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  • Facebook didn’t even bother to reply
    Amira Hass | Jul. 21, 2021 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-facebook-didn-t-even-bother-to-reply-1.10015989

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Facebook bloque le compte qui a publié une lettre d’une ancienne députée palestinienne emprisonnée
      19 juillet | Amira Hass pour Haaretz | Traduction BP pour l’AURDIP |
      https://www.aurdip.org/facebook-bloque-le-compte-qui-a.html

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

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

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

  • Palestinian Authority nixes COVID vaccine deal with Israel due to close expiration date
    Jack Khoury | Jun. 18, 2021 | 8:18 PM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-palestinian-authority-nixes-vaccine-deal-with-israel-amid-close-ex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    • Vaccins anti-Covid : l’Autorité palestinienne annule l’accord avec Israël
      Avec notre correspondante à Ramallah, Alice Froussard – Publié le : 18/06/2021 - 20:16 – Modifié le : 19/06/2021
      https://www.rfi.fr/fr/en-bref/20210618-vaccins-anti-covid-l-autorit%C3%A9-palestinienne-annule-l-accord-avec-i

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

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

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

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

  • Israel deploys Iron Dome batteries as Hamas warns against Tuesday’s Jerusalem march
    Nir Hasson, Josh Breiner, Jack Khoury | Jun. 14, 2021 | 11:51 AM - - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-hamas-warns-bennett-tuesday-s-jerusalem-march-will-reignite-tensio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #Jérusalem

  • Settlers filmed attacking Palestinian family in the West Bank
    The settlers hurled stones at the parents and their eight children and assaulted them with clubs, according to B’Tselem ■ The father of the family was injured and taken to a Hebron hospital

    Hagar Shezaf | Mar. 13, 2021 | 11:55 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-settles-filmed-attacking-palestinian-family-in-the-west-bank-1.961

    Israeli settlers were filmed attacking on Saturday a Palestinian family near the West Bank outpost of Mitzpeh Yair in the South Hebron Hills.

    According to a report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, about 10 masked settlers hurled stones at the parents and their eight children and assaulted them with clubs. The father of the family was hurt in the face and taken to a hospital in Hebron by the Palestinian Red Crescent. The family said he suffered fractures in his jaw, and will undergo surgery on Sunday.

    The police said they have opened an investigation into the incident.

    A video taken by B’Tselem shows the settlers throwing stones and attacking the family. One settler is seen approaching the woman with a club in his hand. The woman is later heard shouting “go away, they smashed the car,” and “the police are not here, where are they?”

    A B’Tselem activist who arrived at the scene shortly after said that both parents were evacuated on stretchers.

    The mother, Rima Alwan, said that the family comes to the land every Saturday. This time, they came with their eight children, the youngest of whom is a year old.

    “As soon as we arrived, we saw settlers approaching us and as we saw them, we called the police but they did not come,” Alwan told Haaretz. “There were about 15 of them. They threw stones at us and were armed with batons, one hit me in the leg and wounded me.”

    According to a statement from the Israel Police, officers arrived at the scene within minutes.

    According to Alwan, this is the first time the family has been attacked in this way by settlers. “The children were very scared because they also broke our car, thank God they were not injured.” She said police arrived at the scene only long after the incident ended.

    In response to the video, the Mount Hebron Regional Council of settlements said it’s impossible to get the full picture of what happened, and that authorities are investigating the situation.

    “An initial investigation revealed that [the alleged attackers] don’t live in the settlement, and we don’t believe in using violence or force,” their statement read.

    “That being said, it is important to note that residents of Mount Hebron have experienced incidents of vandalism, violence, theft and break-ins in recent months; just last week a Palestinian broke into a house of a resident of Havat Ma’on and was seized by IDF forces.”

    In the past, the family’s access to the land was blocked by the military due its vicinity to the Mitzpeh Yair outpost, but a 2011 court decision allowed them to reach it. Since then, they work the land several times a year after receiving clearance from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

    In the beginning of March, a settler was filmed trying to eject an Arab family from a public area, for the second time in less than a month. The video of Zvi Bar Yosef, a resident of the nearby unauthorized outpost of Havat Zvi near the village of Jibiya, joined other reports over the past year by Palestinians about being removed from the area.

    The unauthorized outpost, partially built on state land and partially on privately owned land, is one of many that have proliferated in the West Bank, which control large tracts and deny access to Arabs.

    Last month, soldiers told a family of Israeli Arab citizens having a picnic to leave after settlers from the unauthorized outpost called them to the site. In videos of that incident, settlers, including an armed Bar Yosef, are seen demanding that the family leave the area, which is a public site that is not even in the municipal area of any settlement.

  • Why do Google and Apple maps recognize illegal Israeli settlements, but not Palestine? - Middle East News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-why-do-google-and-apple-map-illegal-settlements-but-not-palestine-

    Despite their claims, the two tech giants’ ubiquitous, influential maps and navigation tools aren’t value-neutral at all. Just ask a Palestinian

    #google #palestine #israel #Apple #carte #maps

  • It’s time for Arab states to drop another bombshell on Israel - Middle East News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-it-s-time-for-arab-states-to-drop-another-bombshell-on-israel-1.91

    Par Yossi Beilin, ex-ministre de la Justice en Israël, très lié aux accords d’Oslo...

    The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 was a kind of a bombshell: it was launched in the heat of the second intifada, against the background of ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis. That violence erupted a day after the provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa compound of the then-leader of the opposition, Ariel Sharon, and a thousand supporters.

    The initiative declared the readiness of all members of the Arab League to make peace with Israel and to normalize relations with it, if it made peace with the Palestinians, based on the two state solution, and with Syria (since ousted from the Arab League).

    The Arab Peace Initiative was very surprising, and it gave a crushing answer to the main claim of the Right in Israel: that the heart of the Middle East conflict is the absolute refusal Arab states to recognize Israel, and not the territorial dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Suddenly, out of the blue, came the Arab world and declared, as a collective, a conditional readiness to recognize Israel.

  • With Israel’s encouragement, NSO sold spyware to UAE and other Gulf states
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-with-israel-s-encouragement-nso-sold-spyware-to-uae-and-other-gulf

    The Israeli spyware firm has signed contracts with Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Despite its claims, NSO exercises little control over use of its software, which dictatorships can use to monitor dissidents The Israeli firm NSO Group Technologies, whose software is used to hack into cellphones, has in the past few years sold its Pegasus spyware for hundreds of millions of dollars to the United Arab Emirates and other Persian Gulf States, where it has been used to monitor anti-regime (...)

    #NSO #Pegasus #spyware #smartphone #activisme #journalisme #surveillance #écoutes

  • Israel is in shock over Beirut, in a sickening show of hypocrisy
    Gideon Levy | Aug. 7, 2020 | 1:45 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israel-beirut-lebanon-blast-support-1.9050449

    Official Israel presented itself as shocked at the disaster that struck its neighbor, Lebanon, yesterday. Almost everyone put on a sorrowful face. Except for Richard Silverstein, who writes a blog, Tikkun Olam, no one accused Israel of causing the disaster. Except for Moshe Feiglin and a few other racists, no one expressed satanic joy over it. Fortunately, former Israeli army spokesman Avi Benayahu ran Feiglin out of the race: “With such statements, you don’t belong to the Jewish people,” declared Benayahu, the man of Jewish morality, and the stain was removed.

    Benayahu is right: The Jewish state never caused such disasters, and when our enemies fell it never rejoiced. The Israel Defense Forces, whose voice Benayahu was, never such caused destruction and devastation, certainly not in Lebanon, certainly not in Beirut. What does the IDF have to do with the destruction of infrastructure? An explosion in the Beirut port? Why would the most moral army in the world have anything to do with bombing population centers? And so the country’s leaders hastened to offer help to the stricken land of the cedars, such a typical Jewish and Israeli gesture, human, lofty and moving to the point of tears.

    True, the Israel Air Force thumbs its nose at Lebanon’s sovereignty and flies through its skies as if they were its own. True, Israel has devastated Lebanon twice in war, but who’s counting. Israel’s president issued a statement of condolences to the Lebanese people, the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense said they had “given instructions to offer humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon.”

    As if all this beneficence was not enough, the mayor of Tel Aviv ordered the municipality building illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. Words fail. All past hatred has been set aside, Israel is now a friend in need to its suffering neighbor. Maybe it was Tu B’Av, the holiday of love, marked yesterday. But still, a vague memory threatens to spoil the how-beautiful-we-are party, which we love so much around here.

    Was it not that same defense minister that only last week threatened that same Lebanon with destruction of infrastructure? Didn’t the prime minister also threaten Lebanon? And how does destruction of infrastructure look in Lebanon? Just like what was seen in Lebanon on Tuesday. The sound of thunder shook the city, black smoke billowed over it, destruction and devastation, civilian blood spilled, 4,000 injured at hospital doors, as described in horror by the ambassador of a European country in Beirut, who had previously served in Israel. She was injured Tuesday in the blast and was in shock.

    Half of Israel and the entire IDF General Staff know how to recite the acclaimed Dahiya Doctrine. Every second politician has threatened to carry it out. That is our language with Lebanon and Gaza. It’s the doctrine espoused by the Israeli Carl von Clausewitz, former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, the current hope of the Israeli left, when he was chief of the Northern Command.

    And what is this sophisticated doctrine? It’s the use of disproportionate, unbridled force against infrastructure, the sowing of destruction and shedding of as much blood as possible. “Flattening” – to teach the enemy a lesson “once and for all.” The IDF has tried this more than once in the past, in Lebanon and in Gaza, and it was a dizzying success story. It looks just like what was seen in Beirut on Tuesday.

    Not a week had passed since Israel threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lebanon if Hezbollah dared avenge the killing of one of its fighters in a limited military action on the border, and Israel the destroyer becomes Israel the merciful. Would you accept humanitarian aid from such a country? Is there a more sickening show of hypocrisy?

    When Israel demolished Dahiya and other neighborhoods in Beirut, the Tel Aviv Municipality building was not illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. When Israel killed thousands of innocent women and children, old and young, in Gaza during the criminal Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge, the municipality was not lit up in the colors of the Palestinian flag. But on Wednesday we were all so humane, so Lebanese for a moment. Until the next Dahiya.

    #Beyrouth

    • Israël blanchit sa barbarie en offrant son aide au Liban
      Par Motasem A. Dalloul - 07.08.2020 - Source : Middle East Monitor -Traduction : MR pour ISM
      http://www.ism-france.org/analyses/Israel-blanchit-sa-barbarie-en-offrant-son-aide-au-Liban-article-21209

      (...) Bien sûr, le Liban a jusqu’à présent ignoré Israël et les offres d’aide israéliennes malgré ce tweet posté par le porte-parole des forces d’occupation israéliennes : « C’est le moment de transcender tout conflit. »

      En fait, le Liban, aux prises à des épreuves nationales avant même que l’explosion ne se produise, a besoin de toute aide offerte - mais pas d’Israël - qui, au début de cette semaine, a promis de détruire ses infrastructures. Lors de réunions avec le chef d’état-major israélien Aviv Kochavi et d’autres membres de l’état-major général, qui se sont tenues jeudi dernier, Gantz a donné l’ordre aux forces de défense israéliennes de bombarder les infrastructures libanaises dans tout conflit potentiel avec le Liban. Cette instruction a été donnée après des jours de tension sur le front nord.

      Le Liban ne veut pas de l’aide de l’État qui a inventé la doctrine Dahiya, qui est une stratégie militaire basée sur la destruction des infrastructures civiles sous prétexte d’empêcher les combattants de l’utiliser. Pour atteindre ce but, les forces israéliennes sont autorisées à employer une puissance disproportionnée. Cette stratégie porte le nom du quartier de Dahiya à Beyrouth, qui a été complètement détruit par Israël en 2006. (...)

  • Peter Beinart doesn’t go far enough
    Jeff Halper | Jul. 13, 2020 | 2:49 PM - Haaretz.com
    Liberal Zionists are belatedly waking up to the only just alternative: a single state, shared by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. But if Israeli Jews won’t endorse a one state solution, will they have to be dragged unwillingly into it?
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-peter-beinart-doesn-t-go-far-enough-1.8990426

    Whether or not annexation actually happens, it has already had far-reaching effects.

    It has forced liberal Zionists like Peter Beinart and Gershon Baskin, pro-Israel figures like Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, and even some Israelis – albeit mainly readers of Haaretz – to confront the political and moral flaw at the heart of Zionism: its inability to reconcile Jewish national rights and Zionism’s exclusive claim to the Land of Israel, with the national rights and existence of the Palestinian people.

    This inherent conflict was evident and recognized from the very first days of Zionism. The essayist Ahad Ha-am wrote about it. As a member of Brit Shalom, Arthur Ruppin, the head of the Palestine Office of the World Zionist Organization, supported a bi-national state. Jabotinsky confronted it in his famous “Iron Wall” doctrine.

    And in 1942, when the intention to establish a Jewish state (and not merely a “national home”) was finally admitted, Ben-Gurion himself said plainly: “[This is a] decision based on force, a Jewish military decision…We want the Land of Israel in its entirety. That was the original intention.”

    Indeed, the idea of “transfer” was in the air decades before the right-wing racist Meir Kahane and his followers arrived on the scene in the 1970s. Yosef Weitz, the Director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Department and an architect of “Judaizing” Palestine, wrote in 1948: “It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples…The only solution is a Land of Israel without Arabs…There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, perhaps with the exception of Bethlehem, Nazareth and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe.”

    Since 1967 the two-state solution played a key role in covering over this inherent, unavoidable and finally fatal flaw. As a tool of conflict management, it held out the illusion that Jewish claims to the Land of Israel and Palestinian claims to Palestine could somehow be reconciled.

    We accept the “notion” of two states, we keep the illusion of “two sides” alive by creating a collaborationist Palestinian Authority, we negotiate (or not) forever, and in this way we avoid having to deal with the underlying reality that Zionism has set up a zero-sum game: either “we” win or “they” do. And in the midst of the stalemate we continue the 125-year Judaization of the country.

    Annexation did not expose the illusion – any informed person knew it existed – but rather made it impossible to sustain. The two-state solution rested on the notion of “occupation.” This implies that a country has taken control of a territory that does not belong to it and must be prepared to negotiate its final status, which may or may not result in annexation.

    International law does not permit unilateral annexation. For this reason Israel has always rejected the idea that it even has an occupation – it prefers to speak of “disputed territories,” a concept with no legal legitimacy – and therefore has never applied the Fourth Geneva Convention which prevents settlement, harming the local population and, of course, annexation.

    Ever the master in legal manipulation, Israel’s current government therefore rejects the term “annexation,” speaking instead of “extending Israel’s sovereignty.” Whatever it’s called, Israel’s intention of incorporating 30 percent of the West Bank makes it impossible to sustain the two-state illusion anymore.

    And so the anguish of liberal Zionists. Where do we go from here? Peter Beinart has raised the possibility of a bi-national state in a New York Times op-ed and a longer Jewish Currents essay. “Now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex parts of the land that Israel has brutally and undemocratically controlled for decades. And watching all this unfold, I have begun to wonder, for the first time in my life, whether the price of a state that favors Jews over Palestinians is too high,” he writes.

    “The painful truth is that the project to which liberal Zionists like myself have devoted ourselves for decades — a state for Palestinians separated from a state for Jews — has failed. The traditional two-state solution no longer offers a compelling alternative to Israel’s current path. It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish –Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish–Palestinian equality.”

    Gershon Baskin, another leading voice of liberal Zionism and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, recently published a piece entitled “Israel and Palestinians Must Join Forces in Creating a New Shared Vision.” That shared vision means a single state shared by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs.

    A single state is the only alternative to what exists today, and what annexation plainly offers for the future: apartheid. Some have suggested confederation, but that fails for the same reason the two-state solution does, Israel is simply unwilling to provide the Palestinians with any meaningful political or economic space.

    Fortunately, there are Israelis and Palestinians who are giving Beinart, Baskin and, indeed, Israel itself, somewhere to go. The One Democratic State Campaign has formulated a political program that calls for a single democracy of equal rights, the homecoming of the refugees and the emergence of a shared civil society. It goes even further, recognizing that Zionism and Palestinian nationalism can co-exist within a pluralistic democracy – and both may eventually transform into something new, shared and vibrant.

    Will Israeli Jews buy into it? No, of course not. Why would they? To such a degree do they enjoy the benefits of an apartheid regime, that the occupation and Palestinian rights have been reduced to a non-issue.

    The refusal of most whites in South Africa to willingly dismantle apartheid resembles that of Israeli Jews. So Palestinians and the few Israeli partners that share the vision of a shared society must take a leaf from the ANC playbook.

    Like the ANC, we must create a direct link between the international public, for whom Palestinian rights is a major issue (including among a growing proportion of young Jews), and our one-state movement. In that way we render Israeli apartheid unsustainable, as the ANC did in South Africa, finally bringing the Israelis into the transition process when they have no choice but to cooperate.

    The struggle for a single state, for justice, should be seen as a challenge to all of us, not as a threat. South Africans, the Northern Irish, Black and white Americans in Mississippi and many other peoples once locked in seemingly endless conflict discovered that when issues of inequality and justice are addressed, their “irresolvable” differences become manageable.

    Beinart, a die-heart Zionist to this day, reaches the only conclusion possible. “It’s time,” he says, “to envision a Jewish home that is a Palestinian home, too.” Zionism’s very purpose was to restore our self-determination. Well, here’s the challenge.

    Are we going to become actors in creating a state for all of us living in this country, in which we enjoy both democratic rights and, within that framework, a national life in our country shared with others, or will we have to be dragged unwillingly into it? In my view, and maybe Beinart’s, the former is the “Zionist” answer.

    Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist, head of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, a founder of the One Democratic State Campaign and author of “War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification” (London, Pluto Books, 2015).

    traduction en français : https://seenthis.net/messages/867255

    • Peter Beinart’s great change
      Gideon Levy | Jul. 12, 2020 | 12:08 AM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-peter-beinart-s-great-change-1.8987401

      A page-one headline in Friday’s international edition of The New York Times (a day after the piece appeared in the paper’s U.S. print edition): “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.” No, the significance of this cannot be overstated. Peter Beinart, one of American Jewry’s most prominent liberal intellectuals, an observant Jew who was raised in a Zionist home, who was 28 when he became the editor of The New Republic, and who later became a senior columnist at Haaretz, has said goodbye to the two-state solution and in effect issued a divorce decree to Zionism, at least in its current format.

      In an impressive essay that has already made waves in the United States, he writes: “It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.” Beinart is not a lone voice in the United States. American Jews are beginning, if belatedly, to take a clear-eyed look at Israel, its darling. The Democratic Party is also doing so, slowly. Now we can hope that Beinart’s op-ed will motivate more and more intellectuals and others to look honestly and bravely at reality, as he has done, and to say what is still considered heresy, a betrayal of Israel and not politically correct in the United States.

      Beinart has seen the light. An end has come to years of a pleasant, intoxicating belief that it was possible to be a liberal Jew and still support Israel, by dint of the illusion of the two-state solution, which Israel and the U.S. never intended to carry out. Now Beinart too realizes that there is an inherent contradiction that cannot be resolved. As long as the occupation continues, no liberal, Jewish or not, can support Israel. Beinart realized that the die has been cast: The two-state solution died because of the irreversible number of settlers, to which the annexation plan was recently added. “The goal of equality is now more realistic than the goal of separation,” Beinart writes, expertly describing reality a moment before being attacked with the claim that the one-state solution isn’t realistic. (Anshel Pfeffer did so in Haaretz on Thursday.)

      Yes, the followers of the two-state solution are “realistic” and those who are for the one-state solution are delusional. It’s hard to think of a more delusional mirage. For 53 years there has been a single state here, its apartheid regime is becoming entrenched with sickening speed and to speak of regime changing in this single state is to speak unrealistically. When only two options remain, a single democratic state or an apartheid state, the democratic option doesn’t even come up for discussion in Israel, and barely does in the United States or the rest of the world.

      The remnants of the imaginary possibility of a Palestinian state have long since been torn, but we must continue to hope for it, to long for it and to pray for its establishment. A Palestinian state? Where? How? Not here. Not now. Instead of launching the only struggle that offers a just vision - equality; one person, one vote - the liberals continue to sing paeans to a past that will never return, to a train that has left the station and will never return. Instead of taking the necessary conclusions, they continue to shut their eyes and scatter illusions. It’s more comfortable for everyone; for Israelis, for the Palestinian Authority and the world. A Palestinian state will surely come to be, just you wait and see.

      The standard weapon of the “realists” for burying the last just solution is the threat of the terrible bloodshed that would occur in the binational state. The 53 years of the apartheid state generated the most terrible bloodshed of all. Things can only get better. Beinart, whose parents emigrated from South Africa, knows from history that when a government of equality is established in a binational state, and all its inhabitants win freedom and can exercise their rights, violence declines and even disappears. It happened in Northern Ireland as well as in South Africa. But the Zionist chorus will continue to paint a terrifying picture of the unknown and cling to the status quo, the steady, institutionalized situation of apartheid, which is the worst of all.

      Beinart misses the day when he saw Israel as a source of pride, like many Jews. Myself included. Now Beinart is himself a source of pride: an American Jew who heralds a change that gives hope.

  • Settlers assault Palestinians on their own land, as Israeli soldiers watch
    As the coronavirus lockdown let up, two brothers and their families went on an outing on their own land. Settlers ambushed them, attacking with clubs and weapons

    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac - Published on 26.06.2020 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-settlers-assault-palestinians-on-their-own-land-as-israeli-soldier

    Moussa and Issa Ktash open their mouths: Each of the brothers is missing three or four front teeth. Two months have passed since the brutal attack they endured at the hands of seven settlers, who were armed with clubs and chains, threatened them with a submachine gun, and beat them until they were bloody. The two are still badly shaken. Their children, who were with them on the land they own during the assault, are also traumatized. Now, whenever Israel Defense Forces troops enter the Jalazun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, where they live, 9-year-old Salah, Moussa’s son, and 8-year-old Hamzi, Issa’s son, go into panic mode and become wild. They both also wet their beds at night.

    Moussa, 38, and Issa, 41, are two work-weary men whose only dream – to spend some relaxing time in nature on their own property, on weekends – has been violently shattered by settlers. Issa has five children; Moussa has three. They are both woodworkers at GM Profile, a large carpentry enterprise in the El Bireh industrial zone near Ramallah. Issa has worked there for 17 years; Moussa for 14. Descendants of refugees from Inaba, an Arab village that was situated between Lod and Ramle, they were born and bred in Jalazun.

    With sawdust on their faded shirts the two met us in the offices of their employer, from which we set off to the scene of the crime, amid the olive groves between the settlements of Halamish and Ateret.

    About a decade ago, Moussa bought a plot of land in the village of Jibiya, in the Ramallah area – about 10 kilometers from Jalazun: two-and-a-half dunams (almost two-thirds of an acre) on which there are some 20 olive trees.

    Moussa: “We are refugees. We were expelled from our lands in Inaba, we live in Jalazun, and if we manage to save up money, we will build a house for our children on the land [that we bought]. The refugee camp is crowded and stifling; there’s no air there. When we go out to our land, we just feel wonderful. The nature and the fresh air. It is the first time [in the family] since my grandfather, in 1948, that we have land of our own. I feel free there.”

    The brothers’ dream of building a home for their children is a very distant one indeed: The land in question is in Area C – meaning it’s under complete Israeli control – where, in the present reality, the prospect for a Palestinian to build anything is nonexistent. Meanwhile, the men are able to extract four to six large containers of oil each year from the olives, which they divide among friends.

    With his cell phone, Moussa shows us photos of wildflowers and other sights that he took on his land. He’s a nature lover. Each weekend, he likes to go out to the grove with his family, tend to the trees and collect za’atar (wild hyssop) and Greek sage.

    Both Halamish and Ateret are just a few kilometers away, but they never used to have problems with the settlers. In recent years, however, amid the Palestinians’ olive groves, telltale huts of the so-called hilltop youth have begun springing up out of nowhere. The young settlers use these illegal locales as their bases for attacks on Palestinian farmers who have the effrontery to approach their own land; indeed, they are gradually taking over the area by force. A herd of dozens of cows belonging to settlers is already pasturing without interruption in some Palestinian fields in the area, as if they were the settlers’ property.

    The coronavirus period has been a bonanza for these ruffians. With everyone’s attention focused elsewhere, they have carried out 21 attacks on Palestinian farmers in the vicinity, wounding some of them each time.

    Iyad Haddad, a field researcher for B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, compares the settlers here to wild animals: They lie in wait for those who are weak – the farmer, the shepherd, the lone passerby – and pounce on them with savage violence in order to frighten them and force them off their land. That’s what happened on Thursday, April 16.

    It was after some 40 days of coronavirus confinement in Jalazun, when no one was allowed to enter or leave. The brothers Ktash decided to go with their families for a first post-lockdown picnic. Their wives made maklouba (a dish of meat, rice and fried vegetables) and they set out from Jalazun at around 11:30 A.M. It was a hot day. Eight members of the family – Moussa, his wife and three of their children, Issa and one of his sons, and Moussa and Issa’s mother – squeezed into one car.

    Once they arrived, the two brothers went to collect spices and herbs on the slopes of a nearby hill, while the others remained in the shade of the olive trees. Issa and Moussa ventured about a few hundred meters away from the site, each heading in a different direction. They planned to return for lunch in the outdoors.

    Moussa was attacked first. Two settlers who had been lurking behind some oak trees suddenly confronted him. One was holding a club, the other had a knapsack on his back. The land they were on is privately owned by residents of Jibiya. The settlers were young, one looked to Moussa to be about 19 or 20, he tells us now; the other was around 25. Both wore large skullcaps; one was bearded and had long earlocks.

    Without a word, the bearded man, who was wielding the club, immediately started to bash Moussa on his head, his face and all over his body. The other one stood to the side. Moussa collapsed to the ground, but the blows continued unabated. The worst pain was inflicted on his right knee, which had been operated on in 2008. At one point the settler who was pounding Moussa told his accomplice to bring a chain in order to tie Moussa’s hands. He threatened to kill him.

    Even now, as he recalls the event, Moussa is distraught: “I love life. The first thing that went through my head was that I was going to die. The second thing was what would become of my wife and children after I died. I begged God, I recited verses from the Koran, I felt that my death was approaching.”

    The episode lasted for about 15 minutes, he estimates. A quarter of an hour in which his body was pummeled. Did you try to resist, we ask.

    “I was scared that they were armed,” he says. ‘They were two and I was one. There was nothing I could do. Very quickly I realized that I had two options: to try to make a run for it or to die.”

    When the settler doing the beating got a phone call and the other young man was off looking for a chain, Moussa managed somehow to get to his feet and escaped. They didn’t give chase. Apparently, they had made their point.

    Moussa hid behind a tree. He’d left his phone with his family and had no way to summon help. He fell to the ground and with his remaining strength managed to crawl to get as far from the assailants as he could. He was overcome by thirst and drank from a discarded bottle that he’d found. Then he felt he was losing consciousness and lay down on the ground. His whole body ached.

    When he woke up his family was standing next to him, frightened; they had no idea what had happened. When he hadn’t returned, they began to think that the settlers had perhaps killed him. Issa did not respond to phone calls.

    Sabar Shalash, a member of the Palestinian security forces who lives in Jibiya, told the family to come to his village with Moussa, so that nothing else would happen to them. Local residents then launched a search for Issa.

    By now it was somewhere between 3:30 and 4 P.M. Issa finally phoned: “Come and rescue me. The settlers have left.” Moussa, still aghast at what had happened to him, refused to allow the family to return to the area, and asked young people from Jibiya to go get his brother.

    It emerged that Issa, too, had been attacked by settlers who ambushed him from behind an oak tree. At first he was confronted by two: One of them, with long earlocks and a large skullcap, asked him in Arabic, “What are you doing here?” “This is my land,” Issa replied, to which the man retorted, “No, this is our land, it’s not yours.”

    Issa tried to run for his life but the settler blocked him and knocked Issa down. Then three more settlers emerged, one of them brandishing an M-16 rifle. “Call the police,” Issa shouted. The settler replied, “Here, we are the police.”

    With the rifle trained on him they started to beat Issa with clubs, and kicked and punched him as he lay helpless on the ground. He felt faint. One of the settlers bound his hands behind his back. Issa says now that he felt like a sheep being led to slaughter. They went on kicking him for some time and dragged him for about 300 meters.

    An IDF jeep arrived to the spot where he had been dragged, and five soldiers got out; a pickup truck belonging to the settlers also pulled up.

    One of the soldiers gave Issa water so he could wash off his bleeding mouth and nose. “Why did you come here?” the soldier asked. Issa tried to explain that this was his land and land belonging to Jibiya. The soldiers wanted to see his ID card, but he’d left it with his mother at the picnic site. The phone in his pocket rang, but the soldiers wouldn’t allow him to take the call from his worried family. One settler emerged from the pickup truck, grabbed the phone and threw it to the ground, cracking its screen. The other settlers resumed beating Issa until the soldiers finally stopped them and ordered them to leave. The soldiers did not summon an ambulance and just released Issa, who managed to call his family and was rescued by locals from Jibiya.

    They had to carry him; Issa was hurt more seriously than his brother. A Palestinian ambulance took the two brothers to the Ramallah Government Hospital, where they were treated for their wounds and discharged after a few hours. Unfortunately for Issa, he was sent into coronavirus quarantine in a facility run by the Palestinian Authority for two weeks, because he had come into close contact with both his assailants and the soldiers. His suffering and pain were compounded by his isolation from his family.

    The two brothers identified the settlers in photographs shown them by friends in Jibiya. Residents there say they know the violent hilltop youths who often raid their lands without anyone to stop them. We saw the photos, too.

    Issa and Moussa chose not to file a complaint with the police, fearing retribution from the settlers, of whom they are terrified. They also know that if they did, no one would take their claims seriously, just as hundreds of similar ones submitted over the years haven’t been dealt with. The police, the settlers and the army are all one body, the brothers say. Moussa says that the soldiers should have detained his assailants, or at least summoned the police to take them into custody.

    Of course, it’s not hard to imagine how the soldiers would have behaved if it had been Palestinians who were attacking Jewish settlers.

    We asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit whether the soldiers had acted properly by allowing the attackers to leave, and how soldiers are expected to behave in situations of this kind. The response: “On April 16, a report was received of friction between a number of settlers and Palestinians near the community of Halamish. IDF fighters who arrived at the site conducted a preliminary clarification with one of the Palestinian residents of what had happened and thereafter passed the details of the case to the authorized law enforcement bodies.”

    The two brothers with the missing teeth still wake up in fright at night, and their children, who saw them returning bruised and bleeding, are haunted by the images. Issa needs an MRI, but his request to have it performed in an East Jerusalem hospital was rejected. “Maybe you could help me?” he asks us in a quavering voice. They haven’t been back to their land since the incident. Nor do they have any intention of going back any time soon.

    Another victory for the settlers.

    At the end of our visit, we drove to the Ktashes’ plot of land. From the highway between Ateret and Halamish there was a fine view of olive groves dotting the hillside. Only on second glance did we see isolated huts between the trees, scattered on the ridge, threatening and boding ill.

    #colonialisme_de_peuplement

  • » Hours Before His Sister’s Wedding, Israeli Soldiers Kill A Young Palestinian Man Near Bethlehem
    June 23, 2020 9:32 PM – IMEMC News
    https://imemc.org/article/hours-before-his-sisters-wedding-israeli-soldiers-kill-a-young-palestinian-ma

    Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Tuesday, a young Palestinian man near the “Container” military roadblock, northeast of Bethlehem, east of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

    The head of Abu Dis Town Council, Ahmad Abu Hilal, said the soldiers shot the young man, identified as Ahmad Mustafa Erekat , 27, from Abu Dis, and left him to bleed to death, before taking his corpse away. Erekat suffered several gunshot wounds.

    Abu Hilal added that Ahmad was driving to Bethlehem city to fetch his sisters, and his mother, from a hairdressing shop in Bethlehem, as the family was preparing for the wedding of one of his sisters, which was supposed to take place on the same day, Tuesday, June 23 2019.

    Eyewitnesses said the soldiers at the permanent military roadblock closed the area, and prevented Red Crescent medics from approaching the young man, in addition to firing many gas bombs at Palestinian cars and residents to force them away.

    The Israeli army alleged that the young man “accelerated towards the roadblock, and attempted to ram a female soldier with his car,” and added that the soldier reportedly suffered mild wounds before she was moved to a hospital in Jerusalem.

    The spokesperson of the Israel police, Micky Rosenfeld, claimed that “after trying to ram the soldiers, the young man got out of his vehicle, and approached them before who shot him.”

    The family denied the military allegations and said the soldiers rushed to deliver the fatal shots without proper justification and added that they believe their slain son must have lost control over his car.

    “As we have seen in previous similar incidents, the soldiers were quick to open deadly fire,”, his family said, “Our son would never have tried to deliberately ram soldiers, or anybody else, especially on the eve of his sister’s wedding!”

    They added that they intend to hire a lawyer to demand Israel to release his corpse for burial.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    Said Shoaib
    @saidshouib
    https://twitter.com/saidshouib/status/1275477565797543940

    Israeli soldiers shot Palestinian young man and left him leading to death at a checkpoint to the east of of Jerusalem.
    #PalestinianLivesMatter

    • Erekat: “Netanyahu Is Responsible For Ahmad Erekat’s Execution”
      June 24, 2020 2:53 AM | IMEMC News
      https://imemc.org/article/erekat-netanyahu-is-responsible-for-ahmad-erekats-execution

      The Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the head of its Negotiations Affairs Department, Dr. Saeb Erekat, strongly denounced the Israel army’s killing of his relative Ahmad Erekat, and held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for the crime.

      Erekat stated that Netanyahu’s policies against the Palestinian civilians are what encourages Israeli soldiers to continue to commit these crimes.

      He added that the Israeli occupation did not only execute Ahmad Erekat in a cold-blooded crime but also tried to coverup by fabricating the truth and coming up with lies and justifications for this crime by claiming the young man “attempted to ram the soldiers with his car.”

      His statements came from the mourning home of the slain young man, who was supposed to get married within a few days.

      “We, just like any Palestinian family, suffer from this racist occupation, Ahmad was killed in a cold-blooded crime! He was my cousin, and we were supposed to celebrate his wedding withing a few days,” Erekat added, “We were also supposed to be celebrating his sister’s wedding today, but the soldiers killed him and tried to justify their crime.”

      On his official Twitter account, Dr. Erekat said the army has many cameras at the roadblock, yet failed to release the video and show what really happened.

      “This is the invitation of Eman’s wedding , Ahmed’s sister 23rd of June 2020 from 7-10 pm. Ahmed Erakat (26) was murdered in cold blood at the wadi al-Nar (The Container) roadblock, by Israeli occupying . They continue their lies and claim he tried to run over the soldiers. Netanyahu is responsible. (...) ”

      https://twitter.com/ErakatSaeb/status/1275508368627679233

    • Israeli war criminals shot my cousin, then let him bleed to death
      Dalal Iriqat- 24.06.2020 - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israeli-war-criminals-shot-my-cousin-then-let-him-bleed-to-death-1

      “O mother of the martyr, I wish it was my mother in your place!”

      That was the song of the young people processing through the streets of Abu Dis until they reached the house of the martyr. My little cousin, the handsome 26 year-old, the fiancé, the brother and son, Ahmed Mustafa Erekat.

      He was executed by the Israelis after he lost control of his car and crashed into a checkpoint. They left him bleeding for more than an hour. The occupation army prevented an ambulance from getting to him, it prevented civilians from approaching to comfort him, it prevented witnesses who could record the details of the crime.

      When my uncle arrived at the checkpoint barrier, he could see his son Ahmed writhing on the ground. He called out to the soldiers, he begged them, he cried out to them for help, but they offered no mercy. They stood by as Ahmed’s lifeblood left him.

      And killing him wasn’t enough: Israel’s criminal authorities weren’t satisfied, so they detained Ahmed’s dead body.

      We as Palestinians are used to Israel’s attempts to blame the victim, to swing the blame for each field execution back on us. In Ahmed’s case, we saw the same inhuman injustice, the same effort to humiliate us, with the invention of a narrative to implicate Ahmed, to make him responsible for his own murder.

      Ahmed was a regular guy. He enjoyed keeping fit. He had his own business printing graphic designs on T shirts.

      And he was a young man in love. He was due to get married at the end of May, but the wedding was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. His fiancée has spoken about the new house they were getting ready, and the wedding preparations, the dress, the festive jewellery, the furniture that they’d purchased.

      Ahmed didn’t attack anyone. This is the true story of his life. Don’t let the occupation rewrite his story.

      Today, the day after, was the wedding day of Iman, Ahmed’s little sister. Every scene is imprinted in my mind, all the pain.

      I stood there next to his traumatized sisters. My eyes scanned the details of the house, decorated with such expectations, joy and care: from the lace adorning the banisters, the chairs that filled the house in preparation for the guests, the beautifully laid out chocolate, wedding favors and coffee: everything was ready for Iman’s pre-wedding reception.

      Ahmed is not the first member that the Erekat family has lost to Israel’s occupation, and I fear he won’t be the last martyr from among the Palestinian people.

      I hope those who genuinely want to console the family will help share the truth, and expose the occupation. Raise your voices to call for Israel to release the full footage from the ten security cameras that recorded Ahmed’s last hour on earth.

      In Occupied Palestine, there is no right to life, no right to joy, no right even to say farewell. Young Palestinian men are just numbers, not individuals, and Ahmed’s body has now joined that cold audit.

      Our fight is to stop the killing of our people. When we cry for help, will anyone listen? Do Palestinian lives really matter?

      Dalal Iriqat, PhD is the vice president for International Relations at the Arab American University in Palestine and a weekly columnist at the Al Quds newspaper. Twitter: @Dalaliriqat

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      Palestinian Scholar Noura Erakat: Israeli Forces Killed My Cousin on His Sister’s Wedding Day
      24 juin 2020
      https://www.democracynow.org/2020/6/24/noura_erakat

      Israeli soldiers on Tuesday killed 27-year-old Ahmed Erekat at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank as he was on his way to pick up his sister, who was set to be married that night. Ahmed Erekat is the nephew of senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and cousin of Palestinian American legal scholar Noura Erakat, who says Israeli claims that Ahmed was attempting a car-ramming attack on soldiers are completely unfounded. “What we understand is that Ahmed lost control of his car or was confused while he was in his car. That was all it took to have a knee-jerk reaction … and immediately to cause the soldiers to open fire on him multiple times,” she says.

    • De la famille Erakat le 27 juin 2020
      https://www.facebook.com/santrisi/posts/2628004383966293

      La famille Erakat vous remercie pour les condoléances, l’intérêt et le suivi de l’assassinat d’Ahmad Erakat, et souhaite soulever quelques points importants pour les médias et le partage des nouvelles :
      Le martyr Ahmed Erakat n’est pas le premier martyr palestinien à être victime des crimes d’exécution israélienne. Onze martyrs ont précédé Ahmad rien que cette année. Israël continue d’ignorer le droit à la vie des palestiniens.
      Israël applique une politique générale d’exécution extrajudiciaire du peuple palestinien, citant des raisons de sécurité, et le martyr, Iyad Al-Hallaq, un jeune homme autiste tué il y a quelques semaines, est le meilleur exemple de cette politique systématique.
      Dans de nombreux cas, Israël tente de fabriquer l’histoire de ce qui s’est réellement passé et fait tourner la vérité pour porter plainte contre les victimes palestiniennes.
      Se poser des questions sur les détails minuscules de la fusillade sur comment et pourquoi ne devrait pas être au centre de l’attention. Les questions devraient être : pourquoi y a-t-il des barrières entre les villes palestiniennes qui sont militarisées par Israël ? Pourquoi les victimes sont-elles tirées à bout portant et refusées de soins médicaux ?
      Nous demandons à tout le monde d’examiner ce meurtre de manière objective et de ne pas adapter le récit israélien fabriqué qui est devenu un record répété pour Israël afin de lui permettre l’impunité des crimes répétés. (...)

  • Iraqi women face systematic inequalities in their fight to return home, report shows - Iraq - Haaretz.com

    Inability to access property, establish ownership and seek compensation for homes damaged during the war against the Islamic State are just a few of the problems hundreds of thousands of displaced women are facing

    #Covid-19#Iraq#Femmes#Féminicide#Camp#Discrimination#Economie#migrant#migration

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iraq/iraqi-women-face-systematic-inequalities-in-their-fight-to-return-home-repo

  • ‘Fauda’ isn’t just ignorant, dishonest and sadly absurd. It’s anti-Palestinian incitement
    Warning: Spoilers The Middle East is already bursting with disinformation, insinuations and dangerous propaganda: there’s no need for yet more. Fauda can do better
    George Zeidan - Apr 22, 2020 11:43 AM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-fauda-isn-t-just-ignorant-dishonest-and-absurd-it-s-anti-palestini

    As a Palestinian living in the occupied territories, I understand that a lot of Israelis, and many viewers worldwide, genuinely believe that the Netflix series ’Fauda’ presents an informed, even “neutral,” point of view about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. Indeed, the series’ strapline is: “The human stories on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

    That faith in ’Fauda’ is badly misplaced. The mispreception that the series offers any kind of accurate portrayal of Palestinian life and identity has, sadly, wide-ranging and unfortunate repercussions.

    In the just-released season three, the same Israeli undercover commando unit that completed operations, successfully and controversially, inside the West Bank over the first and second seasons, has a new theater of operations: Gaza. The unit, whose members speak Arabic and are trained to both assasinate and “blend in,” participate in an operation to release two Israeli youngsters kidnapped by Hamas.

    Palestinians in Gaza have been under an Israeli and Egyptian land, air, and sea blockade since 2007. Since the only other border is the sea, that means there is no way out and few ways in, too. Very few Israelis may have entered Gaza in the last 15 years. Very few Palestinians from the West Bank have either. I happen to be one of the few, entering several times on humanitarian missions. So does Fauda offer a rare window into an effectively closed-off territory?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op_cGQtFgYU&feature=youtu.be

    Well, the season’s writers clearly thought they had done their duty to truth-telling by showing, from time to time, Gaza’s endemic electricity outages. They showed how dirty and contaminated the water is there.

    But the reality is worse than even the most dystopian television script: 38 percent of the population lives in poverty. 54 percent suffer from food insecurity. 39 percent of the youth are unemployed, and over 90 percent of the water is undrinkable. I saw kids from Gaza leaving through the Erez border crossing for cancer treatments in Israel without their families: it’s almost unimaginable, but you won’t learn that from Fauda.

    The reality of life in Gaza is even less than the most basic backdrop to the real action. In contrast, the writers grab every opportunity to focus on the radicalization in Gaza.

    In one of the episodes, Doron Kavillio, the key protagonist and leader - by force of personality but not title - of the undercover unit, enters a shop in Gaza disguised as a Palestinian. He starts with greeting the shop owner with a very cool “Hi” in English and finishes by calling the young lady “habibti” [my love/my dearest.]

    It is true that we Arabs tend to use the word “habibi” beyond its actual meaning, but almost never towards someone random of the opposite gender, and definitely not in Gaza. Using “habibi” in that way is an Israelism. In the “real” Gaza, Doron’s cultural impropriety would have raised a flashing red light - enough reason for him to be caught.

    While Doron is getting unduly linguistically over-familiar with the Gaza shop owner, his two colleagues, Eli and Sagi, are stopped by a Hamas police officer while waiting for Doron to leave the store. They’re wearing rough, dirty clothes and riding a battered old car. They introduce themselves as traders from the West Bank and Eli announces he is getting married in Gaza tonight. Honestly, I couldn’t not help but laugh out loud.

    First, the number of West Bank traders who enter Gaza in a good year can be counted on the fingers of two hands, and they are invariably the richest and best-connected businessmen. Secondly, the idea of a West Bank man getting married to a woman from Gaza is bizarre and incongruous, as since the blockade, it no longer happens. Thirdly: the sad absurdity that Israel would grant the trader’s friend a permit to attend the wedding too? That’s just too much.

    It’s reasonable that the series’ vast global audience might not have the information and tools to know Gaza’s reality, but that makes the culpability of the directors, who don’t even try to present the truth, far more egregious.

    In the same vein, there are other examples of a pronounced unfamiliarity with how Palestinians speak. Any Palestinian would have understood there was something fishy about the boxer featured this season who is supposed to come from Hebron. Most West Bank accents are reasonably similar - but Hebron’s is famously distinctive. There was not even the smallest effort to reflect this.

    It leaves the impression that Palestinians are good enough to appropriate for dramatic material but not for anything approaching an authentic representation. Perhaps Fauda needs more Palestinian advisors.

    This leads me to my biggest problem with the show. Every chance that they have, Fauda’s writers present the Israeli commandos as personally and operationally principled, lingering on their deep concern for protecting the civilians of Gaza, going out of their way to fulfil their promise to the family of the Palestinian informer who supported them. They aren’t shown shooting or killing any Palestinian women or childen.

    A Palestinian woman carries her baby across rubble where rescue workers search for trapped civilians after the Israeli military offensive. Near Rafah refugee camp, Gaza, August 4, 2014 Credit AFP

    But this is Fauda’s war on truth. All the data shows that the opposite is true. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in relation to just one of the Israel-Hamas conflicts, the 2014 Gaza war, 2251 Palestinians were killed, of which 1462 were civilians 551 were children and 299 were women. Israelis need to know the unvarnished truth: that their army is responsible for killing all these civilians, and to recognize the chasm between those deaths, their perpetrators and Fauda’s fantasy soldiers.

    And if it’s too hard to trust Palestinians and international humanitarian organizations - hear it from Israeli military veterans themselves, whose testimonies Breaking the Silence compiles, who describe how entire neighborhoods have been virtually wiped off the map, and soldiers told - and I quote - “shoot anyone in your proximity.” Read the words of Israel’s own government ministers, like then-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who declared in 2018, “You have to understand, there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”

    But for me, one of the worst, even dangerous, scenes occurs towards the end of the third season, when an Arab physiotherapist, as he’s starting a therapy session in an Israeli hospital attempts to kill the head of a Shin Bet branch in the West Bank.

    It’s worth deconstructing this plot: 17 percent of Israel’s physicians, 24 percent of its nurses and 47 percent of its pharmacists are Arabs. There has never been a single incident in history where Arab medics in Israel have betrayed their Hippocratic oath and harmed a patient.

    It is beyond ridiculous to platform a character and plotline that marks Arabs working inside the Israeli health care system as untrustworthy and disloyal, and capable of violent attacks. It can only create further mistrust between people. To promote such an image is completely deceitful and false - and worse, it feeds those voices, including at the top of Israel’s government, who constantly demean Israel’s Arab citizens, legislate their inequality and incite against them.

    A Palestinian artist paints a mural in a show of support for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaza City, April 20, 2020 Credit AFP

    Having a future fourth season based in the Palestinian territories, whether Gaza or the West Bank, would push the limits of credibility too far, after three seasons of serially blowing up both their cover and having exhausted their “authentic Palestinian” schtick. The obvious candidates for Fauda’s future script location would be Lebanon or Syria.

    If so, I hope the writers and producers take more seriously their responsibility to present a more faithful social and political reality. That they retreat from the barely subliminal anti-Arab incitement. And that they can bring themselves to offer even the superficial respect for the essential nuances of Arab culture and the value of human life that they serially failed to provide for Palestinians.

    With the region already bursting with so much disinformation, name-calling and dangerous propaganda, there’s no need to further confirm prejudices and deepen ignorance. Fauda can do better.

    George Zeidan is co-founder of Right to Movement Palestine, an initiative to illustrate the reality of Palestinian life through sports. A Fulbright awardee with a masters degree from the Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, he works for an international humanitarian organization in Jerusalem. He grew up in Jerusalem’s Old City

    • « Fauda » n’est pas seulement ignorant, malhonnête et malheureusement absurde. Il s’agit d’une incitation anti-palestinienne
      Par George Zeidan, 22 avril 2020
      https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2020/04/22/fauda-nest-pas-seulement-ignorant-malhonnete-et-malheureusement

      En tant que Palestinien vivant dans les territoires occupés, je comprends que beaucoup d’Israéliens, et de nombreux téléspectateurs dans le monde entier, croient sincèrement que la série « Fauda » de Netflix présente un point de vue informé, voire « neutre« , sur le conflit en Israël et en Palestine. En effet, le fil conducteur de la série est : « Les histoires humaines des deux côtés du conflit israélo-palestinien« .

      Cette foi en « Fauda » est très mal placée. L’idée erronée selon laquelle la série offre une représentation exacte de la vie et de l’identité palestiniennes a malheureusement des répercussions importantes et de grande envergure. (...)

      #Fauda

  • Analysis In Jordan, the Day After Coronavirus May Be No Less Dangerous Than the Pandemic -
    Despite devastating effects on the economy and the country’s poorest, emergency regulations seem to have curbed the coronavirus outbreak. But many worry the crisis might be used to quell dissent.
    #Covid-19#Jordanie#Économie#Politique#Libertés#Répression#migrant#migration

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/jordan/.premium-in-jordan-the-day-after-coronavirus-may-be-no-less-dangerous-than-

  • Palestinians Fear Coronavirus Surge as Workers Return to West Bank From Israel Over Passover - Haaretz
    “Palestinian prime minister says about 45,000 workers are expected to return, and they will not be allowed back into Israel during the coronavirus crisis”
    #Covid-19#Palestine#Israel#Gaza#Racisme#migrant#migration

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-palestinians-fear-coronavirus-surge-as-workers-return-from-israel-

  • ISIS, Al-Qaida See Global Chaos From Coronavirus as an Opportunity to Mobilize-Haaretz
    Messages from the Islamic extremist groups show concern about the virus mixed with bravado, asserting that it is punishment for non-Muslims while also urging followers to repent and take care of themselves.
    #Covid-19#Moyen-Orient#DAESH-Al-Quaida#Islam#migrant

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/isis-al-qaida-see-global-chaos-from-coronavirus-as-an-opportunity-to-mobili

  • Coronavirus is a death sentence for Palestinians caged in Gaza -

    Even a small outbreak among Gaza’s densely-packed, blockaded population would put an impossible strain on a healthcare system already teetering on the verge of collapse
    Shannon Maree Torrens
    Mar 12, 2020 4:06 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-coronavirus-in-gaza-a-death-sentence-for-caged-palestinians-1.8667

    Imagine two million human beings living in the space of just 365 square kilometers. One of the most densely populated places on Planet Earth, confined in a cage from which they cannot escape. These two million people cannot leave, even if they wanted to, without great difficulty.

    They must live their lives within the confines of this rapidly deteriorating area of land, some persisting in the hope that one day things may change, but many surviving with the realization and resignation that they very well may not. No matter their degree of optimism or pessimism, all are isolated from the rest of the world. We call this place the Gaza Strip, and it has been under blockade by Israel since 2007.

    It is now March 2020. The novel coronavirus, has become an issue of global concern. The disease it causes, COVID-19, has spread far from its origins in China. In a short space of time, coronavirus is seemingly everywhere. It moves as frequently as the planes and people who spread it back and forth across the world.

    As of 11 March, more than 118,000 people have been infected globally, almost 4,300 people have died and at least 114 countries/territories and areas are affected. The world buys masks and hand sanitizer. The World Health Organisation classifies novel coronavirus as a pandemic. People stock up on food. “What will happen to us?” the world says. “What if we get sick?”

  • Palestinians paint murals in Jerusalem, looking Israeli occupation in the eye - Palestinians - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium.MAGAZINE-palestinians-paint-murals-in-jerusalem-looking-israeli-oc

    Palestinians Paint Murals in Jerusalem, Looking Israeli Occupation in the Eye

    A total of 150 colorful murals are planned for Silwan, and when completed, will drastically alter the neighborhood’s appearance: ’The staring eyes say to people we see them and they should see us too’

    #palestine #jérusalem #silwan #occupation #colonisation #démolition

  • Despite Israel, U.S. pressure, and ongoing probe, UN renews #UNRWA mandate - Palestinians - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/despite-israel-u-s-pressure-and-ongoing-probe-un-renews-unrwa-mandate-1.813

    UNRWA mandate renewed for three years, ending US pressure - The National
    https://www.thenational.ae/world/unrwa-mandate-renewed-for-three-years-ending-us-pressure-1.938128

    Countries voted overwhelmingly on Friday to renew the mandate of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, ending a concerted campaign by the United States to abolish it.

    Having endured a funding crisis largely caused by the US withdrawing support, the finances of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency remain volatile.

    But members of the United Nations Fourth Committee adopted a resolution approving the agency’s operations until June 2023.

    Among those who voted, 170 states supported renewal of the mandate and seven abstained. Only the US and Israel voted against.

    “Despite bullying, blackmail and pressure they stood by UNRWA,” said Riyad Al Mansour, Ambassador for Palestine to the UN, thanking countries for resisting US lobbying against the agency and its donors.

    #Palestine #sionisme #etats-unis

  • Israeli army admits to killing eight Gaza family members: We thought the house was empty
    Israeli military’s spokesperson in Arabic said that the target was an Islamic Jihad commander, but defense establishment sources say it was an ‘infrastructure’■ Palestinians say casualties are a family of herders
    Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury Nov 15, 2019 8:23 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-israeli-army-admits-strike-that-killed-palestinian-family-intended

    Palestinians attend the funeral of the Asoarka family killed in the Israeli strike, Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, November 14, 2019.AFP

    The Israeli military admitted on Thursday that it made a mistake in targeting a Gaza building Wednesday night which housed a family of eight, all of whom died in the strike.

    The Israeli army said it assessed that the building in the Deir al-Balah neighborhood was empty, not realizing it was populated by a family. The Israel Defense Forces are investigating the strike, which took place a few hours before a cease-fire came into effect, and its consequences.

    “We are aware of the claim that non-combatants were injured in the central Gaza Strip, and we are investigating it,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that that “we undertake great intelligence and operational efforts not to harm non-combatants over the course of thwarting terror activities.”

    The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the dead as Rasmi Abu Malhous of the Asouarka tribe, 45; his son Mohand, 12; Miriam Asoarka, 45; Moad Mohamed Asoarka, 7; Sim Mohamed Asoarka, 13; Yoseri Asoarka, 39; and two toddlers whose bodies were dug up from the debris on Thursday morning and whose names have not been released.

    Following the strike, the Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson announced that the target had been Rasmi Abu Malhous, the Islamic Jihad commander of a rocket squadron in the center of the Strip. He published a picture of Abu Malhous, but residents of Deir al-Balah say the man in the picture isn’t the one who was killed on Wednesday night.

    Sources in the defense establishment said, however, that the target of the strike was “infrastructure,” and that they were not at all aware that Palestinians were in it.

    Associates and neighbors of the family claim that they had no connection to the Islamic Jihad commander, and that the case was probably one of mistaken identity.

    “This was a very simple, poor family, who lives from hand to mouth in a tin shack, with no water or electricity,” said a neighbor who knew the family. “They lived off herding sheep and were known as simple, poor people. Is this the way the head of a rocket unit or a senior Islamic Jihadist lives?

    “Every child in Gaza knows the unit members and senior activists live in different conditions, they have houses, and even when they go underground their children and families don’t live in such squalor,” he said. “The story that they attacked a senior jihadist seems disconnected from reality.”

    #GAZA

    • Frappes sur Gaza : Israël reconnaît une erreur dans un bombardement
      Par RFI Publié le 15-11-2019 | Avec notre correspondant à Jérusalem, Michel Paul
      http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20191115-israel-gaza-territoires-palestiniens-jihad-islamique-frappes-erreur

      Il règne un calme précaire à la frontière entre Israël et Gaza. Les Israéliens reconnaissent désormais avoir bombardé un bâtiment qui abritait une famille de huit personnes dans le centre de l’enclave palestinienne. Parmi les victimes, trois enfants, âgés de 7 à 13 ans.

      Un porte-parole de l’armée israélienne a reconnu qu’il s’agissait d’une erreur. Les militaires israéliens visaient une infrastructure appartenant à un haut responsable du Jihad islamique du nom de Rasmis Abou Malhous, soupçonné par les Israéliens d’être le responsable de l’unité chargée des roquettes au sein de l’organisation. Un bâtiment qui était situé à Dir el Balah, dans le centre de la bande de Gaza.

      Et toujours selon cette même source militaire, l’armée israélienne ignorait que la bâtisse abritait une famille de huit membres qui ont tous trouvé la mort dans la frappe. Les faits se sont déroulés quelques heures avant l’entrée en vigueur d’un fragile cessez-le-feu entre Israël et le Jihad islamique et ont été révélés par le quotidien Haaretz.

    • Outdated intelligence, social media rumors: Behind Israel’s killing of Gaza family
      Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury Nov 15, 2019 - 5:39 PM |Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-outdated-intelligence-social-media-rumors-behind-israel-s-killing-

      Military officials acknowledge the eight family members died in a building that hadn’t been examined by Israeli intel for months, and no one checked whether any civilians were in the vicinity before the overnight strike, which the IDF is now looking into

      An Israeli strike Wednesday overnight that killed eight Palestinian family members targeted a Gaza building that appeared in an outdated target database, and it was carried out without prior inspection of of civilian presence at the site.

      Following the attack, one of the last incidents in a two-day surge in violence between Israel and Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesman claimed that the building was a command post for an Islamic Jihad rocket launching unit in the central Strip. However, this claim was backed by unreliable information based on rumors on social media, which hadn’t been verified.

      The building where the family lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack.

      The officials also confirmed that they had no idea who the Palestinian whose name and picture were released by the army’s Arabic-language spokesman was, stressing he wasn’t known to be somehow linked to Islamic Jihad, refuting the spokesman’s initial claim.

      Residents of the central Gaza town of Dir al-Balah described the building that was targeted as a tin shack, but it was added months ago to the “target bank” used by the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command as an “infrastructure target,” meaning it was of interest as a site, although not because of any individual linked to it.

      The army classified the site, found in a complex of dilapidated shacks and greenhouses, as a military training complex. But in the period since it was approved as a target, the changes at the complex were not looked into to determine if it still served as an Islamic Jihad site.

      At 1:30 A.M., the green light was given to attack the structure and other targets using a JDAM bomb, which is used by the Israeli Air Force’s fighter aircraft. This weapons system fitted on aerial bombs enables a direct hit using a GPS-based guidance system.

      Defense sources confirmed that at no stage was the area checked for the presence of civilians.

      According to an initial investigation the army conducted, the strike was never intended to target a given individual, despite the statement released by its spokesman, but rather to hit infrastructure used by Islamic Jihad.

      Contrary to statements given to the media, defense sources confirmed that the site was a complex of shacks – a target that even if used by the Palestinian group would not have much significance or harm its capabilities. Senior defense officials told Haaretz the target was approved in the past according to protocol, but had not been reexamined since.

      The IDF is still trying to understand what the family was doing at the site, a defense source told Haaretz. The military doesn’t rule out a Palestinian claim that the family had been living there for quite some time prior to the attack.

      A neighbor, who said he personally knew the family, told Haaretz that they had lived there for “over 20 years.” He added they were “known as simple people, living in shacks and making their living off herding and some agriculture, nothing beyond that. They … didn’t come here recently or were moved here by anyone.”

      He also said the targeted complex isn’t known to be used for any sort of military activity.

      “This was a very simple, poor family, who lived from hand to mouth in a tin shack, with no water or electricity,” another neighbor who knew the family told Haaretz on Thursday. “They lived of herding sheep and were known as simple, poor people. Is this the way the head of a rocket unit or a senior Islamic Jihad officer lives?”

      Thousands attended the family’s funeral on Thursday.The Palestinian Health Ministry identified them as Rasmi al-Sawarkah, 45; his son Muhannad, 12; Maryam, 45; Muath Mohammed, 7; Wasim Mohammed, 13; Yousra, 39; and two toddlers whose bodies were dug up from the debris on Thursday morning and whose names haven’t been released.

      Dir al-Balah residents said all of them were related and lived in the same complex.

      The IDF spokesman in Hebrew said in a statement that the strike targeted “terrorist infrastructure,” adding: “According to the information the IDF had at the time of the strike, it was not expected that any uninvolved civilians would be harmed.”

      A jihadist known to no one

      Following the strike, the Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson Avichay Adraee posted on his official social media accounts that a senior Islamic Jihad commander was killed in the strike. A man identified by Adraee as Abu Malhous was said to be in charge of the group’s rocket squadrons in central Gaza.

      Defense officials now admit it was a false statement, and defense sources told Haaretz they are unfamiliar with anyone of that name. The IDF’s Intelligence Corps has no such information that correlates with Adraee’s statement, and the army is examining whether the mistake stemmed from the death of a man with the same name – although he doesn’t look like the person whose photo was distributed by Adraee.

      Haaretz found that the false statement, which defense sources confirmed wasn’t based on any intelligence gathered by Israeli security agencies, was inspired by unreliable information shared on social media, including an Israeli Telegram group.

      However, senior officials gave a green light to publish the unverified information in an attempt by the IDF to display its achievements in targeting high-ranking Islamic Jihad operatives in this round of fighting, which began on Tuesday in the early morning with the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata.

      This family’s killing has been heavily criticized by Palestinian officials and citizens, also leading the United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov to tweet: “There is no justification to attacking civilians in Gaza, or elsewhere! Such a tragedy! My heartfelt condolences to the family of Al-Sawarkah & I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. I call on Israel to move swiftly with its investigation.”

      IDF officials expressed great frustration with how events unfolded, and one of them confirmed it is highly unlikely that such a key figure to the Islamic Jihad’s rocket operation would be found in a shack during a round of violence. The individual who appeared in Adraee’s statement is unknown to the Israeli military, the official stressed, and the information was published without consultation with officials in the field, who could have easily refuted it.

      Other military officials said there was no intention to cover up the killing of a Palestinian family, and that it was an innocent mistake, while admitting the way the incident was handled and made public was unprofessional.

      The IDF’s spokesman in Hebrew said that “initial information” pointed to the death of an Islamic Jihad operative, but “an examination found that the information concerning his identity was uncertain. The issue is being investigated.”

      Noa Landau contributed to this report.