Misc- Haaretz - Israel News


  • Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Near Hebron
    November 11, 2019 3:59 PM – IMEMC News

    Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Monday, a young Palestinian man in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

    Medical sources at the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron said the soldiers shot Omar Haitham al-Badawi, 22, with a live round in the chest.

    They added that the soldiers surrounded the refugee camp, and refused to allow the medics through, as they were rushing into it to provide treatment to several Palestinians, including al-Badawi.

    Local then placed the seriously wounded Palestinian in a car and rushed him to the al-Mezan Hospital, in Hebron, where he died from his serious gunshot wound to the chest and the massive bleeding.

    The fatal shooting took place after the army resorted to the excessive use of force against dozens of Palestinians marking the fifteenth anniversary of the death of the late President Yasser Arafat, before several young men started throwing stones at the soldiers, stationed in the permanent military roadblock at the entrance of the refugee camp.

    In related news, the soldiers attacked protests near the northern entrance of al-Biereh city, in central West Bank, causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.


    • Israeli forces kill Palestinian during West Bank march commemorating Yasser Arafat
      By Akram Al-Waara in al-Arroub refugee camp, Occupied West Bank - Published date: 11 November 2019 12:40 UTC

      Omar al-Badawi, 22, was reportedly shot in the abdomen in a refugee camp during a march in memory of the late Palestinian president

      “There were protests in commemoration of Yasser Arafat’s death, like every year,” Mohammad Badawi, a 28-year-old cousin of Omar Badawi, told Middle East Eye. “Then the Israeli army entered the camp.

      “Soldiers were firing live ammunition, tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd, and one of the tear gas cannisters exploded next to Omar’s house, causing a small fire,” Mohammad, 28, recounted. “So he stepped outside of his house to go see what was wrong. He was holding a bottle of water, and communicated to one of the soldiers that he was just going to put out the fire. The soldier immediately fired live ammunition at him in his abdomen and he fell to the ground.”

      Footage published by Palestinian news outlet J Media reportedly showed the moment Badawi was shot at close range, as Mohammad estimated his cousin was some 50 metres away from the soldiers.

      “Omar did not present any danger to them. You can see in the photos he was in his house clothes, still wearing his house slippers when he came outside,” Mohammad Badawi said.

      In the video, soldiers are seen firing bullets and throwing tear gas cannisters, even as Palestinian journalists and civilians attempt to carry Badawi to safety. (...)


    • Palestinian shot dead when Israeli troops mistake his towel for a firebomb
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Nov 28, 2019 - Haaretz.com

      Omar al-Badawi stepped outside to douse a small fire that started when a Molotov cocktail accidentally struck the wall of his house. At that very moment, Israeli soldiers shot him dead

      He was killed because he was holding a towel. The soldiers thought it was an incendiary device and shot him to death, on his doorstep.

      A video of the incident leaves no room for doubt: A young man steps out from his front door, with a towel, and shouts to a neighbor to bring water fast to help him put out the flames that are licking at the wall of his house – which was ignited by a Molotov cocktail that teenagers had thrown at soldiers, and that had missed its mark. A soldier standing down the lane immediately opens fire at the young man, who collapses and tries in vain to get up. He dies a short time later.

      Thus ended, so senselessly, the short life of Omar al-Badawi, 22, from the Al-Arroub refugee camp, located on the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron.

      The incident took place on November 11, the anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death, which each year is a day of unrest in the occupied territories in general and in Al-Arroub in particular. On November 11, 2014, Mohammed Jawabreh, 19, was killed there – shot in his home with live ammunition by Israel Defense Forces soldiers standing on the roof of a nearby house. The IDF claimed at the time that the troops thought Jawabra was holding a weapon and felt they were in danger, but an investigation by B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, ruled out that possibility. This time around, the soldiers thought their victim was holding a Molotov cocktail – which was actually a towel.

      Also on November 11, the year following Jawabreh’s killing, Ibrahim Dawad, a 16-year-old, from the village of Deir Ghasana, north of Ramallah, was shot dead by Border Police.

      It’s a narrow alley, just wide enough to walk through, in the upper part of the Al-Arroub camp, and not far from its entrance. Garbage bags are piled in front of the house; a huge memorial poster of the deceased covers the top floor, placed there by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. House abuts house here, window is next to window – this is the camp’s most densely populated area. From the door of this house Badawi emerged briefly, during what turned out to be the last moments of his life.

      The lane leading up to the house is steep. The soldier who shot Badawi – one bullet, to the upper body – stood lower down, with about 20 meters as the crow flies separating him and his victim. Badawi fell on his back onto the steps leading to his home, before rolling down into the street.

      It was a little after noon. The soldiers tried to drive the stone throwers – a few dozen high-school pupils – from Highway 60 back into the camp, chasing them and firing tear-gas grenades whose fumes wafted into the houses. Badawi was at home, renovating his parents’ bathroom. When tear gas began drifting in, he hurried outside together with his sister Maram, 23, his 16-year-old brother Basal, and two cousins, Hamza, 14, and Yazen, 12. He shouted to the neighbor across the way, a relative named Tareq Badawi, 25, to open the door, and the five young people rushed in, seeking shelter from the thick smoke.

      A few minutes later, Omar noticed that the outer, unplastered wall of his own house was on fire, along with a climbing plant outside Tareq’s house and curtains, inside. The young demonstrators were now tossing Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. Badawi rushed out, a towel in hand, to douse the flames, and shouted at the neighbors to bring water. At that moment he was shot.

      Now the wall of his house is blackened with soot, and Tareq’s curtains and climbing plant are scorched.

      Video clips recorded the sequence of events. One was taken by the Palestinian press photographer Muad Amarna, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest with the label “Press” on it; four days later he lost an eye after being shot by IDF troops in the village of Surif, near Hebron. Footage taken by another local journalist, Abdul Rahman Hassan, shows Badawi emerging from the house with the towel and walking down the steps. Two press photographers are seen standing across the way, another is behind him, all of them covering the protests and trying to evade the tear gas.

      The moment Badawi asks for water to help him put out the fire, he is shot. Anguished cries and curses are heard. Badawi is placed in a private car, which takes him to the local clinic of UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency.

      In a second clip taken by Amarna, when he still had two eyes, three soldiers are seen firing three shots in the air, and walking back and forth – and then another shot is heard, but not fired by them. Badawi is then seen collapsing. This time the video is taken from the front, from the alleyway. Badawi was not shot by the soldiers standing nearby, rather by a soldier in ambush, who aimed and fired, from the bottom of the road.

      Wearing flip-flops, jeans and a purple T-shirt, Badawi is seen gripping his bleeding stomach and stumbling. Hysterical cries are soon heard as his friends carry him to the neighbor’s car.

      Haitham Badawi is the bereaved father now grieving over the death of his son. He’s 55, an employee of Al-Arroub’s local “popular committee,” and has three daughters and two surviving sons. The living room is small. Omar, his father says, served in the Palestinian police until he left the force after being transferred to a job in intelligence. Lately he had been working with his uncle doing renovations in the camp and had started to build his own apartment on the second floor of his parents’ home, where he hoped to raise his own family. As far as is known, there was no intended bride. The bereaved mother, Hajar, joins the conversation. The parents were not home when their son was killed, we are told: He was at work, she was at the clinic, where she was having her blood pressure checked.

      Omar awoke that morning exceptionally early, at about 6:15. It was cold in the house, and his mother urged him to go back to bed. Omar’s uncle Nur Badawi lives in the adjacent house. He is a janitor at a local college and came home earlier than usual. School ends early on the memorial day for Arafat. Nur was standing a meter and a half away from Omar when he was shot. He first drew back in a panic and then rushed to help evacuate his dying nephew. As they carried Omar to the car the soldiers threw stun grenades before leaving. The family was afraid the soldiers would kidnap the wounded Omar. He managed to say to Tareq, who rushed to him: “My back hurts.” Those were his last words.

      Some time after he was brought to the UNRWA clinic, a Palestinian ambulance arrived and took Badawi to the Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron. Highway 60 was closed because of the unrest and it took the ambulance 20 minutes to get there, via back roads. He was still breathing when he arrived at Al Ahli, but at 1:30 P.M., 40 minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

      During our visit, the phone in the family’s home rings. The headquarters of the District Coordination and Liaison Office requests that they come to give testimony to the Military Police investigators who are looking into the incident. Omar’s parents aren’t sure how they can get to the DCL building, in Hebron.

      The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told Haaretz this week: “The incident in question is under investigation, following which the findings will be forwarded to the military advocate general. Naturally, details cannot be provided at present concerning an ongoing investigation.”

      An Israeli flag flies provocatively above the fortified IDF watchtower that looms over the entrance to Al-Arroub, on the main road. That flag is in the face of anyone who opens a window or a door in the camp.

      The bathroom Badawi was renovating on the last day of his life is totally bare. He’d managed to remove tiles from the old wall and the floor, but hadn’t yet replaced them. The bag of old tile shards lies mutely at the entrance to the house.

    • Ce que l’armée israélienne fait aux soldats qui tirent sur des Palestiniens
      Dans 18 cas de fusillade enquêtés par l’armée israélienne, personne n’a été traduit en justice.
      Gideon Levy, Alex Levac | 18 nov. 2021 | 11:53 PM | 36

      Il y a deux ans, le 11 novembre 2019, Omar Badawi, 22 ans, est sorti de sa maison dans le camp de réfugiés d’Al-Arroub, dans le sud de la Cisjordanie. Il voulait éteindre un petit feu à l’extérieur, qui avait été allumé par un cocktail Molotov que des adolescents avaient lancé sur des soldats qui avaient envahi le camp, et qui avait manqué sa cible. Badawi est sorti avec une serviette, pour éteindre les flammes qui léchaient le mur de sa maison. Ce fut l’erreur de sa vie. Dès qu’il est sorti, des soldats déployés dans une ruelle voisine ont tiré et l’ont tué. Peut-être pensaient-ils que la serviette représentait une menace mortelle ; après tout, ils pensaient que cela justifiait un tir mortel sur un civil innocent. La séquence des événements - la sortie de Badawi de la maison, la serviette, la fusillade - a été filmée par des journalistes présents sur les lieux. C’est un spectacle sinistre, mais sans équivoque dans ce qu’il montre.

      Comme le veut la coutume, les Forces de défense israéliennes ont promis de lancer une enquête, à l’issue de laquelle « les conclusions seront transmises à l’avocat général militaire. » C’était il y a deux ans. Il y a un an, à l’occasion de l’anniversaire de la fusillade, Haaretz a demandé à l’unité du porte-parole des FDI où en était l’enquête sur la mort de Badawi. Elle n’est pas encore terminée, m’ont-ils répondu. Une autre année a passé, et cette semaine, l’unité du porte-parole des FDI a communiqué les informations suivantes à Haaretz : « L’un des combattants qui assurait la couverture des troupes a repéré un Palestinien dans la ruelle qui tenait un chiffon blanc, que le combattant a identifié comme faisant partie d’un cocktail Molotov qui n’avait pas encore été allumé, et a tiré sur lui. Le Palestinien a succombé à ses blessures. À la suite de l’incident, une enquête de la police militaire a été lancée, et après examen de ses conclusions, il a été constaté que les preuves recueillies ne justifient pas d’engager des poursuites judiciaires. »

      Un jeune homme désarmé qui ne met en danger la vie de personne sort de chez lui, un soldat imagine que la serviette qu’il tient va servir à fabriquer un cocktail Molotov et décide d’exécuter sur le champ l’individu innocent. Rien dans le comportement du bourreau n’a éveillé les soupçons de l’armée quant à la possibilité qu’un délit quelconque ait été commis - ni homicide involontaire, ni même mort par négligence. Tout dans le comportement du soldat était, aux yeux de l’armée, impeccable, standard, peut-être même louable, et l’affaire était close. La facilité intolérable avec laquelle la vie d’un Palestinien a été prise ne valait même pas une réprimande aux yeux de l’armée morale.

      Que tous les soldats voient et sachent, afin qu’ils n’hésitent pas à tirer sur des Palestiniens armés de serviettes.

  • Israeli Soldiers Shot Bound Palestinian Teen Because Live Fire Is Their Only Language- Haaretz.Com

    Two photographs tell the whole story, of about 2,000 words. In the first you see the Israeli commando soldier, armed and protected from head to toe, his face hidden, standing above a hooded mass. The obscure sight is Palestinian teen Osama Hajajeh from Tuqu village, 15 and a half years old, who was arrested a short while beforehand by Israeli soldiers in an ambush. The teen’s hands are tied behind his back, his eyes are covered with a piece of flannel, he is kneeling under orders on the ground, his face down, his back bent over as a soldier from an elite unit of the Israeli Defense Forces points a sophisticated sniper’s rifle at him.

    This is the #grotesque face of military action. All the training, all the equipment, all the prestige of a commando unit lead to a school boy, blindfolded and bound. A commando soldier facing a punk from Tuqu. That’s the booty. The Israeli military’s daily picture of victory.

    The suspicion: the youth from Tuqu threw stones at passing vehicles. If he were a settler teen, he would be chasing the soldiers away, throwing stones and cursing at them. The story would be over. But Hajajeh is a Palestinian teen. The main street leading to his village has been blocked lately, and not long ago a woman from his village was killed in a hit and run by an Israeli vehicle. His village decided to protest. The stone is his protest. The occupier is his enemy.

    The second photograph is much more grotesque than the first. The youth whose hands are tied behind his back, his eyes covered, somehow succeeds in getting up and fleeing from the Israeli commando forces. At least four armed soldiers surround him. They stand at point blank range, stretch out their arms to grab him, or catch him, if that was their intention. But IDF soldiers know to speak only one language. There is none other. The language of gunfire. Live gunfire, to be precise. Whether it’s a suicide bomber or a high school student throwing stones, only their gun can speak. Without it, there’s no other language. That’s how they were taught. That’s how they were trained. They no longer have the ability to discern right from wrong, war from antics. To grab a tied up teen with their hands and arrest him? That’s for the weak. And why should they even break a sweat? So they shoot the tied-up youth, whose eyes are covered, from point blank range, with live fire, straight at his crotch. The teen falls down, bleeding. The IDF has won.

    This picture can only raise much deeper questions: Who’s the blind one here? The teen whose eyes are covered by a rag or the soldiers whose eyes are open? And more than that, who’s the brave one and who’s a coward? The blindfolded and bound teen who tried to flee facing the ready rifles of commando troops, or the soldiers who shot him? It’s not hard to guess who the cowards are in this picture.

    And then comes a surprising turn of events, unexpected and unusual. A voice of reason awakens in the soldiers’ minds. They let the angry residents who gather around to take the wounded, bleeding teen to the hospital, to save his life. In one moment the soldiers rescue their nearly-lost honor. They treat the teen the same way as the officer from the Ahed Tamimi case did, wiser than the chain of command both above and below: He exercised restraint after Tamimi’s slap and showed strength and wisdom. Now it’s the commando troops’ turn to show restraint. The right-wing will of course scream and shout, “you’re not letting the IDF win,” but at least this farce ended almost okay. Good job, IDF.

    #sionisme #impunité #lâcheté

  • Israeli soldiers who beat detained Palestinians are part of a bigger evil- Haaretz.Com

    The Netzah Yehuda soldiers convicted of beating up prisoners are not exceptions. What took place between Givat Assaf and Abu Shukhaydam occurs every night and it’s only the absence of documentation that prevents the expose of the pure evil on the part of the world’s most moral army.

    #sionisme #violences #sadisme

  • Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog who detailed Israeli firm NSO’s link to #Khashoggi scandal

    Operatives with fake identities are pursuing members of #Citizen_Lab, the group that uncovered the connection between Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and Israel’s surveillance company #NSO
    The Associated Press | Jan. 26, 2019 | 4:19 PM

    The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his gruesome death are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives, The Associated Press has found.

    Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance and the details of their personal lives. In both cases, the researchers believe they were secretly recorded.

    Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert described the stunts as “a new low.”

    “We condemn these sinister, underhanded activities in the strongest possible terms,” he said in a statement Friday. “Such a deceitful attack on an academic group like the Citizen Lab is an attack on academic freedom everywhere.”

    Who these operatives are working for remains a riddle, but their tactics recall those of private investigators who assume elaborate false identities to gather intelligence or compromising material on critics of powerful figures in government or business.

    Citizen Lab, based out of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has for years played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in places as far afield as Tibet , Ethiopia and Syria . Lately the group has drawn attention for its repeated exposés of an Israeli surveillance software vendor called the NSO Group, a firm whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico , opposition figures in Panama and human rights activists in the Middle East .

    In October, Citizen Lab reported that an iPhone belonging to one of Khashoggi’s confidantes had been infected by the NSO’s signature spy software only months before Khashoggi’s grisly murder. The friend, Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, would later claim that the hacking had exposed Khashoggi’s private criticisms of the Saudi royal family to the Arab kingdom’s spies and thus “played a major role” in his death.

    In a statement, NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization. “Any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect and nothing more than baseless speculation,” NSO said.

    NSO has long denied that its software was used to target Khashoggi, although it has refused to comment when asked whether it has sold its software to the Saudi government more generally.

    The first message reached Bahr Abdul Razzak, a Syrian refugee who works as a Citizen Lab researcher, Dec. 6, when a man calling himself Gary Bowman got in touch via LinkedIn. The man described himself as a South African financial technology executive based in Madrid.

    “I came across your profile and think that the work you’ve done helping Syrian refugees and your extensive technical background could be a great fit for our new initiative,” Bowman wrote.

    Abdul Razzak said he thought the proposal was a bit odd, but he eventually agreed to meet the man at Toronto’s swanky Shangri-La Hotel on the morning of Dec. 18.

    The conversation got weird very quickly, Abdul Razzak said.

    Instead of talking about refugees, Abdul Razzak said, Bowman grilled him about his work for Citizen Lab and its investigations into the use of NSO’s software. Abdul Razzak said Bowman appeared to be reading off cue cards, asking him if he was earning enough money and throwing out pointed questions about Israel, the war in Syria and Abdul Razzak’s religiosity.

    “Do you pray?” Abdul Razzak recalled Bowman asking. “Why do you write only about NSO?” ’’Do you write about it because it’s an Israeli company?" ’’Do you hate #Israel?"

    Abdul Razzak said he emerged from the meeting feeling shaken. He alerted his Citizen Lab colleagues, who quickly determined that the breakfast get-together had been a ruse. Bowman’s supposed Madrid-based company, FlameTech, had no web presence beyond a LinkedIn page, a handful of social media profiles and an entry in the business information platform Crunchbase. A reverse image search revealed that the profile picture of the man listed as FlameTech’s chief executive, Mauricio Alonso, was a stock photograph.

    “My immediate gut feeling was: ’This is a fake,’” said John Scott-Railton, one of Abdul Razzak’s colleagues.

    Scott-Railton flagged the incident to the AP, which confirmed that FlameTech was a digital facade.

    Searches of the Orbis database of corporate records, which has data on some 300 million global companies, turned up no evidence of a Spanish firm called FlameTech or Flame Tech or any company anywhere in the world matching its description. Similarly, the AP found no record of FlameTech in Madrid’s official registry or of a Gary Bowman in the city’s telephone listings. An Orbis search for Alonso, the supposed chief executive, also drew a blank. When an AP reporter visited Madrid’s Crystal Tower high-rise, where FlameTech claimed to have 250 sq. meters (2,700 sq. feet) of office space, he could find no trace of the firm and calls to the number listed on its website went unanswered.

    The AP was about to publish a story about the curious company when, on Jan. 9, Scott-Railton received an intriguing message of his own.

    This time the contact came not from Bowman of FlameTech but from someone who identified himself as Michel Lambert, a director at the Paris-based agricultural technology firm CPW-Consulting.

    Lambert had done his homework. In his introductory email , he referred to Scott-Railton’s early doctoral research on kite aerial photography — a mapping technique using kite-mounted cameras — and said he was “quite impressed.

    We have a few projects and clients coming up that could significantly benefit from implementing Kite Aerial Photography,” he said.

    Like FlameTech, CPW-Consulting was a fiction. Searches of Orbis and the French commercial court registry Infogreffe turned up no trace of the supposedly Paris-based company or indeed of any Paris-based company bearing the acronym CPW. And when the AP visited CPW’s alleged office there was no evidence of the company; the address was home to a mainly residential apartment building. Residents and the building’s caretaker said they had never heard of the firm.

    Whoever dreamed up CPW had taken steps to ensure the illusion survived a casual web search, but even those efforts didn’t bear much scrutiny. The company had issued a help wanted ad, for example, seeking a digital mapping specialist for their Paris office, but Scott-Railton discovered that the language had been lifted almost word-for-word from an ad from an unrelated company seeking a mapping specialist in London. A blog post touted CPW as a major player in Africa, but an examination of the author’s profile suggests the article was the only one the blogger had ever written.

    When Lambert suggested an in-person meeting in New York during a Jan. 19 phone call , Scott-Railton felt certain that Lambert was trying to set him up.

    But Scott-Railton agreed to the meeting. He planned to lay a trap of his own.

    Anyone watching Scott-Railton and Lambert laughing over wagyu beef and lobster bisque at the Peninsula Hotel’s upscale restaurant on Thursday afternoon might have mistaken the pair for friends.

    In fact, the lunch was Spy vs. Spy. Scott-Railton had spent the night before trying to secret a homemade camera into his tie, he later told AP, eventually settling for a GoPro action camera and several recording devices hidden about his person. On the table, Lambert had placed a large pen in which Scott-Railton said he spotted a tiny camera lens peeking out from an opening in the top.

    Lambert didn’t seem to be alone. At the beginning of the meal, a man sat behind him, holding up his phone as if to take pictures and then abruptly left the restaurant, having eaten nothing. Later, two or three men materialized at the bar and appeared to be monitoring proceedings.

    Scott-Railton wasn’t alone either. A few tables away, two Associated Press journalists were making small talk as they waited for a signal from Scott-Railton, who had invited the reporters to observe the lunch from nearby and then interview Lambert near the end of the meal.

    The conversation began with a discussion of kites, gossip about African politicians, and a detour through Scott-Railton’s family background. But Lambert, just like Bowman, eventually steered the talk to Citizen Lab and NSO.

    “Work drama? Tell me, I like drama!” Lambert said at one point, according to Scott-Railton’s recording of the conversation. “Is there a big competition between the people inside Citizen Lab?” he asked later.

    Like Bowman, Lambert appeared to be working off cue cards and occasionally made awkward conversational gambits. At one point he repeated a racist French expression, insisting it wasn’t offensive. He also asked Scott-Railton questions about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and whether he grew up with any Jewish friends. At another point he asked whether there might not be a “racist element” to Citizen Lab’s interest in Israeli spyware.

    After dessert arrived, the AP reporters approached Lambert at his table and asked him why his company didn’t seem to exist.
    He seemed to stiffen.

    “I know what I’m doing,” Lambert said, as he put his files — and his pen — into a bag. Then he stood up, bumped into a chair and walked off, saying “Ciao” and waving his hand, before returning because he had neglected to pay the bill.

    As he paced around the restaurant waiting for the check, Lambert refused to answer questions about who he worked for or why no trace of his firm could be found.

    “I don’t have to give you any explanation,” he said. He eventually retreated to a back room and closed the door.

    Who Lambert and Bowman really are isn’t clear. Neither men returned emails, LinkedIn messages or phone calls. And despite their keen focus on NSO the AP has found no evidence of any link to the Israeli spyware merchant, which is adamant that it wasn’t involved.

    The kind of aggressive investigative tactics used by the mystery men who targeted Citizen Lab have come under fire in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal. Black Cube, an Israeli private investigation firm apologized after The New Yorker and other media outlets revealed that the company’s operatives had used subterfuge and dirty tricks to help the Hollywood mogul suppress allegations of rape and sexual assault.

    Scott-Railton and Abdul Razzak said they didn’t want to speculate about who was involved. But both said they believed they were being steered toward making controversial comments that could be used to blacken Citizen Lab’s reputation.

    “It could be they wanted me to say, ’Yes, I hate Israel,’ or ’Yes, Citizen Lab is against NSO because it’s Israeli,’” said Abdul Razzak.
    Scott-Railton said the elaborate, multinational operation was gratifying, in a way.

    “People were paid to fly to a city to sit you down to an expensive meal and try to convince you to say bad things about your work, your colleagues and your employer,” he said.

    “That means that your work is important.”

    • Par ailleurs,

      Some commentators predict that the Saudi crown prince is now so indebted to Trump that his support for the plan will be even more emphatic, but it’s more reasonable to assume that his newly-precarious hold on power will dissuade him from expressing emphatic support for a peace plan that is bound to enrage Palestinians as well as the proverbial “Arab street” in Riyadh, Mecca and other Arab cities.

      Netanyahu might actually welcome Saudi reticence that could help convince the Trump administration to hold off once again with its plan. The recent coalition crisis made it crystal clear that Netanyahu could be one of the first victims of his Washington BFF’s blueprint. Any peace plan published by the White House, even one viewed by Palestinians and the world as completely one-sided in Israel’s favor, will necessarily include relinquishment of territory, in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank. It will be uniformly rejected by most of the Israeli right. Netanyahu is certainly loath to reject the fruit of Trump’s pro-Israel peace team’s labor, but anything less than a resounding “no” on his part could persuade even more voters to opt for parties to his right in the upcoming elections.

      The bottom line is that even the friendliest U.S. president in human history, as Netanyahu often describes him, is carrying a ticking time bomb that could soon blow up in the prime minister’s face. And as Netanyahu has recently learned from the botched military incursion in Gaza, the downing of the Russian plane and the horrid Khashoggi killing in Istanbul, unexpected developments can shake up the Middle East and demolish his image as its master manipulator. When lady luck thumbs her nose at the start of an election year, even the conventional wisdom about Netanyahu’s inevitable victory could dissipate in an instant, along with his hitherto-lauded grand strategies.

  • Official documents prove: Israel bans young Americans based on Canary Mission website - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Some Americans detained upon arrival in Israel reported being questioned about their political activity based on ’profiles’ on the controversial website Canary Mission. Documents obtained by Haaretz now clearly show that is indeed a source of information for decisions to bar entry

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Oct 04, 2018


    The Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry is using simple Google searches, mainly the controversial American right-wing website Canary Mission, to bar political activists from entering Israel, according to documents obtained by Haaretz.
    >>Israeli court rejects American visa-holding student’s appeal; to be deported for backing BDS
    The internal documents, some of which were submitted to the appeals tribunal in the appeal against the deportation of American student Lara Alqasem, show that officials briefly interviewed Alqasem, 22, at Ben-Gurion International Airport on her arrival Tuesday night, then passed her name on for “continued handling” by the ministry because of “suspicion of boycott activity.” Israel recently passed a law banning the entry of foreign nationals who engage in such activity.

    >> Are you next? Know your rights if detained at Israel’s border

    Links to Canary Mission and Facebook posts are seen on an official Ministry of Strategic Affairs document.
    The ministry then sent the officials at the airport an official report classified “sensitive” about Alqasem’s supposed political activities, which included information from five links – four from Facebook and one, the main source, from the Canary Mission site, which follows pro-Palestinian activists on U.S. campuses.
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    A decision on Alqasem’s appeal against her deportation was expected Thursday afternoon.
    Canary Mission, now the subject of major controversy in the American Jewish community, has been collecting information since 2015 about BDS activists at universities, and sends the information to potential employers. Pro-Israel students have also criticized their activities.

    Lara Alqasem.
    This week, the American Jewish news site The Forward reported that at least $100,000 of Canary Mission’s budget had been contributed through the San Francisco Jewish Federation and the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which donates to Jewish education. The donation was handed to a group registered in Beit Shemesh called Megamot Shalom, specifically stating that it was for Canary Mission. A few hours after the report was published, the federation announced that it would no longer fund the group.
    Over the past few months some of the Americans who have been detained for questioning upon arrival in Israel have reported that they were questioned about their political activity based on “profiles” about them published on Canary Mission. The documents obtained by Haaretz now show clearly that the site is indeed the No. 1 source of information for the decision to bar entry to Alqasem.
    According to the links that were the basis for the decision to suspend the student visa that Alqasem had been granted by the Israeli Consulate in Miami, she was president of the Florida chapter of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine, information quoted directly from the Canary Mission. The national arm of that organization, National Students for Justice in Palestine, is indeed on the list of 20 groups that the Strategic Affairs Ministry compiled as criteria to invoke the anti-boycott law. However, Alqasem was not a member at the national level, but rather a local activist. She told the appeals tribunal that the local chapter had only a few members.

    Canary Mission’s profile of Lara Alqasem.
    The ministry also cited as a reason for barring Alqasem’s entry to Israel a Facebook post showing that “In April 2016 [her] chapter conducted an ongoing campaign calling for the boycott of Sabra hummus, the American version of Hummus Tzabar, because Strauss, which owns Tzabar, funds the Golani Brigade.” Alqasem told the tribunal that she had not taken an active part in this campaign. Another link was about a writers’ petition calling on a cultural center to refuse sponsorship by Israel for its activities. Yet another post, by the local Students for Justice in Palestine, praised the fact that an international security company had stopped operations in Israel. None of these links quoted Alqasem.
    She told the tribunal that she is not currently a member of any pro-boycott group and would not come to study for her M.A. in Israel if she were.
    The Strategic Affairs Ministry report on Alqasem is so meager that its writers mentioned it themselves: “It should be noted that in this case we rely on a relatively small number of sources found on the Internet.” Over the past few months Haaretz has been following up reports of this nature that have been the basis for denying entry to activists, and found that in many other cases the material consisted of superficial Google searches and that the ministry, by admission of its own senior officials, does not collect information from non-public sources.
    skip - Facebook post calling for the boycott of Sabra hummus

    The ministry’s criteria for invoking the anti-boycott law state clearly that in order to bar entry to political activists, they must “hold senior or significant positions in the organizations,” including “official senior roles in prominent groups (such as board members).”
    But the report on Alqasem does not indicate that she met the criterion of “senior” official in the national movement, nor was this the case for other young people questioned recently at the airport. In some cases it was the Shin Bet security service that questioned people due to past participation in activities such as demonstrations in the territories, and not BDS activities.
    “Key activists,” according to the ministry’s criteria, also means people who “consistently take part in promoting BDS in the framework of prominent delegitimization groups or independently, and not, for example, an activist who comes as part of a delegation.” In Alqasem’s case, however, her visa was issued after she was accepted for study at Hebrew University.

  • Shin Bet holds German citizen at Israeli border: Your blood isn’t German, it’s Palestinian- Haaretz.Com

    After 10 minutes the Shin Bet interrogator – who didn’t identify herself, didn’t give her name and looked about 30 years old – got up and started questioning him. “She started by asking where I am from. I said I am from Germany. She asked me where I am really from. I said, I was born in Berlin, Germany, have a German passport and no other and am thus a German citizen.”

    And then came her questions about his blood, Palestinian or German. He replied: “I don’t know about that, but if my blood is anything, it’s probably also Polish.” His mother is a Polish woman who was born in Germany.

    The Shin Bet investigator continued with her unexpected questions: “‘Do you know, that you are a refugee?’ He replied that he isn’t a refugee. “But yes, you’re a refugee,” she insisted. “Don’t you know that the UN considers you, like any other descendant of Arabs from this area as Palestinian refugees? No other people in the world keep their refugee status, after becoming citizens of another country, but the Palestinians, yes.’”

    Sarrouh’s family is Christian. Unlike Muslim Palestinians, Christian Palestinians who found themselves in Lebanon in 1948 because of the war, or who were expelled, became Lebanese citizens, so they didn’t receive refugee status. The Sarrouh family is from the Maronite village of Kafr Bir’im, as is his wife’s family. In November 1948, after the occupation of the village, its residents, including the Sarrouh family, were expelled to the other side of the border.


  • Israel’s conducts mass psychological experiment on #Gaza

    This study is much more successful than the famous experiment carried out by social psychologist Stanley #Milgram 55 years ago, and the Israelis are the guinea pigs

    The experiment is about compliance and cruelty; it’s an experiment on adapting to increasing cruelty. It’s much more successful than the famous experiment carried out by social psychologist Stanley Milgram 55 years ago, about a year after the Eichmann trial.


    The experiment on us Israelis has been going on since 1991; thousands of Israelis take part while tens of thousands egg them on. Gaza is an enclave that we have shut in; only few Gazans receive permission to enter and leave, cut off from the world. It’s a place with polluted water because we refuse to connect the Strip to the country’s other water resources, demanding that 2 million people suffice with a piece of the coastal aquifer that in 1947 provided water to 80,000 people.

  • Israël classe sans suite l’enquête sur une attaque meurtrière à Gaza
    Le Monde | 15.08.2018 à 21h00 • Mis à jour le 16.08.2018 à 15h51

    L’armée israélienne a annoncé mercredi 15 août avoir classé sans suite l’enquête sur une opération meurtrière en août 2014 dans la bande de Gaza qualifié de « crime de guerre » par des ONG.

    Le 1er août 2014, près d’un mois après le début de la guerre entre Israël et le mouvement islamiste Hamas au pouvoir dans l’enclave palestinienne, l’armée avait lancé une opération à la suite de la capture d’un de ses soldats.


    • Closing of probe into 2014 Gaza war’s ’Black Friday’ lacks touch with reality
      When a preliminary examination lasts four years, its real purpose is to prevent a criminal investigation
      Mordechai Kremnitzer | Aug. 16, 2018 | 10:34 PM

      Of the 360 incidents he scrutinized, an indictment was filed in only one – for looting. In his public statement, Military Advocate General Sharon Afek noted that he recommended disciplinary action by commanders or learning operational lessons in some cases, but didn’t specify how many such cases there were or what the outcome of those proceedings was, despite his assertion at the start of the statement that he is committed to transparency.

      The statement praised the investigations’ thoroughness and efficiency. But assuming that efficiency includes speed, this is hard to accept.

      A General Staff forum has yet to complete its inquiry into dozens of incidents, and the decision on Rafah came four years after the battle. Moreover, the Rafah investigation still hasn’t clarified the circumstances of the deaths of 16 of the 70 Gazan civilians killed during the battle. This is an unreasonable length of time, even for a very complex incident.

      The General Staff forum consisted of three teams led by reservist brigadier generals. They decided to open almost no criminal investigations. But this is a corruption of the very idea of a General Staff inquiry. As Afek’s decision said, that inquiry was meant to be a preliminary examination of the facts prior to deciding whether to open a criminal investigation. A preliminary examination that lasts four years?

      When a preliminary examination lasts that long, it has clearly ceased to be a preliminary to deciding whether to open a criminal investigation, and instead becomes an inquiry that prevents any such investigation. The passage of time isn’t neutral; it destroys the ability to uncover the truth.

      As for transparency, the Rafah decision fulfilled this commitment only partially. Transparency is achieved when readers can use the facts to make their own evaluation of the conclusions reached. Afek’s decision didn’t make this possible.

      In some cases, the decision noted that efforts were made to assess the proportionality of opening fire in light of the possible civilian casualties. In other cases, it didn’t say this. Were no such efforts made in those cases?

      For some reason, the decision discussed fatalities and property damage, but not wounded civilians. Nor did it explain the criteria used to determine proportionality. Without this information, how can we evaluate Afek’s judgment that the commanders’ decisions were reasonable?

      He also didn’t explain how he dealt with the tendency – of which there was some evidence in the cases he analyzed – to adjust reality to fit what military necessity would make desirable. Because the presence of civilians limits the army’s freedom of action, the tendency is not to see civilians, or else to downplay their number or the likelihood of their presence. This plays a critical role in excessive civilian casualties.

      Another crucial omission was Afek’s failure to explain the factors that led to suspicions that operations in Rafah had violated the laws of war. The first of these was the Hannibal Directive, which stated that if a soldier were kidnapped, his comrades should try to kill the kidnappers, even at the cost of the abducted soldier’s life.

      Afek found that there were significant gaps in commanders’ understanding of this directive, and also between the General Staff’s orders and those issued by the Southern Command and units in Gaza. But he didn’t think these gaps warranted any steps against individual commanders.

      He also said the Hannibal Directive doesn’t override the rules of engagement that govern shooting at kidnappers during a kidnapping, and formally, he’s correct. But in practice, if officers and soldiers understood that to prevent the abduction of a soldier, they were permitted, and perhaps even obligated, to kill or endanger their own comrade, what does this imply about the degree to which the lives of Gazan residents could be endangered during combat against Hamas terrorists?

      And to tell the truth, the policy of all Israeli governments on prisoner swaps, from the 1985 Jibril deal to the 2011 Shalit deal, exposes our soft underbelly to the enemy and turns a soldier’s abduction into a strategic problem of the first order. This policy is understandable from a human perspective, but nevertheless unreasonable. The Hannibal Directive was born of this mistaken policy. But given this policy, is there a limit to what should be done to prevent the kidnapping of a soldier, including, if necessary, killing or wounding enemy noncombatants?

      The second factor which provided grounds for suspicion was the battle orders issued by the Givati Brigade’s commander at the time, Ofer Winter, in which he turned the war into a holy war and Hamas into a group that “curses the God of Israel’s battles.” The problem isn’t just the words themselves, but the fact that they fell on fertile ground.

      Even without them, Hamas was viewed as an existential enemy, and Gazan residents as Hamas members in disguise or at least Hamas supporters, and therefore, “woe to the evildoer and woe to his neighbor.” Moreover, there were rabbis who wrote that Jewish law permits shedding the blood of enemy civilians during wartime, and even some secular people said that avoiding risk to our soldiers justifies almost any risk to enemy civilians. It is reasonable to assume that all this had no impact?

      Afek’s expectation of finding statements made at the time that would provide evidence of a desire for revenge or punishment seems naïve. This is also true even of something that seems less implausible: finding evidence of indifference to the fate of Gazan residents. Even someone motivated by such feelings presumably isn’t stupid enough to say so, either in real time or afterwards.

      A criminal investigation, had there been one, might have uncovered such motives. But an inquiry by commanders, in which those interrogated know their words could incriminate them, clearly won’t.

      I don’t envy Afek, who was being pulled in both directions. On one hand, the army and most of the Israeli public is unwilling to convict commanders and soldiers for acts committed while fighting an enemy to protect the state and the people, even if they violated the law (in contrast to, say, theft or looting). On the other hand, he must shield commanders against legal proceedings outside Israel by overseeing internal proceedings that are independent, efficient, speedy and transparent.

      Afek met expectations on the first point, but his inquiry doesn’t seem to provide maximum protection against international legal proceedings. Had he included civilian investigators on the inquiry teams alongside the senior reserve officers (who understandably feel solidarity with their comrades in arms and are committed to maximum freedom of action for the army), or ordered a criminal investigation, he would have done better on this score. The length of time that has passed is also an obstacle to achieving this goal.

      The picture that emerges from Afek’s decision, to the degree that it reflects reality, is enormously flattering to the army. As such, it gladdens our hearts. Nevertheless, our brains can’t help signaling skepticism.

  • Secret Israeli Report Reveals Armed Drone Killed Four Boys Playing on Gaza Beach in 2014
    Robert Mackey | August 11 2018, 10:09 a.m.

    A confidential report by Israeli military police investigators seen by The Intercept explains how a tragic series of mistakes by air force, naval, and intelligence officers led to an airstrike in which four Palestinian boys playing on a beach in Gaza in 2014 were killed by missiles launched from an armed drone.

    Testimony from the officers involved in the attack, which has been concealed from the public until now, confirms for the first time that the children — four cousins ages 10 and 11 — were pursued and killed by drone operators who somehow mistook them, in broad daylight, for Hamas militants. (...)


    • 10 questions on secret Israeli report over 2014 killing of four children on Gaza beach
      Mordechai Kremnitzer | Aug. 13, 2018 | 10:03 PM | 3

      The secret investigation report on the killing of four Palestinian children on the Gaza beach in 2014, part of which was published on the website The Intercept and whose essentials were reported in Monday’s Haaretz, raises a lot of questions. The confidential Israeli military police report reveals that the attack on July 16, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, was carried out by a drone and stemmed from an intelligence failure.

      No one disputes that Ismail Bakr, 9, Ahad and Zakaria Bakr, both 10, and Mohammed Bakr, 11, were not involved in hostile actions against Israel. Therefore, there was no justification for firing at them twice with a drone and certainly not to kill them. The report also shows that those involved in the decisions and actions that led to the boys’ killing thought that the four were Hamas operatives and were not aware that they were children.

      Despite signs pointing to negligence, at the very least, the previous military advocate-general, Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Efroni, closed the case without taking any legal or disciplinary steps against those involved. This decision stood even after Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, petitioned the attorney general, who has yet to respond.

      The central question is whether the error that was the basis for the Israel Defense Force’s actions was reasonable or not. Based on the answer to this question, one can determine whether the military advocate-general’s decision was justified or mistaken and negligent. We cannot pass judgment on Efroni’s decision without access to the investigation file and its full conclusions. However, questions arise that require a response.

      1. Was the investigation effective and thorough? For example, shouldn’t testimony have been taken from the journalists who saw the incident from the beach? An external perspective could have been critical in assessing the nature of the compound in which the children were seen, and the issue of the firing itself.

      2. The army acted on the assumption that the jetty on which the children were seen had previously served Hamas’ naval commandos. The day before the firing incident, the compound had been bombed by the IDF. Didn’t the bombing require a reevaluation about the nature of the place and the identity of anyone found there? After the structure was bombed, there were no secondary explosions heard, casting doubt on the initial conclusion that it had been used as a weapons depot. According to witnesses, after the bombing a new situation existed. There were no guards stationed at the entrance to the compound, it’s possible that the gate that surrounded it had been destroyed, and it was clear to Hamas that the site was an IDF target. All this indicates that a reevaluation would have pointed to a reasonable possibility that those the IDF had identified on the day the drone fired weren’t Hamas operatives but civilians (not necessarily children). If this possibility wasn’t raised, wasn’t that a negligent blunder? According to the testimonies, the question if the compound was open only to Hamas operatives or whether civilians also had access was raised with intelligence in real time. It isn’t clear what happened to that question. If this possibility was not discounted, it would have been correct to examine the responsibility of the soldiers involved in the killing.

      3. After the first shooting, the drone operators who fired asked for clarification as to the borders of the compound. But around half a minute afterward, before the question was answered, there was a second round of fire that killed three of the boys. Shouldn’t the operators have waited for an answer?

      4. All those involved declared that they could not identify the figures seen in the compound as children. The conclusion of the investigation was that it was impossible to discern that these were children, although the incident occurred in broad daylight. Two days earlier, however, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office had praised the ability of drone operators to identify potential targets under surveillance as children and thus avoid attacking them at the last moment. This is puzzling. If it’s not possible to distinguish the age of those being shot at, that is, it’s possible to shoot at children without being aware of it, were those involved in the shooting being overly reliant on the means at their disposal? Would it not have been appropriate to use additional means of observation? Was the possibility that the figures were civilians, or even children, not enough of a reason to refrain from firing? Under international law, in cases of doubt one is required to assume that the people are civilians. It should be noted that the soldiers did not claim that the figures had been identified as carrying weapons or as posing a significant threat to our forces.

      5. How is it possible to reconcile the testimony of the air force officer who coordinated the attacks, who said this is a highly unusual case in which the intelligence information was completely different from the facts on the ground, and the legal conclusion that there was no fault in the actions of those involved? If the intelligence presented was inaccurate, isn’t there a flaw in the structure of the division of responsibility between different parties such that it is impossible to hold anyone personally responsible? Do the accepted standards of skill, responsibility and caution not apply to Military Intelligence? Has chalking things up to an “intelligence mistake” become a way to whitewash prohibited and unjustified killings?

      6. Have all the operational and intelligence lessons, as well as the cognitive and moral ones, been learned so as to prevent similar incidents in the future?

      7. Doesn’t this incident offer support for the concerns raised regarding the use of drones, which can dull human sensitivity?

      8. Did the legal decision-makers use the reversal test – what would we say if it had been our children and the enemy had been the one to make the decisions and carry out those actions?

      9. Were the minimal humane steps taken, like an apology and compensation, steps that even an army that was not the most moral in the world would take?

      10. Does not the thesis that anyone suspected of being a Hamas operative is a legitimate target, even when he is not carrying a weapon and does not pose a risk to our forces, border on extrajudicial execution, which is prohibited by international law? Does it not create an unreasonable risk to the lives of civilians who must be protected, a risk that was actualized in the case of these four children?

  • Arab Leaders Asked U.S. Not to Reveal Mideast Peace Plan, Palestinians Say

    [...] the Arab officials told the Palestinian leadership, any plan which does not meet Palestinian expectations could just increase tensions in the Mideast.

    “Egypt isn’t short on internal issues, along with fighting terror in Sinai; Jordan is dealing with many difficulties on the home front and repercussions from the Syrian war don’t simplify things and the Saudis with the challenges in Yemen and the struggle against Iran,” a Palestinian official told Haaretz. “If the (Trump) administration present a plan without Jerusalem and without the refugees it will be an earthquake whose repercussion will undermine stability in the entire region and not one is ready for that.” 

    According to the Palestinian official, this explains the focus by the involved parties on the Gaza Strip, said the official, and the attempt to promote projects aimed at improving humanitarian conditions, which would prevent a collapse without presenting a plan without any diplomatic prospects.


  • Anonymous #Snipers and a Lethal Verdict

    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.

    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.

    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.

    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.

    #Israel #crimes#villa_dans_la_jungle#assassins #meurtres #impunité#nos_valeurs

  • Netanyahu: Trump and I talked ’Iran, #Iran, Iran,’ we discussed Palestinians for 15 minutes
    Noa Landau | Mar. 5, 2018- Haaretz.Com

    Despite a downgrade of the security clearance of Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, Netanyahu reportedly said that Kushner was present during a luncheon. “We did not deal with his issue, not even a word,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a reference to Kushner’s security clearance. “I don’t want to go into it. He participated in the broad discussion."

    #Palestine #Etats-Unis #Israel