place,” declared Rubinstein, a justice on the Supreme Court, the beacon of justice in Israel. He, too, is an accomplice.

    No one has asked where exactly do Bedouin have any rights in this land, which is also theirs. The garbage dump at Abu Dis? The polluted industrial zone at Ramat Hovav? This didn’t happen in 1948 or even 1958. The year was 2017. Without any shame, embarrassment, security excuse or Zionist prattle; pure apartheid in sovereign Israel. To “Judaize,” an abominable term; to get rid of the Bedouin and build for Jews.

    Eight months after the killing and the destruction, we returned to Umm al-Hiran. Raba, with a shy smile, came to greet us from the tent that had become home to her and her 10 children. The ruins soaked with her husband’s blood were still laying there as a monument to the crime.

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    https://seenthis.net/messages/561578#message562017

    Ya’akub Musa Abu Al-Qi’an (Photo courtesy of Mossawa Center)