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  • The Israeli Right Will Bring About Justice for the Palestinians

    When the right gathers the courage to declare a one-state solution, the world will gain the courage to declare a war on its regime

    Gideon Levy Sep 24, 2017 1:35 AM

    Perhaps the right will be the one to bring about true, egalitarian justice in Israel. Maybe it will bring about the only possible solution left. After the right proved that only it dares to evacuate settlements, maybe the next stage will come and the right will once more prove it can do so, even if unintentionally. That would be a huge irony of fate. Those who insist on not returning to the Palestinians 22 percent of their land will give them (and us) all of it, egalitarian and just, on the silver platter of both peoples.

    The road is long, of course, and even its beginning is not yet in sight. But the defeated and desperate speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday proves there’s a chance this is the direction.

    Abbas spoke of one state as a possible solution and of equal rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine. As far can be remembered, he never publicly made such a statement before. Bound by his historic way and the establishment he heads, he has not yet given up the two-state solution for good. But he also knows, like any politician who recognizes reality, that the two-state solution has expired and only the declaration of its death remains. Some Europeans and perhaps even also the Americans know this, but don’t dare admit it. President Donald Trump mumbled something about it, possibly inadvertently.

    Abandoning the two-state solution is a fateful reboot. It is not simple to do. But when Abbas and the others finally resolve to cross the Rubicon, the wildfire they ignite could spread with amazing speed.

    When the Palestinians abandon the “two states for two peoples” solution and move on to “one person, one vote,” the world will not remain indifferent. It will begin with the Palestinians, 57 percent of whom already don’t believe in the two-state solution, according to a recent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll, and will then move on to Israeli Arabs, most of whom still hold fast to that solution.

    The easy-to-grasp message will then go out to the world. Just and familiar from another historic struggle: “One man, one vote.” Who can oppose it? And what can Israel say in its own defense? Jewish-democratic? Where? A just apartheid?

    This revolution might also blow away the smokescreen and confusion around the arbitrary and baseless division Israel has made between an “Israeli Arab” and “Palestinian” – sometimes members of the same family; between East Jerusalem and residents of the West Bank; between residents of the West Bank and Gaza; it will reunify the people that Israel maliciously cut apart. It will also eliminate the confusion around the artificial distinction between the Jewish democracy with the Arab High Court of Justice and the third largest party in the Knesset, and zero human rights for most of the other members of that people, who live under the government of that same state, in the same country. It will cancel out all discrimination and all privilege, from the Law of Return to the right of return. Can any true democrat oppose this?

    The left will not do so. It is bound by slogans of the past – two states – most of the left was never serious about anyhow. The right wing, which talks more and more about annexation and non-occupation, is taking giant steps toward this state. Of course, it doesn’t mean democracy or equal rights – what does the right have to do with that?

    But when the right gathers the courage to declare a one-state solution, the world will gain the courage to declare a war on its regime, against the new apartheid state in the 21st century. What other choice will the world have in the face of a declared apartheid? It will be a much more determined struggle than the hollow one against the establishment of the outpost in the “illegal” expansion of Mitzpeh Rehavam Gimel.

    The racist MK Bezalel Smotrich is doing more for justice and the Palestinian people than Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay. The nationalists, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, are doing immeasurably more than Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid or even the peace-seeking Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon.

    The right is moving ahead on the only solution. We should keep our fingers crossed.

  • Israel’s Message to U.S. Jews: If You’re Against the Occupation, You’re Not Welcome
    Libby Lenkinski Sep 20, 2017 4:39 PM
    With the Jewish Agency now surrendering to the extremist right-wing witch-hunt, more and more of Israel’s institutions are closing their doors to U.S. Jewish progressives. We must refuse to be excluded

    (...) This week the Jewish Agency for Israel withdrew its funding for Achvat Amim, a Masa-funded program overseen by Hashomer Hatzair based on spurious allegations by a shadowy group called Ad Kan.

    Ad Kan is an arm of the most extreme elements of Israel’s settler movement. It has been called “Israel’s volunteer thought police,” a group that recruits Israelis to become citizen-spies, reporting on their fellow Israelis in a two-bit McCarthyist attempt to weed out anyone who doesn’t fit their vision of an Israel for Jews only.

    Armed with hidden cameras and microphones, Ad Kan members lie about their identities, join left-wing organizations and try to capture “gotcha” moments with members. Other times they scrutinize and “investigate” individual activists and then offer their deceptive material to Israel’s mainstream news.

    In this case, Ad Kan was incensed that Jews would participate in nonviolent activism alongside Palestinians in the West Bank. So they got to work identifying individual activists to name, shame, and blame.

    This is the settler-Right’s tried and true tactic: guilt by association. Ad Kan and other extreme right-wing organizations like it understand that when the public conversation focuses on how policies like the occupation affect people’s lives, they lose. So instead, they create bogeymen and come up with convoluted chains of association among them to imply some nefarious cabal.

    Sound familiar? These are the same types of fantasies about power and treason that anti-Semites used for generations to target Jews. It’s eerily similar to the implication of the cartoon posted by Yair Netanyahu to Facebook – for which he has been embraced by neo-Nazis in America.

    Ad Kan and its settler-Right allies, like Im Tirtzu and the Samaria Settlers’ Committee, have been reading from the same anti-Semitic playbook for some time. In 2009, Im Tirtzu created a campaign designed to topple the New Israel Fund using imagery of NIF’s then-president, Naomi Chazan, with a horn on her head.

    The attacks on NIF by Im Tirtzu and others did nothing to hamper our activities to promote democracy and equality for all Israelis. But this time, guilt-by-association tactics led the Jewish Agency to withdraw funding from a Hashomer Hatzair-affiliated volunteer program.

    This is a disappointing surrender to the settler-Right, and not just because of its underhanded and dishonest tactics. These decisions determine what kind of Zionism is acceptable in today’s Israel, and the answer is far narrower than ever before in Israel’s history. The incremental witch-hunting that attempts to mark and silence undesirable elements often starts in organizations like Ad Kan. But dropping the Hashomer Hatzair program is just the latest example of how these actions influence policy.

    There can be no mistake: the Jewish Agency canceled its support of Achvat Amim because of the leaders’ progressive political perspective – though plenty of right-wing programs receive Jewish Agency support.(...)


  • Air strikes are the bomb
    Gideon Levy Sep 10, 2017 3:47 AM

    One issue unites Israeli society: Every aggressive Israeli act is applauded – whether it’s clear what it was about or not, One issue unites Israeli society: Every aggressive Israeli act is applauded – whether it’s clear what it was about or not, whether the operation was necessary or not. Just as long as we bomb something. What could be bad about another bombing in Syria? We’ve already done it a hundred times and everything went well, so what’s wrong with another go?

    Why not shove another stick into that bleeding bull? It can’t respond, after all. So if we can bomb, why not? It keeps the air force alert, after not having a real fight for decades. When all is said and done, it’s a bit difficult to use an F-35 against a girl with scissors at the Qalandiyah checkpoint, and a bombing gives the air force a halo of heroism.

    Everybody cheers it. The commentators parrot that the bombing of weapons making their way to Hezbollah “creates deterrence.” But Hezbollah already has 150,000 missiles and rockets from all that bombing and deterrence.

    Behind all this is the yearning to strike the Arabs, strike as much as possible, strike as much as we can, strike as long as it doesn’t exact a price – by air, sea or land. Never mind where, when and why, as long as we strike.

    The Israel Defense Forces has long become the Israel Attack Forces. Israel is allowed to do anything. After all, Israel is a pacifist, peace-seeking country merely defending itself. In its arrogance, Israel also takes the liberty of violating the sovereignty of its neighbor Lebanon as much as it likes, invading its sky daily and even bombing Syria from it. Because who’s Lebanon to tell Israel where to fly?

    Nothing is easier than imagining what would happen if a Lebanese reconnaissance balloon entered Israel’s skies, not to mention a plane. Lebanon’s skies would tremble and shake; how dare it breach our sovereignty? But Israel is allowed.

    It’s also allowed to bomb weapons convoys everywhere, because Israel itself never acquires arms. It’s allowed to do so because it can. Here too it’s not hard to imagine what would happen if a country’s air force decided to bomb an arms shipment to Israel.

    Israel is allowed to equip itself with any weapon, whether they’re permitted and prohibited. It’s allowed to bomb weapons development centers because the weapons produced there are an “equilibrium breaker.” This term is a bit of comic relief used by the military and yes-men reporters, as if there were any equilibrium that these weapons were breaking. Israel even uses this absurd term when it talks about Hamas in Gaza. Just imagine.

    According to Israeli logic, only Israel is allowed to arm itself in the region, and it has the right to prevent any other group or country from doing so, whether by force or international pressure. Distant Saudi Arabia wanted AWACS spy planes, so Israel went bonkers; it has to thwart almost any arms deal. If it were up to Israel, all the Arab states would be demilitarized, and only Israel would continue to arm itself with every kind of weapon.

    On the face of it, there’s nothing to complain about. Israel is a regional power and wants to preserve its strength. The Middle East is extremely violent, the threats to Israel are substantial, at least partly, and if Israel can neutralize its enemies, it must do so. But this is shortsighted. These frequent bombings of Syria could have a price. This is how wars are stoked, from one successful bombing to another.

    Also, the idea that the side with the stronger military will prevail forever isn’t borne out by history. Israel, which bases its entire presence in the Middle East on its sword, can’t lean on it forever. Syria will remember that in its most difficult hour Israel humiliated it. Nations and statesmen don’t forget that. Now Russia is around as well.

    The bombing at the end of the week was a bombshell of an operation. Hats off to the IDF. But after the 102nd bombing, or maybe the 200th, there could be payback.


  • As violence intensifies, Israel continues to arm Myanmar’s military junta
    Responding to a petition filed by human rights activists, Defense Ministry says matter is ’clearly diplomatic’
    By John Brown Sep. 3, 2017 | 5:58 PM

    The violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority by the country’s regime has intensified. United Nations data show that about 60,000 members of the minority group have recently fled Myanmar’s Rahine state, driven out by the increasing violence and the burning of their villages, information that has been confirmed by satellite images. But none of this has led to a change in the policy of the Israeli Defense Ministry, which is refusing to halt weapons sales to the regime in Myanmar, the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

    On Thursday, the bodies of 26 refugees, including 12 children, were removed from the Naf River, which runs along the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Of the refugees who managed to reach Bangladesh, many had been shot. There were also reports of rapes, shootings and fatal beatings directed at the Rohingya minority, which is denied human rights in Myanmar. The country’s army has been in the middle of a military campaign since October that intensified following the recent killing of 12 Myanmar soldiers by Muslim rebels.

    Since Burma received its independence from Britain in 1948, civil war has been waged continuously in various parts of the country. In November 2015, democratic elections were held in the country that were won by Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But her government doesn’t exert real control over the country’s security forces, since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.

    Militia members continue to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of human rights around the country, particularly against minority groups that are not even accorded citizenship. Since Myanmar’s military launched operations in Rahine last October, a number of sources have described scenes of slaughter of civilians, unexplained disappearances, and the rape of women and girls, as well as entire villages going up in flames. The military has continued to commit war crimes and violations of international law up to the present.

    Advanced Israeli weapons

    Despite what is known at this point from the report of the United Nations envoy to the country and a report by Harvard University researchers that said the commission of crimes of this kind is continuing, the Israeli government persists in supplying weapons to the regime there.

    One of the heads of the junta, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers. His delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials including the army’s chief of staff. It visited military bases and defense contractors Elbit Systems and Elta Systems.

    The head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — better known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT — is Michel Ben-Baruch, who went to Myanmar in the summer of 2015. In the course of the visit, which attracted little media coverage, the heads of the junta disclosed that they purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel, and there was talk of additional purchases.

    In August 2016, images were posted on the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company that specializes in providing military training and equipment, showing training with Israeli-made Corner Shot rifles, along with the statement that Myanmar had begun operational use of the weapons. The website said the company was headed by former Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. Currently the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only more generally to Asia.

    Who will supervise the supervisors?

    Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear, in late September, a petition from human rights activists against the continued arms sales to Myanmar.

    In a preliminary response issued in March, the Defense Ministry argued that the court has no standing in the matter, which it called “clearly diplomatic.”

    On June 5, in answer to a parliamentary question by Knesset member Tamar Zandberg on weapons sales to Myanmar, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel “subordinates [itself] to the entire enlightened world, that is the Western states, and first of all the United States, the largest arms exporter. We subordinate ourselves to them and maintain the same policy.”

    He said the Knesset plenum may not be the appropriate forum for a detailed discussion of the matter and reiterated that Israel complies with “all the accepted guidelines in the enlightened world.”

    Lieberman statement was incorrect. The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar. It’s unclear whether the cause was ignorance, and Lieberman is not fully informed about Israel’s arms exports (even though he must approve them), or an attempt at whitewashing.

    In terms of history, as well, Lieberman’s claim is incorrect. Israel supported war crimes in Argentina, for example, even when the country was under a U.S. embargo, and it armed the Serbian forces committing massacres in Bosnia despite a United Nations embargo.


  • The Zionist tango -

    Why the racist honesty of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is preferable to the fake views of the Israeli left
    By Gideon Levy | Sep. 3, 2017 | 2:28 AM

    Ravit Hecht attributes a “fragrance of true love” for my “honest, brave princess,” Justice Minister Shaked, in her op-ed “When Gideon Levy fell in love with Ayelet Shaked.” [ http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.810167 ] Hecht knows my taste in women is slightly different than that, and that, despite what she writes, I don’t know how to dance the tango. But my appreciation for Shaked and her ilk is that they do not deceive: they openly acknowledge their nationalism and racism.

    They don’t hide their belief that the Palestinians are an inferior people, indigenous inhabitants who will never gain the rights Jews have in the Land of Israel-Palestine; that no Palestinian state will ever be established here; that Israel will ultimately annex all of the occupied territories, as it already has done in practice; that the Jews are the Chosen People; that Zionism is in contradiction to human rights and superior to them; that dispossession is redemption; that biblical property rights are eternal; that there is no Palestinian people and no occupation; and that the current reality will last forever.

    Many of these views are also held among the Zionist left, Hecht’s ideological camp. The only difference is that the Zionist left has never admitted it. It envelops its views in the glittering wrapping paper of peace talks, separation and hollow rhetoric about two states, words it has never really meant and has done precious little to realize.

    That’s why I prefer Shaked. With her, what you see is what you get – racism. In its actions and deeds, the Zionist left has done everything to implement Shaked’s views, only in polished words and without acknowledgement. The Zionist left is embarrassed by things Shaked and her colleagues are not ashamed of. That doesn’t make the left any more moral or just. It has merely been quasi-Shaked in its actions.

    The occupation was no less cruel under left-wing Israeli governments, which was the founding father of the settlement enterprise. Those princes of peace Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin established more settlements than Shaked and caused the deaths of more Arabs. The left has enthusiastically defended every military action Israel has carried out and every brutal act committed by the Israel Defense Forces. It hasn’t just sat silent in the face of such acts; it has been supportive. Always.

    Operations Cast Lead and Protective Edge in Gaza (in 2008-09 and 2014, respectively) involved thousands of senseless deaths, and most of the Zionist left supported them. The majority of those on the left supported the siege on Gaza, the checkpoint executions, the nighttime abductions, the administrative detentions, the abuse, dispossession and oppression – the left remained silent throughout.

    But the truth is that it’s not Shaked and it’s not the left. It’s Zionism. Havoc has been wreaked, as Hecht herself wrote. But instead of trying to repair the unstable foundations, all of Israel – and not only the right wing – has done everything to undermine them even further.

    Yes, this involves the 1948 War of Independence, which has to be discussed even though it’s uncomfortable. The spirit of 1948 has never stopped blowing here and, in this respect, Shaked and Hecht are in the same boat. According to this view, there is only one people here that needs to be considered, only one victim, and it is entitled to do as much harm as it wishes to the other people. That is the essential evolution of Zionism.

    It could and should have been rectified, without derogating the Jews’ right to a state. But the Zionist left has never done this. It has never acknowledged the Nakba suffered by the Palestinians, and never did anything to atone for its crimes. This never happened because the Zionist left believes in exactly what Shaked believes in.

    It is true there are many other issues in which the right causes national disasters the left never would have created. But on the other side of the line lives a people that for the past 50 years – the past 100, actually – has been suffering and oppressed. Not a day goes by without horrible crimes being committed against it. We can’t say, “Be patient. We’re busy at the moment with the status of the Supreme Court.”

    And on the truly crucial issue that overshadows all others, Shaked and Hecht are performing a perfect tango together, with a fragrance of true love exuding from them both – a Zionist tango.

  • A dangerous 71-year-old
    The Israeli military authorities are keeping a retired Palestinian history teacher in detention without trial, and we’re not allowed to know why. Next comes the decision whether he’s healthy enough for prison

    By Amira Hass | Aug. 30, 2017 | 1:04 AM

    Badran Jaber , 71, is endangering the security of the region. Thank God we have the Shin Bet security service, which sent soldiers on the night of August 9 to break into his home, hold his seven terrified grandchildren (ages 2 to 10) in a room separate from the adults, and detain him. Jaber, a retired history teacher, is so dangerous that he and we aren’t even allowed to know the suspicions against him.

    An administrative detention order for four months was issued against him on August 13, and the military authorities can extend the injunction repeatedly. And so Jaber was added to the 450 or so Palestinians who are now imprisoned without trial. On August 16 the secret information was whispered into the ear of the military judge, Maj. Rafael Yemini, who approved the detention — without evidence, witnesses, an indictment and a right to respond. Has an Israeli judge, military or civilian, ever been born who doubted the word of the Shin Bet?

    I’ll let you in on a secret: Jaber is opposed to the Israeli occupation. The same is true of his seven children and his wife. When asked his opinion, he doesn’t hide it. There are pictures of him from a few years ago demonstrating with Palestinians and Israelis in Hebron against the destruction of the city by one of the most violent species of settlers.

    “He’s very proud of his relationship with left-wing activists in Israel,” said his daughter Bissan, referring to his ties with Tarabut-Hithabrut, an Arab-Jewish social movement, and the joint conferences in Hebron of the Palestinian left and a genuine, socialist and anti-colonialist Israeli left. When she and her brothers weren’t allowed to travel abroad, she said, they were told that it was because of her father. Israel, the military and democratic power, is intimidated by his words and opinions. Or it’s sending a message: Imprison your thoughts and your words. Keep quiet.

    With chains on his feet, Jaber will once again be brought into the military courtroom in Ofer. He will be holding a bag full of medication. Military occupation isn’t a recipe for one’s health, nor were Jaber’s previous periods of detention. Between 1972 and 2006 he spent almost 12 years in prison: in administrative detention, in detention during an investigation, and after being convicted of political activity for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    Each time he was behind bars for two to three months to a maximum of 27 months. On Thursday it will be decided whether he is fit for detention, as an anonymous prison service doctor has determined, or not, as his lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan of the prisoner support and human rights group Addameer, will try to prove.

    Jaber will be holding a bag full of medication because there’s no way of knowing how long he’ll be kept handcuffed in a kind of waiting cage before being brought into the trailer that serves as the courtroom. During the first extension of his detention, on August 10, which was one of the hottest days of the year, he was kept in that situation from 8:30 A.M. until about 5 P.M. A kind of torture, even for a healthy man, and certainly for someone suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, has had open heart surgery, is taking medication for prostate cancer and is connected to a catheter.

    Bissan, 26, is a lawyer. On the morning before his detention, the proud father joined her when she was furnishing her new office. Thirteen years ago, after being tortured for an entire day in the cage where he was awaiting trial, he told her, his youngest daughter: I want you to be my lawyer the next time. Sure enough, she was there for the extension of his recent detention, before the administrative order was issued.

    Her presence didn’t prevent the torture. After about six hours in one cage with a water faucet, he was transferred to another cage without one. There she was allowed to see him. She wanted to give him her water bottle, but the alert prison service guards prevented her and other lawyers from doing so. Beyond the letter of the law the guards brought him a bottle that they filled with water.

    During their meeting, Bissan told him that she and her fiancé planned to postpone their wedding, which was scheduled for August 18, until her father’s release. “Absolutely not,” he told her. “I’ll be angry if you postpone it, if you let that interfere with your plans. Our lifelong struggle is only so that we’ll be able to live.”

  • Israel-Palestine. Trump is wasting his envoys’ time - Haaretz Editorial

    Another round of pointless visits to Israel and the PA and empty words that we’ve heard endless times before will not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Haaretz Editorial Aug 28, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.809457

    The visit to the Middle East of a delegation from Washington, led by U.S. President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, was met by complete apathy in Israel, from both the political establishment and from the public and the media. So, too, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Kushner. After the meeting on Thursday, the two men thanked each other for the “effort” and reiterated the mutual American and Israeli “commitment” to “peace.”
    This indifference to the visit by both right and left is understandable. After all, “efforts,” “commitment” and “peace” are nice words, but they aren’t enough to convince anyone that there’s something substantial on the negotiating table.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also frustrated by America’s behavior. “I’ve met with [Donald] Trump’s envoys around 20 times since the beginning of his term as U.S. president,” said Abbas. “Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained. They said they would consider it but then they didn’t get back to me.”
    Abbas’ frustration is also understandable. Another round of pointless visits and empty words that we’ve heard endless times before will not resolve the conflict. It may be fine for those who want to merely manage the conflict and are satisfied with just preserving the security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but it’s not enough for anyone seeking a peace agreement or who dreams of two states for two peoples.
    Anyone who follows Netanyahu’s declarations can discern that even he has stopped believing in Trump’s commitment to a political agreement. Otherwise he wouldn’t have allowed himself to express his hawkish views on the Palestinian issue as he did at a rally two weeks ago, at which he declared his opposition to a Palestinian state and to any withdrawal from the West Bank.
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    If Trump is indeed interested in advancing “the ultimate deal” or a “peace deal” in the Middle East, as he claimed immediately upon being elected, he must back this declaration of intent with real demands from both sides and with a public presentation of an outline agreement, including a map.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. administration hasn’t even expressed public support for a settlement freeze. Trump has been president for less than a year, but the conflict is old, as is the peace “process.” The time for processes is over. It’s time to act. If Trump isn’t capable of doing so, he shouldn’t waste his envoys’ time.

  • Europe must not buy what Israel is selling to combat terror
    Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry, and is now selling the concept of a police state to the world

    Jeff Halper Aug 20, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.807941

    Whenever a terrorist attack happens such as the one last week in Barcelona, Israel politicians and security “experts” get on TV to criticize European naïvité. If only they understood terrorism as we do and took the preventive measures we do, they say, they would suffer far less attacks. Most infamous in this regard were the remarks of Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz after the Brussels bombing in March 2016, in which 34 people died.
    Rather than convey his condolences in the name of the Israeli government, he scolded the Belgians in the most patronizing way possible. “If in Belgium they continue to eat chocolate, enjoy life and parade as great liberals and democrats while not taking account of the fact that some of the Muslims who are there are organizing acts of terror,” he pronounced, “they will not be able to fight against them.”
    The Belgians reacted angrily, and asserted the position of most European governments: While we will continue to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions, we are not going to forsake our freedoms and political openness to become copies of Israel. For they understand that Netanyahu’s government is peddling something far more insidious than mere precautions – even more than the weapons, surveillance and security systems and models of population control that is the bread-and-butter of Israeli exports. What Israel is urging onto the Europeans – and Americans, Canadians, Indians, Mexicans, Australians and anyone else who will listen – is nothing less than an entirely new concept of a state, the Security State. 
    What is a Security State? Essentially, it is a state that places security above all else, certainly above democracy, due process of law and human rights, all of which it considers “liberal luxuries” in a world awash in terrorism. Israel presents itself, no less, than the model for countries of the future. You Europeans and others should not be criticizing us, say Katz and Netanyahu, you should be imitating us. For look at what we have done. We have created a vibrant democracy from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River that provides its citizens with a flourishing economy and personal security – even though half the population of that country are terrorists (i.e., non-citizen Palestinians living in isolated enclaves of the country). If we can achieve that, imagine what we can offer those of you threatened by terrorist attacks?
    In a brilliant shift in imaging, Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry. By labeling it “terrorism,” it has not only delegitimized the Palestinian struggle but has transformed the occupied territories in a laboratory of counterinsurgency and population control, the cutting edges of both foreign wars and domestic repression. It has transformed tactics of control and their accompanying weapons of surveillance systems into marketable products. No wonder, as Netanyahu constantly reminds us, “the world” loves Israel. From China to Saudi Arabia, from India to Mexico, from Eritrea to Kazakhstan, Israel supplies the means by which repressive regimes control their restless peoples.

    #Europe #Israel #terror

  • The Hebrew neo-Nazis -
    By Gideon Levy | Aug. 20, 2017 | 4:43 AM

    Why Israelis are remaining silent about U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about ’many fine people’ taking part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville

    Israel has no moral right to judge U.S. President Donald Trump over his forgiving remarks about the neo-Nazis in his country. First, Israel wasn’t really shocked by what he said. After all, it is willing to accept anything from anyone who supports the Israeli occupation. That’s axiomatic at this point. Whether it’s a Hungarian fascist or an American neo-Nazi, as long as they support the occupation – even if they secretly hate Jews – they are considered friends of Israel and moral people.

    The best of the “friends of Israel” today are fascists and evangelicals, xenophobes and Islamophobes. What’s most important is that they support the occupation. It’s only opponents of the occupation who are anti-Semites, and we will mount a special effort to combat them. We will forgive everyone else.

    But there is also another reason for Israelis’ silence. It recalls the Yiddish saying about betrayal of one’s own guilt – that the thief thinks his hat is on fire. Neo-Nazis? We have a lot of our own “Made in Israel,” Hebrew equivalents of neo-Nazis, and the opposition to them in Israel is less than to neo-Nazis in the United States. A resolute counter-demonstration was organized by liberals in the face of the march in Charlottesville. What about here?

    The sacred symmetry that Trump tried to create between attacker and attacked, between assailant and defender, between incitement and protest, between justice and evil – that was invented in Israel. Here we have the occupier and the occupied, a violent and at times even murderous right wing and a left wing that has never murdered, but they are deemed comparable.

    Any assault by settlement thugs on Palestinian farmers on their own land is deemed a “clash.” Any Palestinian protest against the violence of the occupier is considered a “disturbance of the peace.” It’s a symmetrical brawl between the two peoples’ shepherds. After all, there are good and bad people among the settlers – just as Trump said with regard to his “alt-right.”

    The Israeli alt-right is not neo-Nazi. But a thousand neo-Nazi flowers bloom on its margins that no one thinks about weeding out. Fascism in Israel has long been accepted. Neo-Nazis haven’t, but the distinction between the two is vague. If the extremist Lehava organization isn’t neo-Nazi, what is? If Beitar Jerusalem’s La Familia fan group isn’t neo-Nazi, what is? If the firebombing of the Dawabsheh family home in the West Bank village of Duma and the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir aren’t neo-Nazi acts, what are? And what about the Arabic-language highway sign near the settlement of Halamish declaring: “This area is under the control of the Jews. The entry of Arabs is forbidden and constitutes a risk to your life!”

    The flag parade by Jews on Jerusalem Day is a state-sponsored neo-Nazi provocation, like the Purim rioting in Hebron. The Jewish community in Hebron is in essence neo-Nazi. Go see, judge for yourself. And the pools and Jewish communities along the way that are closed to Arabs? What will they do to any Arab who breaks the rules and sneaks into the Jewish swimming pool in Kochav Ya’ir – an Israeli community of people from the virtuous center-left, where a majority of voters support the enlightened Yesh Atid and Zionist Union parties? And what will they do in the Galilee community of Nofit if Arabs build houses there after expansion plans? After all, it’s not hard for us to imagine these people on the Zionist left objecting, even using unpleasant means, to Arabs coming into their communities.

    The plan for surrender proposed by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) is neo-Nazi, despite all his protests. Among the three options he would provide to the Palestinians, there isn’t even one that is humane – and the third calls for their expulsion and destruction. What else do we need? And his wife’s objection to giving birth in the same room as a woman of the inferior race is also neo-Nazi.

    Social media is full of frightful neo-Nazi statements – from wishing for the death of every dying Palestinian child, to similar wishes to those who tell the children’s stories. You cannot write this off as just as “a handful of deviants.” That, too, is the spirit of the times.

    We cannot ignore the sentiments in this country, where there is a policy of organized and institutionalized racism against African asylum seekers. Pre-fascist sentiments are taking hold here – with manifestations of state-sponsored neo-Nazism – more than in any other Western country.

    In the West, most contemptuous efforts are directed against foreigners. In Israel, they are directed mostly against the people who are native to the country. Complaining about Trump? That would already be the height of hypocrisy.

  • An Israeli Arab’s encounter with Jaffa’s finest

    ‘You’re suspected of stealing a motorcycle,’ one of the cops said as he beat me. I told him I owned the bike and I was the one who’d called the police, but he kept calling me ‘Mohammed” and two other cops started kicking me.

    Michael Mansour Aug 18, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.807516

    You never know how an evening might turn out that begins with an intimate dinner along the Israeli sea. The Manta Ray restaurant, located where Tel Aviv and Jaffa meet, was full on that Sunday evening three weeks ago, as it always is, with the elegant, international clientele that frequents it. The fish that I ordered was delicious and the atmosphere was serene. There was no hint I would end the evening wallowing in my own blood, humiliated and in restraints.
    Because I had drunk a little over dinner and the sun had not yet set, I decided to take a walk on the seafront promenade and leave my motorcycle at the restaurant, which I had driven there. A short time later I got a call from a friend who works there. “Michael, listen,” he said. “Your motorcycle isn’t here. I think it’s been stolen.”
    Because I was no longer near the restaurant, I called my brother, Peter, and asked him to go to Manta Ray. He rushed to the area and after talking to several passersby, told me that some of them had seen people dragging the motorcycle away.
    In the past, every time the pampered cats that hang around outside the café that I own in an expensive, mixed Arab-Jewish part of Jaffa spread themselves out on my motorcycle, I would get a notification from my alarm company. But this time, even though the cycle was dragged a considerable distance, I never heard from them. I called the company to notify them of the theft, but a short time later I was pleased to be informed that Peter had already found it — thrown on a sidewalk. My helmet was missing.
    I grabbed a cab and called the police to let them know that the motorcycle had been found, and I asked that they come to take fingerprints. It was already dark when I saw three men in civilian clothes approach me. In truth, I didn’t attach any particular importance to them. My sights were set in the distance, looking to see if the police were getting close.
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    The three men came closer and one of them started rushing at me. With great force, he knocked me to the ground, turned me over and handcuffed me. He identified himself as a policeman and started punching me in the back. Three or four other men showed up suddenly behind my brother, who was standing closer to the motorcycle. They pounced on him, handcuffed him and started hitting him. One of the men also called for reinforcements.

  • The wall of insanity -

    Israel has opted for another wall, this time around Gaza. Israel will pay for it

    Gideon Levy Aug 13, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.806489

    The next time a cap gun is fired or a toy balloon is launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the army will start building a steel dome over the Strip to prevent it. The ceiling will also cut off the territory from the sky. After all, we’re talking about national security. When the first crack forms, and another balloon is launched or cap gun fired, the defense establishment will proceed to the next phase: flooding the Gaza Strip with water until it is completely submerged. After all, we’re talking about Israeli security.
    Until that happens — the plans have already been drawn up — the modest, hard-up Israeli army is making do with smaller measures: It’s building a new “barrier” around the Strip, the father of all the fences and the mother of all the walls with which Israel is surrounding itself, six meters high and reaching tens of meters underground. Israel is becoming a state with a wall at its heart: There’s nothing it likes more than to surround itself.
    History is replete with megalomaniacal rulers who built palaces. For now, Israeli megalomania settles for walls. The separation barrier and the border fence, the Good Fence on the Lebanese border and the bad fence, the entire country is fences. Just give defense officials an excuse and they will surround us with a fence costing billions. For that, money can always be found.
    The fence of horrors on the Egyptian border to keep out African refugees and the separation wall facing barefoot residents of the Deheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank. Now it’s the turn of the Gaza border fence to stop tunnels from being dug under the fence that it is replacing. Next thing you know, there will be an electronic fence around the Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, in response to the terrorism emanating from there as well.
    The chief of the Southern Command made the announcement, the military correspondents quoted him slavishly and Israel responded with either a yawn or a Yes!. The method is tried and true: First you create a demon (the tunnels); then you find it a megalomaniacal solution. And there you have it, another $800 million Zionist project, to be built by workers from Moldova and asylum seekers from Africa. There we have it: another wall.

  • Israel: The Cluster-Bomb Nation

    The cluster bombs are aimed mainly at densely populated areas. There they can kill most effectively. That’s why the Israeli army wants them.

    Gideon Levy Aug 10, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.806016

    Israel wants to kill as many innocent people as possible. Under no circumstances does it want to belong to the community of enlightened nations. There is no other way to understand Gili Cohen’s chilling report (Monday’s Haaretz) that the defense establishment decided to prefer an Israeli-made cannon that has yet to be completed to a German one, merely to sidestep the international ban on cluster bombs.
    More than 100 states signed the international treaty banning the use of cluster bombs; Israel, as usual, isn’t one of them. What has Israel to do with international treaties, international law, international organizations – it’s all one big unnecessary nuisance. Israel’s fellow rejectionists are, as usual, Russia, Pakistan, China, India and of course the United States, the world’s greatest spiller of blood since World War II. This is the company Israel wants to keep, the club it belongs to.
    Cluster bombs are an especially barbarous weapon, a bomb that turns into countless bomblets, spreading over a wide area, killing and wounding indiscriminately. They sometimes explode years after were fired. The world was appalled and disgusted by such a weapon of mass destruction, and for good reason. The world – but not Israel. We’re a special case, as is commonly known. We’re allowed to do anything. Why? Because we can.
    This has been proved. We used cluster bombs in the Second Lebanon War and the world was silent. We also use flechettes, unmercifully. In 2002 I saw a soccer field in Gaza hit by IDF flechette shells, which spray thousands of potentially lethal metal darts. All the children playing on it had been hit.
    Another time I saw the thousands of darts sprayed by the flechette shells stuck into the walls of houses in Gaza. It wasn’t hard to imagine what those darts did to people’s bodies.
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    Flechettes are also banned in the world but permitted to Israel. Why? Perhaps because we’re the Chosen People, perhaps because we’re allowed to do anything. We fight for our desperate, precarious existence, flimsy leaf in the wind that we are, so we’re allowed to use cluster bombs, flechettes, white phosphorus, you name it. We are, after all, fighting for our survival against the advanced army of the Republic of Gaza and the terrifying divisions of the West Bank armies. We’re pitted against the Balata air force and the Deheisheh naval fleet, and above all against “the appalling brutality” of the Palestinians. So we need weapons, as many as possible, with no restrictions.

    The cluster bombs sowed shocking mayhem and destruction in Kosovo, Laos, Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel wants to do the same. The killing fields in the next war for the occupation, which will certainly come, will be like the killing fields in Laos, thanks to the cluster bombs fired by the new, sacred Israeli-made cannon. Otherwise, why do we need cluster bombs? Don’t we have enough regulation weapons in our arsenal? The cluster bombs are aimed mainly at densely populated areas. There they can kill most effectively. That’s why the IDF wants them.
    The next time you use the argument that the whole world is against us and the criticism and animosity against Israel don’t stem from its actions – remember the cluster bomb. Israel is excluding itself with its own hands from the family of nations, joining the most brutal states, flouting international decisions – and then moaning that the world hates it for no reason. The next time you think of the IDF, the most moral army in the world, think about the cluster bomb.
    The cluster bomb affair is no less atrocious than the submarines affair, yet sparks no interest in Israel. The submarines are money, state witnesses and suspects. It’s sexy to deal with them. The cluster bomb concerns the lives of innocent people, and who cares about that?
    The submarines are the corruption, which the nation is against. The cluster bomb is the arrogant, ongoing disregard for international law, which doesn’t interest anyone in this country. That same defense establishment, rotten to the core, is behind both deals – corruption of one kind in the submarines case, and corruption of another kind in the cluster bombs case. But the defense establishment can calm down. Nobody will be put on trial for using cluster bombs.

  • Israel: Courageous selfishness -

    Those who refuse to serve in the army spare themselves the experience of jolting awake one morning with the realization that they were directly involved in a crime

    Amira Hass Aug 09, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.805852

    Military prison can be a place worthy of esteem and pride, when the reason for incarceration is refusal to become a soldier. This is particularly true when the person imprisoned is openly refusing to take part in the well-oiled machine of dispossession and oppression of millions of people.
    On Monday, Hadas Tal of Kibbutz Yifat in the Jezreel Valley joined the too-meager list of Israel’s conscientious objectors: 10 in 2016 and the same number expected this year. (There are more who don’t wish to take part in the occupation, whom the army quietly exempts from service.)
    “Enlistment is not a neutral act,” Tal wrote in a Facebook post explaining her actions. “Actually, if you think about it, enlistment is more political than conscientious objection.” How accurate. Participation in denying another people’s freedom is a clearly political act. Even when you are just 18 years old.
    Refusal to serve in the army of the occupation is a selfish act. The conscientious objectors spare themselves the experience of jolting awake one morning at age 24 or 30, with the realization that they were directly involved in a crime. Minor or serious. They won’t have to soothe their conscience, repress feelings or recite justifications. They may also be sparing themselves from the discomfort of having to stand trial, locally or abroad, when the era of impunity finally comes to an end, or from painful revelations in something like a “truth and reconciliation committee.”
    The parents who with full knowledge send their sons and daughters to persecute and expel people from their land, as they themselves did 20 or 30 years ago, are not altruists. They are very selfish: They’re thinking about the prestige, about the career boost that military background provides, about the shame they would feel if their child didn’t follow in this set path. They know that the chances are very good that their child will return safely from his or her service. The high-tech Israel Defense Forces knows how to kill thousands without being killed. But this is selfishness that sustains injustice and nurtures privilege. Unlike the selfishness of the conscientious objectors that seeks to break the Israeli-settler pattern.
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    “I am refusing to serve in order to oppose a system that looks after the interests of small groups of people and not of all Israelis. The army is one of the most prominent, destructive and violent arms of this system. The main role of this system is to maintain the occupation,” Tal wrote.

  • Israel Palestine
    Music, children’s choirs and camels in the desert

    Three years ago in Gaza, between July 21 and July 28, Israel killed (it is forbidden say murdered) 37 Palestinian children under the age of 7
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.804201

    1. My friend B. lives in Kobar. Somehow, during the four years of her young son’s life she has managed to protect him from the not-for-children narrations about the army and death, the occupation, shooting and guns. She and her husband have created an island around him, with children’s books and games, and made sure that the television, with its horrible sights, wouldn’t be turned on in his vicinity.
    Last week reality forced itself on them. Every day the army bulldozers came, made the barriers at the entrance to the village higher and wider, and deepened the wound they dug in the asphalt. Every day the residents swept aside the earth at the edges of the barriers so that their cars could pass. And when my friend passed by there in her car, with her son next to her, he wondered and asked who had made those high piles of earth. Al jish, the army, she replied. He at first thought she had said the jag (the hen) and was very confused. And then she had to tell him what the army is, whose army it is, and why they’re against everyone large and small.
    Comment 1: If until now B. was able to protect her son from the violent lexicon created by the Settlements Defense Forces, that says something about the relative quiet in the village of Kobar (despite pinpoint raids to detain residents). But almost a week of nighttime raids, with dozens of soldiers deploying among the houses, beating residents, firing stun grenades and tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets, reminded them that the relative quiet is deceptive.
    Comment 2: The Shin Bet security services and the Israel Defense Forces were the subjects of exaggerated praise this week. Their stand concerning the metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount did in fact prove that they understand the overall picture. In other words, the collective revenge campaign that they carried out last week in Kobar did not stem from a lack of understanding or knowledge that the harassment of the entire village and the persecution of all its residents would only give rise to more anger, even among those who are opposed to the attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish or have reservations about it. This collective revenge is not a case of shooting from the hip. It’s part of the plan. Part of the logic of control. You escalate, you incite, you detain more young people, you scare more children to create more reasons for preventive activities and oppression, and to maintain the apparatus.
    2. T., a sweet boy of 11, joined me during my visits to several of the families in Kobar whose homes the army had invaded. In a short lull between their testimonies he said: “He proved himself a man, Omar al-Abed” (who killed three members of the Salomon family in Halamish). I asked T.: “So do you mean to say that all of you, all the rest of the Palestinians, aren’t men?” T. was somewhat confused. “No, of course that’s not what I mean,” he said.

    Israeli forces near the site of the attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish and assailant Omar al-Abed, July 21, 2017.
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    Comment: The words expressing understanding of al-Abed’s motives shouldn’t allow us to forget two facts: Relative to the intensity and duration of the injustice in which they live, very few Palestinians have chosen or are choosing al-Abed’s path. On the other hand, tens of thousands of Israelis (correct me if necessary, maybe actually hundreds of thousands?) were and are directly involved in the killing (we are forbidden to call it murder) of Palestinians; not to mention all the other things we inflict on them.
    3. Noor, Malak, Miar and Dareen sing in the Amwaj choir. They’re about 12 years old. We met in the most unexpected place: the desert. A procession of camels was marching towards the sunset. The plucking of the strings in Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and the strains of the piccolo from Ravel’s Bolero wafted above the row of plastic chairs placed on the sand.
    The Amwaj (Waves) choir in Bethlehem and the Ramallah Orchestra, founded by the Al Kamandjati Conservatory, are offering a series of concerts for the general public, conducted by Diego Masson. The concert, which was supposed to take place on Friday in Dar Al Tifl (The Child’s Home) in Jerusalem, was canceled because of the circumstances. Ramzi Abu Radwan, founder of Al Kamandjati and a native of the Al-Amari refugee camp, immediately phoned Abu Ismail.
    Abu Ismail heads the Bedouin Hospitality and Desert Excursions agency for those touring the desert, east of his village Arab al-Rashayida, south of Bethlehem. He immediately said, “Of course, play here.” The next day. The Kamandjati sound and lighting technicians worked all day on installing the systems and making sure they functioned. Girls from the Bedouin village, ages 3 to 12, sat fascinated on the plastic chairs and blended in with the aural and visual miracle taking place before their eyes. On Sunday the concert took place as planned in the Bethlehem Convention Palace. And on Monday, it will be held in the Ramallah Municipal Theater.

    The Amwaj (Waves) choir and the Ramallah Orchestra perform in the desert south of Bethlehem, July 29, 2017.Amira Hass
    4. The Amwaj choir includes 30 girls and boys from Hebron and 30 from the Bethlehem area, including villages and refugee camps. It began taking shape about three years ago. There are no auditions, all that’s required is a commitment to eight hours of study a week, and summer courses. At present there are 25 boys and 35 girls in the choir. The youngest singer is a 6-year-old girl.
    5. Three years ago, between July 21 and July 28, we killed (we are forbidden to call it murdered) 37 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip between the ages of several months and 6 years. Next to the name of each toddler we killed (and who are included in the B’Tselem list of 546 children we killed in the 2014 onslaught), there is a dry notation: “Did not participate in the fighting.”
    Comment. We no longer like to dirty our hands with blood. We’re experts at killing (we are forbidden to call it murdering) from a distance, with high-tech gadgets, at most with rifles and pistols. That way it’s not sickening. Not disgusting. Not horrifying.

  • Al Jazeera Jerusalem bureau chief: Netanyahu’s colluding with Arab autocrats to silence us - Opinion

    It’s no surprise that other Mideast regimes want to see Al Jazeera’s independent voice gone. But why would Israel, one of the only self-proclaimed functional democracies in the region, want to join them?

    Walid Omary Jul 31, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.804320

    But this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to shut down Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office. Citing, in his own statement, the legal restrictions that currently prevent this, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to change the rules to silence our voice. 

    Israelis, don’t let your leaders kill the messenger: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. July 30, 2017AMIR COHEN/AP
    While it’s no surprise that regional regimes would want to see the closure of Al Jazeera, why would Israel, one of the only self-proclaimed functional democracies in the region want to silence its voice?
    The collusion by Netanyahu with his Arab autocratic neighbors leaves little doubt that free independent media and truth are ready to be sacrificed as collateral damage in the power politics of the region. What difference then is there between Israel, as a perceived democracy, and these dictatorships?
    This recent turn of events, sadly, is not new for us. Our unflinching dedication to independent journalism and getting the story right has come with a heavy price. Our journalists have been threatened, imprisoned, tortured, and killed; our offices bombed, our websites hacked, and our social media accounts taken down. 
    We were the first network based in the Middle East to introduce investigative journalism to the region and have continued to win industry awards, including Emmys, for our in-depth brand of journalism. In many cases, our independent journalism put into focus the corruption marring the region and the world. At other times, it exonerated individuals and nations, including Israel, for charges and conspiracies alleged by detractors.

  • More moral than the Shin Bet - Opinion

    A Likud legislator criticizes the security service, and people rush to defend this enabler of the tyrannical occupation

    Gideon Levy Jul 30, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.804072

    How scandalous: Coalition Chairman David Bitan criticized the Shin Bet security service. How dare he? He said they’re cowards who only want to get home safely. What gall! They protect him day and night and he’s a bigger coward – he hid for a month when his checks bounced.
    And who raised the cry? The Zionist left, obviously. This includes all those patriots, friends of the Shin Bet, from Isaac Herzog to Ofer Shelah, as well as the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, which put on a particularly grotesque show the other day, showing what could be likened to a sequel to “The Gatekeepers.”
    Whereas in Dror Moreh’s excellent documentary former Shin Bet heads lament the occupation, in which they obviously played no role, in part two they would whine about some guy Bitan daring to criticize the apple of their eyes. The old-boy network, excluding Likud’s Avi Dichter, whose spokesman said he couldn’t be located (speaking of cowards), called on politicians to keep their hands off this organization.
    They’re very sensitive people, these Shin Bet chiefs, fragile and vulnerable, just like the organization they used to command. They were thus offended to the depths of their souls by Bitan’s comments, as well as those by Culture Minister Miri Regev, who called the Shin Bet’s positions “delusional.” The Shin Bet as victim – soon we’ll be passing around donation trays – the heart commiserates with this moving welfare organization and its wonderful employees, the gatekeepers of Israel who never sleep, while Bitan only talks.

  • Hero of Israel
    Gideon Levy | Jul 27, 2017

    Netanyahu, Einat Schlein, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan and Ziv, an embassy security officer, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, July 25, 2017. Haim Zach / GPO

    The new hero of Israel wears torn jeans, lives in a religious cooperative community in the south, has a girlfriend and he kills Arabs. Heroes of Israel have always killed Arabs, but sometimes they did so bravely; today they do so with rather pathetic cowardice. They’re scared of a teen with a screwdriver.

    The hero of Israel kills Arabs indiscriminately, including ones who are innocent or who did not deserve to die. The Israeli hero is a young man of principles, principles he absorbed while serving in the occupied territories. He learned dehumanization in the Givati Brigade and how to kill civilians in Operation Protective Edge. He learned that the first action to take against an Arab is always to shoot to kill; the alternatives can be considered later.

    He learned that it’s perfectly fine, even heroic, to kill an Arab, no matter why. He trained in the territories and put it to use in Jordan — what difference does it make, all Arabs are the same, whether on the east or the west bank of the Jordan River. His friends say he’s a “man’s man,” that this wasn’t his first time in a tough situation, like that teen with a screwdriver, and that he’s calm and considered. Imagine what might have happened if he weren’t. He might have killed five people, maybe 10.

    The hero of Israel killed civilians: a physician, for no reason, and a teenager who was assembling furniture and who threatened him with that doomsday weapon, the screwdriver, in the heat of some argument, not even an attack. The hero of Israel didn’t blink. A hero of Israel never counts to 10. He draws and fires. Two dead, two more kill notches.

    Our newest hero’s name is Ziv, but we can’t show his face. His blurred visage as he is embraced by the prime minister only adds to his aura. He replaces his predecessor, the more exalted Elor Azaria. The former killed a dying man, the latter killed two civilians. Don’t accuse him. That’s what he was taught to do in “tough situations” in the territories — to shoot and to kill. That’s what he was trained to be, a blind machine gun.

    He is considered a hero. No one would dream of seriously questioning him as a suspect, beyond the formality promised to Jordan, and it’s already been said it would lead to nothing. Perhaps he committed murder, or perhaps negligent manslaughter? Perhaps he violated the rules of engagement? How would we know? We won’t know. We don’t want to know. Instead of that, we got the prime minister’s unsurprising phone call to him. “Did you make a date with your girlfriend yet?” asked Benjamin Netanyahu in that fatherly manner reserved for heroes. After that came the brave embrace in his office. Look, Jordan, look, these are the heroes of Israel, your sister in peace, the killers of your citizens. And the Palestinians are accused of exalting terrorists.

    When a Jordanian soldier killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in Naharayim in 2007, Jordan’s King Hussein cut short his trip to Spain and hurried to Beit Shemesh to kneel before the grieving families and beg forgiveness. He also visited the wounded and his kingdom paid compensation. But when an Israeli government security guard kills two Jordanians, at least one of them completely innocent, the Israeli prime minister won’t even consider apologizing. Condemnations we demand only from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. We can only fantasize about a condolence call or the payment of compensation. Why, who died, as the saying goes? Two Arabs, nothing more.

    King Hussein of jordan consoling an Israeli family whose daughter was killed by a Jordanian soldier during a class trip to Naharayim, 2007.Avi Ohayon / GOP

    Two dead Arabs, and a hero of Israel who returned home safely, overcoming his injuries. Ziv the hero will recite his version of events, and perhaps even return to service. Tens of thousands of young Israelis dream of being Ziv. They dream of serving in the territories in the occupation army, of abusing and killing Arabs, of traveling to India and to Guatemala before becoming embassy security guards. If they’re lucky, they might even get to kill some teenager with a screwdriver and a doctor who happened to be there, as in the good old days in Qalandiyah.

    Salute the heroes of Israel. They are the finest of our youth.

    #Jordanie #Ziv

  • Every Israeli should read the Palestinian assailant’s last will and testament -
    Gideon Levy


    “These are my last words,” wrote the young man from the West Bank village of Kobar before setting out to kill settlers in the adjacent settlement of Halamish. “I am young, not yet 20. I had many dreams and aspirations, but what kind of life is this, with our women and youths murdered without justification?”
    What could we have told Abed? That their women and youths were not being murdered without justification? Abed lived in a beautiful village, in a reality that could not be uglier. His neighbor Nael Barghouti, for example, who was released from an Israeli prison after serving 33 years for murdering a bus driver, was returned to prison — in an act of terrible arbitrariness — ostensibly for violating the terms of his parole. Another neighbor, naturally, is Marwan Barghouti, who in a more just and less stupid world would have long been free ago to lead his nation.

    • [Reportage] Kobar, village d’origine du meurtrier présumé de trois Israéliens
      Par RFI Publié le 23-07-2017
      Avec notre envoyée spéciale à Kobar, Marine Vlahovic

      Pierres à la main, des groupes de jeunes hommes repoussent à grands cris l’armée israélienne venue en repérage dans le village de Kobar. Bientôt, des bulldozers abattront la maison de Brahim Alabed, le père de l’assaillant qui a tué trois Israéliens dans une colonie voisine.

      « C’est l’occupation israélienne qui est responsable de ce que mon fils a fait, assure-t-il. Moi je suis sûr qu’il ne voulait pas faire ça. C’est un jeune éduqué, mais c’est ce qui se passe à l’esplanade des mosquées qui a provoqué son geste. C’est cette pression israélienne qui en est la cause. »

      De petites barricades ont été érigées devant l’habitation modeste gardée par les habitants du village, bien décidés à la défendre malgré la violence de l’acte commis par le jeune Palestinien, explique Ibithal Barghouti, les larmes aux yeux.

      « L’occupation israélienne nous rend la vie difficile mais surtout misérable. Elle détruit notre pays et nos maisons. Moi je serai la prochaine après lui. Je prendrai les armes pour libérer notre pays. »

      Une destruction qui devrait intervenir très prochainement dans un contexte de tensions croissantes en Cisjordanie.

  • He sang ’Creep,’ but we expected more of Thom Yorke
    One can fight politicians, global warming, big corporations and Donald Trump without needing much courage. Not so with the occupation
    By Gideon Levy | Jul. 20, 2017 | 4:09 AM | 4

    “When we got the call / Saw dollars in my eyes / We’re supporting apartheid / But the pay’s really high / I float like white phosphorous / Over Beit Hanoun skies / I wish I was ethical / We’re so very unethical / But I’m a creep / I’m playing Israel / What the hell am I doing here? / I don’t belong here I don’t even notice / No Palestinians around.”

    These lyrics were superimposed by BDS activists in England on a video from a Radiohead performance of their hit song “Creep,” to protest the band’s appearance Wednesday night in Tel Aviv. Similarly, Scottish activists posted a cover of another Radiohead song, “Karma Police,” with the lyrics “They’re playing apartheid / While Palestinians wait / They’re the worst kind of hypocrites.”

    So these versions circulated online, while Radiohead gathered tens of thousands in Yarkon Park. Gaza is enveloped in darkness and they laughed all the way to the bank. While doors all over the world are being slammed in Roger Waters’ face as part of the delegitimization of the BDS movement, Radiohead can appear anywhere and not pay any price for identifying with Israel and the occupation, and it only got more ridiculous as lead singer Thom Yorke became more entrenched in his positions.

    This battle of music icons, between the protest singer, Waters, and the checkbook singer, Yorke; between the voice of morality and conscience and the voice of escapism and apathy, always ends in victory for Yorke’s “music without borders.” It’s always more comfortable to be an apolitical singer, one who “doesn’t mix music with politics.”

    We expected more from Yorke. Perhaps if he knew more about the occupation than what he probably heard from the Israeli wife of his guitarist, he would change his stance. After all, he’s known to be an artist who gives a damn, a vegan who battles against globalization, supports fairness in trade, opposes Donald Trump and fights for the environment. But that’s just the point: You don’t pay any price for these battles, justified as they may be. They are luxury struggles, like those of Aviv Geffen, our own protest singer.

    One can battle against politicians, against global warming, multinational corporations and the U.S. president without needing much courage. You can be in favor of liberating Tibet and against the occupation of Kashmir; against whale hunting and the oppression of the Falun Gong in China, in favor of animal rights, Native Americans, the Inuit, the Roma and the Aborigines – all of which are justified causes – without it costing a thing.

    There’s only one struggle for which anyone putting his hand in the fire gets immediately burned. Anyone who dares to say “No” to the occupation is immediately accused of anti-Semitism. Say “BDS” and you risk prosecution. That’s why the real test of an artist’s guts and integrity is the struggle against the occupation and Israeli apartheid. That’s the litmus test. The cowards flee from it, only the brave dare take it on. That’s why there are so few Waterses in the world and lots of Yorkes.

    There is no more powerful, rich, well-oiled, effective and aggressive lobby like the one that fights opponents of the Israeli occupation. You can be Yorke, fight Wall Street, be considered a person of conscience and not get hurt. Or you can be Waters, who’s in the middle of a dizzying world tour, and in the midst of this success hasn’t neglected the struggle that burns within him more than any other, and for which he’s paying a heavy price. Nothing will stop him, not even when American governors and mayors threaten to block his appearances. Not even when they call him an anti-Semite or even a Nazi. Waters dreams of appearing in Gaza, and isn’t intimidated when the mayor of Miami Beach threatens to prevent him from appearing in his city. The scandalous criminalization of BDS is already taking its toll, but Waters and his ilk are not afraid.

    Yorke was born with a sealed left eye, which was opened by a series of operations. There’s something symbolic about that. Waters was born with both eyes open. They’ve never met. Their respective level of daring and integrity separates them, apparently forever. Which of them will be more admired? Which will be remembered?

  • Jerusalem without Palestinians? - Opinion -

    Israel continues to treat peace talks with the Palestinians like a soccer game: There has to be a winner and a loser. Peace as a shared interest has disappeared from Israelis’ emotional and intellectual lexicon

    Amira Hass Jul 18, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.802056

    Is an Old City of Jerusalem without Palestinians unimaginable? This question couldn’t have been put into words if it were unimaginable. Given the ghost town in Hebron and the hell of besieged Gaza, there’s no choice but to conclude that the dynamics of the perpetuation of the temporary Oslo Accords, combined with the security mythos, might lead to a similar nightmare scenario in Jerusalem.
    In Israel, “security” is only for the Jews and their state. The fact that the Palestinians under this state’s rule constantly live without any kind of security – physical, employment-wise, property-wise, emotional or nutritional – is erased from every intelligence assessment and every moral position.
    For the sake of the Hebron settlers’ security, Yitzhak Rabin punished the Palestinians with curfews and segregation for the massacre perpetrated on them by Dr. Baruch Goldstein. Fewer Arabs in the streets of Hebron, more security for the Jews. And all those who came after Rabin followed him down this slope toward a ghost town in Hebron.
    Israel continues to treat peace talks like a soccer game or a wrestling match: There has to be a winner and a loser. Peace as a shared interest has disappeared from Israelis’ emotional and intellectual lexicon. Ever since 1994, the leaders’ orders and the actions on the ground by the army and the Civil Administration have sent the opposite message: We must beat the Palestinians in negotiations.
    And what constitutes victory? No independent Palestinian state as envisioned by the United Nations in its resolutions, and as the Palestinians have agreed to since 1988.
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    The separation of the Gaza Strip (since 1991, my friends) from the rest of the Palestinian territory and the separation of East Jerusalem (since 1993, ladies and gentlemen) from both the West Bank and Gaza were ostensibly temporary security measures. But ever since implementation of the Oslo Accords began, Israel has proved that instead of ending these separations, it’s making them worse. These twin separations were the prerequisites for thwarting the UN resolutions.
    In the interim battles waged since 1994, the Palestinians have been defeated. In their chronic weakness, they created a duplicate and cumbersome system of limited self-government whose interest in surviving is intertwined with Israel’s interest in continuing the façade of negotiations and what it has produced to date: enclaves of fictitious sovereignty.
    Once, negotiations were a means. But as peace became more distant, like the horizon when you walk toward it, negotiations became an end. Now, resuming negotiations is an end. Still, we must remember that despite all these interim surrenders, the Palestinian leadership still hasn’t produced the longed-for signature on the final surrender “agreement.”
    This is the reason for the daily arrests, checkpoints, raids, new roads and neighborhoods for settlers, people arrested over Facebook posts, rulings by judges in Jerusalem ousting Palestinians from their homes so Jews can move in, and every few years, the offensives and wars. All these are steps in the negotiations.
    Make the situation a little worse and it becomes necessary to hold lengthy interim negotiations on “restoring the status quo ante,” which is never actually restored. Step by step, Israelis hope, they are advancing toward a Palestinian signature on a surrender.
    Today, metal detectors are a security measure, ostensibly a necessary one. Ostensibly this has no connection to other steps – bureaucratic, planning, legal, administrative – that Israel has systematically taken to dismantle East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city and the capital of the State of Palestine.
    With the dexterity of white-collar crime suspects and the smugness of high-class pimps, Israeli representatives turn the violent reality on its head: Israel is the one defending itself, the Palestinians are the attackers. This lets Israel make its aggressive policies toward them even harsher – gradually but constantly, ostensibly in response.
    Security for Jews only, perpetual negotiations, separation and siege until the Palestinians surrender, Palestinian weakness – all the elements that made Gaza and Hebron possible also exist in Jerusalem. The pan-Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque saves us from a full Hebronization. But not from all the steps along the way.